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And was n't it in better taste to wait until he asked permission to call rather than to make the suggestion oneself? Still, Miss Ellie Rose had noticed that Mr. Van Deyn evinced no apparent distaste for the society of the young ladies who went out of their own way to put themselves in his. And sometimes when, from behind the discreet screen of the dotted muslin curtains in her parlor, she had watched his stalwart figure swinging along on the other side of the street, she had wondered wistfully if her dream picture would ever come truewondered and hoped and almost despaired.

Somehow she could not quite believe it, it was all so wonderful and unexpected. She had been on her way to the veranda to say good night to Katherine Hendricks and thank her for a most delightful evening, when all at once there he stood before her, smiling, and saying, “Won't you give me the pleasure of walking home with you to-night, Miss Ellie Rose?" She had been christened Eleanor Rosamond Carew. Nobody ever called her anything but Miss Ellie Rose, but nobody had ever spoken her name so that it sounded quite as it did on the lips of Chester Van Deyn. For an instant she had hesitated, partly from sheer surprise, partly because she knew that Sam Banks would be waiting for her as usual.

"Ah, don't refuse!" Van Deyn had pleaded. "Is it quite fair to the rest of us that Banks should always be the lucky man? Let me tell him that you 've accepted my escort for this evening, for just this once, Miss Ellie Rose."

And here he was, walking beside her, matching his step to hers, talking

of the very things of which she had so often imagined he would talk to her. Had she seen the painting of "Spring," by that very promising young American, Austin Shaw? The "Times" had printed a reproduction the Sunday before. Of course all the exquisite tenderness of the coloring was lost, but the grace, the delicacy, the poetry of line and expression, had been caught quite faithfully.

"And she reminds me, somehow, of you, Miss Ellie Rose; she has your eyes, I think," said young Mr. Van Deyn.

Miss Ellie Rose glanced up at him in shy, bewildered delight. Under the hemstitched ruffles of the white organdie frock her heart quickened its beat. She would have given a great deal to be able to say that she had attended the exhibition and seen the painting; she knew that he had gone, because the local weekly had carried a notice of his trip. But to think that he had actually been reminded of her, had compared that painting to her!


"There is nothing, I believe," Mr. Van Deyn was saying, "quite so beautiful as simplicity. I'm afraid that we often lose sight of it in modern art, as well as in modern life; everything seems to get over-trimmed, overornamented. The fashion runs to bizarre effects and bright colors. you know, Miss Ellie Rose,-careful; this curb is broken. Please let me help you,-I 've been quite sure for some time that the loveliest flower in the world is the rose a rose half opened and just showing the rare gold of its heart. Tell me," he had slipped his fingers under her elbow when he had helped her over the bad spot in the curbing; now he drew her arm through his in a way that was at

once masterful and protective,-"tell me, is n't it your favorite flower, too?" "Yes," said Miss Ellie Rose.

"Not a red rose, nor yet a white one nor a yellow one-pink. Not vivid. It is pale and soft, and the petals are like satin to touch-like the fingertips of a fair woman. Am I not right?" "Yes," said Miss Ellie Rose in a low voice; "pale pink."

"I knew it. You have them in your garden. I 've seen you out there, working among them, brooding over them; and I knew you must love them. There are no geraniums in your garden, are there? No hollyhocks or poppies; nothing garish or flaunting or exotic. Even in summer your garden breathes of spring. It is like you, your garden, Miss Ellie Rose. I made some verses about it once, at Easter. I hope you don't think it too great a liberty?"

"Were were those about my garden?" There was an odd little catch in her voice.

"Yes. You are n't displeased? I know they were very poor verses, but-"

"They were-beautiful. And the card, with the rose painted on it, the pale-pink rose-" She stopped, claspShe stopped, clasping her hands tightly together in front of her. It was the only thing she had of his, the only thing he had ever sent her, that little Easter card, with its four-line verse, and the single rosebud, sketched in water-color. Chester Van Deyn had quite forgotten that he had sent one to her, but she had kept it among her most cherished possessions, carefully preserved in its thick, square envelop, with the bold embossed monogram that he affected on the flap.

"Your rose," said young Mr. Van Deyn. "Sometimes, when I 've been

passing on the other side of the street and seen you out there gathering the flowers that seem to grow in perfection just for you, I 've been tempted to cross over and beg you for a single bud. But I-well, I did n't dare. If I had dared," young Mr. Van Deyn asked softly-"if I had dared, Miss Ellie Rose, would you have given it to me?"

"Yes," said Miss Ellie Rose.

They had reached her gate. Between the trim rows of four-o'clocks and ladies'-slippers the smooth gravel path stretched to the foot of the shallow steps. The air was laden with the scent of mignonette, fragrant with roses and honeysuckle. Van Deyn put his hand upon the gate.

"Then-will you give it to me now, Miss Ellie Rose?"

She did not answer, but opening the gate, she turned aside from the path. The bloom that she gathered for him was small and perfect; half open, the pale-pink petals just parting to show the rare gold of the heart. She would have put it into his hand, but he said: "Won't you fasten it in my buttonhole? Please?"

With fingers that were neither quick nor skilful, because they trembled so, she adjusted the flower in the lapel of his coat.

"You do not know how I shall prize this," he said. "I cannot thank you enough. And now-good night, little lady." He took her hand and bowed over it with that deferentially charming way of his, smiling down into the gray eyes that seemed too big, too wistful, for the small, sweet face framed in its quaintly banded hair.

Miss Ellie Rose did not speak. Somehow, she could not. It seemed as if all the ache of the lonely, empty

years that lay behind her had all at once merged into a great wave of tremulous longing that gripped her by the throat and left her dumb. She was frightened, a little ashamed, of the strength of her own emotions. She knew that she ought to thank Chester Van Deyn for his escort, bid him a decorous good night, and go into the house; she knew that he already had retained possession of her hand longer than was necessary or quite correct; she knew that in lingering there with him in the silvered summer night she must be behaving quite as forwardly as any of those young ladies whose conduct she had uncharitably criticized. Yet when he slipped his other hand over hers, she did not withdraw her fingers. She only stood quite still, with wide, starry eyes, her breath coming quickly through her parted lips.

"I wonder," said young Mr. Van Deyn in that slow, caressing voice of his, "if you have ever loved any one, Miss Ellie Rose? Please don't think me presumptuous or impertinent; because it seems to me that you would have loved very wonderfully, very beautifully, if you had. You don't think I'm trying to pry, do you?"

"No," said Miss Ellie Rose.

"There are some women," he told her, "who were made to love and to be loved and taken care of, just as your roses are. The man who is lucky enough to win one can go through all his life with pride and thanksgiving. Look up at me, Miss Ellie Rose."

Her eyelids flickered and fell and rose again. In her cheeks a soft flush spread.

"You have beautiful eyes; do you know it?" he told her. "Deep and calm and full of dreams. If only I

had the courage, I should like to call you my little lady o' dreams. Would you mind very much if I did ?"

"No," whispered Miss Ellie Rose. Her eyes veiled themselves beneath her long lashes; she dared not lift them lest too soon he read in them the happiness of dreams come true. Her hand fluttered in his palm like a small, imprisoned bird. She swayed a little. "Ah, you are tired!" h e cried, with quick contrition. "I've kept you standing too long. I'm sorry. But it was so sweet to be with you here in the moonlight, in your own garden. Good night, then-little lady o' dreams."

"Good night," her tremulous lips managed. "And I thank you very much, Mr. Van Deyn, for your courtesy in escorting me home." The gray eyes, dark and childlike, met his.

Impulsively, Chester Van Deyn bent his handsome head.

"You are a dear little thing," he said, and kissed her. Then he went quickly down the path, between the trim rows of four-o'clocks and ladies'slippers, leaving her standing at the foot of the shallow steps, her dainty, old-fashioned, white organdie frock, with its knots of pale-pink ribbon, all silver in the flood of moonlight.

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Long after the crisp sound of his footsteps had died away on the still, warm air Miss Ellie Rose stood there, motionless, her hands clasped over her heart. At last she turned and went into the house. She did not light the lamp in the hall, but groped her way up the staircase and into her bedroom. She moved slowly, rather uncertainly, as one in a half daze.

She remained a long time on her

knees, her face buried in the lavenderscented pillow; but her prayer was short, and different from any she had ever offered before. "Oh, God, help me to be worthy of him!"

He would not come to her; she was very sure of that. No matter how strong the temptation, he would not yield; his consideration for her would not permit him to yield. If only she had been situated just a little differently, so that he might come boldly to her house with his avowal, so that he might receive his answer from her own lips! But that was manifestly out of the question. Miss Ellie Rose chided herself for the unmaidenly wish, chided herself, too, for the disparaging comparison that came unbidden to her thoughts. Sam Banks had never shown such delicacy of feeling for her; Sam had never stopped to think that a housekeeper was not really a proper chaperon. Dear, kind Samuel, with his big, generous heart and his blundering ways! She knew that he would be glad for her, even though her happiness involved his own disappointment. Still, it would not be a great blow to him, for Samuel was not romantic. He was fond of her, of course, in his heavy, stolid way, but of the love that was at once a benediction and a sacrament he knew nothing. He would have come clumping up to her front door, hammering at the knocker until the noise of it resounded to every corner of the house. He would have sat squarely on the horsehair sofa in the parlor, his hands spread on his big knees, his round, red face wreathed in a solemn smile. "Well, now, Ellie Rose, don't you think we might get married, you and I?"

It was unkind, of course, it was

disloyal and ungrateful, but Miss Ellie Rose could not help thinking of the difference. "My little lady o' dreams."

Would the letter begin so? She could shut her eyes and visualize the words in the clear, bold handwriting, "My Little Lady o' Dreams."


She did not watch for the postman in the morning. It would not come in the early mail unless he had gone directly home and written it. In the afternoon, perhaps. But the chubby little man in the blue-gray uniform trotted past the gate, with a cheery, "Nothin' for you to-day, Miss Ellie Rose." Of course she had not really expected it. A letter like that, the one letter of a man's life, is not composed in a moment. It would be tender, yet humble; it would breathe of devotion, yet respect and humility would be its underlying tone. It would be a love-letter. Rose had never received a love-letter. Only two men had ever written her any sort of letter whatever, her pastor and Sam Banks. The clergyman always wrote her on Christmas and on her birthday; Sam had once sent her a note.

Dear Ellie Rose:

Miss Ellie

I've made inquiries about those rambler roses, and they 're liable to mildew. Order something else.

Your ob't serv't,

No, she had not really expected a letter so soon. It would come in the morning.

She was at the gate when the postman passed. He smiled and nodded, and observed that it was "goin' to be

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