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The white rose would be like bringing back to her ever so little a bit
of the happy past. It could not cost much, and Arch felt wealthy as a
prince. He stepped into the store and asked the price of a white rose.
The clerk answered him roughly:
"Get out of the store, you young rascal! You want to steal something!"
"I am not a thief, sir," said the boy, proudly, his sallow cheeks
crimsoning hotly. "I want a rose for my mother. I guess I can pay for
"It's half a dollar, if you want it," said the man, sneeringly. "Show
your money, or take yourself off this minute!"
Archie's countenance fell. He had not half a dollar in all. He turned
sadly away, his head drooping, his lip quivering. Oh, how very hard it
was to be poor, he thought, looking enviously at the costly carriage,
with a pair of splendid grays, standing before the door.
"Stop, little boy!" said a sweet voice from somewhere among the roses and
heliotropes. "Is your mother sick?"
Arch removed his cap--some inborn spirit of courtesy prompting him to be
reverent toward the glorious vision which burst upon him. For a moment he
thought he saw an angel, and almost expected that she would unfold her
silvery wings, and vanish in a golden cloud from his sight. But after the
first glimpse he saw that she was a little girl about his own age--eight
or nine years, perhaps--with yellow curls, deep hazel eyes, a mouth like
a rosebud, and a blue silk frock. She repeated the question:
"Is your mother sick, little boy?"
"No, she is not sick, for she always sits up, and sews. But she is not
strong, and her cheeks never have any color in them, like yours."
"And does she love flowers?"
"Yes, she loves them dearly. She kisses them always, when she has any.
And that's not often."
"Does she? That's nice. Just like I do!" said the little girl, in a
pleased voice. "Mr. Burns"--to the gruff clerk--"here is a dollar. Give
me some real nice roses, and two or three sweet pinks. The lady shall
have some flowers. Tell her I sent them."
"Who shall I say sent them?"
"Margie Harrison. Will she know me, think?"
"I guess not. But it's all the same. I shall tell her you are one of the
angels, any way. She knows about them, for she's told me ever so much
The little girl laughed, and gave him the flowers.
"Don't soil them with your grimy hands," she said, a little saucily; "and
when you get home--let's see, what's your name?"
"Why, what a nice name! Just like names in a storybook. I know some
elegant people by the name of Trevlyn. But they live in a big house, and
have flowers enough of their own. So they can't be your folks, can they?"
"No, they're not my folks," replied the boy, with a touch of bitterness
in his voice.
"Well, Archer when you get home, you wash your face, do! It's so dirty!"
The boy flushed hotly. If one of his companions had said that to him, he
would have knocked him down instantly. But he forgave everything this
little girl said, because she was so beautiful and so kind.
"I am a street-sweeper, miss."
"Oh, that accounts for it, then. It's very muddy to-day, and you must be
tired. Hark! there's Florine calling me. Good-by, Archer."
She vanished, and a moment later the boy saw her disappear within the
glittering carriage, which, loaded down with fragrant blossoms, was
driven slowly away. He stood a little while looking after it, then,
pulling his cap down over his eyes, and grasping the stems of her flowers
tightly in his little purple hand, he started for home.
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