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The Tea Rose
by [?]

That rose! its sweet influence died not with the first day. Through all the long, cold winter, the watching, tending, cherishing that flower awakened a thousand pleasant trains of thought, that beguiled the sameness and weariness of their life. Every day the fair, growing thing put forth some fresh beauty–a leaf, a bud, a new shoot, and constantly awakened fresh enjoyment in its possessors. As it stood in the window, the passer by would sometimes stop and gaze, attracted by its beauty, and then proud and happy was Mary; nor did even the serious and care-worn widow notice with indifference this tribute to the beauty of their favorite.

But little did Florence think, when she bestowed the gift, that there twined about it an invisible thread that reached far and brightly into the web of her destiny.

One cold afternoon in early spring, a tall and graceful gentleman called at the lowly room to pay for the making of some linen by the inmates. He was a stranger and wayfarer, recommended through the charity of some of Mrs. Stephens’s patrons. As he turned to go, his eye rested admiringly on the rose tree; and he stopped to gaze at it.

“How beautiful!” said he.

“Yes,” said little Mary; “and it was given to us by a lady as sweet and beautiful as that is.”

“Ah,” said the stranger, turning upon her a pair of bright dark eyes, pleased and rather struck by the communication; “and how came she to give it to you, my little girl?”

“O, because we are poor, and mother is sick, and we never can have any thing pretty. We used to have a garden once; and we loved flowers so much, and Miss Florence found it out, and so she gave us this.”

“Florence!” echoed the stranger.

“Yes, Miss Florence L’Estrange–a beautiful lady. They say she was from foreign parts; but she speaks English just like other ladies, only sweeter.”

“Is she here now? is she in this city?” said the gentleman, eagerly.

“No; she left some months ago,” said the widow, noticing the shade of disappointment on his face. “But,” said she, “you can find out all about her at her aunt’s, Mrs. Carlysle’s, No. 10 —- Street.”

A short time after Florence received a letter in a handwriting that made her tremble. During the many early years of her life spent in France she had well learned to know that writing–had loved as a woman like her loves only once; but there had been obstacles of parents and friends, long separation, long suspense, till, after anxious years, she had believed the ocean had closed over that hand and heart; and it was this that had touched with such pensive sorrow the lines in her lovely face.

But this letter told that he was living–that he had traced her, even as a hidden streamlet may be traced, by the freshness, the verdure of heart, which her deeds of kindness had left wherever she had passed. Thus much said, our readers need no help in finishing my story for themselves.