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THE THREE FLOWERS.
WHICH IS BEST?
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
5, PATERNOSTER Row, 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD,
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
4IANCHESTER : 100, CORPORATION STREET.
BRIGHTON: 31, WESTERN ROAD.
THE VIOLET *
THE ROSE 27
TiL; CAMELLIA 3
MADAME BIRIQUE ANDT HER SON 5
THE THREE fLOWERS.
VEN in London flowers are a
favourite luxury with the poor
and hard-working, especially
When poverty is united to
\ J virtue and purity of life. To
Young women,--yes, to old women
also,-who have to spend long
summer days at ceaseless needlework, it is
pleasant to refresh their weary eyes with
a little glimpse of verdure,-to glance
now and then on an opening blossom, or
fancy they inhale the fragrance breathed
from open petals on the noisome air of a
6 The Three Flowers.
city lodging. We see a love for flowers
predominant among the poor whenever,
as we said before, poverty is united with
virtue and simplicity of habits: their
children show us this; the rich child
sometimes looks with indifference on
the finest flower, while the poor child is
charmed with the commonest. The pale
mechanic places a pot of mignonette in
his window, and we see tall sickly gera-
niums impeding the little air that can
enter the confined abode of labour.
With us flowers are, however, a sort of
superfluity, though one we would gladly
see more generally sought for; but in
France they are almost a necessity to
the people; the humblest housekeeper,
when she makes her marketing, reserves
a sou for the bunch of flowers which is
to be laid over the other purchases.
The flowers of London are not so
numerous, and not so cheap, as those of
The Violet. 7
Paris: in the latter city are regular
flower markets on alternate days in the
week. One of these is for the rich and
great; it is resorted to chiefly by that
class, and the flowers there are almost
as dear as in our own Covent Garden;
another is of a second-class rate; and a
third is the simplest and cheapest, con-
sequently frequented most by the indus-
trious artisans, poor housekeepers, or
room-keepers, and all those who, while
they love flowers, can spare little money
to spend upon them.
One bright and pleasant morning, a
very little and very poor-looking, but
very neat old man, might have been
seen pacing up and down before the
ranks of flowers that adorned the stands
of this latter market. His old black
coat was very threadbare, but peculiarly
clean; he wore an old white handker-
chief carefully disposed about his neck,
8 The Three Flowers.
and his hands thrown behind his back
held his walking-stick across it. He
was thin and shrivelled, and looked as
if he did not fare too well in this world,
and yet as if he were not discontented
with it. He regarded the flowers at a
little distance, and smiled at them, as
dear, familiar friends-children, rather-
whom he longed to caress: he advanced
nearer and admired more; until at length
he plunged his face among them, and
seemed to drink in their odours, and
have his old blood refreshed and quick-
ened by their freshness.
Then taking up a pot of violets, he
asked the flower-merchant the price of it.
Four sous," was her answer.
Two," said the little old man; two
is all I can give. I often treat myself
to a pot of violets, and I buy them for
Four is the price of mine."
The Violet. 9
Too much; I cannot give it."
I will give four sous for it, madame,"
said a smart little voice beside him; and
the man looking round, saw a neatly-
dressed young girl handing the price of
the violets to .the owner.
No one likes to be disappointed in a
purchase that is much desired, and for
a moment the old man felt displeased
with the young buyer of his violets;
but when, looking earnestly at him, she
suddenly apologized for her interference,
his displeasure as quickly vanished, and
seeing that with her very neat merino
dress, her tidy little apron, small shawl,
and pretty round cap, quite unadorned,
the girl-who clearly belonged to the
working class -wore very nice new
gloves, the little man with old-fashioned
politeness begged to be allowed the
pleasure of carrying the pot of violets
home for her, assuring the smiling pur-
Zo The Three Flowers.
chaser that her gloves would be quite
soiled by it, and then adding, with that
sort of sigh which people sometimes
give when a truth they had intended
to conceal involuntarily slips out,-" In
fact, mademoiselle need not hesitate to
employ my service, for I -have nothing
else to do just now."
"Well, sir," said the girl, still looking
at him as if she knew him better than
he knew her, I consent to do so, but I
must tell you that I lodge on the sixth
story; it may fatigue you to climb so
high, and yet I only consent on con-
dition that you do."
He assured her that though six flights
of stone stairs were more formidable to
sixty years than to eighteen, he would
willingly accept her condition.
They set off together : the old man's
arm encircling the pot of violets which
he held pressed against his breast.
Violette, for so we call the girl, from
the name of the modest flower which
was then her favourite, was considerably
"in advance on the ascent up to the sixth
story: she had the door of her room
open when the little old man, almost
exhausted with the effort, gained the
top. A small round table stood near the
window, neatly arranged for Violette's
simple breakfast. It only wanted a few
flowers, and the young workwoman had
gone out to get them before she partook
of her repast.
Now, sir," said she, smiling as the
old man came in panting with the pot of
violets, "you must place that sweet
flower for me in the window, and then,
as I have given you what you are so
good as to call the pleasure of serving
me, you must allow me the pleasure of-
serving you-I mean, at breakfast: for
you must breakfast with me."
12 The Three Flowers.
The little old man sighed, and looked
at the table with pleasure; it was but
seldom he saw such a meal so temptingly
"Well, mademoiselle, I consent to
your terms in this also; and I place in
your window the flower which I hope
may ever be your emblem, both in
sweetness and modesty. Ah! made-
moiselle, mademoiselle," cried the old
man in a burst of tender feeling, "the
sweetest flowers will fade; and the best
and purest virtues of human nature
must be nourished and protected by
the grace of God, else will they wither
too. The world is a trying soil : happy
are they who, like your violets, and like
yourself, live above it-live retired
The young girl smiled.
You are quite poetic, sir," she said;
"but I do not know that there is any
T/e Violet. 13
great advantage in living so very far
away from the great world as I do here.
Above it truly, in one sense, and beneath
it in another; I am so retired up here
on the sixth story."
"Yet content with your lot, made-
moiselle ? ah yes,-content; I see it in
your face, in your eyes, in your smile."
Violette shook her head negatively,
yet laughed affirmatively.
Content ?" she said, as if asking a
Happy ?" said the old man in the
Happy! oh yes; but I do not quite
know for the other; that is to say, I am
"Ambitious, mademoiselle!" exclaimed
the little old man, in a voice of horror;
"alas! you will not then be satisfied
with the violet? yet the violet has
pleased me all my life."
14 The Three Flowers.
"I know it has been long your
favourite flower," she replied, with a
smile full of meaning.
Mademoiselle ?-how is it possible ?
How can you know that ?"
You have then quite forgotten little
Violette Duval, your pupil in writing
and drawing ?"
"Violette Duval! my little Violette
Duval !" cried the old man, in an ecstasy
of surprise and delight; a dear little
child when I kept my school for writing
and drawing, six years ago, and now a
young woman !-a very charming young
woman;" he added, with a very low bow.
Violette laughed merrily.
Now, then, as we have renewed our
old acquaintance," said she, mykind
master will allow his grateful pupil to
give him some breakfast."
They sat down to the small round
The Violet. 15
Mademoiselle Violette," said the old
man, looking thoughtfully at the fresh
and happy face of his young hostess,
"may I inquire for your good parents ?"
A shade of sadness instantly overcast
the expressive countenance.
No," said Violette, with a sigh, "you
need not inquire for them, nor for any
relative of mine: they are all gone. I
live here alone; I am housekeeper for
Poor child! poor orphan! alone!
Well!"--and he ended with a sigh.
That little old man had spent nearly
sixty years alone; he scarcely re-
membered a time when he was not
alone in the world. He sighed to hear
the young girl say such too was her
lot; but he never lamented his own.
Do you cultivate your talents,
mademoiselle ?" he asked, after a pause.
"You had great talents -for writing,
16 The Three Flowers.
and for drawing, and I think also for
Violette laughed again at this enu-
meration of her talents.
Ah !" she cried, "I see you do not
mention the talent I most like to cultivate
say might lead me into the dangers of
The old man rubbed his forehead.
"I remember -singing. Yes, little
Violette had a superb voice; she used
to excel all my scholars. And you
have cultivated that talent, mademoi-
As well as one might who has sat
at work all day to earn bread. I have
worked and sung."
Very right, very right," said the old
On the contrary," said Violette, I
am now ready to say, often and often,
The Violet. 17
Very wrong, very wrong. I would
rather sing without working."
"Alas dear mademoiselle, in that
case you might come to work without
You think I mean to be a mere
idler. No; but I wish to make my
talent known; to make it profitable
also; but still more to shine by it,
to win applause. I told you I am
But how, mademoiselle ? but how ?"
the-old man eagerly demanded.
"My good master," said the young
girl, I should like you to be my friend.
Ah I often want a friend Now I will
tell you all, and you shall judge for me.
Well, when my parents died, about two
years ago, they left me a very scanty
little fortune; but they left me also to
the care of their old friend Leblanc, who
18 The Three Flowers.
kept the ready-made linen shop near
their house, and who, like them, had
only one child-a son. I lived there for
more than a year, and then old Leblanc
"And you could not live there when
young Leblanc took up his father's
business," said her old master, as he
perceived that she became embarrassed.
"Just so, my good master; at least,
not there. So I had to commence house-
keeping on my own account: I took this
"Which you have rendered so neat
and even elegant," he politely interposed,
glancing round at the tasteful arrange-
ments of the modest room.
Ah yes, it was well enough; but
-however, I will go straight on with
my story. Well, I lived here all alone,
and still worked for the ready-made
linen shop. I am well paid, I assure
The Violet. 19
you, and I have been as happy as a
Singing and working!" said the old
man, with a smile ; but the smile
rapidly passed away. Have been,
mademoiselle ? you spoke in the past
"Did I ? Well, yes; because-but I
will tell you all. Know, then, that when
the spring came out so warm and bright
I was seized with a longing to visit the
country, and see the flowers grow, and
the trees and fields; so I went to see
an old friend of my mother's; and one
evening, when we were all out in a rural
party, they made me sing, and some great
artists chanced to hear me, and they
were charmed. Ah! my good master,
it is pleasant to be praised-to know
that one's talents are approved. So
then, you see, I made new friends, and
they promised to be good ones. They
20 The Three Flowers.
were truly astonished to find I lived as
a simple workwoman, and had no desire
to shine in the world, and to be admired.
But now, to tell you the truth, since I
have spoken to these new friends, that
desire has come."
The old man had sat opposite his
former pupil, leaning his elbows on the
table, his chin resting on the closed
hands, his eyes intently regarding her.
Mademoiselle Violette," he said,
gravely, "did your good parents never
praise you ? And Leblanc the father,
and Madame Leblanc, did they never
praise your good singing ?"
Most surely they did."
"And in the same way as these
"Did their praises make you desire to
go before the public, to be admired, to
shine-in the world ?"
The Violet. 21
"No, no; they made me only desire
more to give them pleasure."
Ah! Violette; poor child, poor
orphan, beware of the beginning of
temptation: 'There is a way which
seemeth right unto a man, but the end
thereof are the ways of death.' "
"How ?" said Violette, drawing up
her head; "are you, then, like others
who think that one must necessarily go
wrong if drawn out of obscurity, and
placed in a brilliant or dazzling posi-
"By no means," replied the old
master; as long as we have the
example of the virtuous Joseph set
before us, we cannot think that. But,
dear child, the world is full of tempta-
tions, which it requires two things to
enable us to resist."
"And what are they ?" inquired
22 The Three Flowers.
The grace of God's Spirit, and the
aid of experience," the old man answered.
"Violette, you have not the last; have
you the first ? Oh dear child, seek it
if you have it not; and when you have
it, Violette, you may be happier, singing
and working in your sixth story-yes,
working without singing, than you ever
could be in the glare and glitter of the
world's false show-than you ever will
be if you are made the mercenary
puppet of an exhibition, a creature to
be admired, followed, flattered, for a
month or a year- and left to die ne-
glected, alone, forgotten !"
The girl was pale: she looked
earnestly at the old man, covered her
face, and, bursting into tears, exclaimed,
"Be my friend!"
I will! I will! with the help of God,
I will I" he answered. And, perhaps,
from the hour of his birth to that of his
The Violet. 23
death, the little old man never knew a
moment of purer happiness than that in
which he pledged himself in these words
to the service and best interests of a
Alas! we often love those we truly
serve more than those we serve love
us! Violette Duval felt the want of a
friend, she said; she besought the good
old man to be that friend. He proved
himself so; and-must we write the
words ?-she became weary of him.
So it was; his advice, his warnings,
were always directly opposed to the
whisperings of her own heart, the
flattering suggestions of her vanity, the
pleasant flights of her imagination.
Daily did that little old man climb up
the long stone steps to the sixth story:
at first he brought nothing in his hand,
and he was welcomed; he found the
24 The Three Flowers.
young workwoman singing and working,
and he listened to and talked with her.
But he soon perceived that she was
under other influences than his; and he
found her singing and not working; and
he found it necessary to come in with an
excuse for coming, and he brought a
flower, or a book, or a message; and he
soon found Violette was impatient when
he stayed long, and still more impatient
when he talked long. And at last the
little old man, as he descended the
stairs, again would say to himself with
more- and more energy, She asked me
to be her friend, and I promised to be
so. I will; yes, still, with the help of
God, I will."
Poor Violette she was listening then
to voices that were pleasanter to her
than the grave and urgent one of that
pious old man; she was listening to the
voice of flatterers, who charmed sweetly,
The Violet. 25
though not wisely. Under their instiga-
tions her vanity and levity grieved and
offended the son of her father's friend,
young Leblanc; and instead of mollify-
ing his resentment, she indignantly
threw up the employment she had held
from him, and broke her engagement to
him. For some time the little old man
had been accustomed to find a slip of
written paper fastened to the door of
Violette's chamber, containing the brief
announcement, "She has gone out."
At first the hour of her expected return
used to be appended to the above; but
after some time that pleasant information
was withheld, and her anxious old friend
could not help thinking that, at times,
she was deceiving and avoiding him.
The thought gave him real pain; for it
was a source of no little happiness to
him to believe that he might be the
means of saving that interesting and
26 The Three Flowers.
pleasing young girl from the dangers
and corruptions of the world on which
she was herself eager to enter, and into
which false friends wished to introduce
One day, the old man climbed to the
landing-place of the sixth story, and
read on the door of Mademoiselle
Violette's chamber the startling words,
"To Let!" It was the case : the
chamber was now indeed untenanted.
Violette he would never again find
there, singing and working, happy as
a queen, contented as a simple, indus-
trious workwoman. She was gone;
gone without a word, without a line,
and no one could tell him where!
INTER passed away; a dull
winter for the lonely old
man : he found himself
solitary then for the first time,
because it was only recently
that he had known and lost
companionship. He had neither wife,
child, nor relative; and young Violette
had given him the first real interest he
had known. He had often sought to
save his fellow-creatures as a duty; but
in her case inclination made duty very
pleasant. Through that long. winter
he never heard of her; and when the
spring came he had ceased to think so
much about her.
28 The Three Flowers.
It was a bright spring day : so bright,
so significant of youth, and hope, and
the promise of good, it caused the heart
of the little old man, wherein love to
God and man glowed warm as in youth,
to sing tor very joy. The return of the
spring reminded him of his one single
desire, his one simple luxury: he went
to look for his pot of violets. He loved
flowers; but his fancy never roved from
the violet. He was very poor; he
could not afford expensive flowers; he
always said the violet was far beyond
any he could get for the same money;
it was simple, modest, but sweet, and
He went to the flower-market, where
a dazzling display charmed his eyes and
regaled his senses : he sought his violet
alone, and he found it. It stood beside
a beautiful opening rose, brought arti-
ficially to blow before its flowering
The Rose. 29
season had come. The rose was very
lovely, but it was very expensive : the
violet he still adhered to, but it too was
dearer than usual.
While he hesitated or bargained for
his violet, a lady, gaily dressed, drew
near, and purchased the rose, without
hesitation or bargaining. The little old
man looked on with surprise as he saw
that the lady disregarded the flower
which he felt he was himself coveting.
She turned towards him at the moment,
and he beheld Mademoiselle Violette.
The meeting surprised them both.
"Again we meet in the flower-
market !" cried Violette.
"Ah! mademoiselle," said the old
man, "no longer to buy the modest
violet, and carry it to the sixth story;"
and he glanced, perhaps reproachfully,
over her dress, which was no longer
descriptive of a young woman of the
30 The Three Flowers.
working classes in France. Violette
wore a muslin robe with flounces, a
fashionable mantelet, and a bonnet gaily
trimmed. The brown merino dress, the
little neat apron, and tidy cap, were
cast aside with the violet, and the
beautiful rose was more consonant with
the changed attire and manner of the
And you are still constant to your
violets, my good friend ?" said Violette,
rather conceitedly, and with some em-
barrassment. "Allow me to present
this to you; it will remind you of your
old pupil, whose friend you were."
Ah! Violette, Violette," cried the
old man, in ecstasy at hearing these last
words, and receiving the pot of violets.
" You forgot your request, but I never
forgot my promise."
She turned her head aside, then
quickly looking back to him, gave him
The Rose. 31
her hand, saying, I have not forgotten
my request; perhaps I may yet require
the fulfilment of your promise. But will
you come to dine with me ? and we will
let the violet and rose stand side by side
for one hour, at least, in my window."
With great joy the good man as-
sented; and carrying his pot of violets,
while a porter carried Violette's rose-
tree, he accompanied her to a pleasant
and pretty apartment, only half as high
as her first lodging.
"Ah! mademoiselle," he said, as they
placed the two flowers in the window-
seat, "the rose is more in place here
than my humble violet."
You would call it now my emblem
flower!" she rejoined, in a tone indica-
tive of some pride and self-satisfaction;
"but if I have risen in point of an
emblematic flower, you see I have
descended in point of a lodging."
32 The Three Flowers.
"We must all descend to one still
lower," he answered, shaking his head
thoughtfully; "we should live to die, if
we would die to live."
Violette sighed, but, reassuming an
air of gaiety, she assured her old master
that she had only just begun to learn
to live, and could not yet spare time to
learn to die, playfully threatening that
if he terrified her with gloomy forebod-
ings and solemn warnings, she would
disappear from his sight as she had
Her old friend was not frightened by
the threat. The dinner hour passed
cheerfully; he was rejoiced with his
visit, thought he saw in the young girl
the same naturally good and pleasing
qualities which won his interest and
regard at first, and felt full of hope for
H. found Violette was now a public
The Rose. 33
singer, and was engaged at one of the
theatres. She proudly informed him of
the fact, and spoke with great contempt
of her former humble life, asserting that
it had been a great loss and misfortune
to her not sooner to have been intro-
duced to the world, and made acquainted
with persons who could appreciate her
talent. On this point her old master
differed in opinion, but he thought it
wiser now to guard and direct her in
pursuing her course in the station in
which she had chosen to enter, rather
than to spend the time in trying to
induce her to change it.
They parted good friends, the old
master delighted at the prospect of re-
suming his office as the friend and moral
guardian of his young pupil. For a
short time he was her daily visitor; it
was not for long: their conversations
became shorter and shorter; professional
34 The Three Flowers.
engagements, dress, company, fatigue,
often interfered, or were pleaded by
Violette in excuse for herself. In their
interviews her levity and vanity became
more and more apparent; at length he
saw her intoxicated with applause--
applause which her natural endowments,
her inartificial appearance and simple
manners, first procured for her, and
which was destroying the very qualities
by which it was won. He felt that her
position as a dependent on public
favour was most unsteady, but he gen-
erally found more flattering friends be-
side her to whom she more willingly
listened. His admonitions, his advice,
the grave words of religious truth that
so often fell on her ear amidst her gay
career, the prospect of a future at which
he hinted, when years should render
that a weariness which was now a plea-
sure-all this was really far more dis
The Rose. 35
tasteful to Violette than her natural
good-nature suffered her to let appear.
Her more worldly acquaintances ridi-
culed the simple old man, and she was
herself ashamed of his appearance. He
knew all this, yet he persevered: "to
save a soul from death" was his great
object; and with such an object in view
of what consequence were the sneers or
smiles of those who could not under-
stand its importance ?
One day Violette forgot her usual
amiability; her patrons and flatterers
were present, and she allowed herself to
join in their ridicule, and to make her
good old master the subject of her lively
sallies : his simple and harmless nature,
she thought, would not perceive the
satire. He felt it; but it was for her
he was pained, for her he grieved.
The very'next night Violette failed in
her performance: her vanity deluded her,
36 The 7Tiree Flowers.
and affectation took the place of sim-
plicity, and self-sufficiency that of diffi-
dence. There was nothing to patronise
and encourage then, and the current of
favour turned. Blown up into an unreal
exaltation, the inexperienced girl was
as rapidly depressed as she had been
elated, and retreated for a time, in
dismay, from public view.
Retired from the world and its so-
called pleasures, the good old man was
out of the way of even hearing of the
events of such a circle as that she moved
in; a severe cold had confined him to
his little chamber, and it was a full week
before he heard of the circumstance.
Now, then, said the old man to him-
self, now is the moment to see, to reclaim
my dear little pupil,-now, when no other
friend is near her, she will listen to me.
Now, alas! when the world has forsaken
her, perhaps her heart may turn to God.
The Pose. 37
He thought thus while hastily arrang-
ing his toilet; then took his old hat, and
still older stick, and went to the nice
apartments on the third story where he
had many months before deposited the
opening rose. "Her emblem flower,"
he thought, "has faded ere this, and
her bright hopes, her youthful pride, her
worldly ambition have had almost as
short a day." But the old man started,
and stepped back some steps, and put
on his spectacles to look again, when on
reaching her door he read there what he
had once read on that of her humble
happy chamber -" To Let !" Gone
again! so it was. Violette had left her
abode, and gone, the portress of the
house said, she believed, to the country.
"Ah! she thought I had forsaken
her," said the old man. But perhaps
she had not thought of him so much as
he had thought of her.
IME has gone on again : it is
now three years since the
old man has lost sight of
his former pupil,-of the
girl whose, friend he pro-
Smised ever to be. The
hope of meeting her again has ceased to
exist; but her remembrance lingers still.
The spring has come again, and is
verging into summer-tide; flowers are
blooming: though the cholera has de-
vastated France, and Paris trembles at
the name, yet bright flowers have blos-
somed again, and the place where the
little old man walks is gay with their
varied loveliness, and the warm air is
The Camellia. 39
redolent of their fragrance. Flowers of
all sorts, of all colours, of all climes,
and among them the sweet and modest
violet. He looks with admiration on
all; he gazes with love upon it. Yes!
his pot of violets is to be purchased
again. Perhaps," thinks the old man,
"perhaps for the last time; when the
violet blooms again I may be with Him
who formed it."
How magnificent is that pink camel-
lia! how proud, how ambitious it looks,
towering above the simple purple flower,
half hidden in its dark leaf, that, un
abashed, because unobtrusive, blooms
meekly at its foot!
The camellia had soon another ad-
mirer, at least it speedily found a
purchaser; for there was but little of
animated admiration in the regards of
the elegantly attired and languid-look-
ing lady who descended from an open
40 The Three Flowers.
carriage, and, followed by a footman,
slowly entered the scene of flowers, and
seemed first attracted by the stately
camellia. Suddenly the violet at its
foot caught her eye. She had just
desired the servant to have the camellia
carried to the carriage, but with clasped
hands she bent over the violet, and
some internal thought seemed to agitate
her. The plumes of her bonnet fell
down and concealed one side of her
face, but when she looked up and saw
the little old man just lifting the pot of
violets he had bought, an exclamation
burst from her lips-" My dear, dear
master my good, faithful friend !
Still faithful to his modest little flower
as in years that are past."
Down went the pot of violets on the
"Violette! Mademoiselle Violette !-
but no, it cannot be." The old man
The Camellia. 41
gazed in wonder on the face before him;
a face wherein anxiety and concealed
distress were visible, amidst all the
finery that adorned it. Was that the
fresh and happy countenance of the
lively, innocent-looking young woman
who worked and sang on the sixth
story-sang and worked all day long
in solitude and peace ? "Ah, it is no
longer even the rose," he ejaculated,
unconscious that he spoke. The eyes
that looked to his were filled with tears;
but averting them, and with a forced air
of gaiety, Violette answered-
"No, my good master, my ambition
is satisfied now; I take the camellia
"The violet!-then the rose!-The
camellia is brilliant but scentless!" was
his reply, still looking at the changed
and careworn face, the expensive dress,
and handsome carriage; still sending
42 The Three Flowers.
back his thoughts to the attic chamber,
the first flower-market, the first emblem
Come home with me," said Violette,
giving him her hand. "Come, your
promise is still binding, may still be
God grant it!" he piously replied;
and shortly afterwards he followed
Violette into the well-furnished house
she now called her home.
The old man looked on, but did not
assist, as the footman placed the camel-
lia in the window. He glanced at the
equally fine looking lady, who had
thrown herself listlessly on a sofa,
motioning him to take an armchair.
The little round breakfast-table; the
cheerful blooming hostess; the sweet
simple violet in the window,-all rose
in contrast to his fancy.
He stood, and earnestly regarding the
The Camellia. 43
form and face before him, suddenly said,
" Violette, are you happy ?"
She started up erect on her sofa;
looked at him almost in alarm; then
sinking back on it again, she pressed
one hand on her eyes, and answered,
" Happy? no, I am miserable!"
The old man sat beside her on the
handsome sofa-never before had he
sat on such a seat, but that he did not
think of then :-poor or rich, despised
or held in honour, all was one to him
at that moment. He took her hand;
he held it between his own.
"Poor child! poor wanderer in the
world's wilderness: you have drunk its
deadly wine; you have gone astray like
a sheep that is lost. Violette, you have
wandered from God, but God has not
wandered from you; He waits for your
return-more than waits-He has sent
His dear Son to seek you. Let that
44 The Three Flowers.
dear Saviour find you, poor child; let
Him lay thee on His shoulder rejoicing,
and carry thee to thy. Father's house.
Then, Violette, then, poor wanderer,
thou wilt be miserable no more: then
thou wilt be happy-happy in the Lord,
though happy no more in the world !"
Freely fell the tears down the pale
and sunken cheeks freely and not
painfully they fell; the suffering heart
found relief; the penitent felt there was
hope of mercy; the friendless knew a
Friend was nigh.
"God sent you to me," said Violette;
I cannot then despair of His mercy."
Long did the master and his former
pupil sit there, and talk of things past,
and things present, and things to come.
And the old man heard the account of
Violette's career; how she had again
returned to the chief opera house, and
even with increased success: how she had
The Camellia. 45
drunk deeply of the world's pleasures,
and had been flattered by its applause;
how her heart had long pined for the
peaceful, industrious employment, the
honest friendships, the healthful feelings
of her early years. Then how the false
excitements of an artificial life palled
upon her taste, how she loathed what
she once desired, and at length saw sin
in its naked deformity where once she
had seen the serpent gliding in glittering
hues through flowery paths. Then how
health failed, and the world receded, and
conscience awoke, and happiness was
lost, and hope was busy no more.
And when he had heard all this, still
did the old man affectionately press the
hand he held, and still did he say,
"With God there is mercy, and in
Christ there is plenteous redemption;
in God is love; in Christ Jesus there
is hope. Thou hast departed from
46 The Three Flowers.
Him; but return unto Him in peni-
tence, and He will have mercy upon
thee; to our God, and He will abun-
dantly pardon. Seek for the converting
and sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit.
Take with thee words, my child, and
go unto thy Father; say, Receive me
graciously, and love me freely."
And Violette repeated these words of
peace from a broken and contrite heart,
a heart that had long known its own
bitterness, and wept in secret, even
while her lip smiled in public.
"Ah !" said she, "how true were the
words you spoke, which I felt at the
time, and have ever since felt more
deeply, when you said, as we sat so
pleasantly together at my little breakfast-
table, that I should be happier with the
grace of God in my heart, singing and
working in solitude up there; yes, work-
ing without singing, up in the sixth
The Camellia. 47
story, than I should be in the glare and
glitter of the world's false show-the
mercenary puppet of an exhibition, fol-
lowed, flattered, admired, and left to die
alone-neglected, forgotten! Alas, alas!
such will be my case!-I feel it, I know
Her face contracted as with pain.
"It is the mind that suffers," said her
old friend; and joining his hands, he
added, Lamb of God, that takest away
the sin of the world !"
Grant me Thy peace!" the poor
girl fervently responded.
He will do so, for He died to give
it thee. Bathe His feet with thy tears,
my child, but let thy heart embrace
Him with love. He calls upon you
Long did these two once discordant
characters sit thus together. They were
discordant no longer. The penitence of
48 The Three Flowers.
the heart is known to God only; and
even while poor Violette had dragged
on the miserable chain of a worldly life,
her heart had often wept sore before
God; and now to throw off that chain,
to return to the paths of peace, of
industry, even of lowly and honest
poverty, this was all her earthly and
It was determined that the old man
was to return to her the next day at an
hour when she would be alone, and that
arrangements were then to be made for
the execution of her purpose; but a dark,
doubting thought came over Violette, and
with a look of fear she cried :
But what am I to do ? Where am
I to go? If I leave a profession now
grown hateful to me, to whom can I
What are you to do ?" the old man
exclaimed. "Ask charity from door to
The Camellia. 49
door. Where are you to go ? Go out
under the canopy of heaven. To whom
are you to look ? Look up to God, and
let His blessing and peace descend upon
her who prefers them to the treasures of
Violette pressed the old man's hand.
Be my friend to the end," she said ;
" help me to return to God-to peace-
to humble poverty!"
With the light bounding step of his
young life did the old man retrace his
road to the one poor scantily-furnished
chamber which he called his earthly
home,-a chamber which, poor as it was,
was the abode of one whom the King-
the King of kings-delighted to honour;
for there the presence of God was felt,
arid there Christ's peace was known.
The old man was happy, and his step
was light, though the way that he took
was scarcely known to himself; his mind
50 The Three Flowers,
was bewildered with grateful emotion:
his interesting young pupil might yet be
saved: "Yes,"' said the little old man,
"yes, to-morrow we will take her home.
Home, to peace, to poverty,-and I
trust home to God!"
Good old man! The morrow came,
and the old man at the appointed hour
hastened through the streets leading to
Violette's abode: he had resolved on
his arrangements; he was quite sure of
finding her ready to fall in with them.
" This time, at least," said the old man
to himself, "there is no fear of finding
' To Let' posted up on her door. No,
I hope I have her at last safe; the dove
has wearied of the troubled waters; the
child, I trust, has pined for the Father's
house. Oh, that the prodigal may
return, the penitent may love, the
weary may find rest!"
He came to the house-the gate was
The Camellia. 51
ajar-the door stood half open-the hall
was silent. He rang the bell; no one
answered. He entered the handsome
saloon; it remained just as he had left
"it the day before, except that the blinds
were not raised : he wandered on into
other rooms-all was silent and solitary.
"Surely she has not gone again!" was
the little old man's wondering thought.
At last he came to the door of a small
antechamber; he knew it led to Violette's
sleeping-room, for she had complained
of pain the day before, and he had
assisted her to that door. He knocked
gently, and then opened it, as there was
still no answer. The sight that presented
itself puzzled, almost bewildered him.
Fast asleep, in a huge chair, lay a heavy-
looking old woman; a small bottle before
her showed how she had regaled herself
before she thus indulged; the old man
heard even before he saw her. While
52 TIhe le 7 e Flowers.
he gazed, a moan of pain struck on his
ear: it came from the inner chamber;
he saw at once how the case was :-this
was the sick-nurse, and poor Violette
was the patient she thus attended. He
crossed the floor, entered the bed-
chamber, and beheld the object of his
interest-his dear pupil. One glance
was enough. There she was, the once
lively, happy, gay, brilliant, and admired,
now suddenly smitten down by disease;
alone, left to die, neglected and for
The old man knelt beside her bed
and prayed. The sufferer heard the
prayer before she saw her only friend.
She looked at him, and said,
NOT ALONE Christ's love and
human friendship! Too much -too
Christ won more for thee. Cling,
oh, cling to His cross!"
T/e Camzellia. 53
Yes, with my heart I hold it-will
hold it! Then if I perish, I perish.
What other hope for me ?"
"None; but that one is all-sufficient
for all creatures; for thee, poor sinful
but penitent one."
"Jesus-Saviour !" cried poor Violette,
and spoke no more.
The little old man watched in the
chamber of death when the pampered
menials and false friends had fled from
it. Every servant had departed, leaving
only the hardened hireling, who acted
as nurse in the way we have seen, to
attend the dying struggles of a mistress
they had not respected even in the days
of her prosperity.
The old man closed her eyes, then,
fearless of disease, touched her forehead
with his lips, and said:
"Jesus thy Saviour I hope hath re-
ceived thee, for His blood cleanseth
54 The Three -lowers.
from all sin. Hast thou found the
Home that is best for thee ? Soon I
shall be there, and from that abode the
inhabitant goeth no more out."
The following day the old man came
back to that handsome mansion. It
was changed. According to the custom
of France, it was hung externally with
black, and in the court lay a coffin,
unattended, unwatched, alone! The
officials came with haste, as there were
no anxious and sorrowing relatives to
see the last sad rites performed.
No attendants, no followers, no rela-
tives were there: but there was one
friend. The dead had not been qufte
alone in her death; the coffin was not
quite alone in its solitude. The little
old man was beside it; he followed after
it: the chief, the only mourner; yet his
heart was glad.
The Camellia. 55
"May I not hope," said he, that she
is safe at last-safe from the deceits and
vanities of the world ? The violet, the
rose, the camellia, were each her emblem
flowers; but was not the Tree of Life
her choice at last ? Its leaves are for
the healing of the soul. Does she not
now rest under its shadow with great
delight ? Did not the penitent find
pardon? Was not the cross of Christ
the sinner's hope, the only ground of
So the old man knelt by that coffin
while the words of prayer were said;
and he stood by that coffin as it de-
scended to the earth; and when the
earth was filled, he knelt by Violette's
grave, and said :
"My promise is fulfilled. Violette,
by the help of God, I have been thy
friend. Oh! that the brief story of thy
life had a voice, and wings that would
56 The Three Flowers.
fly abroad among the young, the giddy,
the aspiring, and the worldly, to tell
them of thy fate; to bid them distrust
themselves, and fear the deceits of
the world !"
: 4 ',
JADAME 3RIQUE AND HER SON,
T was in the early morning
of the month of June, that
i'..^ a young woman was seen
entering a fruit-market in
Paris with a basket on her
arm. She was what is
called in the French army a vivandiere;
that is, a woman who undertakes to
cook and wash for a certain number of
officers, and who is generally the wife of
Mounted on a high seat was a round,
ruddy-faced woman, .whb smiled when
she saw the vivandiere and her husband,
58 Madame Br1que and her Son.
and cried, "Ah! I knew you would
come on here. Your servant, Sergeant
Roberts; good day, my good little
woman. What will you buy to-day ?
And how is the little one ? But stop,"
cried she-, looking into the young woman's
face. You are in trouble, my dear;
what is it ? Something about the baby,
Yes, Madame Brique," she replied,
in a trembling voice; "the regiment is
ordered abroad, and they will not allow
so young a child to go."
And quite right too," replied Madame
Brique; and what would you do with
such a young creature in camp ?"
But how shall I part with him, little
"Ah !" cried Madame Brique, I have
thought of a plan-capital! You know
me and my children. Leave him to me.
I will take him as one of my own. It is
Madlame Brigue and her Son. 59
only to divide the food into four instead
of three parts."
The poor mother could not speak,
but Robert thanked the good woman
Come, come, say no more," said she.
" If you should meet my young wild son
Isidore out there, try and do him good,
and we shall be quits."
Having heard that they were to start
on the morrow, Madame Brique ap-
peared at the barracks that night, and
carried home the little one in her
Five months passed away, and it was
on the evening of November 5th, 1854,
the night that followed the day on which
the battle of Inkermann was fought. In
an enclosure formed by tents lay a great
number of the killed and wounded.
A feeble voice was heard attempting
to utter a few words. It was that of a
60 ladcamve Briqzue and her Son.
young rifleman. "Do not move me; I
am dying, but I want to speak to some
one before I lose my senses. I want
somebody to tell my mother-ah! you,
madame," said he, as he perceived the
woman, "you will do this last service for
me; tell her that her son has died on the
field of battle. Take her this book,
which was given me by one of my
English comrades, and tell her it is this
that has made a new man of me. Sunk
in sin and folly, it showed me the way
out of it through Jesus Christ my
Saviour. My mother, ah! any one in
Paris will tell you where to find Madame
"Oh, I know her," cried the vivan-
diere; it is she with whom I have left
my precious babe. And are you her
son Isidore ?"
Robert the sergeant made signs to
the other men to move off a little, and
Aladamne Briqiue and hcr Son. 61
seated on the grass he gently raised the
head of the dying man upon his shoulder.
For a moment he folded his hands and
prayed: "Oh, good God, who hast
taught me to pray, console my poor
mother; may she forgive me for all the
trouble I have given her; make her and
my brothers and sisters to hear the voice
of Jesus." His voice failed. For nearly
an hour Robert supported him; a few
gentle murmurs escaped his lips of
"Pardon, mother-heaven-Jesus," and
he was no more.
The vivandiere stooped down and
kissed his forehead, and took from his
cold hand the book which had showed
him the way to eternal life.
Some months have passed, and
Madame Brique may still be seen
seated in the market. Beside her are
two young girls shelling peas, and a
little boy of about two years of age is
62 Madame Briyue and her Son.
playing at bo-peep with them round the
corner of the stall.
Suddenly a woman rushes up to seize
the child, who runs away and hides his
face in Madame Brique's dress. A cry
of surprise, and they are folded in one
another's arms. It is Theresa the
vivandiere, but so changed since Madame
Brique had seen her last that she could
hardly believe the hollow-cheeked, sallow,
grey-haired woman to be the happy
young wife from whom she had parted
scarcely more than a year ago.
Long explanations followed, and the
two suffering women wept in sympathy
one with the other.
"Alas! you did not think I should
return alone ?" asked Theresa.
No, indeed," said madame; "but
take heart, my child; God will not
I know it," answered Theresa; "God
Madame Brigue and her Son. 63
in taking your son opened to us such
treasures of consolation as I could not
have imagined. Here is the book which
Isidore desired us to give to you. We
promised to read it together, and we did.
It has showed us our danger, and has
led us to Jesus. In his dying hour, my
husband was peaceful and happy; for he
believed that God had forgiven him all
his sins for Jesus' sake."
It would take too long to tell you how
Madame Brique and Theresa read to-
gether out of poor Isidore's New Tes-
tament, and how his last prayer was
answered in the conversion of his mother
and sisters to the truth as it is in Jesus.
Madame Brique found it very difficult
to believe that these blessings of pardon
and peace were free gifts; but at length
the Holy Spirit so opened her eyes that
she was able to accept salvation from
God as His undeserved favour, while in
64 Aladamne Briuze and i/er Son.
return she was anxious to offer Him a
heart full of love and a life devoted to
By the help of Madame Brique,
Theresa was established in a stall of
her own, by means of which she soon
found herself in a position to provide
for her own support and that of her son.
Every morning before they leave
home, and on their return, they unite
in prayer to God, and forget not to
thank Him that He put it into the
heart of the English soldier to give a
copy of the Word of Life to his young
brother in arms.
LONDON KNIGHT, PRINTER, BARTHOLOMEW CLOSE
' ,-.M ..