Between two calls he explained to me:
"Kléber is my ferret. A phenomenon!"
And he called again:
Then, on a branch above us, between green and golden leaves, there appeared a pink snout and two little black, sharp, bright eyes.
"Oh! I knew well that he was not far away. Come, come here, Kléber! Psstt!"
The animal crept along the branch, ventured upon the trunk, and descended carefully, burying its claws in the bark. His body, covered with white fur and marked with pale yellow spots, had the supple movements, the graceful undulations, of a serpent. He touched ground, and in two bounds was on the knees of the captain, who began to caress him joyfully.
"Oh! the good Kléber! Oh! the charming little Kléber!"
He turned to me:
"Did you ever see a ferret as tame as that? He follows me about the garden everywhere, like a little dog. I have only to call him, and he is there directly, his tail frisking, his head lifted. He eats with us, sleeps with us. Indeed, I love the little beast as if he were a person. Why, Mademoiselle Célestine, I have refused three hundred francs for him. I would not sell him for a thousand francs,—no, not for two thousand francs. Here, Kléber."