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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

The collegian was very kind to the little girl


Esther's

eyes opened. 'I never thought about it, papa. I didn't know you would care to read it. I thought it must be sealed, and I sealed it.'

'I did care to read it, so I opened it. Had you any objection?'

'No, papa!' said Esther, wondering.

'And having opened it, I read it. I did not quite understand it, Esther.'

Esther made no reply.

'What do you want _comfort_ so much for, my child? I thought you were happy--as happy as other children.'

'I _am_ happy now, papa; more happy than other children.'

'But you were not?'

'No, papa; for a while I was not.'

'Why? What did you want, that you had not?--except your mother,' the colonel added, with a sigh of consciousness that there might be a missing something there.

'I was not thinking of her, papa,' Esther said slowly.

'Of what, then?' The colonel was intensely curious.

'I was very happy, as long as Pitt was at home.'

'William Dallas! But what is he to you? he's a collegian, and you are a little girl.'

'Papa, the collegian was very kind to the little girl,' Esther

said, with a smile that was very bright, and also merry with a certain sense of humour.

'I grant it; still--it is unreasonable And was it because he was gone, that you wanted comfort?'

'I didn't want it, or I didn't know that I wanted it, while he was here.'

'People that don't know they need comfort, do _not_ need it, I fancy. You draw fine distinctions. Well, go on, Esther. You have found it, your letter says.'

'Oh yes, papa.'

'My dear, I do not understand you; and I should like to understand. Can you tell me what you mean?'

As he raised his eyes to her, he saw a look come over her face that he could as little comprehend as he could comprehend her letter; a look of surprise at him, mingled with a sudden shine of some inner light. She was moving about the tea-table; she came round and stood in front of her father, full in view.

'Papa, I thought my letter explained it. I mean, that now I have come to know the Lord Jesus.'

'_Now?_ My dear, I was under the impression that you had been taught and had known the truths of the gospel all your life?'

'Oh, yes, papa; so I was. The difference'--

'Well?'

'The difference, papa, is, that now I know _Him_.'

'Him? Whom?'

'I mean Jesus, papa.'

'How do you know Him? Do you mean that lately you have begun to think about Him?'

'No, papa, I had been thinking a great while.'

'And now?'--

'Now I have come to know Him.'


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