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TWO ROSE TREES.

CHAPTER I.

THE ROSE TREES' FIRST APPEARANCE.

WO brown heads, so much

alike, leant out of the bed-room window that bright morning; and Aunt Mary, who looked up from her gardening occupations, did not feel quite sure which was

Daisy and which Lily-for the twin sisters had flower names.

"Come down, children, and roam about till breakfast time," said Aunt Mary; "as you are dressed, you had better be out in the air.”

The two heads bobbed back so quickly I wonder they did not knock together; and then the two pairs of feet rushed downstairs in a helter-skelter fashion,

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that quite scandalized Aunt Mary's prim maid ; but she looked forward with still greater horror to the time when they should come scampering up, for then there might be a plentiful supply of garden mould on the stairs. Yes, of course they ought to scrape and wipe their feet—but sometimes they forgot. Did you ever forget to do that?

When the two rosy faces arrived in full view of the spectacles which adorned Aunt Mary's high nose, and looked very funny under her sun-bonnet, they were greeted with a friendly good-morning, and kissed in turn the cheek that was offered to receive their salutes, at the same time scraping their soft little noses on the starched edge of their aunt's bonnet.

“As you are going away to-day, my dears, I intend to give you each a plant to take home. You may choose one of any kind you please.”

The twins blushed with pleasure, and looked first at each other and then at their aunt. Lily was generally spokeswoman, and was now admonished by a gentle squeeze—it would not be called a pinch—from Daisy, to settle matters forthwith.

“Even roses, Aunt Mary?” ventured Lily.

"Certainly, my dear, if you like roses best ; but do you both prefer roses ?”

“Oh! yes !” there was no mistaking the double assent, and Aunt Mary smiled.

"I ought to have known that! During the whole time you have been here, I do not think I ever heard one of you so much as say she would take bread and

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jam, if the other was eating bread and butter! but now, come and see the roses."

Every variety was here—a complete rose garden; for the dear old maiden lady who wore coarse yellow gloves, and a big sun-bonnet, and delighted in the smell of newly-turned mould, and watched even the rough digging of her ground with interest, had a deep heart-love for flowers, and this was the one bright pleasure and extravagance she allowed herself in the midst of a life of charity to the poor and needy.

“Shall I tell you the names of the flowers ?" asked Aunt Mary, " or will you choose them just as you see them?”

"You see, Aunt Mary," said Lily, after an eloquent eye-conversation with her twin, "we don't know anything about the names—but, oh! this is a beauty ! may I have this, Aunt Mary?”

Certainly, my dear; Morley shall pack it for you. Now, Daisy," and Aunt Mary looked merry through her spectacles, “here is another just like it—will you have that?"

But Daisy was pinching up a bit of her fresh Holland frock into little plaits, and a very rosy colour was in her face. Lily quite jumped with the shock, and doubted the evidence of her own senses when she heard the words

“No, thank you, Aunt Mary; I would like a rose that blooms in winter!"

Before Aunt Mary had time to reply, Lily cried eagerly

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“But see, Daisy—mine is all in bud--wouldn't you like one like mine?”

Daisy was sore pressed, but some strong individual sentiment was stirred within her, for she firmly repeated her wish for a winter rose, and her aunt helped her through.

“Here is one, my child, it will bloom in December. I, too, love a winter rose."

And then the breakfast bell rang, and Daisy made up for her extraordinary garden independence by partaking of everything eatable and drinkable that Lily chose to ask for. When the meal was ended there were many small things to collect for packing, and the maid insisted on getting the trunk into decent order herself. Then Aunt Mary's voice was heard calling them to take a final drive through summer lanes, so that they might photograph the ferns, and wild flowers, and arching trees on their hearts, and enjoy a refreshing farewell to the country in all its loveliness.

For, alas! from this bright pure air the eleven-yearold twins were going to a London home. Not a fine house in a square—not even a broad, handsome street; but just a very dull, smoky lodging house—where they would have only their one sitting room to read, work, and eat in ; and a tiny bed-room with yellowy white bed furniture in place of the bright chamber they were leaving. In spite of all this, though, the twins had bright faces, and why? because a dear and tender widowed mother was waiting for them in that

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London home; because bricks and mortar can often tell a tale of love that lanes and hedge-rows know not; and because of all the world besides the brightest spot, the home is where our mother dwells.

These twin girls had wondered why mama had not come to the beautiful country with them, and why she always was writing, writing. They remembered well another beautiful country where they had many servants, and ponies to ride, and beautiful gardens ; and they remembered how one day their father had been carried home dead, killed by a fall from his horse--and that their mother was long ill, and when she

grew better she was very sad, and they all came to England, but did not bring servants, or ponies, or anything but their clothes. That was three years ago; and when they had sometimes asked if they should have their beautiful toys and things again, Mrs Morton had told them she could not say for certain ; and so they had tried not to think of them.

When the parting with Aunt Mary was over, and the two rose trees were safely hugged in the railway carriage by their owners, and the prim maid was seated between them, the young hearts were beating high with delight at the thought that they would so soon be with their mother. And uproarious cries of "Mama! mama!” startled the maid as the train rolled slowly into Paddington Station, and then a lady in mourning with a kind, winning face, came to the carriage door and claimed her own.

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