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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

''I shall never leave Seaforth


'What

would you have me do?' the colonel asked, half conscious and half impatient.

'I would give her all the advantages that a girl of her birth and breeding would have in the old country.'

'How is that possible, at Seaforth?'

'It is not possible at Seaforth. There is nothing here. But elsewhere it is possible.'

'I shall never leave Seaforth,' said the colonel doggedly.

'But for Esther's sake? Why, she ought to be at school now, colonel.'

'I shall never quit Seaforth,' the other repeated. 'I do not expect to live long anywhere; when I die, I will lie by my wife's side, here.'

'You are not failing in health,' Mr. Dallas persisted. 'You are improving, colonel; every time I come to see you I am convinced of it. We shall have you a long while among us yet; you may depend on it.'

'I have no particular reason to wish you may be right. And I see myself no signs that you are.'

'You have your daughter to live for.'

'She will be taken care of. I have little fear.'

There was a somewhat grim set of Mr. Dallas's mouth in answer to this speech; his words however were 'smoother than butter.'

'You

need have no fear,' he said. 'Miss Gainsborough, with her birth and beauty and breeding, will do--what you must wish her to do,--marry some one well able to take care of her; but--you are not doing her justice, colonel, in not giving her the education that should go with her birth and breeding. I speak as a friend; I trust you will not take it ill of me.'

'I cannot send her to England.'

'You do not need. There are excellent institutions of learning in this country now.'

'I do not know where.'

'My wife can tell you. She has some knowledge of such things, through friends who have daughters at school. She could tell you of several good schools for girls.'

'Where are they?'

'I believe in or near New York.'

'I do not wish to leave Seaforth,' said the colonel gloomily.

'And I am sure we do not wish to have you leave it,' said the other, rising. 'It would be a terrible loss to us. Perhaps, after all, I have been officious; and you are giving Esther an education more than equal to what she could get at school.'

'I cannot quit Seaforth,' the colonel repeated. 'All that I care for in the world lies here. When I have done with the world, I wish to lie here too; and till then I will wait.'

Mr. Dallas took his leave; and the set of his mouth was grim again as he walked home.


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