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Better it were, a brother died at once,
Let me not have this gloomy view,
THOU SHALT NOT DO EVIL THAT
GOOD MAY COME.
Rose ALEYN sat at her needle-work, in the arbour at the end of the garden; it was early in a summer's morning ; the clock in the church tower had just struck six, and she lifted up her sweet face while she counted the chimes. Awhile she sat silent in the calm of her happy thoughts; and then the mirth of her light heart danced out into singing. She hardly knew the song that her soft voice had chosen, but her rejoicing humour gave a just expression to each little word. Footsteps fell lightly on the greensward about that pleasant arbour; and Rose Aleyn never dreamed that any one was near her ; she heard only her own song, or rather the murmur, not the words of the song, prevented her hearing any other sound. ." She is a winsome young creature,” said the old gardener, “ and as fresh as a rose.” He stood awhile to gaze upon her, as she sate in the arbour he had woven for her, all wreathed over with the broad-leaved hop and the odorous honeysuckle, with deep blushing moss roses, and pale white roses hanging in clusters about its green sides, and wild thyme and ground-ivy under her little feet. It was a hot morning, and the old man wiped his brow with his shirt sleeve, as he shaded his eyes with his arm; it was very hot, but his young mistress looked as cool and fresh as any dewy blossom around her. Quickly moved her small white fingers at her needle-work, and the bold sun only pierced through the foliage, with a twinkling splendour; though it seemed as if the breeze playfully struggled with the green leaves to let in more of the golden light, stirring all the while the careless curls upon her brow, as if teaching her to feel less sensibly the ardent sunshine. The young girl started up, and the colour mounted in her cheek, as the old man spoke to her with his dry quiet voice: “ There's a man and horse at the gate, Mistress Rose, and he brings a letter for you; and he will give it into no hands but yours:”
Rose ran off in a moment to the front of the house, and down the old avenue. There stood the man with the letter, and when he had given it into the girl's own hand, he leaped upon his horse, and galloped off. She looked at the direction, and wondered why her friend Winifred had sent her letter in so strange a manner. She returned then to the willow arbour, and sat down to read her letter. . She did not scream, she did not faint, as her eye glanced over the paper ; but she sat motionless, as if every faculty had suddenly deserted her. At last she read the letter again.
“ TO MISTRESS ROSE ALEYN. “ Sweet Rose, - I would have thee come hither with all possible baste, and may God speed thee : for thy brother Frank, his life is in danger. He hath been taken by the king's troops, and they will hang him if they please; and so, indeed, they threaten in two or three days to do. Sweet friend, more eyes are red than thine, more hearts are aching sorely, but come here, make no delay. Thou canst do nothing where thou art, at least thou canst see