Page:A Leaf in the Storm.djvu/42

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35
A DOG OF FLANDERS.

twelve years, of the good wife she would be for their sons to woo and win; but she herself was a little, gay, simple child, in nowise conscious of her heritage, and she loved no play-fellows so well as Jehan Daas' grandson, and his dog.

One day her father, Baas Cogez, a good man, but somewhat stern, came on a pretty group in the long meadow behind the mill, where the aftermath had that day been cut.

It was his little daughter sitting amidst the hay, with the great tawny head of Patrasche on her lap, and many wreaths of poppies and blue cornflowers round them both: on a clean smooth slab of pine wood the boy Nello drew their likeness with a stick of charcoal.

The miller stood and looked at the portrait with tears in his eyes, it was so strangely like, and he loved his only child closely and well. Then he roughly chid the little girl for idling there whilst her mother needed her within, and sent her indoors crying and afraid: then, turning, he snatched the wood from Nello's hands.

"Dost do much of such folly?" he asked, but there was a tremble in his voice.

Nello coloured and hung his head. "I draw everything I see," he murmured.

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