Page:A Leaf in the Storm.djvu/57

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50
A DOG OF FLANDERS.

bourine-player, all scarlet and gold, about six inches high, and, unlike greater personages when Fortune lets them drop, quite unspoiled and unhurt by his fall. It was a pretty toy. Nello tried to find its owner, and, failing, thought that it was just the thing to please Alois.

It was quite night when he passed the millhouse: he knew the little window of her room. It could be no harm, he thought, if he gave her his little piece of treasure-trove, they had been play-fellows so long.

There was a shed with a sloping roof beneath her casement: he climbed and tapped softly at the lattice: there was a little light within.

The child opened it and looked out, half frightened.

Nello put the tambourine-player into her hands.

"Here is a doll I found in the snow, Alois. Take it," he whispered—"take it, and God bless thee, dear!"

He slid down from the shed-roof before she had time to thank him, and ran off through the darkness.

That night there was a fire at the mill. Outbuildings and much corn were destroyed, although the mill itself and the dwelling-house were unharmed. All the village was out in terror, and the engines came