In the mind of little Jean, to be sure, there certainly prevailed some confusion of ideas between the happy land of which she had been hearing, and the beautiful garden in which she stood. Indeed, to the end of her life, the yellow glitter of the sun on the Kirklands greenhouses brought to her mind the description of that “city of pure gold, as it were transparent glass;” and the tall tropical plants which were ranged round the shining floor were to her the embodiments of the trees whose leaves were for the “healing of the nations.”
But Geordie’s thoughts were most about that Shepherd Saviour who seemed to be able to lead his flock away from bleak, scorching places to such a blessed land as these words told of.
In spite of old Adam’s approaching shadow on the gravel walk, Grace plucked a few of the rare, beautiful roses and gave them to little Jean, whose small fat hands were eagerly stretched out to receive the prize. They spent the remainder of their flourishing existence in a broken yellow jug on the window-sill of Granny Baxter’s cottage, and were a joy to Jean for many days. And when it was the fate of their companions still left in their stately glass home to be gathered into Adam’s barrow when their charms had past, and ignominiously flung away, Jean’s roses had a more honourable future. After they had done their duty faithfully on the window-sill, the dead leaves were tenderly gathered and scattered in the drawers allotted to Jean in the ancient chest, where they made a sweet scent in their embalmment for many a day.
The little party arrived at last at the farther end of the garden, where there was a door in the high, red wall opening on a path which led to the turnpike-road. Grace turned the rusty key, and the children saw the familiar face of their native valley again. Giving a lingering backward glance into the pleasant garden which they had just left, they trotted away towards the dusty high-road, while Grace stood watching them till they were out of sight.
“I’ll tell you what it is, Grace; that scholar of yours is far too fine a fellow to be left to tie companionship of old Gowrie’s cattle any longer.”