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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

And then Esther brought her letter


colonel did not answer at once.

'Do you want to write to him?'

'Yes, papa; I would like it--I would like to write once.'

'What do you want to write to him for?'

'I would like to tell him something that I think it would please him to hear.'

'What is that?'

'It is just something about myself, papa,' Esther said, a little hesitatingly.

'You may write, and I will enclose it in a letter of mine.'

'Thank you, papa.'

A day or two passed, and then Esther brought her letter. It was closed and sealed. The colonel took it and turned it over.

'There's a good deal of it,' he remarked. 'Was it needful to use so many words?'

'Papa,' said Esther, hesitating, 'I didn't think about how many words I was using.'

'You should have had thinner paper. Why did you seal it up?'

'Papa, I didn't think about that either. I only thought it had got to be sealed.'

'You did not wish to hinder my seeing what you had written?'

'No, papa,' said Esther, a little slowly.


will do.' And he laid the letter on one side, and Esther supposed the matter was disposed of. But when she had kissed him and gone off to bed, the colonel brought the letter before him again, looked at it, and finally broke the seal and opened it. There was a good deal of it, as he had remarked.

'Seaforth, _May_ 11, 1815. 'MY DEAR PITT,--Papa has given me leave to write a letter to you; and I wanted to write, because I have something to tell you that I think you will be glad to hear. I am afraid I cannot tell it very well, for I am not much accustomed to writing letters; but I will do as well as I can.

'I am afraid it will take me some time to say what I want to say. I cannot put it in two or three sentences. You must have patience with me.

'Do you remember my telling you once that I wanted comfort? And do you remember my asking you once about the meaning of some words in the Bible, where I was looking for comfort, because mamma said it was the best place? We were sitting in the verandah, one afternoon. You had been away, to New Haven, and were home for vacation.

'Well, I partly forgot about it that summer, I was so happy. You know what a good time we had with everything, and I forgot about wanting comfort. But after you went away that autumn to Lisbon and to England, then the want came back. You were very good about writing, and I enjoyed your letters very much; and yet, somehow, every one seemed to make me feel a little worse than I did before. That is, after the first bit, you know. For an hour, perhaps, while I was reading it, and reading it the second time, and thinking about it, I was almost perfectly happy; the letters seemed to bring you near; but when just that first hour was passed, they made you seem farther off than ever; farther off every time. And then the want of comfort came back, and I did not know where to get it. There was nobody to ask, and no help at all, if I could not find it in the Bible. All that winter, and all the summer, last summer that was, and all the first part of this last winter, I did not know what to do, I wanted comfort so. I thought maybe you would never come back to Seaforth again; and you know there is nobody else here, and I was quite alone. I never do see anybody but papa, except Mr. and Mrs. Dallas, who come here once in a while. So I went to the Bible. I read, and I thought.

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