THE LOVELIEST ROSE IN THE WORLD 425
of the Lord,' said the good old Bishop. ' I saw it shine as if an angel's face had appeared. The young maidens went to the Lord's Table, and renewed the promise made at their baptism, and roses were blushing, and pale roses shining on their fresh cheeks. A young girl stood there ; she looked with all the purity and love of her young spirit up to heaven : that was the expression of the highest and the purest love.'
' May she be blessed ! ' said the wise man ; ' but not one of you has yet named to me the loveliest rose of the world.'
Then there came into the room a child, the Queen's little son. Tears stood in his eyes and glistened on his cheeks : he carried a great open book, and the binding was of velvet, with great silver clasps.
' Mother ! ' cried the little boy, ' only hear what I have read.'
And the child sat by the bed-side, and read from the book of Him who suffered death on the Cross to save men, and even those who were not yet born.
' Greater love there is not------'
And a roseate hue spread over the cheeks of the Queen, and her eyes gleamed, for she saw that from the leaves of the book there bloomed the loveliest rose, that sprang from the blood of Christ shed on the Cross.
' I see it!' she said : ' he who beholds this, the loveliest rose on earth, shall never die.'
THE STORY OF THE YEAR
It was far in January, and a terrible fall of snow was pelting down. The snow eddied through the streets and lanes ; the window-panes seemed plastered with snow on the outside ; snow plumped down in masses from the roofs : and a sudden hurry had seized on the people, for they ran, and jostled, and fell into each other's arms, and as they clutched each other fast for a moment, they felt that they were safe at least for that length of time. Coaches and