Violets and Other Tales
"And she tied a bunch of violets with a tress of her pretty brown hair."
She sat in the yellow glow of the lamplight softly humming these words. It was Easter
evening, and the newly risen spring world was slowly sinking to a gentle, rosy, opalescent
slumber, sweetly tired of the joy which had pervaded it all day. For in the dawn of the perfect
morn, it had arisen, stretched out its arms in glorious happiness to greet the Saviour and said its
hallelujahs, merrily trilling out carols of bird, and organ and flower-song. But the evening had
come, and rest.
There was a letter lying on the table, it read:
"Dear, I send you this little bunch of flowers as my Easter token. Perhaps you may not be
able to read their meanings, so I'll tell you. Violets, you know,
14are my favorite flowers. Dear, little, human-faced things! They seem always as if about to
whisper a love-word; and then they signify that thought which passes always between you and
me. The orange blossoms--you know their meaning; the little pinks are the flowers you
love; the evergreen leaf is the symbol of the endurance of our affection; the tube-roses I put in,
because once when you kissed and pressed me close in your arms, I had a bunch of tube-roses on
my bosom, and the heavy fragrance of their crushed loveliness has always lived in my memory.
The violets and pinks are from a bunch I wore to-day, and when kneeling at the altar, during
communion, did I sin, dear, when I thought of you? The tube-roses and orange-blossoms I wore
Friday night; you always wished for a lock of my hair, so I'll tie these flowers with
them--but there, it is not stable enough; let me wrap them with a bit of ribbon, pale blue,
from that little dress I wore last
15winter to the dance, when we had such a long, sweet talk in that forgotten nook. You always
loved that dress, it fell in such soft ruffles away from the throat and blossoms,--you called
me your little forget-me-not, that night. I laid the flowers away for awhile in our favorite
book,--Byron--just at the poem we loved best, and now I send them to you. Keep
them always in remembrance of me, and if ought should occur to separate us, press these flowers
to your lips, and I will be with you in spirit, permeating your heart with unutterable love and
It is Easter again. As of old, the joyous bells clang out the glad news of the resurrection. The
giddy, dancing sunbeams laugh riotously in field and street; birds carol their sweet twitterings
everywhere, and the heavy perfume of flowers scents the golden atmosphere with inspiring
fragrance. One long,
16golden sunbeam steals silently into the white-curtained window of a quiet room, and lay athwart
a sleeping face. Cold, pale, still, its fair, young face pressed against the stain-lined casket.
Slender, white fingers, idle now, they that had never known rest; locked softly over a bunch of
violets; violets and tube-roses in her soft, brown hair, violets in the bosom of her long, white
gown; violets and tube-roses and orange-blossoms banked everywhere, until the air was filled
with the ascending souls of the human flowers. Some whispered that a broken heart had ceased
to flutted in that still, young form, and that it was a mercy for the soul to ascend on the slender
sunbeam. To-day she kneels at the throne of heaven, where one year ago she had communed at
an earthly altar.
Far away in a distant city, a man, carelessly looking among some papers,
17turned over a faded bunch of flowers tied with a blue ribbon and a lock of hair. He paused
meditatively awhile, then turning to the regal-looking woman lounging before the fire, he
"Wife, did you ever send me these?"
She raised her great, black eyes to his with a gesture of ineffable disdain, and replied
"You know very well I can't bear flowers. How could I ever send such sentimental trash to
anyone? Throw them into the fire."
And the Easter bells chimed a solemn requiem as the flames slowly licked up the faded
violets. Was it merely fancy on the wife's part, or did the husband really sigh,--a long,
quivering breath of remembrance?