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THE PINK TULIP
EERING over the edge of the boat rail, Love strained her
weary, blue eyes for a glimpse of land. The sun, a ball
of soft, gold light, showed now through the haze, and
suddenly, like a fairy place the city appeared. There
were tall, shining towers, gold church spires, pointed
roofs with wide, red chimneys where the storks stood in
one-legged fashion, and great windmills with their long
arms stretched out to catch the four winds. Amsterdam,
in Holland, it was, the haven of this little boat load
Love Bradford, ten years old, flaxen haired, and as
winsome as an English rose in June, wrapped
 her long, gray cloak more closely about her and turned
to one of the women.
"Do you think that my father may have taken another
boat that sailed faster than this and is waiting for me
on the shore, Mistress Brewster? The last words that he
said to me when he left me on the ship were 'Bide
patiently until I come, Love; I will not be long.' That
was many days ago."
Mistress Brewster turned away that the little girl
might not see the tears that filled her eyes. Love's
father, just before the ship that bore the Pilgrims
from England had sailed, had been cast into prison by
the King, because of his faith. Love was all alone, but
Mistress Brewster did not want her to know of her
"Perhaps your father will meet you some day soon in
Holland. Surely, if he said that he would not be long,
he will keep his word. See, Love, see the little boy of
your own age down there in the fishing boat."
Love looked in the direction in which the woman
pointed. A plump, rosy little boy with eyes as blue as
Love's own and dressed in full brown trousers and
clumsy wooden shoes sat on a big net in one end of the
boat. He looked up as the sails of the little fishing
craft brought it alongside the boat that bore the
wanderers from England. At first he dropped his eyes in
shyness at sight of the little girl. Then
 he lifted them again and, as his eyes met hers, the two
children smiled at each other. It was like a flash of
sunshine piercing the gray haze that hung over the sea.
There were friends waiting on the shore for all save
Love. Older brothers these were, fathers and other
relatives who had made the pilgrimage from England a
few months before and had homes ready for them all.
They climbed a long hill, very flat on the top, and
reached by a flight of steps. Then they were as high as
the trees that lined the beach and could look over the
narrow streets, the tidy cottages with their red roofs,
and the pretty gardens. There were many little canals,
like blue ribbons, cutting the green fields.
"Welcome to Amsterdam!" said a Dutch housewife, in wide
white cap and apron, who met them. She put her hand on
Love's yellow hair. "And in which house are you going
to live, little English blossom?" she asked kindly.
Love looked up wonderingly into her face and there was
a whispered consultation between Mistress Brewster and
the Amsterdam woman. "Poor little blossom! She shall
come home with me. There is always room for one more in
the stork's nest," the Dutch woman said kindly. She
took Love's hand and led her away from the others, and
along the canal.
 The house where they stopped was very odd indeed. It
was made of red and yellow bricks and it stood on great
posts sunk deep into the ground. Opening the white door
that fairly shone, it was so clean, they were in the
kitchen. Such a kitchen it was, so cosy and so quaint!
The floor was made of white tiles and there was a queer
little fireplace. It looked like a big brass pan filled
with coals, and there was a shining copper kettle hung
over it by a chain from the ceiling. The kettle bubbled
and sang a cheerful welcome to Love. There were stiff
white curtains at the windows and, on the sill of one,
was a row of blossoming plants. Blue and white dishes
and a pair of tall candlesticks stood on a shelf. Love
could see a bright sitting room beyond and another room
where there was a strange bed built in the wall, and
stretching almost from the floor to the ceiling.
"Jan, Jan," the woman called. "Come in from the garden
and offer your new little English sister a seed cake.
You may have one yourself, too. You have long wished
for a playmate and here is one come to live in the
house with you."
The door opened slowly and in came Jan. He did not look
up at first. Then his eyes caught Love's. It was the
little boy of the fishing boat. His dear mother it was
who had offered to take care of lonely little Love.
 "You may help me drive the dogs that draw the milk
wagon," Jan said to Love the next morning after they
had become very well acquainted over their breakfast of
milk and oatmeal cakes.
"And so I can help to earn money for your kind mother,"
Love said with shining eyes.
Jan had two dogs and a little two-wheeled cart to which
he harnessed them every morning. Into the cart his
mother put two shining pails of milk and a long handled
dipper for measuring. To-day she put in some round,
white cheeses and golden balls of butter. Off started
the cart along the narrow street with Love running
gaily along one side and Jan clattering along in his
wooden shoes on the other side. The dogs knew where to
stop almost as well as Jan did for they had made the
trip so many times. The cheese and butter were soon
gone, and every one had a pleasant smile for the little
English lass. At one cottage, a Dutch housewife brought
out a strange, earth-colored bulb that she put in
Love's hands. Then, smiling down into the little girl's
wondering face, she said:
"It is a rare one indeed. I give it to you that you may
plant it and tend it all winter. When the spring comes,
you will have a finer one than any child in all
Love thanked the woman but she was puzzled over the
hard, dry bulb as she and Jan walked home beside
 the empty cart. "It looks like nothing but an onion.
What good is it, Jan?"
Jan's eyes twinkled. "I know, but I won't tell," he
said. "I want you to be surprised next spring. Come,
Love, we will plant it in the corner of the garden that
the sun shines on first in the spring. Then we will
As Jan dug a hole and Love planted the bulb, his words
repeated themselves in the little girl's lonely heart.
She remembered, too, what her dear father had said last
to her, "Wait patiently until I come, Love." Would her
patience bring the hard bulb to life or her father
back, Love wondered sorrowfully.
The days passed, with blue skies and the bright sun
shining down upon the canal, and then grew shorter. The
storks flew south, and Love was very happy. Her days
with Jan were busy, merry ones. She, too, had wooden
shoes now; and Jan's mother had made her a warm red
skirt and a velvet girdle and a little, green, quilted
coat. Love looked like a real little Dutch girl as she
skated to school, with her knitting in her school bag
to busy her fingers with when it was recess time.
There was never any place in England, Love thought, so
merry and gay as the frozen canal in front of her new
home in Holland. Everybody was on skates; the market
women with wooden yokes
 over their shoulders, from which hung baskets of
vegetables; and even a mother skating and holding her
baby in a snug nest made of a shawl on her back. The
old doctor skated, with his pill bag on one arm, to see
a sick patient at the other end of the town; and long
rows of happy children glided by, holding each other's
coats and twisting and twining about like a gay ribbon.
"Are you not glad, Love, that you came here to Holland
to be my sister?" Jan asked as, holding her hand in
his, he skated with Love to school.
"I am glad, Jan," Love laughed back. "I feel as if it
were a story book that I am living in, and you and your
dear mother and our house and the canal were the
pictures in it. But , oh, Jan, I wish very much that I
could see my father—so tall and brave and
strong!" Then she stopped. "We must be hastening, Jan,"
she said, "or we shall be late for school." But to
herself, Love was saying, "Be patient."
Spring came early that year in Amsterdam. The ice
melted and the canals were once more blue ribbons of
water. The sails of the windmills whirred, and the
housewives scrubbed their sidewalks until the stones
were clean enough to eat from. The storks built again
in the red chimneys and, everywhere, the tulips burst
into bloom. Love had never seen such beautiful flowers
in all her
 life, There was no garden in all Amsterdam so small or
so poor as not to have a bed of bright red and yellow
With the first sunshine, Love went out to the garden
where she and Jan had planted the ugly, hard bulb. How
wonderful; her patience had been rewarded! There were
two tall straight green leaves and between them, like a
wonderful cup upon its green stem, a great beautiful
tulip. It was larger than any of the others. It was not
red or yellow like the others, but pink, like a rose,
or a sunrise cloud, or a baby's cheek.
"Come, Jan; come, mother," cried Love, and then the
three stood about the pink tulip in admiration.
"It is the most beautiful tulip in all Amsterdam," said
"It is worth money," said his mother. "Some one would
pay a good price for the bulb."
Love remembered what Jan's mother had said. As the days
passed and the pink tulip opened wider and showed a
deeper tint each day, a plan began to form in the
little girl's mind. She knew that there was not very
much money in Jan's home to which she had been so
kindly welcomed. She knew, too, that nothing was so
dear to the people of Holland as their tulips. Strange
tales were told; how they sold houses, cattle, land,
everything to buy tulip bulbs.
 One Saturday when Jan was away doing an errand for his
mother, Love dug up her precious pink tulip and planted
it carefully in a large flower pot. With the pot hugged
close to her heart, she went swiftly away from the
house, down the long steps, and as far as the road that
led along the coast of the sea below the dike. Here,
where great merchant ships from all over the world
anchored almost every day, Love felt sure that some one
would see her tulip and want to buy it.
There was such a crowd,—folk of many nations busy
unloading cargoes,—that at first no one saw the
little girl with the flower in her arms. Up and
 down the shore she walked, a little frightened but
brave. She held the flower high, and called in her
"A rare pink tulip. Who will buy my pink tulip?"
Intent on holding the flower carefully, she came
suddenly in front of a man who had been walking in
lonely fashion up and down the shore. She heard him
call her name eagerly.
"Love! Love! Oh, my little Love!"
Looking up, Love almost dropped the tulip in her joy.
Then she set it down and rushed into his arms.
"Father, dear father! Oh, where have you been so long?"
It was a story told between laughter and tears. Goodman
Bradford, only a short time since released from prison,
had come straight to Amsterdam, but he had been able to
find no trace of Love. Mistress Brewster had gone on
with the Pilgrims to America, and there was no one to
tell Goodman Bradford where his little daughter was.
Now, he could make a home for her and reward Jan's
"I was patient," Love said, "as you bade me be, and
see," she cried as, hand in hand, they reached the
quaint little cottage where Jan and his mother stood at
the door to greet them, "in good time they both came to
me—the pink tulip, and my father."