Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French III).djvu/73

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63
THE SORROW OF AN OLD CONVICT.

dealer's and bringing it back to him to-morrow with the little cage if there were time to do so before his departure. It would be a little difficult. Moreover, you are the only person who could go into the Roads to-morrow and go on board the transport to find out this old man; and I do not even know his name. And, then, would not people think it very odd?"

"Ah, yes, certainly. As to its being thought odd, there cannot be any mistake about that." And for a moment I dwelt with pleasure upon the idea, laughing that good inner laugh which scarcely appears upon the surface.

However, I did not follow up the project, and the following morning when I awoke, and with the first impression gone, the thing appeared to me childish and ridiculous. This disappointment was not one of those which a mere plaything could console. The poor old convict, all alone in the world the most beautiful bird in Paradise would never replace for him the humble gray little sparrow with cut wing, reared on prison bread, who had been able to awake once more in him a tenderness infinitely sweet, and to draw tears from a heart that was hardened and half-dead.