Orchard Street is wide and sunny and pleasant; the river air comes over it and makes it sweet; and Miss Craydocke’s is a big, generous house, of which she only uses a very little part herself, because she lets the rest to nice people who want pleasant rooms and can’t afford to pay much rent; an old gentleman who has had a hard time in the world, but has kept himself a gentleman through it all, and his little cheery old lady-wife who puts her round glasses on and stitches away at fine women’s under-garments and flannel embroideries, to keep things even, have the two very best rooms; and a clergyman’s widow, who copies for lawyers, and writes little stories for children, has another; and two orphan sisters who keep school have another; and Miss Craydocke calls her house the Beehive, and buzzes up and down in it, and out and in, on little “seeing-to” errands of care and kindness all day long, as never any queen-bee did in any beehive before, but in a way that makes her more truly queen than any sitting in the middle cell of state to be fed on royal jelly. Behind the Beehive, is a garden, as there should be; great patches of lily-of-the valley grow there that Miss Craydocke ties up bunches from in the spring and gives away to little children, and carries into all the sick rooms she knows of, and the poor places. I always think of those lilies of the valley when I think of Miss Craydocke. It seems somehow as if they were blooming about her all the year through; and so they are, perhaps, invisibly. The other flowers come in their season; the crocuses have been done with first of all; the gay tulips and the snowballs have made the children glad when they stopped at the gate and got them, going to school. Miss Craydocke is always out in her garden at school-time. By and by there are the tall white lilies, standing cool and serene in the July heats; then Miss Craydocke is away at the mountains, pressing ferns and drying grasses for winter parlors; but there is somebody on duty at the garden dispensary always, and there are flower-pensioners who know they may come in and take the gracious toll.
Late in the autumn, the nasturtiums and verbenas and marigolds are bright; and the asters quill themselves into the biggest globes they can, of white and purple and rose, as if it were to make the last glory the best, and to do the very utmost of the year. Then the chrysanthemums go into the house and bloom there for Christmas-time.
There is nothing else like Miss Craydocke’s house and garden, I do believe, in all the city of the Three Hills. It is none too big for her, left alone with it, the last of her family; the world is none too big for her; she is glad to know it is all there. She has a use for everything as fast as it comes, and a work to do for everybody, as fast as she finds them out. And everybody,—almost,—catches it as she goes along, and around her there is always springing up a busy and a spreading crystallizing of shining and blessed elements. The world is none too big for her, or for any such, of course, because,—it has been told why better than I can tell it,—because “ten times one is always ten.”