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´╗┐Title: Bride Roses
Author: Howells, William Dean, 1837-1920
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bride Roses" ***

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BRIDE ROSES

W. D. HOWELLS



_Bride Roses_

A SCENE

_By W. D. Howells_


BOSTON AND NEW YORK

_Houghton, Mifflin and Company_ MDCCCC


COPYRIGHT, 1893, BY HARPER & BROTHERS

COPYRIGHT, 1900, BY W. D. HOWELLS

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



_Bride Roses_


SCENE

_A Lady_, entering the florist's with her muff to her face, and
fluttering gayly up to the counter, where the florist stands folding a
mass of loose flowers in a roll of cotton batting: "Good-morning, Mr.
Eichenlaub! Ah, put plenty of cotton round the poor things, if you don't
want them frozen stiff! You have no idea what a day it is, here in your
little tropic." She takes away her muff as she speaks, but gives each of
her cheeks a final pressure with it, and holds it up with one hand
inside as she sinks upon the stool before the counter.

_The Florist:_ "Dropic? With icepergs on the wintows?" He nods his head
toward the frosty panes, and wraps a sheet of tissue-paper around the
cotton and the flowers.

_The Lady:_ "But you are not near the windows. Back here it is
midsummer!"

_The Florist:_ "Yes, we got a rhevricherator to keep the rhoces from
sunstroke." He crimps the paper at the top, and twists it at the bottom
of the bundle in his hand. "Hier!" he calls to a young man warming his
hands at the stove. "Chon, but on your hat, and dtake this to--Holt on!
I forgot to but in the cart." He undoes the paper, and puts in a card
lying on the counter before him; the lady watches him vaguely. "There!"
He restores the wrapping and hands the package to the young man, who
goes out with it. "Well, matam?"

_The Lady_, laying her muff with her hand in it on the counter, and
leaning forward over it: "Well, Mr. Eichenlaub. I am going to be very
difficult."

_The Florist:_ "That is what I lige. Then I don't feel so rhesbonsible."

_The Lady:_ "But to-day, I _wish_ you to feel responsible. I want you to
take the whole responsibility. Do you know why I always come to you,
instead of those places on Fifth Avenue?"

_The Florist:_ "Well, it is a good teal cheaper, for one thing"--

_The Lady:_ "Not at all! That isn't the reason, at all. Some of your
things are dearer. It's because you take so much more interest, and you
talk over what I want, and you don't urge me, when I haven't made up my
mind. You let me consult you, and you are not cross when I don't take
your advice."

_The Florist:_ "You are very goodt, matam."

_The Lady:_ "Not at all. I am simply just. And now I want you to provide
the flowers for my first Saturday: Saturday of this week, in fact, and I
want to talk the order all over with you. Are you very busy?"

_The Florist:_ "No; I am qvite at your service. We haf just had to
egsegute a larche gommission very soddenly, and we are still in a little
dtisorter yet; but"--

_The Lady:_ "Yes, I see." She glances at the rear of the shop, where
the floor is littered with the leaves and petals of flowers, and sprays
of fern and evergreen. A woman, followed by a belated smell of
breakfast, which gradually mingles with the odor of the plants, comes
out of a door there, and begins to gather the larger fragments into her
apron. The lady turns again, and looks at the jars and vases of cut
flowers in the window, and on the counter. "What I can't understand is
how you know just the quantity of flowers to buy every day. You must
often lose a good deal."

_The Florist:_ "It gomes out about rhighdt, nearly always. When I get
left, sometimes, I can chenerally work dem off on funerals. Now, that
bic orter hat I just fill, that wass a funeral. It usedt up all the
flowers I hat ofer from yesterday."

_The Lady:_ "Don't speak of it! And the flowers, are they just the same
for funerals?"

_The Florist:_ "Yes, rhoces nearly always. Whidte ones."

_The Lady:_ "Well, it is too dreadful. I am not going to have roses,
whatever I have." After a thoughtful pause, and a more careful look
around the shop: "Mr. Eichenlaub, why wouldn't orchids do?"

_The Florist:_ "Well, they would be bretty dtear. You couldn't make any
show at all for less than fifteen tollars."

_The Lady_, with a slight sigh: "No, orchids wouldn't do. They are
fantastic things, anyway, and they are not very effective, as you say.
Pinks, anemones, marguerites, narcissus--there doesn't seem to be any
great variety, does there?"

_The Florist_, patiently: "There will be more, lader on."

_The Lady:_ "Yes, there will be more sun, later on. But now, Mr.
Eichenlaub, what do you think of plants in pots, set around?"

_The Florist:_ "Balmss?"

_The Lady_, vaguely: "Yes, palms."

_The Florist:_ "Balmss would to. But there would not be very much
golor."

_The Lady:_ "That is true; there would be no color at all, and my rooms
certainly need all the color I can get into them. Yes, I shall have to
have roses, after all. But not white ones!"

_The Florist:_ "Chacks?"

_The Lady:_ "No; Jacks are too old-fashioned. But haven't you got any
other very dark rose? I should like something almost black, I believe."

_The Florist,_ setting a vase of roses on the counter before her: "There
is the Matame Hoste."

_The Lady,_ bending over the roses, and touching one of them with the
tip of her gloved finger: "Why, they _are_ black, almost! They are
nearly as black as black pansies. They are really wonderful!" She stoops
over and inhales their fragrance. "Delicious! They are beautiful,
but"--abruptly--"they are hideous. Their color makes me creep. It is so
unnatural for a rose. A rose--a rose ought to be--rose-colored! Have you
no rose-colored roses? What are those light pink ones there in the
window?"

_The Florist_, going to the window and getting two vases of cut roses,
with long stems, both pink, but one kind a little larger than the other:
"That is the Matame Watterville, and this is the Matame Cousine. They
are sister rhoces; both the same, but the Matame Watterville is a little
bigger, and it is a little dtearer."

_The Lady:_ "They are both exquisite, and they are such a tender
almond-bloom pink! I think the Madame Cousine is quite as nice; but of
course the larger ones are more effective." She examines them, turning
her head from side to side, and then withdrawing a step, with a decisive
sigh. "No; they are too pale. Have you nothing of a brighter pink? What
is that over there?" She points to a vase of roses quite at the front of
the window, and the florist climbs over the mass of plants and gets it
for her.

_The Florist:_ "That is the Midio."

_The Lady:_ "The what?"

_The Florist:_ "The Midio."

_The Lady:_ "You will think I am very stupid this morning. Won't you
please write it down for me?" The florist writes on a sheet of
wrapping-paper, and she leans over and reads: "Oh! _Meteor!_ Well, it is
very striking--a little _too_ striking. I don't like such a vivid pink,
and I don't like the name. Horrid to give such a name to a flower." She
puts both hands into her muff, and drifts a little way off, as if to get
him in a better perspective. "Can't you suggest something, Mr.
Eichenlaub?"

_The Florist:_ "Some kind off yellow rhoce? Dtea-rhoces?"

_The Lady,_ shaking her head: "Tea-roses are ghastly. I hate yellow
roses. I would rather have black, and black is simply impossible. I
shall have to tell you just what I want to do. I don't want to work up
to my rooms with the flowers; I want to work up to the young lady who is
going to pour tea for me. I don't care if there isn't a flower anywhere
but on the table before her. I want a color scheme that shall not have
a false note in it, from her face to the tiniest bud. I want them to all
_come together_. Do you understand?"

_The Florist_, doubtfully: "Yes." After a moment: "What kindt looking
yo'ng laty iss she?"

_The Lady:_ "The most ethereal creature in the world."

_The Florist:_ "Yes; but what sdyle--fair or tark?"

_The Lady:_ "Oh, fair! Very, very fair, and very, very fragile-looking;
a sort of moonlight blonde, with those remote, starry-looking eyes,
don't you know, and that pale saffron hair; not the least ashen; and
just the faintest, faintest tinge of color in her face. I suppose you
have nothing like the old-fashioned blush-rose? That would be the very
thing."

_The Florist_, shaking his head: "Oh, no; there noding like that in a
chreen-house rhoce."

_The Lady:_ "Well, that is exactly what I want. It ought to be something
very tall and ethereal; something very, very pale, and yet with a sort
of suffusion of color." She walks up and down the shop, looking at all
the plants and flowers.

_The Florist_, waiting patiently: "Somet'ing beside rhoces, then?"

_The Lady_, coming back to him: "No; it must be roses, after all. I see
that nothing else will do. What do you call those?" She nods at a vase
of roses on a shelf behind him.

_The Florist_, turning and taking them down for her: "Ah, those whidte
ones! That is the Pridte. You sait you woultn't haf whidte ones."

_The Lady:_ "I may have to come to them. Why do they call it the Pride?"

_The Florist:_ "I didn't say Bridte; I said Pridte."

_The Lady:_ "Oh, Bride! And do they use Bride roses for"--

_The Florist:_ "Yes; and for weddtings, too; for everything." The lady
leans back a little and surveys the flowers critically. A young man
enters, and approaches the florist, but waits with respectful impatience
for the lady to transact her affairs. The florist turns to him
inquiringly, and upon this hint he speaks.

_The Young Man:_ "I want you to send a few roses--white ones, or nearly
white"--He looks at the lady. "Perhaps"--

_The Lady:_ "Oh, not at all! I hadn't decided to take them."

_The Florist:_ "I got plenty this kindt; all you want. I can always get
them."

_The Young Man_, dreamily regarding the roses: "They look rather
chilly." He goes to the stove, and drawing off his gloves, warms his
hands, and then comes back. "What do you call this rose?"

_The Florist:_ "The Pridte."

_The Young Man_, uncertainly: "Oh!" The lady moves a little way up the
counter toward the window, but keeps looking at the young man from time
to time. She cannot help hearing all that he says. "Haven't you any
white rose with a little color in it? Just the faintest tinge, the
merest touch."

_The Florist:_ "No, no; they are whidte, or they are yellow;
dtea-rhoces; Marshal Niel"--

_The Young Man:_ "Ah, I don't want anything of that kind. What is the
palest pink rose you have?"

_The Florist_, indicating the different kinds in the vases, where the
lady has been looking at them: "Well, there is nothing lighder than the
Matame Cousine, or the Matame Watterville, here; they are sister
rhoces"--

_The Young Man:_ "Yes, yes; very beautiful; but too dark." He stops
before the Madame Hoste: "What a strange flower! It is almost _black_!
What is it for? Funerals?"

_The Florist:_ "No; a good many people lige them. We don't sell them
much for funerals; they are too cloomy. They uce whidte ones for that:
Marshal Niel, dtea-rhoces, this Pridte here, and other whidte ones."

_The Young Man_, with an accent of repulsion: "Oh!" He goes toward the
window, and looks at a mass of Easter lilies in a vase there. He speaks
as if thinking aloud: "If they had a little color--But they would be
dreadful with color! Why, you ought to have _something_!" He continues
musingly, as he returns to the florist: "Haven't you got something very
delicate, and slender, about the color of pale apple blossoms? If you
had them light enough, some kind of azaleas"--

_The Lady_, involuntarily: "Ah!"

_The Florist_, after a moment, in which he and the young man both glance
at the lady, and she makes a sound in her throat to show that she is not
thinking of them, and had not spoken in reference to what they were
saying: "The only azaleas I haf are these pink ones, and those whidte
ones."

_The Young Man:_ "And they are too pink and too white. Isn't there
anything tall, and very delicate? Something, well--something like the
old-fashioned blush-rose? But with very long stems!"

_The Florist:_ "No, there is noding lige that which gomes in a
crheenhouse rhoce. We got a whidte rhoce here"--he goes to his
refrigerator, and brings back a long box of roses--"that I didn't think
of before." He gives the lady an apologetic glance. "You see there is
chost the least sdain of rhet on the etch of the leafs."

_The Young Man_, examining the petals of the roses: "Ah, that is very
curious. It is a caprice, though."

_The Florist:_ "Yes, it is a kind of sbordt. That rhoce should be
berfectly whidte."

_The Young Man:_ "On the whole, I don't think it will do. I will take
some of those pure white ones. Bride, did you call them?"

_The Florist:_ "Yes, Pridte. How many?"

_The Young Man:_ "Oh, a dozen--two dozen; I don't know! I want very
long, slender stems, and the flowers with loose open petals; none of
those stout, tough-looking little buds. Here! This, and this, and all
these; no, I don't want any of those at all." He selects the different
stems of roses, and while the florist gets a box, and prepares it with a
lining of cotton and tissue-paper, he leans over and writes on a card.
He pauses and puts up his pencil; then he takes it out again and covers
the card with writing. He gives it to the florist. "I wish that to go
into the box where it will be found the first thing." He turns away, and
encounters the lady's eyes as she chances to look toward him. "I beg
your pardon! But"--

_The Lady_, smiling, and extending her hand: "I felt almost _sure_ it
was you! But I couldn't believe my senses. All the other authorities
report you in Rome."

_The Young Man:_ "I returned rather suddenly. I just got in this
morning. Our steamer was due yesterday, but there was so much ice in the
harbor that we didn't work up till a few hours ago."

_The Lady:_ "You will take all your friends by surprise."

_The Young Man:_ "I'm a good deal taken by surprise myself. Two weeks
ago I didn't dream of being here. But I made up my mind to come, and--I
came."

_The Lady_, laughing: "Evidently! Well, now you must come to my
Saturdays; you are just in time for the first one. Some one you know is
going to pour tea for me. That ought to be some consolation to you for
not having stayed away long enough to escape my hospitalities."

_The Young Man_, blushing and smiling: "Oh, it's a very charming welcome
home. I shall be sure to come. She is--everybody is--well, I hope?"

_The Lady:_ "Yes, or everybody _was_ on Monday when I saw them.
Everybody is looking very beautiful this winter, lovelier than ever, if
possible. But so spiritual! _Too_ spiritual! But that spirit of hers
will carry her--I mean everybody, of course!--through everything. I
feel almost wicked to have asked her to pour tea for me, when I think of
how much else she is doing! Do you know, I was just ordering the flowers
for my Saturday, and I had decided to take her for my key-note in the
decorations. But that made it so difficult! There doesn't seem anything
delicate and pure and sweet enough for her. There ought to be some
flower created just to express her! But as yet there isn't."

_The Young Man:_ "No, no; there isn't. But now I must run away. I
haven't been to my hotel yet; I was just driving up from the ship, and I
saw the flowers in the window, and--stopped. Good-by!"

_The Lady:_ "Good-by! What devotion to somebody--everybody! Don't forget
my Saturday!"

_The Young Man:_ "No, no; I won't. Good-by!" He hurries out of the door,
and his carriage is heard driving away.

_The Florist:_ "I wondter if he but the attress on the cart? No; there
is noding!" He turns the card helplessly over. "What am I coing to do
about these flowers?"

_The Lady:_ "Why, didn't he say where to send them?"

_The Florist:_ "No, he rhon away and dtidn't leaf the attress."

_The Lady:_ "That was _my_ fault! I confused him, poor fellow, by
talking to him. What are you going to do?"

_The Florist:_ "That is what I lige to know! Do you know what hotel he
stobs at?"

_The Lady:_ "No; he didn't say. I have no idea where he is going. But
wait a moment! I think I know where he meant to send the flowers."

_The Florist:_ "Oh, well; that is all I want to know."

_The Lady:_ "Yes, but I am not certain." After a moment's thought. "I
know he wants them to go at once; a great deal may depend upon
it--everything." Suddenly: "Could you let me see that card?"

_The Florist_, throwing it on the counter before her: "Why, soddonly; if
he is a frhiendt of yours"--

_The Lady_, shrinking back: "Ah, it isn't so simple! That makes it all
the worse. It would be a kind of sacrilege! I have no right--or, wait! I
will just glance at the first word. It may be a clew. And I want you to
bear me witness, Mr. Eichenlaub, that I didn't read a word more." She
catches up a piece of paper, and covers all the card except the first
two words. "Yes! It is she! Oh, how perfectly delightful! It's charming,
charming! It's one of the prettiest things that ever happened! And I
shall be the means--no, not the means, quite, but the accident--of
bringing them together! Put the card into the box, Mr. Eichenlaub, and
don't let me see it an instant longer, or I shall read every word of it,
in spite of myself!" She gives him the card, and turns, swiftly, and
makes some paces toward the door.

_The Florist_, calling after her: "But the attress, matam. You forgot."

_The Lady_, returning: "Oh, yes! Give me your pencil." She writes on a
piece of the white wrapping-paper. "There! That is it." She stands
irresolute, with the pencil at her lip. "There was something else that I
seem to have forgotten."

_The Florist:_ "Your flowers?"

_The Lady:_ "Oh, yes, my flowers. I nearly went away without deciding.
Let me see. Where are those white roses with the pink tinge on the edge
of the petals?" The florist pushes the box towards her, and she looks
down at the roses. "No, they won't do. They look somehow--cruel! I
don't wonder he wouldn't have them. They are totally out of character. I
will take those white Bride roses, too. It seems a fatality, but there
really isn't anything else, and I can laugh with her about them, if it
all turns out well." She talks to herself rather than the florist, who
stands patient behind the counter, and repeats, dreamily, "Laugh with
her!"

_The Florist:_ "How many shall I sendt you, matam?"

_The Lady:_ "Oh, loads. As many as you think I ought to have. I shall
not have any other flowers, and I mean to toss them on the table in
loose heaps. Perhaps I shall have some smilax to go with them."

_The Florist:_ "Yes; or cypress wine."

_The Lady:_ "No; that is too crapy and creepy. Smilax, or nothing; and
yet I don't like that hard, shiny, varnishy look of smilax either. You
wouldn't possibly have anything like that wild vine, it's scarcely more
than a golden thread, that trails over the wayside bushes in New
England? Dodder, they call it."

_The Florist:_ "I nefer heardt off it."

_The Lady:_ "No, but that would have been just the thing. It suggests
the color of her hair; it would go with her. Well, I will have the
smilax too, though I don't like it. I don't see why all the flowers
should take to being so inexpressive. Send all the smilax you judge
best. It's quite a long table, nine or ten feet, and I want the vine
going pretty much all about it."

_The Florist:_ "Perhaps I better sendt somebody to see?"

_The Lady:_ "Yes, that would be the best. Good-morning."

_The Florist:_ "Goodt--morning, matam. I will sendt rhoundt this
afternoon."

_The Lady:_ "Very well." She is at the door, and she is about to open
it, when it is opened from the outside, and another lady, deeply veiled,
presses hurriedly in, and passes down the shop to the counter, where the
florist stands sorting the long-stemmed Bride roses in the box before
him. The first lady does not go out; she lingers at the door, looking
after the lady who has just come in; then, with a little hesitation, she
slowly returns, as if she had forgotten something, and waits by the
stove until the florist shall have attended to the new-comer.

_The Second Lady_, throwing back her veil, and bending over to look at
the box of roses: "What beautiful roses! What do you call these?"

_The Florist:_ "That is a new rhoce: the Pridte. It is jost oudt. It is
coing to be a very bopular rhoce."

_The Second Lady:_ "How very white it is! It seems not to have the least
touch of color in it! Like snow! No; it is too cold!"

_The Florist:_ "It _iss_ gold-looging."

_The Second Lady:_ "What do they use this rose for? For--for"--

_The Florist:_ "For everything! Weddtings, theatre barties, afternoon
dteas, dtinners, funerals"--

_The Second Lady:_ "Ah, that is shocking! I can't have it,
then. I want to send some flowers to a friend who has lost
her only child--a young girl--and I wish it to be something
expressive--characteristic--something that won't wound them with other
associations. Have you nothing--nothing of that kind? I want something
that shall be significant; something that shall be like a young girl,
and yet--Haven't you some very tall, slender, delicate flowers? Not this
deathly white, but with, a little color in it? Isn't there some kind of
lily?"

_The Florist:_ "Easder lilies? Lily-off-the-valley? Chonquils? Azaleas?
Hyacinths? Marcuerites?"

_The Second Lady:_ "No, no; they won't do, any of them! Haven't you any
other kind of roses, that won't be so terribly--terribly"--She looks
round over the shelves and the windows banked with flowers.

_The Florist:_ "Yes, we haf dtea-rhoces, all kindts; Marshal Niel;
Matame Watterville and Matame Cousine--these pink ones; they are sister
rhoces; Matame Hoste, this plack one; the Midio, here; Chacks"--

_The Second Lady:_ "No, no! They won't any of them do. There ought to
be a flower invented that would say something--pity, sympathy--that
wouldn't hurt more than it helped. Isn't there anything? Some flowering
vine?"

_The Florist:_ "Here is the chasmin. That is a very peautiful wine, with
that sdtar-shaped flower; and the berfume"--

_The Second Lady_, looking at a length of the jasmine vine which he
trails on the counter before her: "Yes, that is very beautiful; and it
is girlish, and like--But no, it wouldn't do! That perfume is
heartbreaking! Don't send that!"

_The Florist_, patiently: "Cypress wine? Smilax?"

_The Second Lady_, shaking her head vaguely: "Some other flowering
vine."

_The Florist:_ "Well, we have cot noding in, at present. I coult get
you some of that other chasmin--kindt of push, that gifs its berfume
after dtark"--

_The Second Lady:_ "At night? Yes, I know. That might do. But those pale
green flowers, that are not like flowers--no, they wouldn't do! I shall
have to come back to your Pride roses! Why do they call it Pride?"

_The Florist:_ "It is Pridte, not Bridte, matam."

_The Second Lady_, with mystification: "Oh! Well, let me have a great
many of them. Have you plenty?"

_The Florist:_ "As many as you lige."

_The Second Lady:_ "Well, I don't want any of these hard little buds. I
want very long stems, and slender, with the flowers fully open, and
fragile-looking--something like _her_." The first lady starts. "Yes:
like this--and this--and this. Be sure you get them all like these. And
send them--I will give you the address." She writes on a piece of the
paper before her. "There, that is it. Here is my card. I want it to go
with them." She turns from the florist with a sigh, and presses her
handkerchief to her eyes.

_The Florist:_ "You want them to go rhighdt away?" He takes up the card,
and looks at it absently, and then puts it down, and examines the roses
one after another. "I don't know whether I cot enough of these oben ones
on handt, already"--

_The Second Lady:_ "Oh, you mustn't send them to-day! I forgot. It
isn't to be till to-morrow. You must send them in the morning. But I am
going out of town to-day, and so I came in to order them now. Be very
careful not to send them to-day!"

_The Florist:_ "All rhighdt. I loog oudt."

_The Second Lady:_ "I am so glad you happened to ask me. It has all been
so dreadfully sudden, and I am quite bewildered. Let me think if there
is anything more!" As she stands with her finger to her lip, the first
lady makes a movement as if about to speak, but does not say anything.
"No, there is nothing more, I believe."

_The Florist_, to the First Lady: "Was there somet'ing?"

_The First Lady:_ "No. There is no hurry."

_The Second Lady_, turning towards her: "Oh, I beg your pardon! I have
been keeping you"--

_The First Lady:_ "Not at all. I merely returned to--But it isn't of the
least consequence. Don't let me hurry you!"

_The Second Lady:_ "Oh, I have quite finished, I believe. But I can
hardly realize anything, and I was afraid of going away and forgetting
something, for I am on my way to the station. My husband is very ill,
and I am going South with him; and this has been so sudden, so terribly
unexpected. The only daughter of a friend"--

_The First Lady:_ "The only"--

_The Second Lady:_ "Yes, it is too much! But perhaps you have come--I
ought to have thought of it; you may have come on the same kind of sad
errand yourself; you will know how to excuse"--

_The First Lady_, with a certain resentment: "Not at all! I was just
ordering some flowers for a reception."

_The Second Lady:_ "Oh! Then I beg your pardon! But there seems nothing
else in the world but--death. I am very sorry. I beg your pardon!" She
hastens out of the shop, and the first lady remains, looking a moment at
the door after she has vanished. Then she goes slowly to the counter.

_The Lady_, severely: "Mr. Eichenlaub, I have changed my mind about the
roses and the smilax. I will not have either. I want you to send me all
of that jasmine vine that you can get. I will have my whole decorations
of that. I wonder I didn't think of that before. Mr. Eichenlaub!" She
hesitates. "Who was that lady?"

_The Florist_, looking about among the loose papers before him: "Why, I
dton't know. I cot her cart here, somewhere."

_The Lady_, very nervously: "Never mind about the card! I don't wish to
know who she was. I have no right to ask. No! I won't look at it." She
refuses the card, which he has found, and which he offers to her. "I
don't care for her name, but--Where was she sending the flowers?"

_The Florist_, tossing about the sheets of paper on the counter: "She
dtidn't say, but she wrhote it down here, somewhere"--

_The Lady_, shrinking back: "No, no! I don't want to see it! But what
right had she to ask me such a thing as that? It was very bad taste;
very obtuse,--whoever she was. Have you--ah--found it?"

_The Florist_, offering her a paper across the counter: "Yes; here it
iss."

_The Lady_, catching it from him, and then, after a glance at it,
starting back with a shriek: "Ah-h-h! How terrible! But it can't be! Oh,
I don't know what to think--It is the most dreadful thing that
ever--It's impossible!" She glances at the paper again, and breaks into
a hysterical laugh: "Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha! Why, this is the address that I
wrote out for that young gentleman's flowers! You have made a terrible
mistake, Mr. Eichenlaub--you have almost killed me. I thought--I thought
that woman was sending her funeral flowers to--to"--She holds her hand
over her heart, and sinks into the chair beside the counter, where she
lets fall the paper. "You have almost killed me."

_The Florist:_ "I am very sorry. I dtidn't subbose--But the oder attress
must be here. I will fint it"--He begins tossing the papers about again.

_The Lady_, springing to her feet: "No, no! I wouldn't look at it now
for the world! I have had one escape. Send me all jasmine, remember."

_The Florist:_ "Yes, all chasmin." The lady goes slowly and absently
toward the door, where she stops, and then she turns and goes back
slowly, and as if forcing herself.

_The Lady:_ "Mr. Eichenlaub."

_The Florist:_ "Yes, matam."

_The Lady:_ "Have you--plenty--of those white--Bride roses?"

_The Florist:_ "I get all you want of them."

_The Lady:_ "Open, fragile-looking ones, with long, slender stems?"

_The Florist:_ "I get you any kindt you lige!"

_The Lady:_ "Send me Bride roses, then. I don't care! I will not be
frightened out of them! It is too foolish."

_The Florist:_ "All rhighdt. How many you think you want?"

_The Lady:_ "Send all you like! Masses of them! Heaps!"

_The Florist:_ "All rhighdt. And the chasmin?"

_The Lady:_ "No; I don't want it now."

_The Florist:_ "You want the smilax with them, then, I subbose?"

_The Lady:_ "No, I don't want any smilax with them, either. Nothing but
those white Bride roses!" She turns and goes to the door; she calls
back, "Nothing but the roses, remember!"

_The Florist:_ "All rhighdt. I don't forget. No chasmin; no smilax; no
kindt of wine. Only Pridte rhoces."

_The Lady:_ "Only roses."

_The Florist_, alone, thoughtfully turning over the papers on his
counter: "That is sdrainche that I mage that mistake about the attress!
I can't find the oder one anwhere; and if I lost it, what am I coing to
do with the rhoces the other lady ortert?" He steps back and looks at
his feet, and then stoops and picks up a paper, which he examines. "Ach!
here it iss! Zlipped down behindt. Now I don't want to get it mixed with
that oder any more." He puts it down at the left, and takes up the
address for the young man's roses on the right; he stares at the two
addresses in a stupefaction. "That is very sdrainche too. Well!" He
drops the papers with a shrug, and goes on arranging the flowers.

THE RIVERSIDE PRESS

PRINTED BY H. O. HOUGHTON & CO.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.

U.S.A.



_Plays and Poems_

BY WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS

A Counterfeit Presentment. 18mo, $1.25.

Out of the Question. 18mo, $1.25.

The Sleeping-Car, and other Farces. 12mo, $1.00.

The Elevator; The Sleeping-Car; The Parlor Car; The Register. Each 50
cents.

Room Forty-Five; Bride Roses; An Indian Giver; The Smoking-Car. (_The
last two in Press._) Each, 18mo, 50 cents.

A Sea Change. $1.00.

Poems. 12mo, parchment cover, $2.00.

_For Mr. Howells's novels and books of travel_, see Catalogue.

_Houghton, Mifflin and Company_

BOSTON AND NEW YORK





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