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Marjorie's Three Gifts

Roses And Forget-Me-Nots
I
ROSES
It was a cold November storm, and everything looked forlorn. Even the pert sparrows
were draggle-tailed and too much out of spirits to fight for crumbs with the fat pigeons
who tripped through the mud with their little red boots as if in haste to get back to their
cosy home in the dove-cot.
But the most forlorn creature out that day was a small errand girl, with a bonnet-box on
each arm, and both hands struggling to hold a big broken umbrella. A pair of worn-out
boots let in the wet upon her tired feet; a thin cotton dress and an old shawl poorly
protected her from the storm; and a faded hood covered her head.
The face that looked out from this hood was too pale and anxious for one so young; and
when a sudden gust turned the old umbrella inside out with a crash, despair fell upon
poor Lizzie, and she was so miserable she could have sat down in the rain and cried.
But there was no time for tears; so, dragging the dilapidated umbrella along, she spread
her shawl over the bonnet-boxes and hurried down the broad street, eager to hide her
misfortunes from a pretty young girl who stood at a window laughing at her.
She could not find the number of the house where one of the fine hats was to be left; and
after hunting all down one side of the street, she crossed over, and came at last to the very
house where the pretty girl lived. She was no longer to be seen; and, with a sigh of relief,
Lizzie rang the bell, and was told to wait in the hall while Miss Belle tried the hat on.
Glad to rest, she warmed her feet, righted her umbrella, and then sat looking about her
with eyes quick to see the beauty and the comfort that made the place so homelike and
delightful. A small waiting-room opened from the hall, and in it stood many blooming
plants, whose fragrance attracted Lizzie as irresistibly as if she had been a butterfly or
bee.
Slipping in, she stood enjoying the lovely colors, sweet odors, and delicate shapes of
these household spirits; for Lizzie loved flowers passionately; and just then they
possessed a peculiar charm for her.
One particularly captivating little rose won her heart, and made her long for it with a
longing that became a temptation too strong to resist. It was so perfect; so like a rosy face
smiling out from the green leaves, that Lizzie could NOT keep her hands off it, and
having smelt, touched, and kissed it, she suddenly broke the stem and hid it in her pocket.
Then, frightened at what she had done, she crept back to her place in the hall, and sat
there, burdened with remorse.
 
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