Page:Twice-Told Tales (1851) vol 2.djvu/282

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Hark! an eager knocking at Nurse Toothaker's door. She starts from her drowsy reverie, sets aside the empty tumbler and tea-spoon, and lights a lamp at the dim embers of the fire. Rap, rap, rap! again; and she hurries adown the staircase, wondering which of her friends can be at death's door now, since there is such an earnest messenger at Nurse Toothaker's. Again the peal resounds, just as her hand is on the lock. 'Be quick, Nurse Toothaker!' cries a man on the doorstep; 'old General Fane is taken with the gout in his stomach, and has sent for you to watch by his death-bed. Make haste, for there is no time to lose!' 'Fane! Edward Fane! And has he sent for me at last? I am ready! I will get on my cloak and begone. So,' adds the sable-gowned, ashen-visaged, funereal old figure, 'Edward Fane remembers his Rosebud!'

Our question is answered. There is a germ of bliss within her. Her long-hoarded constancy—her memory of the bliss that was—remaining amid the gloom of her after-life, like a sweet-smelling flower in a coffin, is a symbol that all may be renewed. In some happier clime, the Rosebud may revive again with all the dewdrops in its bosom.