THE AMBITIOUS ROSE-TREE. 93
arm of the great foreign prince; and what did the
foreign prince do but look up at Rosa, straight up
at her, and over the heads of the azaleas, and say to
his hostess, ' What a beautiful rose you have there I
A Niphetos is it not ? '
And her mistress, who had known her long as
simple Rosa Damascena, answered, ' Yes, sir; it is a
Oh to have lived for that hour ! The silly thing
thought it worth all her suffering from the gardener's
knife, all the loss of her robust health and delightful
power of flowering in all four seasons. She was a
Niphetos—really and truly a Niphetos! and not one
syllable hinted as to her origin! She began to
believe she had been born a tea-rose!
The dinner was long and gorgeous; the guests
were dazzling in jewels and in decorations; the
table was loaded with old plate and rare china, the
prince made a speech and used her as a simile of love
and joy and purity and peace. The rose felt giddy
with triumph and with the fumes of the wines around
her. Her vase was of purple and gold, and all the
voices round her said, ' Oh, the beautiful rose !'
No one noticed the azaleas. How she wished that
the blackbird could see for a minute, if the cat
would gobble him up the next!
The day sped on ; the chatelaine and her guests
went away; the table Avas re-arranged; the rose-tree
was left in its place of honour ; the lights Avere lit;