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each time the baby nestled uneasily ; in the arm- and gold where the sun approached from the other chair near, her father had fallen asleep, his fine side, and all the sca reflected the sky. pathetic face faintly touched by the feeble light. “Oh!” thought she, "the whole world looks like His thin hand lay on the arm of the chair. How a rose!" as she pushed the gate and entered the thin it was, how sad his sleeping face ! Not one path. How the birds were singing! “() songof them had quite all they needed to eat on that sparrow !” she cried to the little brown creature day; and what for to-morrow? Then a feeling of that sat on the wall and poured forth such a strain shame at her own cowardice came to Peggy's of joy that it seemed to fill the air with cheer, “ are rescue. What were ten thousand indifferent eyes, you really so giad as that? I'd like to change what if everybody should laugh at her red hair places with you!”. and mean apparel; if they only would buy her She cut the flowers with swift and dexterous flowers, she would not care — no, she would not ! hands and filled her basket heaping full. And now She would be deaf, dumb, and blind to every- the sun had risen in still magnificence, and touched thing except her purpose. She left the window with golden finger the sails of small fishing-craft, and came and stood beside her mother's chair. creeping out to the day's work, and the snowy “ Mother, dear, let me finish it for you,” she said, wings of lazy gulls afloat overhead in the perfect trying to take the work out of her hands. But blue, and made the bright hair of our Peggy as her mother said, “No, Peggy darling, don't glorious as the marigolds she was tying into mind, I've nearly finished. You 'd better go to bunches as she sat on the little step with her basbed soon, for you 'll have to be up very early, you ket and a spool of thread. Some dim artistic know," and she put her arm around her girl's slen- sense led her to mass each color separately; all der figure and drew her close and laid her tired the scarlet sweet peas she put together. So with head against the brave little heart that was beat the pink and the purple and the white; so with ing fast with its struggles and hopes and fears. the red poppies, to which she added a few delicate Her father opened his eyes upon the two, - all grasses, and with the mignonette; but with the unconscious of his gaze. No one knew better pale-yellow summer chrysanthemums she put a than he what was passing in his daughter's mind. few orange marigolds, and made of their radiant But he had no word with which to comfort her; disks a splendid conflagration of color. There he could only cling to her as her mother was were small and large bunches to be tied, and doing, and bless her with all his soul, as she came button-hole bouquets; and when all were done she to give him a good-night kiss.
put them into a wooden tub with a few inches of She climbed to her little nest under the eaves water, and left it in the cool dark of the cellar till and leaned out to look once more at the summer she should be ready to take them away. But the night. The calm sea mirrored every twinkling star. slender breakfast was to be helped on and the Here and there a light gleamed from some fishing- family started for the day, before she could leave schooner anchored and rocking almost impercep- them. The baby, usually so good and quiet, would tibly on the softly heaving tide. Afar on its lonely fret; it seemed to be out of sorts. “ Poor little promontory stood the dark mass of the great girl," Peggy said to herself, “you are hungry; hotel, ablaze and quivering with electric lights, that is the trouble, I know, for you are the best like a living jewel of many facets. So great a little sister in the world.” The grandmother was hope, so great a fear trembled for her in its glitter full of aches and pains this morning, but she said, and gleam! She was glad she could not hear the “I'll keep the baby, Peggy dear; you go and band that she knew must be playing for the gay, get ready before the sun grows so hot that you 'll whirling dancers in the great hall. “I wonder if they suffer going across the sands. Here's something all are wearing flowers from the city,” she thought, to wear on your head, child," and she drew out of “roses and delicate things so different from mine. her pocket a nicely folded blue handkerchiei; I wonder if they will want mine when they see "it's better than nothing," she said, “ though it's them! Perhaps, perhaps ! " she sighed. Little faded and old enough.” Poor Peggy! She had no . Willy was asleep in the low cot; he half woke hat at all; the handkerchief was, as grandmother as she laid her head on the pillow, and possessed said, better than nothing,- that was all. “Go, himself of her arm, hugging it again with both now, and walk very slowly, dear," her mother said. his. “Dear Peggy,” he said, half asleep, “dear, She brought a long and broad shallow basket, dear, dear!”
into which they put the flowers, and over all laid The morning broke calm and clear. It was not lightly some newspapers, which were tucked carefour o'clock when she was stealing out in the fresh- fully in around the edges, to save her treasures from ening dawn to her garden-plot. The sky was one wind and sun. She had but her one gown to great flush of pink, and at the horizon crimson wear, a dull, dark-blue cotton print, made in the
simplest fashion, with neither flower nor furbelow. on earth did she come from, I wonder?" and they She had no time for such, nor means if she had strolled slowly up the walk, watching her. had time. Her thick, bright locks were plaited Peggy was safely out of car-shot, and would not into one long, rich braid with the ends left loose, have comprehended what was said even had she for she had not even a bit of ribbon wherewith heard it, but she had an uncomfortable sense of to tie it. She knotted the blue kerchief under her being the subject of comment, and her embarrasschin, kissed them all as if she were bidding the ment increased every inoment. Poor child, she family farewell for a month, and set off with her had no “ pull-back," no ridiculous high heels in basket on her arm. Willy cried to go too, but it the middle of the soles of her shoes, no fashionable was too far for his little feet to trudge, or she trammels of any kind, and walked as God meant would gladly have taken him. They watched her she should, quite unconscious of resembling a from the door till her figure lessened to a mere goddess of any kind whatever! Her only thought speck on the sand. How would she return to was, “ Will some one come and buy my flowers?" them,- with failure or success? They hardly dared but she dared not ask. She stood still at last, with to think !
down-dropped eyes and blushing cheeks, feeling Meantime, the little maid kept courageously on all the dreaded eyes upon her and wishing she were her way. The sun was high and hot, but a breath a plover, to fly home by the breakers' edge. Sudof coolness came from the waves which spilled denly a child's voice at her side said, “Oh, look at themselves in long breakers of lazy brine along the the pretty flowers, Mamma! I want some; please edge of the sand. But she hardly noticed the buy some for me !” and a lovely lady in black heat, or the cool whispering water; her eves were spoke to her gently. Peggy started like a frightfixed on the great building before her, which ened sandpiper, though the lady only said, “How began to grow more distinct every moment. Win- lovely your flowers are, my dear! May I have dows, doors, chimneys, roofs, gables, columns, grad- some? What is the price of this bunch of sweet ually disentangled themselves; and she saw knots of peas?" and she drew a mass of fragrant scarlet people here and there, and a crowd scattered on flowers out of the basket, while the little girl who the long piazza ; and before the house on the level had begged stretched out both hands for them. green, youths and maidens, gayly clad, were play- “ Wait a minute, Minnie. How much are they?" ing tennis, careless of the sun. Like a soldier she asked of Peggy. “Twenty-five cents,” Peggy marching to battle, Peggy walked past these, ventured in answer, and the lady drew the coin straight up to one of the three broad flights of from her purse and laid it in Peggy's happy palm. steps,- the one at the left-hand entrance. She The contact seemed to give her new life, and her dared not look about her, for she felt many eyes eyes grew moist with joy. She sent a swift glance upon her as she set her basket down on the out over the hot coast-line to where she knew her lower step and took off the protecting newspapers, poor little home lay, a mere speck in the melting folding them for future use. She slipped the distance, but oh, how dear it seemed! And her hope grandmother's old kerchief off her head, she was grew strong and her fears less, and she held the so warm, and began to climb the stairs slowly and precious piece of silver tight, lest it should take with sinking heart. Several gentlemen were stand- wings and fly away from her. The child ran ing near, and as she passed them, not daring to dancing off down the long vista of loitering people, lift her eyes, she heard them talking; their smooth holding up its brilliant nosegay, and others drew and polished tones were like a strange language near, among them the gentleman she had first in her ears. “Ah," said one, “what have we noticed. Though they did not rudely stare at her, here? A flower-girl, upon my word! Come, Peggy felt they were attentively observing her, and Willard, here's a subject for you ; look at her! her red hair and poor gown and clumsy shoes came she might pose for the goddess Freya.” Peggy into her mind with bitter sadness, as a whole bevy felt her cheeks grow crimson ; though she heard, of gay young girls approached her, laughing and she did not understand what he said, but moved talking. How wonderful they were, with their hair away as quickly as she dared.
so nicely arranged, and their lovely dresses in “What superb hair !" said the artist whom the delicate and charming colors, all so fresh and first gentleman had called Willard.
dainty, with ruche and ruffle and coquetry of ribbon “Magnificent !” returned the other. “But look and lace! It quite took away poor Peggy's breath. at her movement, what fine simplicity and freedom; “Don't be afraid, child; we shan't hurt you,” said what a carriage of the head! Freya, did I say? a rather too loud, but seemingly good-natured voice, Why, she is Freya and Minerva, combined! which jarred on the little flower-girl's ear. She She has all the sweetness and freshness of the looked up into the face of a tall, black-eyed, blackone and the noble dignity of the other. Where haired girl, extremely showy, with pink cheeks and
the reddest lips thought Peggy that she had ever ment she began to wonder what could be the matter seen. She smiled and showed a row of brilliant with her face. How could she know, poor innocent, teeth; at the first glance our little maid thought she that it was pearl powder which had taken all the life was the handsomest creature possible. But in a mo- out of the skin, and rouge, which, though ever so
delicately applied, had touched lips and cheeks with therefore the greater portion of the world would a false and hateful brightness ? She only realized follow it, however ugly or absurd. that something dreadful was the matter with the But now the contents of Peggy's basket began young countenance, and that she would never care to disappear with surprising rapidity, faster and to look at it again.
faster, till more than half her nosegays were “O girls!” cried this young person, “ did you sold, and she was quite breathless with joy. Noever see anything so 'cute ?'”.
thing had ever looked so beautiful to her as the Now Peggy had never been to school, as had coins of silver she held in her hand, which soon these charming young women; her father had grew too small to hold them all! They meant taught her all he knew; but she could read and bread for her hungry dear ones; they meant joy write, and knew enough of the English tongue for that little home saddened by poverty. She to be assured of the fact that by no possible hallu- cared no more what people said, what they cination of the human imagination could her thought; she was sure of success for to-day; she flowers be called “i cute." The divine fitness of held already help for to-morrow in her delighted things was outraged by the word. Yet all the hands. young ladies agreed that they were “cute," “May I have this pansy for my button-hole?" especially the little button-hole bouquets; those said a fine deep voice at her ear. were “perfectly cute.” Peggy looked up suddenly She started and turned and gave the speaker the and caught the eye of the gentleman whom she last little bunch she had left; it was Mr. Willard. had first heard speak; there was a comical gleam He put the flowers in their place and took from the in his expression, as if he appreciated her wonder basket two bunches of white sweet peas and slipped and perplexity. At that moment a tall young man the money into her hand. sauntered toward them, dressed in the height of “Tell me,” he said, very gently, “ who taught fashion and with an air of languid vacuity quite you to put the colors in masses like these? Why distressing to behold. The pearl-powdered young do you do it?". lady slipped around behind Peggy, saying in a half “I don't know,” she answered; "they are pretwhisper, “Oh, dear, girls! there he comes again! tier so," and she shyly proceeded to re-arrange the He's been buzzing me all the morning! Really, I nosegays she had left. must get rid of him; I can't endure it any longer !” “Why do you put grass with the poppies?” he
Totally bewildered, Peggy thought, “Is the gentle- asked. “Did any one tell you to do it?" men a bumble-bee, that he has been “buzzing'? “No,” she said ; “but dont you think they beWithout knowing exactly why, her whole soul re- long together ? " volted at the offenses against the “ pure well of “ Yes, they do," he said; “but who told you so ?” English undefiled” which were whispered across “No one — they told me, themselves," she anher basket; and soon this brilliant young person swered, smiling a little. seemed odious to her. But the fashionable damsel “ Fortunate child !” he said ; "they don't tell was enthusiastic over the yellow and flame-colored every one, though it's an open secret.” flowers which Peggy held, and at once bought fourH e was moving away, with his hands full of sweet bunches, putting a whole dollar into Peggy's hand. peas, when he seemed to remember something, She knew they would be becoming to her " style," and came back. she said, and loosening their stems as she stood in “Will you come with me," he said, “and bring the center of the group of girls, she spread the blos- your basket to a lady who is not strong enough to soms apart a little, and proceeded to pin them on come so far down the piazza ? " with some long pins she took from her belt, against Peggy followed silently, and in a sheltered her black dress, till from zone to shoulder she was a corner, shaded carefully from the sun, she found mass of flowers. “There," she cried, at last, “Is one of the loveliest sights she had ever seen. A lady, n't that stunning!”
sixty years old perhaps, was lying back in a reclinCertainly it was sufficiently brilliant and striking, ing chair, and about her several people sat quietly “but oh,” thought Peggy, “how ugly! One might chatting. The lady's face was as fair as lilies, with as well make a door-mat of flowers." She could eyes clear, and undimmed by her sixty years. Her not bear to look at her marigolds with their heads smile was sweeter than any smile Peggy had ever crushed together in a solid mass; it seemed to her seen. Her hair was like silvered snow over her a wrong to the flowers and a discredit to the person calm forehead, and she wore above this shining who wore them ; but she had to see it universally hair a little cap of lace as delicate as if woven of done the whole summer, for it was the “fashion”; cobwebs and hoar-frost with a bit of white satin and that was enough. No matter what sin ribbon like a moon-beam folded on the top. “She against taste it involved, it was the “style” and is beautiful as my white sweet peas,” thought Peggy, as Mr. Willard put the flowers into her scarcely believe her ears when the lady said, lovely hands; “they just suit her.”
“There, dear, it's for you. Don't come out in the "I've brought you some posies, Mrs. Burton, sun without it again !” and kissed her cheek. as you see," said her friend; “and here is the little “ Now, good-bye. Don't say a word. Run home." girl who knows all about them."
" Thank you, oh, thank you !” cried Peggy. “Oh, how beautiful!” cried, Mrs. Burton, in a Run home? She did not run, she flew ! She delightful, sympathetic voice; "a thousand thanks! did not look behind her, she thought of nothing And,” turning to Peggy, “you brought them, my but the joy she was taking to those anxious hearts dear?” “Come nearer and let me see what else you who were expecting her. As her swift steps covhave. Why, these are wonderful! Look at them, ered the distance between her and that cottage of my daughter," she said to a sweet young girl who her love, she seemed to tread on air ; she forgot she sat close beside her. “Why, Nelly, did you ever see was hungry and hot and tired; she could not stop anything like them! What color, what Oriental a moment to rest; while under the shade of the splendor! Where did you get them ? tell me, my pretty hat her cheeks burned and eyes glistened child! I must have them all, every one; let me with a joy too great to be told. see, here are eight bouquets, five large and three Meantime, the watchers in the cottage counted smaller ; twenty-five cents, did you say? Here it the moments of her absence; and when at last her is; just two dollars. What is it-these small slight figure became visible, yet a long, long way bunches only ten ? Oh, never mind, I'm sure they off, little Willy rushed forth to meet her. “ Stop, 're worth quite as much as the large ones. There, Willy, wait for me,” his father cried, moving slowly Nelly dear, that 's for you, and this for you, and down the steps. “Take hold of my hand, Willy; you, and you," she said, laughing delightfulle, as we'll go together.” But she came so fast that she gave one to each person about her. “There, the two slow walkers had gone only a short way now, we all are happy, are n't we? And next, I before she caught up to them, quite breathless, wish to know all about these extraordinary flowers; and flung her arms round her father's neck, and sit down here, my dear, and tell me."
cried, “O Father, I sold them all !" throwing her Peggy did as she was bid, though she longed to empty basket as far as she could, till it rolled over fly home, since her task was done for that day, but and over on the sand, while she hugged him and the lady had been so kind she could not refuse; kissed him again and again. And what a story indeed, no one could ever refuse that lady anything! she had to tell when in a few minutes they When, by gentle questioning, she had won from were all together again in the humble little room, Peggy all her story, she laid her hand on the little and she spread out all her precious earnings on the girl's bright hair with a beautiful gesture of affec- table before them. There were eight dollars in tionate protection ; but she made no comment, she silver pieces-it was incredible! What rejoicing, asked only, “ Are you coming to-morrow, my dear, what happiness! to bring some more Aowers? Don't fail, for we “O Mother!” cried Peggy, suddenly growing all want them.”
quite white, “I'm so hungry! Is there anything With joy Peggy answered, “ Yes, indeed, I will to eat?" come !"
“My dear, my dear! Here is your bowl of por“Remember, I wish a fresh bouquet every morn- ridge, the last oatmeal we have in the house. I ing and one for Nelly, too. Now, I know you're saved it for you"; and she set it before the tired longing to get back, you shall go"; and Peggy took girl; for it was quite the middle of the afternoon, up her empty basket, her eyes bright with tears of many hours since the scant breakfast. Well delight.
might she be faint with all she had gone through! “You dear child," said the sweet young lady “But, Mother dear, as soon as I rest a little, I 'll whom her mother called Nelly; “ did you wear no go up to the village for what we need.” hat all that long way across the hot sand?".
“No, indeed, my darling, I will go; you mind the “No," answered Peggy; “I did n't mind, I had baby and rest all you can. But where did you get my grandmother's kerchief; it did very well," and the beautiful hat?” And Peggy told, and there she took it out of her pocket to tie again over her were smiles and tears, and kisses, and congraturich hair.
lations afresh. “Here's your kerchief all safe, The younger lady reached behind her mother's Grandmother dear,” she said, taking it carefully chair and took a straw hat from where it hung by out of her pocket. its strings, and quietly placed it on Peggy's head. “O Peggy, you 're a blessing!" the old woman It was a broad-brimmed hat of beautiful braided sighed; “I always said you were not born on Sunwhite straw ; simply trimmed with some soft, white day for nothing. And you are going with your mull, light as the foam of the sea. The child could flowers again to the hotel, to-morrow ? ”