potatoes which I took in a field with a wagoner's whip and a pumpkin. Might n't they have allowed me to die in France, I ask you, instead of sending me down there, old as I am?" . . . And then, quite happy at finding that somebody was willing to listen to him with sympathy, he showed to Yves his most precious possession in the world, the little cage and the sparrow.
The sparrow was quite tame, and knew his voice, and for more than a year had lived with him in his cell, perched on his shoulder. . . . Ah, it was not without trouble he had obtained permission to take it with him to New Caledonia, and then, he had besides to make for it a cage which would be suitable for the voyage, to procure some wood, a little old wire, and a little green paint to paint the whole and make it pretty.
Here I recall the very words of Yves. "Poor sparrow! It had for food in its cage a piece of that gray bread which is given in prisons, but it had the appearance of being quite happy, nevertheless. It jumped about just like any other bird."
Some hours afterward, when they reached the transport vessel and the convicts were about to embark for their long voyage, Yves, who had forgotten this old man, passed once more by chance near him.
"Here, take it," said the old man, with a voice that had altogether changed, holding out to him