lighted two kerosene lamps and two candles, finding the effect, under

this illumination, almost too brilliant and beautiful for belief. Rose

should never see it now, he determined, until the furniture was in

place. They had already chosen the kitchen and bedroom things, though

they would not be needed for some months; but the rest was to wait until

summer, when there would be the hay-money to spend.

Stephen did not go back to the River Farm till one o'clock that night;

the pink bedroom held him in fetters too powerful to break. It looked

like the garden of Eden, he thought. To be sure, it was only fifteen

feet square; Eden might have been a little larger, possibly, but

otherwise the pink bedroom had every advantage. The pattern of roses

growing on a trellis was brighter than any flower-bed in June; and the

border--well, if the border had been five dollars a foot Stephen would

not have grudged the money when he saw the twenty running yards of rosy

bloom rioting under the white ceiling.

Before he blew out the last light he raised it high above his head and

took one fond, final look. "It's the only place I ever saw," he thought,

"that is pretty enough for her. She will look just as if she was growing

here with all the other flowers, and I shall always think of it as the

garden of Eden. I wonder, if I got the license and the ring and took her

by surprise, whether she'd be married in June instead of August? I

could be all ready if I could only persuade her."

At this moment Stephen touched the summit of happiness; and it is a

curious coincidence that as he was dreaming in his garden of Eden, the

serpent, having just arrived at Edgewood, was sleeping peacefully at the

house of Mrs. Brooks.

It was the serpent's fourth visit that season, and he explained to

inquiring friends that his former employer had sold the business, and

that the new management, while reorganizing, had determined to enlarge

the premises, the three clerks who had been retained having two weeks'

vacation with half pay.

It is extraordinary how frequently "wise serpents" are retained by the

management on half, or even full, salary, while the services of the

"harmless doves" are dispensed with, and they are set free to flutter

where they will.

THE SERPENT

Rose Wiley had the brightest eyes in Edgewood. It was impossible to look

at her without realizing that her physical sight was perfect. What

mysterious species of blindness is it that descends, now and then, upon

human creatures, and renders them incapable of judgment or

discrimination?

Claude Merrill was a glove salesman in a Boston fancy-goods store. The

calling itself is undoubtedly respectable, and it is quite conceivable

that a man can sell gloves and still be a man; but Claude Merrill was a

manikin. He inhabited a very narrow space behind a very short counter,

but to him it seemed the earth and the fullness thereof.

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