The beauty, oh the beauty of them, and oh the paradisal bliss, if she should have a perfect bouquet and could give it to Gudrun the next day. Her passion and her complete indecision almost made her ill.

At last she slid to her father's side.

`Daddie --' she said.

`What, my precious?'

But she hung back, the tears almost coming to her eyes, in her sensitive confusion. Her father looked at her, and his heart ran hot with tenderness, an anguish of poignant love.

`What do you want to say to me, my love?'

`Daddie -- !' her eyes smiled laconically -- `isn't it silly if I give Miss Brangwen some flowers when she comes?'

The sick man looked at the bright, knowing eyes of his child, and his heart burned with love.

`No, darling, that's not silly. It's what they do to queens.'

This was not very reassuring to Winifred. She half suspected that queens in themselves were a silliness. Yet she so wanted her little romantic occasion.

`Shall I then?' she asked.

`Give Miss Brangwen some flowers? Do, Birdie. Tell Wilson I say you are to have what you want.'

The child smiled a small, subtle, unconscious smile to herself, in anticipation of her way.

`But I won't get them till tomorrow,' she said.

`Not till tomorrow, Birdie. Give me a kiss then --'

Winifred silently kissed the sick man, and drifted out of the room. She again went the round of the green- houses and the conservatory, informing the gardener, in her high, peremptory, simple fashion, of what she wanted, telling him all the blooms she had selected.

`What do you want these for?' Wilson asked.

`I want them,' she said. She wished servants did not ask questions.

`Ay, you've said as much. But what do you want them for, for decoration, or to send away, or what?'

`I want them for a presentation bouquet.'

`A presentation bouquet! Who's coming then? -- the Duchess of Portland?'


`Oh, not her? Well you'll have a rare poppy-show if you put all the things you've mentioned into your bouquet.'

`Yes, I want a rare poppy-show.'

`You do! Then there's no more to be said.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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