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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

Are there Whigs and Tories in England now


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'Papa,' she said at last, 'what is a Tory?'

'It is a party name, my dear; it is given to a certain political party.'

'You are not a Tory?'

'No! If I had been, I should never have found my way here.' The colonel said it with a sigh.

'Then I suppose you are a Whig. And are Mr. and Mrs. Dallas Tories?'

'Humph!--Will says his mother is. He ought to know.'

'What is the difference, papa?'

'My dear, I don't know that you can understand. The names grew up in the old days when the Stuarts were trying to get all the power of the government into their own hands and to leave none to the people. Those who stood by the king, through thick and thin, were called Tories; those who tried to limit him and guard the people's liberties, were Whigs.'

'What queer names! Papa, are there Whigs and Tories in England now?'

'What are called so.'

'Are the kings still trying to get away the liberties of the people?'

'No, my child. Those are pretty well secured.'

'And here we have no king at all. I don't see how you can be a Whig, or Mrs. Dallas

a Tory.'

'There are always the two parties. One, that sticks by the government and aims to strengthen its hands, right or wrong; and the other, that looks out for the liberties of the people and watches that they be not infringed or tampered with.'

Esther thought a while, but not exclusively over the political question. It might have occurred to an older person to wonder how William Pitt had got his name from parents who were both Tories. The fact was that here, as in many another case, money was the solution of the difficulty. A rich relation, who was also a radical, had promised a fine legacy to the boy if he were given the name of the famous Whig statesman, and Mr. Mrs. and Dallas had swallowed the pill per help of the sugar. About this Esther knew nothing.

'Papa,' she said, 'don't you think Pitt will get so fond of England that he will never want to come back?'

'It would not be strange if he did.'

'Is England so much better than America, papa?'

'It is England, my dear!' the colonel said, with an expression which meant, she could not tell what.



These letters, on the whole, did not comfort Esther. The momentary intense pleasure was followed by inevitable dull reaction and contrast; and before she had well got over the effect of one batch of letters another came; and she was kept in a perpetual stir and conflict. For Pitt proved himself a good correspondent, although it was June before the first letter from his parents reached him. So he reported, writing on the third of that month; and told that the Allied Sovereigns were just then leaving Paris for a visit to the British Capital, and all the London world was on tiptoe. 'Great luck for me to be here just now,' he wrote; and so everybody at home agreed. Mrs. Dallas grew more stately, Esther thought, with every visit she made at the colonel's house; and she and her husband made many. It was a necessity to have some one to speak to about Pitt and Pitt's letters; and it was urgent likewise that Mrs. Dallas should know if letters had been received by the same mail at this other house. She always found out, one way or another; and then she would ask, 'May I see?' and scan with eager eyes the sheet the colonel generally granted her. Of the letters to Esther nothing was said, but Esther lived in fear and trembling that some inadvertent word might let her know of their existence.

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