Page:A Leaf in the Storm.djvu/47

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40
A DOG OF FLANDERS.

heart, "Yet the poor do choose sometimes—choose to be great, so that men cannot say them nay."

And he thought so still in his innocence; one day, when the little Alois, finding him by chance alone amongst the corn-fields by the canal, ran to him and held him close, and sobbed piteously because the morrow would be her saint's day, for the first time in all her life her parents had failed to bid him to the little supper and romp in the great barns with which her feast-day was always celebrated, Nello had kissed her, and murmured to her in firm faith,—

"It shall be different one day, Alois. One day that little bit of pine wood that your father has of mine shall be worth its weight in silver; and he will not shut the door against me then. Only love me always, dear little Alois; only love me always, and I will be great."

"And if I do not love you?" the pretty child asked, pouting a little through her tears, and moved by the instinctive coquetries of her sex.

Nello's eyes left her face and wandered to the; distance, where in the red-and-gold of the Flemish night the cathedral-spire rose.

There was a smile on his face so sweet and yet so sad that little Alois was awed by it.