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The poor woman looked angrily for a
moment; and then, after a pause, answered
gently, "No, sir, not until my time comes."

The young gardenerwho ought to have
gone awaystill bent over the flower. The
plant was very beautiful, and evidently stood
the climate well, and it was of a kind
to propagate by slips. George did not well
know what to say or do. The girl who had
been nimbly stitching, ceased from work
and looked up wonderingly at the stranger,
who had nothing more to say and yet
remained with them. At last, the young man,
with the colour of the flower on his cheeks,
said, " I'm a poor man. Ma'am, and not much
taught. If I'm going to say anything
unbecoming, I hope you'll forgive it: but,
if you couldif you could bring your heart
to part with this plant, I would give you ten
guineas for it, and the first good cutting I
raise shall be yours."

The girl looked up in the greatest astonishment.
"Ten guineas!" she cried, "why,
mother, ten guineas would make you
comfortable for the whole winter. How glad
Harry will be!"

The poor old woman trembled nervously:
"Harry told me to keep it for his sake," she
whispered to her daughter who bent fondly
over her.

"Does Harry love a flower better than
your health and comfort?" pleaded Harry's

A long debate was carried on in low tones,
while George Swayne endeavoured to look as
though he were a hundred miles off, listening
to nothing. But the loving accents of the girl
debating with her mother tenderly, caused
Mr. Swaynea stout and true-hearted young
fellow of twenty-fiveto feel that there were
certainly some new thoughts and sensations
working in him. He considered it important
to discover from her mother's manner of
addressing her that the name of the young
woman was Susan. When the old lady at
last consented with a sigh to George's offer,
he placed ten guineas on the table beside the
needlework, and only stole one glance at
Susan as he bade good-bye and took the flowerpot
away, promising again earnestly that he
would bring back to them the first good
cutting that took root.

George Swayne then, having the lawyers
almost put out of his head, carried the plant
home and duly busied himself in his greenhouse
over the multiplication of his treasure.
Months went by, during which the young
gardener worked hard and ate sparely. He
had left to himself but five pounds for the
general maintenance of his garden; more was
needed, and that he had to pinch, as far as
he dared, out of his humble food and other
necessaries of existence. He had, however,
nothing to regret. The cuttings of the flower-
bells throve, and the thought of Susan was
better to him than roast beef. He did not
again visit the widow's house. He had no
right to go there, until he went to redeem his

A year went by; and, when the next July
came, George Swayne's garden and
greenhouses were in the best condition. The new
plant had multiplied by slips and had thriven
more readily than he could have ventured to
expect. The best plant was set by until it
should have reached the utmost perfection
of blossom, to be carried in redemption of
the promise made to widow Ellis. In
some vague way, too, Mr. Swayne now and
then pondered whether the bells it was to
set ringing after Harry had returned might
not be after all the bells of Stepney parish
church. And Susan Swayne did sound well,
that was certain. Not that he thought of
marrying the pale girl, whose blue eyes he
had only seen, and whose soft voice he had
only heard once; but he was a young fellow,
and he thought about her, and young fellows
have their fancies which do now and then
shoot out in unaccountable directions.

A desired event happened one morning.
The best customer of Swayne's nursery
ground, the wife of a city knight, Lady Salter,
who had a fine seat in the neighbourhood,
alighted from her carriage at the garden
gate. She had come to buy flowers for the
decorations of her annual grand summer party;
and George with much perturbation ushered
her into his greenhouse, which was glowing
with the crimson and purple blossoms of his
new plant. When Lady Salter had her
admiration duly heightened by the information
that there were no other plants in all the
country like themthat, in fact, Mr. Swayne's
new flowers were unique, she instantly bought
two slips at a guinea each and took them
home in triumph. Of course the flower-bells
attracted the attention of her guests; and of
course she was very proud to draw attention to
them. The result was that the carriages of the
great people of the neighbourhood so clogged
up the road at Swayne's nursery day after
day that there was no getting by for them.
George sold, for a guinea each, all the slips
that he had potted; keeping only enough for
the continuance of his trade, and carefully
reserving his finest specimen. That in due
time he took to Harry's mother.

The ten guineas added to the produce of
Susan's labourshe had not slackened it a jot
had maintained the sickly woman through
the winter; and, when there came to her a
letter one morning in July in Harry's dear
scrawl posted from Portsmouth, she was half
restored to health. He would be with them
in a day or two, he said. The two women
listened in a feverish state for every knock at
the green door. Next day a knock came; but it
was not Harry. Susan again opened to George
Swayne. He had brought their flower-bells
back; and, apparently, handsomer than ever.
He was very much abashed and stammered
something; and, when he came in, he could
find nothing to say. The handsome china

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