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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Strahan has some beautiful coins


talking of history,--Mr. Strahan has some beautiful coins. There is one of Philip of Macedon, and two of Alexander; think of that, Queen Esther; and some exquisite gold pieces of Tarentum and Syracuse. How your eyes would look at them! Well, study up everything, so that when we meet again we may talk up all the world. I shall be very hard at work myself soon, as soon as I go to Oxford. In the meantime I am rather hard at work here, although to be sure the work is play.

'This is a very miserable bit of a letter, and nothing in it, just because I have so much to say. If I had time I would write it over, but I have not time. The next shall be better. I am a great deal with Mr. Strahan, in-doors as well as out. I wish I could show you his house, Queen. It is old and odd and pretty. Thick old walls, little windows in deep recesses; low ceilings and high ceilings, for different parts of the house are unlike each other; most beautiful dark oaken wainscotings, carved deliciously, and grown black with time; and big, hospitable chimney-pieces, with fires of English soft coal. Some of the rooms are rather dark, to me who am accustomed to the sun of America pouring in at a wealth of big windows; but others are to me quite charming. And this quaint old house is filled with treasures and curiosities. Mr. Strahan lives in it quite alone with two servants, a factotum of a housekeeper and another factotum of a man-servant. I must say I find it intelligible that

he should take pleasure in having me with him. Good-bye for to-night. I'll write soon again.


As on occasion of the former letter, Esther lingered long over the reading of this; her uneasiness not appeased by it at all; then at last went down to her father, to whom the uneasiness was quite unknown and unsuspected.

'I think William writes the longest letters to you,' he remarked. 'What does he say this time?'

Esther read her letter aloud.

'Will has fallen on his feet,' was the comment.

'What does he say to you, papa?'

'Not much; and yet a good deal. You may read for yourself.'

Which Esther did, eagerly. Pitt had told her father about his visit to the House of Commons.

'I had yesterday,' he wrote, 'a rare pleasure, which you, my dear colonel, would have appreciated. Mr. Strahan took me to the House of Commons; and I heard Mr. Canning, Mr. Whitbread, Mr. Wilberforce, Mr. Ponsonby, and others, on what question, do you think? Nothing less than the duty which lies upon England just at this moment, to use the advantage of her influence with her allies in Europe to get them to join with her in putting down the slave trade. It was a royal occasion; and the enjoyment of it quite beyond description. To-day I have been standing at Charing Cross, looking at the statue of Charles I., and wondering at the world. My grand-uncle is a good Tory and held forth eloquently as we stood there. Don't tell my mother! but privately, my dear colonel, I seem to discover in myself traces of Whiggism. Whether it be nature, or your influence, or the air of America, that has caused it to grow, I know not; but there it is. My mother would be very seriously disturbed if she suspected the fact. As to my father, I really never discovered to my satisfaction what his politics are. To Mr. Strahan I listen reverently. It is not necessary for me to say to him all that comes into my head. _But_ it came into my head to-day, as I stood gazing up at the equestrian statue at Charing Cross, that it would better become the English people to have John Hampden there than that miserable old trickster, Charles Stuart.'

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