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AN OLD FRIEND'S STORY.
BY THE AUTHOR OF
"THE GAMBLER'S WIFE," “ DAUGHTERS,"
“SYBIL LENNARD,” &c. &c. &c.
" I cannot tell how the truth may be,
“ Ye are the stars of earth and dear to me,
It was on a summer evening that, from the window of a quiet lodging at Brompton, I first
beheld the being who has inspired me with the presumptuous desire to swell the list of contemporaries, who, with their trembling, withered fingers, take
to recall some young life into being—to raise up the shadow of some sweet flower whose crumbling relics are so fondly treasured in their memory. Yes, Aline ! you too shall take your place amidst “ the old man's darlings,” shall have your story written, shall speak to the hearts still open to the kindly sympathies of our nature, and crave your meed of love, interest, and pity.
I sat then that summer's evening at my window, looking into the little garden which lay behind the house I occupied. I had but risen that day from a bed of sickness, to which I had been confined during the latter part of the week.
The air in this quarter, more free from the smoke of the metropolis, seemed this evening balmy and refreshing to my languid senses, the flowers grateful and pleasing to my eye.
I love flowers, and not only for their scent and beauty
They bring me tales of youth, and tones of love," and remind me of all that is fresh, pure, innocent, and healthful.
I need not the “ violet 'neath its mossy stone,” “ the primrose stars in the shadowy grass,” to awaken romantic, fresh and pleasing associations; the scent, even of the parched wallflower, adorning the mechanics' bits of garden ground in the crowded outskirts; the pale mignionette, from its confined tenement on the sill of some humble window, has often caused me to pause, and feel such enchantment, as did Wordsworth's poor Susan, when in the silence of morning, she passes the corner of Wood Street, and hears the loud song of the thrush.
“ She looks—and her heart is in heaven, but they fade,
It is the most familiar, home-bred Eng