The rose tree grew quite sick and
faint with hope and fear. Unless she went, she felt that life was
not worth the living. She had no idea what a ball might be, but
she knew that it was another form of greatness, when she was all
ready, too, and so beautiful!
The gardener came and sauntered down the glass house, glancing
from one to another. The hearts of all beat high. The azaleas only
never changed color: they were quite sure of themselves. Who could
do without them in February?
"Oh, take me! take me! take me!" prayed the rose tree, in her
foolish, longing, arrogant heart.
Her wish was given her. The lord of their fates smiled when he
came to where she stood.
"This shall be for the place of honor," he murmured, as he lifted
her out of the large vase she lived in on to a trestle and
summoned his boys to bear her away. The very azaleas themselves
grew pale with envy.
As for the rose tree herself, she would not look at any one; she
was carried through the old garden straight past the Banksise, but
she would make them no sign; and as for the blackbird, she hoped a
cat had eaten him! Had he not known her as Rosa Damascena?
She was borne bodily, roots and all, carefully wrapped up in soft
matting, and taken into the great house.
It was a very great house, a very grand house, and there was to be
a marvelous feast in it, and a prince and princess from over the
seas were that night to honor the mistress of it by their