The guest leaned back in his chair. Mingled in his countenance with a

dreamy delight, there was a troubled look of effort and unrest. He was

seeking to make himself more fully sensible of the scene around him;

or, perhaps, dreading it to be a dream, or a play of imagination, was

vexing the fair moment with a struggle for some added brilliancy and

more durable illusion.

"How pleasant!--How delightful!" he murmured, but not as if addressing

any one. "Will it last? How balmy the atmosphere through that open

window! An open window! How beautiful that play of sunshine! Those

flowers, how very fragrant! That young girl's face, how cheerful, how

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blooming!--a flower with the dew on it, and sunbeams in the dew-drops!

Ah! this must be all a dream! A dream! A dream! But it has quite

hidden the four stone walls!"

Then his face darkened, as if the shadow of a cavern or a dungeon had

come over it; there was no more light in its expression than might have

come through the iron grates of a prison-window--still lessening, too,

as if he were sinking farther into the depths. Phoebe (being of that

quickness and activity of temperament that she seldom long refrained

from taking a part, and generally a good one, in what was going

forward) now felt herself moved to address the stranger.

"Here is a new kind of rose, which I found this morning in the garden,"

said she, choosing a small crimson one from among the flowers in the

vase. "There will be but five or six on the bush this season. This is

the most perfect of them all; not a speck of blight or mildew in it.

And how sweet it is!--sweet like no other rose! One can never forget

that scent!"

"Ah!--let me see!--let me hold it!" cried the guest, eagerly seizing

the flower, which, by the spell peculiar to remembered odors, brought

innumerable associations along with the fragrance that it exhaled.

"Thank you! This has done me good. I remember how I used to prize this

flower,--long ago, I suppose, very long ago!--or was it only yesterday?

It makes me feel young again! Am I young? Either this remembrance is

singularly distinct, or this consciousness strangely dim! But how kind

of the fair young girl! Thank you! Thank you!"

The favorable excitement derived from this little crimson rose afforded

Clifford the brightest moment which he enjoyed at the breakfast-table.

It might have lasted longer, but that his eyes happened, soon

afterwards, to rest on the face of the old Puritan, who, out of his

dingy frame and lustreless canvas, was looking down on the scene like a

ghost, and a most ill-tempered and ungenial one. The guest made an

impatient gesture of the hand, and addressed Hepzibah with what might

easily be recognized as the licensed irritability of a petted member of

the family.