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Upon my word,' said the jailer, 'I know nothing about it, Sir Count; all flowers are gillyflowers to me. But as you mention the subject, I must tell you you are rather late in recommending it to my mercy. I should have trodden on it long ago without any ill-will to you or to it, had I not remarked the tender interest you take in it, the little beauty!'

'Oh, my interest,' said the Count, is nothing out of the common.'

'Oh, it's all very well; I know all about it,' replied the jailer, trying to wink with a knowing look; 'a man must have occupation-he must take to something-and poor prisoners have not much choice. You see, Sir Count, we have amongst our inmates men who doubtless were formerly important people, men who had brains-for it is not small-fry that they bring here-well, now, they occupy and amuse themselves at very little cost, I assure you. One catches flies-there's no harm in that; another carves figures on his deal-table, without remembering that I am responsible for the furniture of the place.'

The Count would have spoken, but he went on. 'Some breed canaries and goldfinches, others little white mice. For my part, I respect their tastes to such a point, that I had a beautiful large Angora cat with long white fur, he would leap and gambol in the prettiest way in the world, and when he rolled himself up to go to sleep, you would have said it was a sleeping-muff-my wife made a great pet of him, so did I; well, I gave him away, for the birds and mice might have tempted him, and all the cats in the world are not worth a poor prisoner's mouse.'

'That was very kind of you, Mr Jailer,' replied the Count, feeling uneasy that he should be thought capable

of caring for such trifles; but this plant is for me more than an amusement.'

'Never mind, if it only recalls the green boughs under which your mother nursed you in your infancy, it may overshadow half the court. Besides, my orders say nothing about it, so I shall be blind on that side. If it should grow to a tree, and be capable of assisting you in scaling the wall, that would be quite another thing. But we have time enough to think of that; have we not?' added he with a loud laugh. 'Oh, if you tried to escape from the fortress!'

'What would you do?'

'What would I do! I would stop you though you might kill me; or I would have you fired at by the sentinel, with as little pity as if you were a rabbit! That is the order. But touch a leaf of your gillyflower! no, no; or put my foot on it, never! I always thought that man a perfect rascal, unworthy to be a jailer, who wickedly crushed the spider of a poor prisoner-that was a wicked action-it was a crime !'

The Count was touched and surprised. 'My dear jailer,' said he, 'I thank you for your kindness. Yes, I confess it, this plant is to me a source of much interesting study.'

'Well, then, Sir Count, if your plant has done you such good service,' said the jailer, preparing to leave the cell, 'you ought to be more grateful, and water it sometimes, for if I had not taken care when bringing you your allowance of water, to moisten it from time to time, the poor little flower would have died of thirst.'

'One moment, my good friend,' cried the Count, more and more struck at discovering so much natural delicacy under so rough an outside; 'what, have you been so

thoughtful of my pleasures, and yet you never said a word about it? Pray, accept this little present, in remembrance of my gratitude,' and he held out his silver drinking-cup.

The jailer took the cup in his hand, looking at it with a sort of curiosity. 'Plants only want water, Sir Count,' he said; and one can treat them to a drink without ruining one's self. If this one amuses you, if it does you good in any way, that is quite enough;' and he went and put back the cup in its place.

The Count advanced towards the jailer, and held out his hand.

'Oh no, no!' said the latter, moving back respectfully as he spoke; 'hands are only given to equals or to friends.'

'Well, then, be my friend.'

'No, no, that cannot be, sir. One must look ahead, so as to do always to-morrow as well as to-day one's duty conscientiously. If you were my friend, and you attempted to escape, should I then have the courage to call out to the sentinel, "fire !" No; I am only your keeper, your jailer, and your humble servant.'

[Write from dictation]

SAINTINE'S Picciola.

It was curious to see a man like the Count, deprived of political occupation, beguile his solitude by seeking amusement in this simple way. But it is yet more interesting to call to remembrance the delicacy of the jailer, who, conscientiously performing his responsible task, shewed in his conversation the gentlest, kindest sentiments one man could feel for another.




Father, father, are you listening,'
Said the shepherd's little child,
'To that wind so hoarse and hollow,
As it howls across the wild?


'When I hear it in the chimneys,
When it sweeps along the ground,
'Tis to me, as if deep voices
Mingled strangely with the sound.

[blocks in formation]

Nay, my child, they are not speaking, Not a word the winds impart, But each sound the Almighty sendeth, Hath a message to the heart.


'And that murmur deep and awful, Couldst thou catch its voice aright, It might whisper: "Child, be grateful, Thou art safe at home to-night."


'While for thee the red fire burneth,

Sitting by thy father's knee, Many laden ships are tossing, Far away on the salt sea.


'Many mothers sitting watchful,
Count the storm-gusts one by one,
Weeping sorely as they tremble
For some distant sailor-son.


"They might tell of Him who holdeth
In the hollow of His hand,
Gentle breezes and rude tempests,
Coming all at His command.


'He provideth our home-shelter,
He protecteth on the seas—
When the wild winds seem to whisper,
Let them tell thee things like these.'


Thus replied the shepherd-father;
And the child with quiet mind
Had a thought of God's great mercies,
As he listened to the wind.


[Spell and write]

generous, usually, favourite, varieties, affectionate, acquaintanceship, intelligent, incredible, revolutionary, admission, unremitting, fidelity, interviews, ordinary, aristocrat, unconscious, perpetrated, occasionally, considerable, relinquished, endeavoured, exhausted.

Volumes could be filled with anecdotes of the mutual attachment of men and dogs, and we are of opinion that the affection in such cases is very much more noble and generous than is usually supposed. No person, indeed,

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