wretched. His heart was full, he said, of feelings he dared not

utter; but in the near future, when certain clouds had rolled by,

he would unlock its treasures, and then--but no more to-night:

he could not trust himself.

Rose felt as if she were assuming one of the characters in a

mysterious romance, such as unfolded itself only in books or in

Boston; but, thrilling as it was, it was nevertheless extremely


Convinced that Claude Merrill was passionately in love with her,

one of her reasons for coming to Boston had been to fall more

deeply in love with him, and thus heal some, at least, of the

wounds she had inflicted. It may have been a foolish idea, but

after three weeks it seemed still worse,--a useless one; for

after several interviews she felt herself drifting farther and

farther from Claude; and if he felt any burning ambition to make

her his own, he certainly concealed it with admirable art. Given

up, with the most offensive magnanimity, by Stephen, and not

greatly desired by Claude,--that seemed the present status of

proud Rose Wiley of the Brier Neighborhood.

It was June, she remembered, as she leaned out of the open

window; at least it was June in Edgewood, and she supposed for

convenience's sake they called it June in Boston. Not that it

mattered much what the poor city prisoners called it. How

beautiful the river would be at home, with the trees along the

banks in full leaf! How she hungered and thirsted for the river,

--to see it sparkle in the sunlight; to watch the moonglade

stretching from one bank to the other; to hear the soft lap of

the water on the shore, and the distant murmur of the falls at

the bridge! And the Brier Neighborhood would be at its

loveliest, for the wild roses were in blossom by now. And the

little house! How sweet it must look under the shade of the

elms, with the Saco rippling at the back! Was poor Rufus still

lying in a darkened room, and was Stephen nursing him,--

disappointed Stephen,--dear, noble old Stephen?


Just then Mrs. Brooks groaned in the next room and called Rose,

who went in to minister to her real needs, or to condole with her

fancied ones, whichever course of action appeared to be the more

agreeable at the moment.

Mrs. Brooks desired conversation, it seemed, or at least she

desired an audience for a monologue, for she recognized no

antiphonal obligations on the part of her listeners. The doctors

were not doing her a speck of good, and she was just squandering

money in a miserable boarding-house, when she might be enjoying

poor health in her own home; and she didn't believe her hens

were receiving proper care, and she had forgotten to pull down

the shades in the spare room, and the sun would fade the carpet

out all white before she got back, and she didn't believe Dr.

Smith's magnetism was any more use than a cat's foot, nor Dr.

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