L)ISCEN FIIROMl 11/ IYAk(BEN
A DOG OF FLANDERS
A Christmas Story
LOUISA DE LA RAME
ILL USTRA TED
NIMS AND KNIGHT
('(OPYI'IGIIHT, 1 91,
BY NIMNS AND KNIGHT.
11.I.I TI-T AT[)I) AND I'1INTED-
1BY THE BOSTON I'lOTOlt ,AVV IIE: (C(.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
The I)escent from the Cross. [After Ioubcns.]...Froitisiec
Headpiece to I.ist of Illustrations ...................... v
Tailpiece to List of Illustrations ........ . .. .... . vii
Initial .................... . .............. I
"A IFlmish ,,, .. with long lines of poplars and of
alders on the edge of the great canal which ran through
it" ................... .... ... ...................... 2
"In the centre of the I',. stood a windmnill'. .......
"The cathedral spire of Antwerp rising beyond the great
green plain '' ...... ......... .... ..... ..... .. 4
"Jehan Daas. who in his time had been a soldier ......... 5
"A dog of Flanders-large of head and limb, with wxolf-
like ears that stood erect ........................ 6
" A sullen, ill-living, brutal Brabantois ".................. 8
"The Brabantois had paused to drink beer himself at every
wayside house ........................ ....... .. 9
" Cursed him liercely in farewell and pushed the cart
lazily along the road uphill ........................ 11
" Kneeled in the grass of the ditch and surveyed the dog
with kindly eyes of pity ......... .......... ...... 14
" ie had a corner of the hut, with a heap of dry grass for
his bed ... .... .. .... ... ..... ........ 16
But it was becoming hard work for the old man ........ 1S
LIST 0, O ILL USTRA TONS.
" IFree to play with his fellow-dogs" ...................... 20
" So paralyzed with rheumatism that it was impossible for
him to go out" .......................... 21
" Some figure coming athwart the fields made picturesque
by a gleaner's bundle or a woodman's fagot "......... .. 24
"The cumbrous vessels 1.i :;,, bVy" ........ ......... 25
"And then sometimes in the streets of Antwerp, some house-
wife would bring them a handful of bread ..... ... 27
R ubens ............ ....... ........... ............. 29
"Old piles of stones, dark and ancient and majestic, stand-
ing in crooked courts".............................. 29
"The small tumbledown gray church opposite the red wind-
mill" ............................................ 32
"Nello would sit silent and dreaming, not caring to play ". 33
"Going on his ways through the old city "........... 36
Alois ............................................... 40
Baas Cogez, a good man, but somewhat stern ".......... 41
" Sitting amidst the hay, with the great tawny head of Pa-
trasche on her lap ................ .. ......... 42
The Miller's Wife .................................... 44
" She ran to him and held him close". .................. 49
" Went home by themselves to the little dark hut and the
meal of black bread" ................. ........... 52
" All the spring and summer and autumn Nello had been at
work upon the treasure ............. ............ 5S
" My poor Patrasche, we shall soon lie quiet together, you
and I" ................. ...................... 63
"They mourned him passionately "...................... 70
"The boy and the dog went on again wearily ......... 75
"The boy mechanically turned the case to the light ...... 78
" Nello had gone to face starvation and misery alone '...... 82
"The housewife sat with calm contented face at the spinning-
wheel" ...................................... .... 83
"The scent was lost and again recovered a hundred times
or more"............... ........ ......... 85
LIST OF ILL USTRA TIOVS. vii
" Some group went homeward with lanterns, chanting drink-
ing songs"................ .... .. .... ............ 86
" le is gone to the i.;- that he loved". ............... 87
"Suddenly through the darkness a great white radiance
stream ed .............. ......... .......... 90
Tailpiece ....... .................................. 94
A DOG OF FLANDERS:
A STORY OF NOEL.
L T'.ELLO and Patrasche were left
all alone in the world.
They were friends in a
", friendship closer than brother-
hood. Nello was a little Ar-
dennois; Patrasche was a big
Fleming. They were both of
the same age by length of
years, yet one was still young,
and the other was already old.
:"- They had dwelt together al-
most all their days: both were
orphaned and destitute, and owed their
lives to the same hand. It had been
the beginning of the tie between them,
their first bond of sympathy; and it had
strengthened day by day, and had grown
with their growth, firm and indissoluble,
until they loved one another very greatly.
A DOG OF FLANVDERS.
Their home was a little hut on the
edge of a little village-a Flemish village
a league from Antwerp, set amidst flat
breadths of pasture and corn-lands, with
long lines of poplars and of alders bend-
ing in the breeze on the edge of the great
canal which ran through it. It had about
a score of houses and homesteads, with
shutters of bright green or sky-blue, and
roofs rose-red or black and white, and
walls whitewashed until they shone in the
sun like snow. In the centre of the vil-
la-e stood a windmill, placed on a little
moss-grown slope: it was a landmark to
all the level country round. It had once
A DOG OF IZAND/A"iS.
been painted scarlet, sails and all, but that
had been in its infancy
more earlier, when it
had ground wheat for
the soldiers of Napo-
leon; and it was now
a ruddy brown, tanned
by wind and weather.
It went queerly by fits
and starts, as though
rheumatic and stiff in
the joints from age,
but it served the whole
would have thought it
, half a century or
.. i -
almost as impious
to carry grain elsewhere as to attend any
other religious service than the mass that
was performed at the altar of the little
old gray church, with its conical steeple,
which stood opposite to it, and whose
single bell rang morning, noon and night
with that strange, subdued, hollow sad-
ness which every bell that hangs in the
Low Countries seems to gain as an inte-
gral part of its melody.
A DOG OF FIANDERS.
Within sound of the little melancholy
clock, almost from their birth upward, they
had dwelt together, Nello and Patrasche,
in the little hut on the edge of the village,
with the cathedral spire of Antwerp rising
in the northeast, beyond the great green
plain of seeding grass and -1-.' .:1;I corn
- '-' "'
that stretched away from them like a tide-
less, changeless sea. It was the hut of a
very old man, of a very poor man of old
Jehan Daas, who in his time had been a
soldier, and who remembered the wars
that had trampled the country as oxen
tread down the furrows, and who had
brought from his service nothing except
a wound, which had made him a cripple.
When old Jehan Daas had reached his
full eighty, his daughter had died in the
A DOG OF FLAVDERS.
Ardennes, hard by Stavelot, and had left
him in legacy her two-year old son. The
old man could ill contrive to support him-
self, but he took up the addi-
tional burden uncomplainingly, _
and it soon became welcome f T' V'
and precious to him. Little
Nello-which was but a pet /
diminutive for Nicolas- throve
with him, and the old man
and the little child lived in the poor little
It was a very humble little mud-hut
indeed, but it was clean and white as a
sea-shell, and stood in a small plot of
garden-ground that yielded beans and
herbs and pumpkins. They were very
poor, terribly poor many a day they
had nothing at all to eat. They never
by any chance had enough: to have had
enough to eat would have been to have
reached paradise at once. But the old
man was very gentle and good to the boy,
and the boy was a beautiful, innocent,
truthful, tender-natured creature; and they
A DOG 01' IJZA\L'DEAS.
were happy on a crust and a few leaves
of cabbage, and asked no more of earth
or Heaven; save indeed that Patrasche
should be always with them, since without
Patrasche, where would they have been ?
For Patrasche was their alpha and
omega; their treasury and granary; their
store of gold and wand of wealth; their
bread-winner and minister; their only
friend and comforter. Patrasche dead or
gone from them, they must have laid
themselves down and died likewise. Pa-
trasche was body, brains, hands, head and
feet to both of them: Patrasche was their
very life, their very soul. For
.. i Jehan Daas was old and a crip-
'" ;.'1- ple, and Nello was but a child;
and Patrasche was their dog.
"7th: A dog of Flanders yellow
of hide, large of head and limb,
'-- ,.: with wolf-like ears that stood
erect, and legs bowed and feet
widened in the muscular development
wrought in his breed by many genera-
tions of hard service. Patrasche came of
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
a race which had toiled hard and cruelly
from sire to son in Flanders many a cen-
tury slaves of slaves, dogs of the people,
beasts of the shafts and the harness, crea-
tures that lived straining their sinews in
the gall of the cart, and died breaking
their hearts on the flints of the streets.
Patrasche had been born of parents who
had labored hard all their days over the
sharp-set stones of the various cities and
the long, shadowless, weary roads of the
two Flanders and of Brabant. He had
been born to no other heritage than those
of pain and of toil. He had been fed on
curses and baptized with blows. Why
not ? It was a Christian country, and
Patrasche was but a dog. Before he was
fully grown he had known the bitter gall
of the cart and the collar. Before he had
entered his thirteenth month he had be-
come the property of a hardware dealer,
who was accustomed to wander over the
land north and south, from the blue sea to
the green mountains. They sold him for
a small price because he was so young.
A DOG OF FLA X19LRS.
This man was a drunkard and a brute.
The life of Patrasche was a life of hell.
To deal the tortures of hell on the animal
creation is a way which the Christians
have of showing their belief in it. His
purchaser was a sullen, ill-living, brutal
Brabantois, who heaped his
cart full with pots and pans
and flagons and buckets,
and other wares of crock-
ery and brass and tin, and
left Patrasche to draw the
load as best he might, whilst
he himself lounged idly by
the side in fat and sluggish ease, smoking
his black pipe and stopping at every wine-
shop or caf6 on the road.
Happily for Patrasche -or unhappily
- he was very strong: he came of an
iron race, long born and bred to such
cruel travail; so that he did not die, but
managed to drag on a wretched existence
under the brutal burdens, the scarifying
lashes, the hunger, the thirst, the blows,
the curses and the exhaustion which are
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
the only wages with which the Flemings
repay the most patient and laborious of all
their four-footed victims. One day, after
two years of this long and deadly agony,
Patrasche was going __
on as usual along one
of the straight, dusty, -
unlovely roads that
lead to the city of
Rubens. It was full .
midsummer, and very,' -
warm. His cart was -"
very heavy, piled high -".'
with goods in metal
and in earthenware. -- '
His owner sauntered I
on without noticing
him otherwise than --
by the crack of the
whip as it curled round his quivering loins.
The Brabantois had paused to drink beer
himself at every wayside house, but he had
forbidden Patrasche to stop a moment for
a draught from the canal. Going along
thus, in the full sun, on a scorching high-
A DOG OF FZrINDERS.
way, having eaten nothing for twenty-four
hours, and, which was far worse to him,
not having tasted water for nearly twelve,
being blind with dust, sore with blows and
stupefied with the merciless weight which
dragged upon his loins, Patrasche, for once,
-I -..-.., ,.l and foamed a little at the mouth,
He fell in the middle of the white,
dusty road, in the full glare of the sun:
he was sick unto death, and motionless.
His master gave him the only medicine
in his pharmacy-kicks and oaths and
blows with a cudgel of oak, which had
been often the only food and drink, the
only wage and reward, ever offered to
him. But Patrasche was beyond the
reach of any torture or of any curses.
Patrasche lay, dead to all appearances,
down in the white powder of the summer
dust. After a while, finding it useless to
assail his ribs with punishment and his
-ars with maledictions, the Brabantois -
deeming life gone in him, or going so
nearly that his carcass was forever use-
A DOG OF FLAANDERS.
less, unless indeed some one should strip
it of the skin for gloves cursed him
fiercely in farewell, struck off the leather
bands of the harness, kicked his body
heavily aside into the grass, and, groaning
'l':i:8 i 23
A DOG OF FLAADERS.
and muttering in savage wrath, pushed
the cart lazily along the road up hill, and
left the dying dog there for the ants to
sting and for the crows to pick.
It was the last day before Kermesse,
away at Louvain, and the Brabantois was
in haste to reach the fair and get a good
place for his truck of brass wares. He
was in fierce wrath, because Patrasche
had been a strong and much-enduring
animal, and because he himself had now
the hard task of pushing his charette
all the way to Louvain. But to stay to
look after Patrasche never entered his
thoughts: the beast was dying and use-
less, and he would steal, to replace him,
the first large dog that he found wan-
dering alone out of sight of its master.
Patrasche had cost him nothing, or next to
nothing, and for two long, cruel years he
had made him toil ceaselessly in his ser-
vice from sunrise to sunset, through sum-
mer and winter, in fair weather and foul.
He had got a fair use and a good profit
out of Patrasche: being human, he was
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
wise, and left the dog to draw his last
breath alone in the ditch, and have his
bloodshot eyes plucked out as they might
be by the birds, whilst he himself went on
his way to beg and to steal, to eat and
to drink, to dance and to sing, in the
mirth at Louvain. A dying dog, a dog
of the cart-why should he waste hours
over its agonies at peril of losing a hand-
ful of copper coins, at peril of a shout of
Patrasche lay there, flung in the grass-
green ditch. It was a busy road that day,
and hundreds of people, on foot and on
mules, in wagons or in carts, went by,
tramping quickly and joyously on to Lou-
vain. Some saw him, most did not even
look: all passed on. A dead dog more
or less it was nothing in Brabant: it
would be nothing anywhere in the world.
After a time, amongst the holiday-
makers, there came a little old man who
was bent and lame, and very feeble.
He was in no guise for feasting: he was
very poorly and miserably clad, and he
A DOG OF FLANDER S.
dragged his silent way slowly through the
dust amongst the pleasure-seekers. He
looked at Patrasche, paused, wondered,
turned aside, then kneeled down in the
rank grass and weeds of the ditch, and
surveyed the dog with kindly eyes of pity.
were for hi breast-high, and stood azing
great, quiet beast.
There was with him a little rosy, fair-
haired, dark-eyed child of a few years old,
who pattered in amidst the bushes, that
were for him breast-high, and stood gazing
with a pretty seriousness upon the poor
great, quiet beast.
Thus it was that these two first met-
the little Nello and the big Patrasche.
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
The upshot of that day was, that old
Jehan Daas, with much laborious effort,
drew the sufferer homeward to his own
little hut, which was a stone's throw off
amidst the fields, and there tended him
with so much care that the sickness, which
had been a brain-seizure, brought on by
heat and thirst and exhaustion, with time
and shade and rest passed away, and
health and strength returned, and Pa-
trasche staggered up again upon his four
stout, tawny legs.
Now for many weeks he had been use-
less, powerless, sore, near to death; but
all this time he had heard no rough word,
had felt no harsh touch, but only the pity-
ing murmurs of the little child's voice and
the soothing caress of the old man's hand.
In his sickness they too had grown to
care for him, this lonely old man and the
little happy child. He had a corner of
the hut, with a heap of dry grass for his
bed; and they had learned to listen
eagerly for his breathing in the dark
night, to tell them that he lived; and
A DOG OF FLANDER S.
when he first was well enough to essay
a loud, hollow, broken bay, they laughed
aloud, and almost wept together for joy
at such a sign of his sure restoration;
and little Nello, in delighted glee, hung
round his rugged neck Nwith chains of
marguerites, and kissed him with fresh
and ruddy lips.
So then, when Patrasche arose, himself
again, strong, big, gaunt, powerful, his
great wistful eyes had a gentle astonish-
ment in them that there were no curses
to rouse him and no blows to drive him ;
A DOG OF iFLADERS.
and his heart awakened to a mighty love,
which never wavered once in its fidelity
whilst life abode with him.
But Patrasche, being a dog, was grate-
ful. Patrasche lay pondering long w:th
grave, tender, musing brown eyes, watch-
ing the movements of his friends.
Now, the old soldier, Jehan Daas, could
do nothing for his living but limp about
a little with a small cart, with which he
carried daily the milk-cans of those hap-
pier neighbors who owned cattle away into
the town of Antwerp. The villagers gave
him the employment a little out of charity
more because it suited them well to
send their milk into the town by so hon-
est a carrier, and bide at home themselves
to look after their gardens, their cows;,
their poultry or their little fields. But it
was becoming hard work for the old man.
He was eighty-three, and Antwerp was a
good league off, or more.
Patrasche watched the milk-cans come
and go that one day when he had got
well and was lying in the sun with the
.- DOG OF FIL.ADERS.
wreath of marguerites round his tawny
The next morning, Patrasche, before the
old man had touched the cart, arose and
walked to it and placed himself betwixt
its handles, and testified as plainly as
dumb show could do his desire and his
ability to work in return for the bread
of charity that he had eaten. Jehan Daas
resisted long, for the old man was one
of those who thought it a foul shame to
bind dogs to labor for which Nature never
A DOG O IIA L.ADERS.
formed them. But Patrasche would not
be gainsaid: finding they did not harness
him, he tried to draw the cart onward with
At length Jehan Daas gave way, van-
quished by the persistence and the grati-
tude of this creature whom he had suc-
cored. He fashioned his cart so that
Patrasche could run in it, and this he
did every morning of his life thencefor-
When the winter came, Jehan Daas
thanked the blessed fortune that had
brought him to the dying dog in the
ditch that fair-day of Louvain; for he
was very old, and he grew feebler with
each year, and he would ill have known
how to pull his load of milk-cans over the
snows and through the deep ruts in the
mud if it had not been for the strength
and the industry of the animal he had
befriended. As for Patrasche, it seemed
heaven to him. After the frightful bur-
dens that his old master had compelled
him to strain under, at the call of the
20 A DOG OF FLANDERS.
whip at every step, it seemed nothing to
him but amusement to step out with this
little light green cart, with its bright brass
cans, by the side of the gentle old man
who always paid him with a tender caress
and with a kindly word. Besides, his work
u t -. s .t h ms t'
..., 'l *w .. .' ]
.. l i" 4'L i 'i ~
p / /,i -
was over by three or four in the day, and
after that time he was free to do as he
would--to stretch himself, to sleep in
the sun, to wander in the fields, to romp
with the young child or to play with his
fellow-dogs. Patrasche was very happy.
Fortunately for his peace, his former
owner was killed in a drunken brawl at
A DOG OF FL.ANDERS. 21
the kermesse of Mechlin, and so sought
not after him nor disturbed him in his
new and well-loved home.
A few years later, old Jehan Daas, who
had always been a cripple, became so par-
i .... r.-. .. --
..-. ;, I:.-
I -_ -' I
alyzed with rheumatism that it was impos-
sible for him to go out with the cart any
more. Then little Nello, being now grown
to his sixth year of age, and knowing the
town well from having accompanied his
grandfather so many times, took his place
A DOG OF FLANDIERS.
beside the cart, and sold the milk and re-
ceived the coins in exchange, and brought
them back to their respective owners with
a pretty grace and seriousness which
charmed all who beheld him.
The little Ardennois was a beautiful
child, with dark, grave, tender eyes, and
a lovely bloom upon his face, and fair
locks that clustered to his throat; and
many an artist sketched the group as it
went by him the green cart with the
brass flagons of Teniers and Mieris and
Van Tal, and the great, tawny-colored,
massive dog, with his belled harness that
chimed cheerily as he went, and the small
figure that ran beside him, which had little
white feet in great wooden shoes, and a
soft, grave, innocent, happy face like the
little fair children of Rubens.
Nello and Patrasche did the work so
well and so joyfully together that Jehan
Daas himself, when the summer came and
he was better again, had no need to stir
out, but could sit in the doorway in the
sun and see them go forth through the
A DOG OF IZAlliVDATRS.
garden wicket, and then doze and dream
and pray a little, and then awake again as
the clock tolled three, and watch for their
return. And on their return Patrasche
would shake himself free of his harness
with a bay of glee, and Nello would re-
count with pride the doings of the day;
and they would all go in together to their
meal of rye bread and milk or soup, and
would see the shadows lengthen over the
great plain, and see the twilight veil the
fair cathedral spire; and then lie down
together to sleep peacefully while the old
man said a prayer.
So the days and the years went on,
and the lives of Nello and Patrasche
were happy, innocent and healthful.
In the spring and summer especially
were they glad. Flanders is not a lovely
land, and around the burgh of Rubens it
is perhaps least lovely of all. Corn and
colza, pasture and plough, succeed each
other on the characterless plain in weary-
ing repetition, and, save by some gaunt
gray tower, with its peal of pathetic bells,
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
or some figure coming athwart the fields,
made picturesque by a gleaner's bundle or
a woodman's fagot, there is no change, no
variety, no beauty any-
-. ".'-. where; and he who has
dwelt upon the moun-
'tains or amidst the for-
., ests feels oppressed as
: ,.. by imprisonment with
the tedium and the
~ i,- endlessness of that
--vast and dreary level.
But it is green and
very fertile, and it has
wide horizons that have
a certain charm of their own even in their
dulness and monotony; and amongst the
rushes by the water-side the flowers grow,
and the trees rise tall and fresh where the
barges glide with their great hulks black
against the sun, and their little green bar-
rels and vari-colored flags gay against the
leaves. Anyway, there is greenery and
breadth of space c '....li to be as good
as beauty to a child and a dog; and these
A DOG OF1 FLZA\/DEAS.
two asked no better, when their work was
done, than to lie buried in the lush grasses
on the i;.' of the canal, and watch the
cumbrous vessels drift-
ing by and bringing
the crisp salt smell
of the sea amongst
the blossoming scents
of the country sum-
True, in the winter
it was harder, and
they had to rise in the
ii ~---.- ,
Fi, 1 (i
darkness and the
bitter cold, and they had seldom as much
as they could have eaten any day, and
the hut was scarce better than a shed
when the nights were cold, although it
looked so pretty in warm weather, buried
in a great kindly-clambering vine, that
never bore fruit, indeed, but which cov-
ered it with luxuriant green tracery all
through the months of blossom and har-
vest. In winter the winds found many
holes in the walls of the poor little hut,
and ,the vine was black and leafless, and
A DOG OF I-'ZA1IA'DA'S.
the bare lands looked very bleak and
drear without, and sometimes within the
floor was flooded and then frozen. In
winter it was hard, and the snow numbed
the little white limbs of Nello, and the
icicles cut the brave, untiring feet of
But even then they were never heard
to lament, either of them. The child's
wooden shoes and the dog's four legs
would trot manfully together over the
frozen fields to the chime of the bells on
the harness; and then sometimes, in the
streets of Antwerp, some housewife would
bring them a bowl of soup and a hand-
ful of bread, or some kindly trader would
throw some billets of fuel into the little
cart as it went homeward, or some woman
in their own village would bid them keep
some share of the milk they carried for
their own food; and then they would run
over the white lands, through the early
darkness, bright and happy, and burst with
a shout of joy into their home.
So, on the whole, it was well with them,
A DOG OF J'ZA]\DIA'S.
very well; and Patrasche, meeting on the
highway or in the public streets the many
dogs who toiled from daybreak into night-
fall, paid only with blows and curses, and
4 i -
"11 i ,-- : -
-'!" ,, _- . ,
loosened from the shafts with a kick to
starve and freeze as best they might, -
Patrasche in his heart was very grateful to
his fate, and thought it the fairest and the
kindliest the world could hold. Though
A DOG 01-' IIl\-4VDIFS
he was often very hungry indeed when he
lay down at night; though he had to work
in the heats of summer noons and the
rasping chills of winter dawns; though
his feet were often tender with wounds
from the sharp edges of the jagged pave-
ment; though he had to perform tasks be-
yond his strength and against his nature,
--et he was grateful and content: he did
his duty with each day, and the eyes that
he loved smiled down on him. It was
sufficient for Patrasche.
There was only one thing which caused
Patrasche any uneasiness in his life, and
it was this. Antwerp, as all the world
knows, is full at every turn of old piles
of stones, dark and ancient and majestic,
standing in crooked courts, jammed against
gateways and taverns, rising by the water's
edge, with bells ringing above them in the
air, and ever and again out of their arched
doors a swell of music pealing. There
they remain, the grand old sanctuaries of
the past, shut in amidst the squalor, the
hurry, the crowds, the unloveliness and the
A DOG OF FLAA-DA'RS.
commerce of the modern world, and all
day long the clouds drift and the birds
circle and the winds sigh
around them, and be-
neath the earth at their
feet there sleeps--Ru-
.S -. ,1% .
1118~:I 'i J ir
And the greatness of ',L j,
the mighty Master still '.
rests upon Antwerp, and .I''1 i i
wherever we turn in its .
narrow streets his glory ""
lies therein, so that all ;'-
mean things are thereby
transfigured; and as we pace slowly through
the winding ways, and by the edge of the
stagnant water, and through the noisome
~I#JIt TJT -
A DOC OJ1F IA.E1')RA'S.
courts, his spirit abides with us, and the
heroic beauty of his visions is about us,
and the stones that once felt his footsteps
and bore his shadow seem to arise and
speak of him with living voices. For the
city which is the tomb of Rubens still lives
to us through him, and him alone.
It is so quiet there by that great white
sepulchre-so quiet, save only when the
organ peals and the choir cries aloud the
Salve Regina or the Kyrie Eleison. Sure
no artist ever had a greater gravestone
than that pure marble sanctuary gives to
him in the heart of his birthplace in the
chancel of St. Jacques.
Without Rubens, what were Antwerp?
A dirty, dusky, bustling mart which no
man would ever care to look upon save
the traders who do business on its wharves.
With Rubens, to the whole world of men
it is a sacred name, a sacred soil, a Bethle-
hem where a god of Art saw light, a Gol-
gotha where a god of Art lies dead.
0 nations! closely should you treasure
your great men, for by them alone will
4 DOG OF FLAVDERS.
the future know of you. Flanders in her
generations has been wise. In his life she
glorified this greatest of her sons, and in
his death she magnifies his name. But
her wisdom is very rare.
Now, the trouble of Patrasche was this.
Into these great, sad piles of stones, that
reared their melancholy majesty above the
crowded roofs, the child Nello would many
and many a time enter, and disappear
through their dark, arched portals, whilst
Patrasche, left without upon the pavement,
would wearily and vainly ponder on what
could be the charm which thus allured from
him his inseparable and beloved companion.
Once or twice he did essay to see for him-
self, clattering up the steps with his milk-
cart behind him; but thereon he had been
always sent back again summarily by a tall
custodian in black clothes and silver chains
of office; and fearful of bringing his little
master into trouble, he desisted, and re-
mained couched patiently before the
churches until such time as the boy re-
appeared. It was not the fact of his going
A DOG OF FLANVDERS.
into them which disturbed Patrasche : he
knew that people went to church: all the
village went to the small, tumbledown, gray
pile opposite the red windmill. What
troubled him was that little Nello always
looked strangely when he came out,
always very flushed or very pale; and
whenever he returned home after such
Visitations would sit silent and dream-
ing, not caring to play, but
azing out at the evening
- .. ""-'- skies beyond the line of the
canal, very subdued and
What was it? wondered Patrasche. He
thought it could not be good or natural
for the little lad to be so grave, and in his
dumb fashion he tried all he could to keep
Nello by him in the sunny fields or in the
busy market-place. But to the churches
Nello would go: most often of all would
he go to the great cathedral; and Patrasche,
left without on the stones by the iron frag-
ments of Quentin Matsys' gate, would
stretch himself and yawn and sigh, -and
A 1)OG OF FLAADLTA'S.
even howl now and then, all in vain, until
the doors closed, and the child perforce
came forth again, and winding his arms
about the dog's neck would kiss him on his
broad, tawny-colored forehead, and murmur
always the same words: If I could only
see them, Patrasche !-if I could only see
What were they? pondered Patrasche,
A DOG OF IZ4\ALDERZ'S.
looking up with large, wistful, sympathetic
One day, when the custodian was out of
the way and the doors left ajar, he got in
for a moment after his little friend and saw.
"They were two great covered pictures
on either side of the choir.
Nello was kneeling, rapt as in an ecstasy,
before the altar-picture of the Assumption,
and when he noticed Patrasche, and rose
and drew the dog gently out into the air,
his face was wet with tears, and he looked
up at the veiled places as he passed them,
and murmured to his companion, It is so
terrible not to see them, Patrasche, just
because one is poor and cannot pay He
never meant that the poor should not see
them when he painted them, I am sure.
He would have had us see them any day,
every day: that I am sure. And they keep
them shrouded there shrouded in the
dark, the beautiful things and they
never feel the light, and no eyes look on
them, unless rich people come and pay. If
I could only see them, I would be content
A DOG OF IFIArADES.
But he could not see them, and Patrasche
could not help him, for to gain the silver
piece that the church exacts as the price
for looking on the glories of the Elevation
of the Cross and the Descent of the Cross
was a thing as utterly beyond the powers
of either of them as it would have been to
scale the heights of the cathedral spire.
They had never so much as a sou to
spare: if they cleared enough to get a
little wood for the stove, a little broth for
the pot, it was the utmost they could do.
And yet the heart of the child was set in
sore and endless longing upon beholding
the greatness of the two veiled Rubens.
The whole soul of the little Ardennois
thrilled and stirred with an absorbing pas-
sion for Art. Going on his ways through
the old city in the early days before the
sun or the people had risen, Nello, who
looked only a little peasant-boy, with a
great dog drawing milk to sell from door
to door, was in a heaven of dreams whereof
Rubens was the god. Nello, cold and hun-
gry, with stockingless feet in wooden shoes,
A DOG OF FLAANDERS.
and the winter winds blowing amongst his
curls and lifting his poor thin garments,
was in a rapture of meditation, wherein
all that he saw was the beautiful fair face
~~ -~- Tr7~ 'iW
A DOG OTFIi ND-ElReS.
of the Mary of the Assumption, with the
waves of her golden hair lying upon her
shoulders, and the light of an eternal
sun shining down upon her brow. Nello,
reared in poverty, and buffeted by fortune,
and untaught in letters, and unheeded by
men, had the compensation or the curse
which is called Genius.
No one knew it. He as little as any.
No one knew it. Only indeed Patrasche,
who, being with him always, saw him
draw with chalk upon the stones any and
every thing that grew or breathed, heard
him on his little bed of hay murmur all
manner of timid, pathetic prayers to the
spirit of the great Master; watched his
gaze darken and his face radiate at the
evening glow of sunset or the rosy rising
of the dawn; and felt many and many a
time the tears of a strange, nameless pain
and joy, mingled together, fall hotly from
the bright young eyes upon his own
wrinkled, yellow forehead.
"I should go to my grave quite con-
tent if I thought, Nello, that when thou
A DOG OF FLIAnD/RSS.
growest a man thou couldst own this hut
and the little plot of ground, and labor
for thyself, and be called Baas by thy
neighbors," said the old man Jehan many
an hour from his bed. For to own a bit
of soil, and to be called Baas -master--
by the hamlet round, is to have achieved
the highest ideal of a Flemish peasant;
and the old soldier, who had wandered
over all the earth in his youth, and had
brought nothing back, deemed in his old
age that to live and die on one spot in
contented humility was the fairest fate he
could desire for his darling. But Nello
The same leaven was working in him
that in other times begat Rubens and
Jordaens and the Van Eycks, and all
their wondrous tribe, and in times more
recent begat in the green country of the
Ardennes, where the Meuse washes the
old walls of Dijon, the great artist of
the Patroclus, whose genius is too near
us for us aright to measure its divinity.
Nello dreamed of other things in the
A DOG OF FLAANDERS. 39
future than of tilling the little rood of
earth, and living under the wattle roof,
and being called Baas by neighbors a
little poorer or a little less poor than
himself. The cathedral spire, where it
rose beyond the fields in the ruddy even-
ing skies or in the dim, gray, misty morn-
ings, said other things to him than this.
But these he told only to Patrasche, whis-
pering, childlike, his fancies in the dog's
ear when they went together at their
work through the fogs of the daybreak,
or lay together at their rest amongst the
rustling rushes by the water's side.
For such dreams are not easily shaped
into speech to awake the slow sympathies
of human auditors; and they would only
have sorely perplexed and troubled the
poor old man bedridden in his corner,
who, for his part, whenever he had trod-
den the streets of Antwerp, had thought
the daub of blue and red that they called
a Madonna, on the walls of the wine-shop
where he drank his sou's worth of black
beer, quite as good as any of the famous
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
altar-pieces for which the stranger folk
traveled far and wide into Flanders from
every land on which the good sun shone.
There was only one other beside Pa-
trasche to whom Nello could talk at all of
his daring fantasies. This
other was little Alois, who
lived at the old red mill on
the grassy mound, and whose
father, the miller, was the
best-to-do husbandman in all
.. the village. Little Alois was
only a pretty baby with soft
round, rosy features, made lovely by those
sweet dark eyes that the Spanish rule has
left in so many a Flemish face, in testi-
mony of the Alvan dominion, as Spanish
art has left broadsown throughout the
country majestic palaces and stately courts,
gilded house-fronts and sculptured lintels
- histories in blazonry and poems in
Little Alois was often with Nello and
Patrasche. They played in the fields, they
ran in the snow, they gathered the daisies
A DOG OF FLANDER'S.
and bilberries, they went up to the old
gray church together, and they often sat
together by the broad wood-fire in the mill-
house. Little Alois, indeed, was the rich-
est child in the hamlet. She had neither
brother nor sister; her blue serge dress
had never a hole in it; at kermesse she
had as many gilded nuts and Agni Dei in
sugar as her hands could hold; and when
she went up for her first communion her
flaxen curls were covered with a cap of
richest Mechlin lace, which had been her
mother's and her grandmother's before it
came to her. Men spoke already, though
she had but twelve years, of the -
good wife she would be for their /
sons to woo and win; but she K. *.
herself was a little gay, simple
child, in nowise conscious of
her heritage, and she loved no
playfellows so well as Jehan
Daas' grandson and his dog.
One day her father, Baas Cogez, a good
man, but somewhat stern, came on a pretty
group in the long meadow behind the mill,
A DOU O)F 1II\L--)i-DS.
where the aftermath had that day been
cut. It was his little daughter sitting
amidst the hay, with the great tawny head
of Patrasche on her lap, and many wreaths
of poppies and blue cornflowers round
them both on a clean smooth slab of
ness with a stick of charcoal.
S.' ^ '*
portrait with tears in his e es, it was so
ness with a stick of charcoal.
The miller stood and looked at the
portrait with tears in his eyes, it was so
A DOG OF ILAZDERIS.
strangely like, and he loved his only child
closely and well. Then he roughly chid
the little girl for idling there whilst her
mother needed her within, and sent her
indoors crying and afraid: then, turning,
he snatched the wood from Nello's hands.
" Dost do much of such folly? he asked,
but there was a tremble in his voice.
Nello colored and hung his head. "I
draw everything I see," he murmured.
The miller was silent: then he stretched
his hand out with a franc in it. It is
folly, as I say, and evil waste of time:
nevertheless, it is like Alois, and will
please the house-mother: Take this sil-
ver bit for it and leave it for me."
The color died out of the face of the
young Ardennois: he lifted his head and
put his hands behind his back. Keep
your money and the portrait both, Baas
Cogez," he said simply. You have been
often good to me." Then he called Pa-
trasche to him, and walked away across
"I could have seen them with that
A DUG OF TJ.I\7DLS.
franc," he murmured to Patrasche, "but
I could not sell her picture -not even
Baas Cogez went into his mill-house
sore troubled in his mind. That lad
must not be so much with Alois," he said
to his wife that night. Trouble may
come of it hereafter: he is fifteen now,
and she is twelve; and the boy is comely
of face and form."
S "And he is a good lad and
S a loyal," said the housewife,
S feasting her eyes on the piece
Sof pine wood where it was
-CT^ throned above the chimney
S with a cuckoo clock in oak
and a Calvary in wax.
Yea, I do not gainsay that," said the
miller, draining his pewter flagon.
Then, if what you think of were ever
to come to pass," said the wife, hesitat-
ingly, would it matter so much? She
will have enough for both, and one can-
not be better than happy."
You are a woman, and therefore a
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
fool," said the miller harshly, striking his
pipe on the table. "The lad is naught
but a b,_-U',, and, with these painter's
fancies, worse than a b, .... Have a
care that they are not together in the
future, or I will send the child to the
surer keeping of the nuns of the Sacred
The poor mother was terrified, and
promised humbly to do his will. Not
that she could bring herself altogether to
separate the child from her favorite play-
mate, nor did the miller even desire that
extreme of cruelty to a young lad who
was guilty of nothing except poverty. But
there were many ways in which little Alois
was kept away from her chosen compan-
ion; and Nello being a boy proud and
quiet and sensitive, was quickly wounded,
and ceased to turn his own steps and
those of Patrasche, as he had been used
to do with every moment of leisure, to
the old red mill upon the slope. What
his offence was he did not know: he sup-
posed he had in some manner angered
46 A DOG OF IYANDVERS.
Baas Cogez by taking the portrait of Alois
in the meadow; and when the child who
loved him would run to him and nestle
her hand in his, he would smile at her
very sadly and say with a tender concern
for her before himself, Nay, Alois, do not
anger your father. He thinks that I make
you idle, dear, and he is not pleased that
you should be with me. He is a good
man and loves you well: we will not
anger him, Alois."
But it was with a sad heart that he said
it, and the earth did not look so bright to
him as it had used to do when he went
out at sunrise under the poplars down the
straight roads with Patrasche. The old
red mill had been a landmark to him, and
he had been used to pause by it, going
and coming, for a cheery greeting with its
people as her little flaxen head rose above
the low mill-wicket, and her little rosy
hands had held out a bone or a crust to
Patrasche. Now the dog looked wistfully
at a closed door, and the boy went on
without pausing, with a pang at his heart,
A DOG OF iLAA'DERS.
and the child sat within, with tears drop-
ping slowly on the knitting to which she
was set, on her little stool by the stove;
and Baas Cogez, working among his sacks
and his mill-gear, would harden his will
and say to himself, It is best so. The
lad is all but a beggar, and full of idle,
dreaming fooleries. Who knows what
mischief might not come of it in the fut-
ure ?" So he was wise in his generation,
and would not have the door unbarred,
except upon rare and formal occasions,
which seemed to have neither warmth nor
mirth in them to the two children, who
had been accustomed so long to a daily
gleeful, careless, happy interchange of
greeting, speech and pastime, with no
other watcher of their sports or auditor of
their fancies than Patrasche, sagely shak-
ing the brazen bells of his collar and
responding with all a dog's swift sym-
pathies to their every change of mood.
All this while the little panel of pine
wood remained over the chimney in the
mill-kitchen with the cuckoo clock and
A DOG OF FLAdDERS.
the waxen Calvary, and sometimes it
seemed to Nello a little hard that whilst
his gift was accepted he himself should
But he did not complain: it was his
habit to be quiet: old Jehan Daas had
said ever to him, We are poor: we must
take what God sends -the ill with the
good: the poor cannot choose."
To which the boy had always listened
in silence, being reverent of his old grand-
father; but nevertheless a certain vague,
sweet hope, such as beguiles the children
of genius, had whispered in his heart,
"Yet the poor do choose sometimes-
choose to be great, so that men cannot
say them nay." And he thought so still
in his innocence; and one day, when the
little Alois, finding him by chance alone
amongst the corn-fields by the canal, ran
to him and held him close, and sobbed
piteously because the morrow would be
her saint's day, and for the first time in
all her life her parents had failed to bid
him to the little supper and romp in the
1 DOG OF /01 .-l.)\i/,.
great barns with which her feast-day was
always celebrated, Nello had kissed her
and murmured to her in firm faith, It
shall be different one day, Alois. One
day that little bit of pine wood that your
father has of mine shall be worth its
4 ) DOG OF FLADRSL .
weight in silver; and he will not shut
the door against me then. Only love me
always, dear little Alois, only love me
always, and I will be great."
And if I do not love you ? the pretty
child asked, pouting a little through her
tears, and moved by the instinctive coquet-
ries of her sex.
Nello's eyes left her face and wandered
to the distance, where in the red and gold
of the Flemish night the cathedral spire
rose. There was a smile on his face so
sweet and yet so sad that little Alois was
awed by it. "I will be great still," he
said under his breath great still, or
"You do not love me," said the little
spoilt child, pushing him away; but the
boy shook his head and smiled, and went
on his way through the tall yellow corn,
seeing as in a vision some day in a fair
future when he should come into that old
familiar land and ask Alois of her people,
and be not refused or denied, but received
in honor, whilst the village folk should
A DOG 0 F FLAANDERS.
throng to look upon him and say in one
another's ears, Dost see him? He is a
king among men, for he is a great artist
and the world speaks his name; and yet
he was only our poor little Nello, who
was a beggar, as one may say, and only
got his bread by the help of his dog."
And he thought how he would fold his
grandsire in furs and purples, and por-
tray him as the old man is portrayed in
the Family in the chapel of St. Jacques;
and of how he would hang the throat
of Patrasche with a collar of gold, and
place him on his right hand, and say to
the people, This was once my only
friend; and of how he would build him-
self a great white marble palace, and make
to himself luxuriant gardens of pleasure,
on the slope looking outward to where
the cathedral spire rose, and not dwell in
it himself, but summon to it, as to a home,
all men young and poor and friendless,
but of the will to do mighty things; and
of how he would say to them always, if
they sought to bless his name, Nay, do
, D)OG OF F-1/A\IA'S.
not thank me thank Rubens. Without
him, what should I have been?" And
these dreams, beautiful, impossible, inno-
cent, free of all selfishness, full of heroical
I, _J' ._ r:' .
[ ill ',, ,
worship, ere o closely about hi as he
went that he was happy-happy even on
this sad anniversary of Alois' saint's day,
when he and Patrasche went home by
themselves to the little dark hut and the
went that e was happ--hapyeeno
A DOG OF FIA4\-ADLRS.
meal of black bread, whilst in the mill-
house all the children of the village sang
and laughed, and ate the big round cakes
of Dijon and the almond gingerbread of
Brabant, and danced in the great barn to
the light of the stars and the music of
flute and fiddle.
Never mind, Patrasche,'4 he said, with
his arms round the dog's neck as they
both sat in the door of the hut, where
the sounds of the mirth at the mill came
down to them on the night air-" never
mind. It shall all be changed by and
He believed in the future: Patrasche,
of more experience and of more philoso-
phy, thought that the loss of the mill
supper in the present was ill compensated
by dreams of milk and honey in some
vague hereafter. And Patrasche growled
whenever he passed by Baas Cogez.
"This is Alois' name-day, is it not ?"
said the old man Daas that night from
the corner where he was stretched upon
his bed of sacking.
1 Z)00 OF FL.I\Y)A'AS.
The boy gave a gesture of assent: he
wished that the old man's memory had
erred a little, instead of keeping such sure
SAnd why not there ? his grandfather
pursued. Thou hast never missed a
year before, Nello."
Thou art too sick to leave," murmured
the lad, bending his handsome young head
over the bed.
Tut! tut! Mother Nulette would have
come and sat with me, as she does scores
of times. What is the cause, Nello ? the
old man persisted. Thou surely hast
not had ill words with the little one ?"
"Nay, grandfather-never," said the boy
quickly, with a hot color in his bent face.
"Simply and truly, Baas Cogez did not
have me asked this year. He has taken
some whim against me."
But thou hast done nothing wrong ? "
"That I know nothing. I took the
portrait of Alois on a piece of pine: that
"Ah!" The old man was silent: the
.A DOG ]OF /A.0\T)/'J1S.
truth suggested itself to him with the
boy's innocent answer. He was tied to a
bed of dried leaves in the corner of a
wattle hut, but he had not wholly for-
gotten what the ways of the world were
He drew Nello's fair head fondly to his
breast with a tenderer gesture. Thou
art very poor, my child," he said with a
quiver the more in his aged, trembling
voice -"so poor! It is very hard for
"Nay, I am rich," murmured Nello;
and in his innocence he thought so -
rich with the imperishable powers that
are mightier than the might of kings.
And he went and stood by the door of
the hut in the quiet autumn night, and
watched the stars troop by and the tall
poplars bend and shiver in the wind. All
the casements of the mill-house were
lighted, and every now and then the notes
of the flute came to him. The tears fell
down his cheeks, for he was but a child,
yet he smiled, for he said to himself, In
A DOG OF f Z.Il)\':AS.
the future!" He staved there until all
was quite still and dark, then he and
Patrasche went within and slept together,
long and deeply, side by side.
Now he had a secret which only Pa-
trasche knew. There was a little out-
house to the hut, which no one entered
but himself-- a dreary place, but with
abundant clear light from the north.
Here he had fashioned himself rudely
an easel in rough lumber, and here, on
a great gray sea of stretched paper, he
had given shape to one of the innumer-
able fancies which possessed his brain.
No one had ever taught him anything;
colors lie had no means to buy; he had
gone without bread many a time to pro-
cure even the few rude vehicles that he
had here; and it was only in black or
white that he could fashion the things
he saw. This great figure which he had
drawn here in chalk was only an old man
sitting on a fallen tree -only that. He
had seen old Michel the woodman sitting
so at evening many a time. He had never
A DOG OF 1,z1/iA\'DIR.
had a soul to tell him of outline or per-
spective, of anatomy or of shadow, and yet
he had given all the weary, worn out age,
all the sad, quiet patience, all the rugged,
careworn pathos of his original, and given
them so that the old, lonely figure was a
poem, sitting there, meditative and alone,
on the dead tree, with the darkness of the
descending night behind him.
It was rude, of course, in a way, and
had many faults, no doubt; and yet it was
real, true in Nature, true in Art, and very
mournful, and in a manner beautiful.
Patrasche had lain quiet countless hours
watching its gradual creation after the la-
bor of each day was done, and he knew
that Nello had a hope-vain and wild,
perhaps, but strongly cherished- of send-
ing this great drawing to compete for a
prize of two hundred francs a year, which
it was announced in Antwerp would be
open to every lad of talent, scholar or
peasant, under eighteen, who would at-
tempt to win it with some unaided work
of chalk or pencil. Three of the fore-
A DOG OF A LA-NDERI'S.
most artists in the town of Rubens were
to be the judges and elect the victor
i, .. '
All the spring and sum-
mer and autumn Nello had
been at work upon this
treasure, which, if trium-
phant, would build him
his first step toward in-
dependence and the mys-
teries of the art which he
blindly, ignorantly, and yet
He said nothing to any one : his grand-
father would not have understood, and little
Alois was lost to him. Only to Patrasche
he told all, and whispered, Rubens would
give it me, I think, if he knew."
Patrasche thought so too, for he knew
that Rubens had loved dogs or he had
never painted them with such exquisite
fidelity; and men who loved dogs were, as
Patrasche knew, always pitiful.
The drawings were to go in on the first
day of December, and the decision be given
A DOG 01'P IL-ANLXES.
on the twenty-fourth, so that he who should
win might rejoice with all his people at the
In the twilight of a bitter wintry day,
and with a beating heart, now quick with
hope, now faint with fear, Nello placed the
great picture on his little, green milk-cart,
and took it, with the help of Patrasche,
into the town, and there left it, as enjoined,
at the doors of a public building.
"Perhaps it is worth nothing at all.
How can I tell ?" he thought, with the
heart-sickness of a great timidity. Now
that he had left it there, it seemed to him
so hazardous, so vain, so foolish, to dream
that he, a little lad with bare feet, who
barely knew his letters, could do anything
at which great painters, real artists, could
ever deign to look. Yet he took heart as
he went by the cathedral: the lordly form
of Rubens seemed to rise from the fog and
the darkness, and to loom in its magnifi-
cence before him, whilst the lips, with their
kindly smile, seemed to him to murmur,
" Nay, have courage It was not by a weak
A DO'G OF //...17A)'A.
heart and by faint fears that I wrote my
name for all time upon Antwerp."
Nello ran home through the cold night,
comforted. He had done his best: the
rest must be as God willed, he thought, in
that innocent, unquestioning faith which
had been taught him in the little gray
chapel amongst the willows and the poplar
The winter was very sharp already.
That night, after they reached the hut,
snow fell; and fell for very many days after
that, so that the paths and the divisions in
the fields were all obliterated, and all the
smaller streams were frozen over, and the
cold was intense upon the plains. Then,
indeed, it became hard work to go round
for the milk while the world was all dark,
and carry it through the darkness to the
silent town. Hard work, especially for
Patrasche, for the passage of the years,
that were only bringing Nello a stronger
youth, were bringing him old age, and his
joints were stiff, and his bones ached often.
But he would never give up his share of
.4 DOG OF I'Z.A4DERS.
the labor. Nello would fain have spared
him and drawn the cart himself, but Pa-
trasche would not allow it. All he would
ever permit or accept was the help of a
thrust from behind to the truck, as it lum-
bered along through the ice-ruts. Patrasche
had lived in harness, and he was proud of
it. He suffered a great deal sometimes
from frost, and the terrible roads, and the
rheumatic pains of his limbs, but he only
drew his breath hard and bent his stout
neck, and trod onward with steady pa-
"Rest thee at home, Patrasche -it is
time thou didst rest and I can quite well
push in the cart by myself," urged Nello
many a morning; but Patrasche, who un-
derstood him aright, would no more have
consented to stay at home than a veteran
soldier to shirk when the charge was sound-
ing; and every day he would rise and place
himself in his shafts, and plod along over
the snow through the fields that his four
round feet had left their print upon so
many, many years.
I DOG OF II,-JADLAS.
One must never rest till one dies,"
thought Patrasche; and sometimes it seemed
to him that that time of rest for him was
not very far off. His sight was less clear
than it had been, and it gave him pain
to rise after the night's sleep, though he
would never lie a moment in his straw
when once the bell of the chapel tolling
five let him know that the daybreak of
labor had begun.
My poor Patrasche, we shall soon lie
quiet together, you and I," said old Jehan
Daas, stretching out to stroke the head of
Patrasche with the old, withered hand which
had always shared with him its one poor
crust of bread; and the hearts of the old
man and the old dog ached together with
one thought: When they were gone, who
would care for their darling?
One afternoon, as they came back from
Antwerp over the snow, which had become
hard and smooth as marble over all the
Flemish plains, they found dropped in the
road a pretty little puppet, a tambourine-
player, all scarlet and gold, about six
A DO9G O'F ILA.VD\fiS. 63
inches high, and, unlike greater person-
ages when Fortune lets them drop, quite
unspoiled and unhurt by its 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
mill-house: he knew the little window
of her room. It could be no harm,-he
ul 8-;' ~--~ '
-I Do(, 01' /1-YIVDZAa.
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 it
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.
Out-buildings and much corn were de-
stroyed, although the mill itself and the
dwelling-house were unharmed. All the
village was out in terror, and engines
came tearing through the snow from
Antwerp. The miller was insured, and
would lose nothing: nevertheless, he was
in furious wrath, and declared aloud that
the fire was due to no accident, but to
some foul intent.
A DOG OF FLIAJDEIRS.
Nello, awakened from his sleep, ran to
help with the rest: Baas Cogez thrust him
angrily aside. Thou wert loitering here
after dark," he said roughly. "I believe,
on my soul, that thou dost know more of
the fire than any one."
Nello heard him in silence, stupefied,
not supposing that any one could say
such things except in jest, and not com-
prehending how any one could pass a jest
at such a time.
Nevertheless, the miller said the brutal
thing openly to many of his neighbors
in the day that followed; and though no
serious charge was ever preferred against
the lad, it got bruited about that Nello
had been seen in the mill-yard after dark
on some unspoken errand, and that he
bore Baas Cogez a grudge for forbidding
his intercourse with little Alois; and so
the hamlet, which followed the sayings of
its richest landowner servilely, and whose
families all hoped to secure the riches of
Alois in some future time for their sons,
took the hint to give grave looks and cold
'. DOC 0"' I*.L \)L \ A'S.
words to old Jehan Daas' grandson. No
one said anything to him openly, but all
the village agreed together to humor the
miller's prejudice, and at the cottages and
farms where Nello and Patrasche called
every morning for the milk for Antwerp,
downcast glances and brief phrases re-
placed to them the broad smiles and
cheerful greetings to which they had been
always used. No one really credited the
miller's absurd suspicion, nor the outra-
geous accusations born of them, but the
people were all very poor and very igno-
rant, and the one rich man of the place
had pronounced against him. Nello, in
his innocence and his friendlessness, had
no strength to stem the popular tide.
"Thou art very cruel to the lad," the
miller's wife dared to say, weeping, to her
lord. Sure he is an innocent lad and a
faithful, and would never dream of any
such wickedness, however sore his heart
But Baas Cogez being an obstinate man,
having once said a thing held to it dog-
0 0 0
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
gedly, though in his innermost soul he
knew well the injustice that he was com-
Meanwhile, Nello endured the injury
done against him with a certain proud
patience that disdained to complain: he
only gave way a little when he was quite
alone with old Patrasche. Besides, he
thought, If it should win! They will be
sorry then, perhaps."
Still, to a boy not quite sixteen, and
who had dwelt in one little world all
his short life, and in his childhood had
been caressed and applauded on all sides,
it was a hard trial to have the whole of
that little world turn against him for
naught. Especially hard in that bleak,
snow-bound, famine-stricken winter-time,
when the only light and warmth there
could be found abode beside the village
hearths and in the kindly greetings of
neighbors. In the winter-time all drew
nearer to each other, all to all, except to
Nello and Patrasche, with whom none
now would have anything to do, and who
,A DOG OF FL1ANDER)S.
were left to fare as they might with the
old paralyzed, bedridden man in the little
cabin, whose fire was often low, and whose
board was often without bread, for there
was a buyer from Antwerp who had taken
to drive his mule in of a day for the milk
of the various dairies, and there were only
three or four of the people who had re-
fused his terms of purchase and remained
faithful to the little green cart. So that
the burden which Patrasche drew had
become very light, and the centime-pieces
in Nello's pouch had become, alas! very
The dog would stop, as usual, at all the
familiar gates which were now closed to
him, and look up at them with wistful,
mute appeal; and it cost the neighbors a
pang to shut their doors and their hearts,
and let Patrasche draw his cart on again,
empty. Nevertheless, they did it, for they
desired to please Baas Cogez.
Noel was close at hand.
The weather was very wild and cold.
The snow was six feet deep, and the ice
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
was firm enough to bear oxen and men
upon it everywhere. At this season the
little village was always gay and cheerful.
At the poorest dwelling there were possets
and cakes, joking and dancing, sugared
saints and gilded Jesus. The merry
Flemish bells jingled everywhere on the
horses; everywhere within doors some
well-filled soup-pot sang and smoked over
the stove; and everywhere over the snow
without laughing maidens pattered in
bright kerchiefs and stout kirtles, going
to and from the mass. Only in the little
hut it was very dark and very cold.
Nello and Patrasche were left utterly
alone, for one night in the week before
the Christmas Day, Death entered there,
and took away from life for ever dld Jehan
Daas, who had never known of life aught
save its poverty and its pains. He had
long been half dead, incapable of any
movement except a feeble gesture, and
powerless for anything beyond a gentle
word; and yet his loss fell on them both
with a great horror in it: they mourned
A DOG 01' /1-_.AI1AA'S.
him passionately. He had passed away
from them in his sleep, and when in the
gray dawn they learned their bereavement,
unutterable solitude and desolation seemed
to close around them. He had long been
only a poor, feeble, paralyzed old man,
who could not raise a hand in their de-
fence, but he had loved them well: his
smile had always welcomed their return.
They mourned for him unceasingly, refus-
.1 )DO O1/,' -AiDE/AS. 71
ing to be comforted, as in the white
winter day they followed the deal shell
that held his body to the nameless grave
by the little gray church. They were his
only mourners, these two whom he had
left friendless upon earth the young
boy and the old dog. Surely, he will
relent now and let the poor lad come
hither ? thought the miller's wife, glanc-
ing at her husband where he smoked by
Baas Cogez knew her thought, but he
hardened his heart, and would not un-
bar his door as the little, humble funeral
went by. "The boy is a ', .-.gar," he
said to himself: "he shall not be about
The woman dared not say anything
aloud, but when the grave was closed and
the mourners had gone, she put a wreath
of immortelles into Alois' hands and bade
her go and lay it reverently on the dark,
unmarked mound where the snow was
Nello and Patrasche went home with
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
broken hearts. But even of that poor,
melancholy, cheerless home they were
denied the consolation. There was a
month's rent over-due for their little
home, and when Nello had paid the last
sad service to the dead he had not a coin
left. He went and begged grace of the
owner of the hut, a cobbler who went
every Sunday night to drink his pint of
wine and smoke with Baas Cogez. The
cobbler would grant no mercy. He was
a harsh, miserly man, and loved money.
He claimed in default of his rent every
stick and stone, every pot and pan, in the
hut, and bade Nello and Patrasche be out
of it on the morrow.
Now, the cabin was lowly enough, and
in some sense miserable enough, and yet
their hearts clove to it with a great affec-
tion. They had been so happy there, and
in the summer, with its clambering vine
and its flowering beans, it was so pretty
and bright in the midst of the sun-lighted
fields Their life in it had been full of
labor and privation, and yet they had been
A DOG OF FLAN'DERS.
so well content, so gay of heart, running
together to meet the old man's never-failing
smile of welcome!
All night long the boy and the dog sat
by the fireless hearth in the darkness,
drawn close together for warmth and sor-
row. Their bodies were insensible to the
cold, but their hearts seemed frozen in
When the morning broke over the
white, chill earth it was the morning of
Christmas Eve. With a shudder, Nello
clasped close to him his only friend, while
his tears fell hot and fast on the dog's
frank forehead. Let us go, Patrasche
dear, dear Patrasche," he murmured.
We will not wait to be kicked out: let
Patrasche had no will but his, and they
went sadly, side by side, out from the little
place which was so dear to them both, and
in which every humble, homely thing was
to them precious and beloved. Patrasche
drooped his head wearily as he passed by
his own green cart: it was no longer his
A DOG OF FIAAJDERS.
--it had to go with the rest to pay the
rent, and his brass harness lay idle and
glittering on the snow. The dog could
have lain down beside it and died for very
heart-sickness as he went, but whilst the
lad lived and needed him Patrasche would
not yield and give way.
They took the old accustomed road into
Antwerp. The day had yet scarce more
than dawned, most of the shutters were
still closed, but some of the villagers were
about. They took no notice whilst the
dog and the boy passed by them. At one
door Nello paused and looked wistfully
within : his grandfather had done many a
kindly turn in neighbor's service to the
people who dwelt there.
Would you give Patrasche a crust? "
he said, timidly. He is old, and he has
had nothing since last forenoon."
The woman shut the door hastily, mur-
muring some vague saying about wheat
and rye being very dear that season. The
boy and the dog went on again wearily:
they asked no more.
A DOG O0F /Z1.-IAND AS.
By slow and painful ways they reached
Antwerp as the chimes tolled ten.
If I had anything about me I could
sell to get him bread!" thought Nello,
but he had nothing except the wisp of
linen and serg e that covered him, and his
pair of wooden shoes.
Patrasche understood, and nestled his
nose into the lad's hand, as though to
pray him not to be disquieted for any woe
or want of his.
The winner of the drawing-prize was
to be proclaimed at noon, and to the pub-
A DOG OF FLAADERS.
lic building where he had left his treasure
Nello made his way. On the steps and
in the entrance-hall there was a crowd of
youths some of his age, some older, all
with parents or relatives or friends. His
heart was sick with fear as he went
amongst them, holding Patrasche close to
him. The great bells of the city clashed
out the hour of noon with brazen clamor.
The doors of the inner hall were opened;
the eager, panting throng rushed in : it
was known that the selected picture would
be raised above the rest upon a wooden
A mist obscured Nello's sight, his head
swam, his limbs almost failed him. When
his vision cleared he saw the drawing
raised on high: it was not his own! A
slow, sonorous voice was proclaiming
aloud that victory had been adjudged to
Stephan Kiesslinger, born in the burgh
of Antwerp, son of a wharfinger in that
When Nello recovered his conscious-
ness he was lying on the stones without,
A DOG OF F;LAWNDERS.
and Patrasche was trying with every art
he knew to call him back to life. In the
distance a throng of the youths of Ant-
werp were shouting around their suc-
cessful comrade, and escorting him with
acclamations to his home upon the quay.
The boy staggered to his feet and
drew the dog into his embrace. It is
all over, dear Patrasche," he murmured-
"all over! "
He rallied himself as best he could, for
he was weak from fasting, and retraced
his steps to the village. Patrasche paced
by his side with his head drooping and
his old limbs feeble from hunger and
The snow was falling fast: a keen hur-
ricane blew from the north: it was bitter
as death on the plains. It took them
long to traverse the familiar path, and the
bells were sounding four of the clock as
they approached the hamlet. Suddenly
Patrasche paused, arrested by a scent in
the snow, scratched, whined, and drew
out with his teeth a small case of brown
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
leather. He held it up to Nello in the
darkness. Where they were there stood
a little Calvary, and a lamp
Su.,.,:i I. fullyy under the cross:
r i-: I .. mechanicallyy turned
Ii --._ t-i the light: on it
tl I i !e_ l inle of Baas Cogez,
oIpe: w lp!i, it were notes for
rt th:.,isand francs.
-i h! -,oht roused the lad
I Iiri_ ,m his stupor. He
I,-I h it in his shirt, and
-r,!l.:ed Patrasche and
Iw him onward.
The dog looked up
wistfully in his
S Nllo made
straight for tlhe
struck on its panels. The miller's wife
opened it weeping, with little Alois cling-
A DOG OF A-ZAID1).iA'.
ing close to her skirts. Is it thee, thou
poor lad ? she said kindly through her
tears. Get thee gone ere the Baas see
thee. We are in sore trouble to-night.
He is out seeking for a power of money
that he has let fall riding homeward, and
in this snow he never will find it; and God
knows it will go nigh to ruin us. It is
Heaven's own judgment for the things we
have done to thee."
Nello put the note-case in her hand
and called Patrasche within the house.
"Patrasche found the money to-night,"
he said quickly. Tell Baas Cogez so:
I think he will not deny the dog shelter
and food in his old age. Keep him from
pursuing me, and I pray of you to be
good to him."
Ere either woman or dog knew what
he meant he had stooped and kissed Pa-
trasche: then closed the door hurriedly,
and disappeared in the gloom of the fast-
The woman and the child stood speech-
less with joy and fear: Patrasche vainly
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
spent the fury of his anguish against the
iron-bound oak of the barred house-door.
They did not dare unbar the door and
let him forth: they tried all they could
to solace him. They brought him sweet
cakes and juicy meats; they tempted him
with the best they had; they tried to lure
him to abide by the warmth of the hearth;
but it was of no avail. Patrasche refused
to be comforted or to stir from the barred
It was six o'clock when from an oppo-
site entrance the miller at last came, jaded
and broken, into his wife's presence. It
is lost for ever," he said with an ashen
cheek and a quiver in his stern voice.
"We have looked with lanterns every-
where: it is gone-the little maiden's
portion and all!"
His wife put the money into his hand,
and told him how it had come to her.
The strong man sank trembling into a
seat and covered his face, ashamed and
almost afraid. I have been cruel to the
lad," he muttered at length: I deserved
not to have good at his hands."
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
Little Alois, taking courage, crept close
to her father and nestled against him her
fair curly head. Nello may come here
again, father ? she whispered. He may
come to-morrow as he used to do ?"
The miller pressed her in his arms:
his hard, sun-burned face was very pale
and his mouth trembled. Surely, surely,"
he answered his child. He shall bide
here on Christmas Day, and any other
day he will. God helping me, I will
make amends to the boy--I will make
Little Alois kissed him in gratitude and
joy, then slid from his knees and ran to
where the dog kept watch by the door.
And to-night I may feast Patrasche ?"
she cried in a child's thoughtless glee.
Her father bent his head gravely:
"Ay, ay: let the dog have the best;" for
the stern old man was moved and shaken
to his heart's depths.
It was Christmas Eve, and the mill-
house was filled with oak logs and squares
of turf, with cream and honey, with meat
A DOG OF IZANDERS.
and bread, and the rafters were hung with
wreaths of evergreen, and the Calvary and
the cuckoo clock looked out from a mass
of holly. There were little paper lanterns
too for Alois, and toys of various fashions
and sweetmeats in bright-pictured papers.
There were light and warmth and abun-
dance everywhere, and the child would
fain have made. the dog a guest honored
But Patrasche would neither
S lie in the warmth nor share in
the cheer. Famished he was,
and very cold, but without Nello
he would partake neither of
comfort nor food. Against all
temptation he was proof, and
close against the door he leaned
always, watching only for a
,-s. means of escape.
S" He wants the lad," said
Baas Cogez. Good dog!
good dog! I will go over to the lad the
first thing at day-dawn." For no one but
Patrasche knew that Nello had left the
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
hut, and no one but Patrasche divined
that Nello had gone to face starvation
and misery alone.
The mill-kitchen was very warm; great
logs crackled and flamed on the hearth;
neighbors came in for a glass of wine and
a slice of the fat goose baking for supper.
Alois, gleeful and sure of her playmate
back on the morrow, bounded and sang
and tossed back her yellow hair. Baas
Cogez, in the fulness of his heart, smiled
on her through moistened eyes, and spoke
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
of the way in which he would befriend her
favorite companion; the house-mother sat
with calm, contented face at the spinning-
wheel; the cuckoo in the clock chirped
mirthful hours. Amidst it all Patrasche
was bidden with a thousand words of wel-
come to tarry there a cherished guest.
But neither peace nor plenty could allure
him where Nello was not.
When the supper smoked on the board,
and the voices were loudest and gladdest,
and the Christ-child brought choicest gifts
to Alois, Patrasche, watching always an
occasion, glided out when the door was
unlatched by a careless new-comer, and as
swiftly as his weak and tired limbs would
bear him sped over the snow in the bitter,
black night. He had only one thought--
to follow Nello. A human friend might
have paused for the pleasant meal, the
cherry warmth, the cozy slumber; but that
was not the friendship of Patrasche. He
remembered a bygone time, when an old
man and a little child had found him sick
unto death in the wayside ditch.
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
Snow had fallen freshly all the evening
long; it was now nearly ten; the trail of
the boy's footsteps was almost obliterated.
It took Patrasche long to discover any
scent. When at last he found it, it was
lost again quickly, and
lost and recovered, and
again lost and again
recovered, a hundred -
times or more.
The night was very
wild. The lamps un- ~ ,-
der the wayside crosses .
were blown out; the "
roads were sheets of
ice; the impenetrable darkness hid every
trace of habitations; there was no living
thing abroad. All the cattle were housed,
and in all the huts and homesteads men
and women rejoiced and feasted. There
was only Patrasche out in the cruel cold
--old and famished and full of pain, but
with the strength and the patience of a
great love to sustain him in his search.
The trail of Nello's steps, faint and ob-
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
scure as it was under the new snow, went
straightly along the accustomed tracks into
Antwerp. It was past midnight when Pa-
trasche traced it over the boundaries of
the town and into the narrow, tortuous,
gloomy streets. It was all quite dark in
the town, save where some light gleamed
ruddily through the crevices
of .house-shutters, or some
S'group went homeward with
lanterns chanting drinking-
songs. The streets were all
white with ice: the high
walls and roofs loomed black
against them. There was
scarce a sound save the riot of the winds
down the passages as they tossed the
creaking signs and shook the tall lamp-
So many passers-by had trodden through
and through the snow, so many diverse
paths had crossed and recrossed each
other, that the dog had a hard task to
retain any hold on the track he followed.
But he kept on his way, though the cold
A DOG OF LAZANDLERS. 87
pierced him to the bone, and the jagged
ice cut his feet, and the hunger in his
body gnawed like a rat's teeth. He kept
on his way, a poor, gaunt, shivering thing,
and by long patience traced the steps he
loved into the very heart of the burgh and
up to the steps of the great cathedral.
"He is gone to the things that he
loved," thought Patrasche: he could not
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
understand, but he was full of sorrow and
of pity for the art-passion that to him was
so incomprehensible and yet so sacred.
The portals of the cathedral were un-
closed after the midnight mass. Some
heedlessness in the custodians, too eager
to go home and feast or sleep, or too
drowsy to know whether they turned the
keys aright, had left one of the doors
unlocked. By that accident the footfalls
Patrasche sought had passed through into
the building, leaving the white marks of
snow upon the dark stone floor. By that
slender white thread, frozen as it fell, he
was guided through the intense silence,
through the immensity of the vaulted
space--guided straight to the gates of
the chancel, and, stretched there upon the
stones, he found Nello. He crept up and
touched the face of the boy. Didst thou
dream that I should be faithless and for-
sake thee? I, a dog?" said that mute
The lad raised himself with a low cry
and clasped him close. Let us lie down
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
and die together," he murmured. Men
have no need of us, and we are all alone."
In answer, Patrasche crept closer yet,
and laid his head upon the young boy's
breast. The great tears stood in his
brown, sad eyes: not for himself -for
himself he was happy.
They lay close together in the piercing
cold. The blasts that blew over the Flem-
ish dikes from the northern seas were like
waves of ice, which froze every living thing
they touched. The interior of the immense
vault of stone in which they were was even
more bitterly chill than the snow-covered
plains without. Now and then a bat
moved in the shadows-now and then
a gleam of light came on the ranks of
carven figures. Under the Rubens they
lay together quite still, and soothed almost
into a dreaming slumber by the numb-
ing narcotic of the cold. Together they
dreamed of the old glad days when they
had chased each other through the flower-
ing grasses of the summer meadows, or sat
hidden in the tall bulrushes by the water's
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
side, watching the boats go seaward in the
Suddenly through the darkness a great
white radiance streamed through the vast-
ness of the aisles; the moon, that was at
her height, had broken
through the clouds, the
snow had ceased to fall,
the light reflected from
the snow without was
clear as the light of dawn.
S It fell through the arches
S i full upon the two pictures
above, from which the boy
on his entrance had flung
back the veil: the Eleva-
tion and the Descent of the Cross were
for one instant visible.
Nello rose to his feet and stretched his
arms to them: the tears of a passionate
ecstasy glistened on the paleness of his
face. "I have seen them at last he cried
aloud. 0 God, it is enough! "
His limbs failed under him, and he sank
upon his knees, still gazing upward at the
A DOG OF FLANDERS.
majesty that he adored. For a few brief
moments the light illumined the divine
visions that had been denied to him so
long-light clear and sweet and strong
as though it streamed from the throne of
Heaven. Then suddenly it passed away:
once more a great darkness covered the
face of Christ.
The arms of the boy drew close again
the body of the dog. We shall see His
face-th cir," he murmured;" and He will
not part us, I think."
On the morrow, by the chancel of the
cathedral, the people of Antwerp found
them both. They were both dead: the
cold of the night had frozen into stillness
alike the young life and the old. When
the Christmas morning broke and the
priests came to the temple, they saw them
lying thus on the stones together. Above,
the veils were drawn back from the great
visions of Rubens, and the fresh rays of
the sunrise touched the thorn-crowned
head of the Christ.
As the day grew on there came an old,