Citation
Snowdrop, or, The adventures of a white rabbit

Material Information

Title:
Snowdrop, or, The adventures of a white rabbit
Portion of title:
Adventures of a white rabbit
Creator:
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
London ;
New York
Publisher:
T. Nelson and Sons
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
224, [16] p., [2] leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 16 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Rabbits -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Sick -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Gardening -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Fishing -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1873 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1873
Genre:
Publishers' catalogues ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
United States -- New York -- New York
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Added t.p. and frontispiece printed in colors.
General Note:
Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
related by himself.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026945188 ( ALEPH )
ALH7501 ( NOTIS )
07435838 ( OCLC )

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Full Text
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‘The Baldwin Library

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en cathete

SNOWDROP;

on,

THE ADVENTURES OF A WHITE RABBIT,















SNOWDROP;

oR,

THE ADVENTURES OF A WHITE RABBIT.

Tyeclated by ©





LONDON:
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH ; AND NEW YORK.





1873.



Preface.

4S a rule, the world does not allow
any large amount of intelligence to
individuals of my race, because,

ordinarily, we remain motionless,



and with eyes fixed. People often
would think we were dead, but for a slight
movement of the little tip of our nose. This
disadvantageous opinion, however, has not dis-
couraged me. Having been fortunate in a
home where I was carefully trained, I grew
very learned, and I repeated to myself, several
times daily, a line from a great fabulist, who,
I was told, had condescended to write about us,
and our cousins the hare:



“What could I do in my bwrow, if I did not sit and think?”



vi 2 PREFACE.

And, therefore, I thought! And during
my long hours of meditation, the thought
occurred to me that I would write the history
of my early career.

It seemed to me that a narrative of the
events of which I had been the witness, and
in which I had sometimes been an actor—
that the delineation of the good and bad
qualities of the children with whom I was
brought up, and the repetition of the wise
lessons I had the good fortune to learn—could
not but be of advantage for young readers.

I dedicate these pages to the excellent family
who took such pains to make me happy. May
they accept them as a proof of the living grati-
tude of their very humble and affectionate

servant,
SNOWDROP, THE RABBIT.





@ontents.

CHAPTER I.

MY BIRTH—A YOUNG LADTES
TINE—THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES

BOARDING-SCHOOL—MY FRIEND LEON-
1





CHAPTER IL.

THE HOLIDAYS—A Yous
FRIENDS—A YOUNG

G RABBIT'S FROLIC—MY MASTER AND HIS
SWISS — MY PRESENTIME!






LEONTINE,



CHAPTER Il.

RECOMMENCEMENT OF STUDIES—PORTRAITS OF
ERNESSES—PENITENCE FOR RUDENESS —LEONTINI
EVERYBODY DELIGHTED, AND ESPECIALLY SNOWDRO!

‘TWO ASSISTA:



“Gov



'S RETURN—



CHAPTER IV.

TWELFTH-NIGHT—SNOWDROP AND THE LOTTERY —LEONTINE WINS A







BOOK—NOR IS SNOWDROP FORGOTTEN .. «+. cece
CHAPTER V.

TRAGICAL ADVENTURE WITH A CAT—LESSONS IN DRAWING —I SERVE

AS A MODEL eaeenen aT







viii CONTENTS.

CHAPTER VI.



f SHADOWS "—SNOWDROP’S TEI
TER.. 5¢

« CHINES!
AGARD!



A HOLIDAY EVENING—THE,
ROR—THE EASTER VACATIO?



ERA CARP]



CHAPTER VIL

PUNCTUAL RETURN OF THE PUPILS—M. HECTOR—EVERY YOUNG LADY
HER OWN GARDENER—M. HECTOR INSPECTS THE GARDENS... 70



CHAPTER VIIL.

THE HISTORY OF TWO DISOBEDIENT AND IDLE CHILDREN—WISE RE
SOLUTION



SS OF THE YOUNG SCHOLARS .....26 0606+ ee



CHAPTER IX,

A RIVAL TO SNOWDROP APPEARS ON THE SCENE—A TRUE FRIEND—
MADEMOISELLE. ADELE'S MISCHTEVOUS TRICKS—AN OUTBU!



ANGER...



CHAPTER X.
MADEMOISELLE CLOTILDE’S BIRTH-DAY—A PLEASANT PROMENADE, IN
RIOUS GAM
RUPTION—-RETURN TO THE BOARDING-SCHOOL—AN AGREEABLE,
SURPRISE—THE JUSTICE OF CHARLEMAGNE... mL

WHICH I TAKE PART-



-—A DISAGREEABLE INTER-



CHAPTER XL.

A NEW FRIEND—AN ACCIDENT TO THE PARROQUET THE SINFU!
ORMNYRcc.sentace








ENTS. ix



CHAPTER XIL

A WANDERING FAMILY—A WORK OF CHARITY —THE BLESSING OF ALMS-
135

GIVING—A VISIT FROM THE CURE,



CHAPTER XIII.

A TRIP BY THE RIVER—CRUEL JOKE OF A COoK—THU
AN EXERCISE IN ARITHMETIC—RETURN TO SCHOOL





CHAPTER XIV.



ANOTHER EXPEDITION, IN WHICH
DIAN’:

OWDROP TAKES PART — BLIND-



BUFF



(OWDROP MAKES AN



EXCURSIO: DS +



CHAPTER XY.



THE OREAT LADY WHO LOVED KABBITS—A YOUNG ANGLER—HIS WON-
DEREUL ANGLING—AND THE CURIOUS FISH HE CAUGHT...... 166

CHAPTER XVI
ANECDOTES ABOUT ANTS—A HUMANE SOCIETY—A GRAND BATTLE —

ANTS AND APHIDES. 17g





CHAPTER XVIL

AN EXHIRITION OF RABBITS—I AM CONSIDERED WORTHY TO BE A COM-
PETITOR—REFLECTIONS WHICH THE EVENT SUGGESTS—1 CARRY
OFF A PRIZE 188



CHAPTER XVIII



PHILOSOPHICAL REFL
THE WALL—PUNISHMENT—THE TRIE

“TIONS ON THE PROGRESS OF SOCIETY —CLIMBING
Totean 100.





NTENT





CHAPTER XIX.

SNOWDROP AS A NATURALIST AND PHILOSOPHER—A NOCTURNAL EX-
CURSION—THE GLOW-WORMS—THE NECROPHORES—THE ANT-LION
THE CARPENTER-BEE. 211









CHAPTER X



THE VINE-TRELLIS AND THE FIELD-MICE—A CHANGE OF RESIDENCE—
‘THE SPIDERS--I REMOVE TO THE IRON-WORKS—THE FRIES
WHOM I DEDICATE MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.......-



Ds TO
219











CHAPTER I.



MY BIRTH—A YOUNG LADIES’ BOARDING-SCHOOL-
LEONTINE—THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZI



Oh, happy they for whom kind Heaven prepares

A sheltering roof, and friends to soothe their cares!
Deep in their heart of hearts should ever rest

‘The memory of a youth so fondly blest.



WAS bern at a young ladie:



” boarding-
school—or seminary, as it is some-
times called ;—and upon opening my
eyes to the light, I found myself sur-
rounded by a numerous group of girls
who, on seeing me, all cried out, “Oh, the
darling little white rabbit! How pretty
he is!”

“Has he pink eyes?” asked a handsome
brunette, who was too far off to judge for her-
self.



12 “ SNOWDROP.”

“No, my dear,” answered my nearest neigh-
bour.

“That is very singular,” replied the brunette.

“ Mesdemoiselles ! — mesdemoiselles !” she
said to some grown-up pupils who were con-
versing in an avenue of the garden; “come
and see a little white rabbit with brown eyes!”

Her exclamations attracted towards me the
attention of an aged lady, who, as I afterwards
learned, was the mother of the schoolmistress.
She took me up in her hands, fondled me,
showed me to her family, and christened me
“Snowdrop.” And from that hour I became
the object of assiduous care and watchfulness,
and I shared even in the advantages of the
admirable education which was given in the
establishment.

You will see from my example how great a
change education can effect in men and ani-
mals,

Two months passed away, in which I was
left to grow big and strong. It was the ful-
ness of summer ; and I listened, much amused,
to the little ladies, who called themselves very



A NEW PET. 13,

busy. One would be learning her catechism
for the approaching examination ; another,
Biblical history. The elder girls assumed a
grave air, and marched about with measured
steps, studying big—oh, such big !—books.
Chat and gossip ceased ; all the games were
given up; and even Snowdrop was neglected.
All this appeared to me very mysterious, and
I puzzled my brain fruitlessly to ascertain the
cause.

Several days passed by in these important
occupations. Then they came to an end, and
I was no longer forgotten. ‘‘Let us have a
game together, my pretty pet,” said the hand-
some brunette, whose name was Leontine; “let
us have a game together, for now I have time
to amuse myself. I have obtained a lot of
good marks for my examination, and I am sure
to carry off a prize. But you, Snowdrop, don’t
know what it is to have prizes; do you, foolish
little fellow? Well, then, listen: prick up
your ears, and pay attention. At the end of
every year, our mistresses have a grand day of
it. They invite all our mammas and friends



14 SNOWDROP AT LUNCH.

to attend, and into their presence they summon
every girl who has been—like me, you know—
awfully wise, obedient, and industrious, and
got on well in our studies. They place a fine
wreath on our heads, and in our hands a mag-
nificent book, full of pictures, and covered with
gilt. Oh, it is very delightful; and our
mammas can’t help weeping with joy !”

“That is fine,” I said to myself; “and I
should very well like to be in my young
friend’s place.”

Leontine continued talking to me for a long
time. She told me that the holidays had
come, and she was about to go home. This
news brought tears into my eyes; but I felt
that after so much hard work she deserved a
rest. I became very sad, however, when I
thought of my coming loneliness; and Leon-
tine, as if she entered into my feelings, pro-
-mised to visit me frequently, and to console
me, gave me part of her lunch. She seemed
delighted to do without it. I have since
learned, from my own experience, that it is in
the happiness of others we must seek our own.











A DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES. 17

Next day, the grand ceremony of distribut-
ing the prizes took’ place in the garden ; where,
on a platform erected for the occasion, all the
young ladies were seated, attired in white.
They looked very fair and innocent, and I am
sure it would not have been easy to find a prettier
spectacle. The mistresses spread a gay car-
pet over my hatch. I daresay it looked very
handsome, but it deprived me of much amuse-
ment, and, especially, prevented me from seeing
Leontine. I heard the speeches, however, and
the music, which was most delightful; and to
enjoy it fully, I made my little brothers and
sisters in the apartment adjoining mine keep as
still as possible. It seemed that my young
ladies were too busy on this memorable day to
bestow a thought on poor Snowdrop. Leon-
tine alone came to say “Good-bye.” I was
very hungry, but I would not tell her of it.
She slipped her little white hand between the
bars of my hutch; I licked it affectionately ;
and nourishing myself on my regret and
anxiety, I fasted until the following morning.

(392) 2





CHAPTER II.

THE HOLIDAYS—A YOUNG RABBIT’S FROLIC—MY MASTER AND HIS
“A YOUNG SWISS—MY PRESENTIMENTS—ILLNESS OF



LEONTINE,

A little child, obedient and good,
‘A sore temptation gallantly withstood
Before him lay a tart, a tempting prize!
But, quick as thought, he turned away his eyes.
His only fault was greediness, and yet

ie conquered it !—“Jam’s very nice, I know,
But yonder tart is safer where ’tis set—

Since I remember my dear mother’s ‘No !’—-
‘Than if ’twere in a cupboard locked away;
For I would ne'er her orders disobey.”



WAS awakened by a dispute between
two young sparrows, who had found
an old dead beetle, and could not
agree to divide it. While they were
struggling and fighting with each
other, down swooped a merry swallow, and
carried off the prey; so they were rightly
punished for their selfishness and gluttony.



PARTIAL LIBERTY. 19

There were four of us rabbits, with sometimes
only a single cabbage-leaf among us; but we
lived together in peace ; and I know more than
one little girl who would do well to follow our
example. At length one of the servants came
with my breakfast, and I spent the most mel-
ancholy day imaginable. A continual rain in-
creased my depression; I saw none of my
young ladies; it seemed they were too tired
with the previous day’s exertions to bid me
farewell. The greatest silence everywhere pre-
vailed, and I soon understood that each pupil
had gone home with her mamma.

The day following, the fine weather re-
turned ; and my mistresses, the proprietary of
the school, allowed me to roam about the
courtyard, only prohibiting me from going
into the garden, for fear I should touch the
flowers and vegetables. At first I was over-
joyed with this partial liberty, and I shook my
ears as a token of obedience. They placed too
much confidence in me, however; for impelled
by curiosity, that ugly vice, I escaped one fine
morning at sunrise, and darted like a madman



20 IN THE GARDEN,

into the avenues, and across the flower-beds.
I soon grew weary, and arriving on a little
terrace, I abandoned myself to a frenzy of ad-
miration. Certainly the scene before me was
ravishing ; I was present at the awakening of
the flowers. The roses balanced themselves on
their stalks, opening their delicious bosoms to
the first rays of the sun; the queen-daisies
shook from their petals the glittering dew-
drops; the immortelles and the May-flowers were
still asleep ; only the “ Marvels of Peru” drew
themselves up in all their pride, and expanded
their blossoms in the very ripeness of beauty,
to close them, however, as the heat of the day
increased. I could not grow tired of contem-
plating them, of listening to the sweet warble
of the birds and the hum of busy insects, wan-
dering hither and thither in search of food.
This last observation, and still more my un-
usual excursion, had sharpened my appetite.
From my post I caught sight, at the bottom of
the garden, of a magnificent bed of cabbages,
which tempted me powerfully. My conscience
disturbed me at first at the idea of eating them



SNOWDROP AT FAULT. 21

without permission; it advised me to turn
away mine eyes; but instead of flying, I kept
my gaze fixed upon the spectacle. Then I
thought there could be no harm in going
nearer to examine such very fine vegetables.
I approached ; and, alas! intoxicated by the
delightful fragrance, I put aside my scruples,
and tasted successively those which seemed to
me the finest. While I was making a hearty
breakfast, the cook arrived. She was struck
with astonishment at the sight of the ravages
I had committed !

“What will missus say ?” she cried; “the
very best cabbages nibbled at and spoiled !
And there, too! all Miss Clotilde’s flowers
are trampled over! Dear me, what a shame!
Iam quite sure the mischief has been done by
those nasty rabbits; and if I get hold of them,
won't I pinch their ears, and beat them
soundly !” j

_I trembled with alarm, and kept myself
concealed behind an enormous gooseberry-bush.
Fortunately the cook did not see me, and went
away growling, to complain to her mistress. I



22 SNOWDROP PENITENT.

profited by the opportunity to return to my
hutch with the utmost speed. Oh, how fast I
ran !—but when I got there, I could not lift
the lid! Then I reflected seriously on the
consequences of my error; and conquering all
false pride, resolved to remain by my cabin,
and receive in silence and humility the punish-
ment I had deserved. I repented sincerely of
having disobeyed my excellent mistresses.
When they arrived, they were more affected
by my sad and contrite air than they were
willing to show. They made me re-enter my
hutch, without saying a single word. Their
cold looks, and the absence of their usual fond
caresses, were a chastisement so bitter and so
complete that I was entirely cured of my
greediness, though I dare not say of my love
of liberty. Though I am not a warren-rabbit,
I feel all the charm which those of my kind ex-
perience who spend their lives sometimes in the
deep shady woods, sometimes in the genial sun-
shine, or in the midst of purple heather, scented
with wild thyme. My life is a different one; but,
by way of compensation, I enjoy perfect security,



A NEW PUPIL. 23.

food, and shelter. I am not exposed to the
danger of perishing by the hunter’s gun. IT
shall not be handed over to the remorseless
cook ; and, besides, the education I have re-
ceived procures me a host of intellectual enjoy-
ments. Decidedly, I am a happy creature.

The days which followed my escapade among
the cabbages passed quietly. I made a rapid
progress, especially in the art of observation.
I soon perceived that the days diminished in
length, and the rains became more frequent.
My mistresses did not walk out so frequently ;
and I learned, from a conversation which I
overheard, that one of them had set out for

~ Switzerland to bring back a new pupil. At
this intelligence I was delighted: my solitude
would soon terminate.

And a week later Miss Clotilde returned,
and did me the honour to present me to the
new boarder, who was called Marie. At first
she did not very much please me. She was
fair, short, and stout, with a large head, high-
coloured cheeks, a turned-up nose, and eyes
like a mole’s. Nor was the sound of her voice



24 A GAME AT TRIC-TRAC.

agreeable to my ears; she crunched out three
or four words before me which I could not
understand. I afterwards learned that her
native tongue was German, and that she had
come to France to learn French. She did not
seem at all sorrowful at being separated from
her family ; a circumstance which gave me a
poor opinion of her. All the little attentions
which she lavished on me gave me little pleas-
ure ; for, in my belief, a good heart is the quality
which, more than any other, wins admiration.

Every day my mistresses’ father played
tric-trac with Mademoiselle Marie to amuse
her. She was passionately fond of it, and
greatly amused at the alarm which the in-
cessant noise of the game excited in my timid
breast. I endeavoured gradually to accustom
myself to it, that she might no longer laugh at
my expense. By dint of self-control we may
conquer many weaknesses.

The game was generally followed by an in-
structive conversation. M. Antoine, an old
man of great intelligence and very amiable
manners, always combined the useful with the





“SHB WAS FAIR, SHORT, AND STOUT.”







jump about joyously—I y

SNOWDROP IN GOOD SOCIETY. 27

agreeable. He compelled his pupil to pro-
nounce her words correctly —a task which she
found very difficult. All the time she remained
at the school she could not pronounce my name
properly ; and so it was with a host of words,
which greatly amused her companions, and
suggested various little jests and pleasantries,
which she bore with tolerable good-humour.

M. Antoine was very partial to little Snow-
drop ; in fact, I became quite necessary to him,
and when the games at tric-trac came to an
end simultaneously with the holidays, I con-
tinued to pay him daily a prolonged visit.

His room was the general rendezvous of the
family and their most intimate friends, whose
acquaintance I made in due succession. When
they came I used to frolic before them, and
so proud of being
admitted into the society of distinguished men.
How many fine sayings I heard! how much
wit and wisdom! I was unable to retain



them, however, in spite of all my efforts, for I
have not been gifted with a sufficient memory.
Yet in these agreeable social gatherings I did



28 AN AFFECTIONATE FAMILY.

not wish to be considered stupid : so I assumed,
as well as I could, an air of intelligence, and T
pricked my ears, sometimes forwards, some-
times backwards, according to the greater or
less interest which I felt in the conversation.
M. Valentine, a charming poet, like my master,
would often call attention to my attitude of
intelligence ; at which, you may be sure, my
vanity was very much tickled.

But what gave me the greatest pleasure was
to see the tender and assiduous care which
each of my mistresses lavished on their excel-

“lent father. Their affection for him was equalled
only by their veneration. He was fully sen-
sible of their love, and deeply happy in it, and
often blessed his dear family. How great
was their anxiety when he was ill! how raptur-
ous their delight when he recovered! I can-
not think of these things without feeling so
strong an emotion that the tears gather in my
eyes.

The holidays drew to an end. Several little
girls had come to see me, but I had no news of
my special friend. How was I to learn some-



EVIL DAYS. 29

thing about her? What a bitter grief I felt it
to be deprived of the power of speech! My
fancy brooded over the gloomiest ideas: I
dreamed of illness and accidents befalling my
beloved Leontine. Gradually I lost both sleep
and appetite. My mistresses declared that I was
growing quite a skeleton, and set me at liberty
in the garden. I had not seen it since my
escapade, and found it sadly changed: no more
flowers, no more cabbages—the ground was
strewn with dead leaves. I sadly gained the
‘terrace, after having nibbled at a few sprigs of
parsley. By my side a troop of black ants
were hastily collecting their winter supply of
provisions.

No more butterflies — no more bees —no
more sweet strains among the leafy shades !
Everything seemed dead within me and around
me ; and yet winter was not come. What,
then, would be the utter dreariness and deso-
lation of that closing season! But why allow
one’s-self to feel discouraged beforehand? To
each day suffices the burden. Providence
watches over us: let us not aggravate our



30 LEONTINE’S CHARACTER.

misfortunes by anticipated sorrows, but submit
to God’s will in all humility of spirit. These
brief reflections did me much good. I returned
to my lodging with a ‘lighter heart, and waited
patiently until the commencement of the school
session should restore to me my beloved Leon-
tine.

Hitherto I have simply said that she was a
brunette, and handsome ; but without any risk
of exaggeration or fear of partiality, I assert
that she was the most amiable of all the
pupils. Her companions recognized, and with-
out jealousy accepted, her superiority, because
she was so good to each. It was said that as
she had grown older she had carefully corrected
herself of many serious faults, such as a ten-
dency to telling stories, sloth, and greediness.
Her parents loved her with a wise affection,
and never spoiled her. In every respect. they

chad seconded the exertions of the worthy in-
structresses to whom they had intrusted her ;
and Leontine, instead of becoming a vain, false,
selfish, and unendurable little creature, had
grown in virtue and in all precious qualities.



AN ACCIDENT. 3L

Happy the husband who in due time shall
take to himself a wife so charming, affection-
ate, truthful, and devoted! A good, and lov-
ing, and dutiful daughter cannot fail to make
a good, and loving, and attentive wife.

I think we are sometimes the victim of what
I may call sympathetic: presentiments, for I
afterwards learned that my anxiety respecting
Leontine had not been in vain. She had met
with a severe fall from a carriage, and had
suffered much, though recovering as rapidly as
could be expected. Her parents were kind
enough to send a servant to the school with
this information, and to ask that their daugh-.
ter’s holidays might be extended. I was not
forgotten : the worthy man brought me a thick
root of chicory, which she had cut for me with
her own hands. This friendly gift completed

my cure.





CHAPTER ITI.

RECOMMENCEMENT OF STUDIES — PORTRAITS OF TWO
GOVERNESSES—PENITENCE FOR RUDE!
TURN—EVERYBODY DELIGHTED, AND ESPECIALLY





Have pity on the stranger ; she who comes
From a far land, to seek among us work,

And work’s just recompense. Let no chill frown
Afflict her heart ; but by our genial hearth

Let her find happiness.



T length the pupils returned. It was
one of those rare but beautiful days
which seem the last adieux of
autumn,

The mistresses gave up this day
ener to their pupils, that they might prattle
entirely at their ease, and make acquaintance
with the new-comers. The elder ones came to
see me, and presented me to the rest. They
found that I had grown considerably, and had





AN ENGLISH GOVERNESS. 33

learned some very pretty habits. I received
numerous compliments; some fine apples and
a quantity of nice crumbs—for these young
ladies had so much to say they could not find
time to eat. It was a cross fire of questions
and answers, and it seemed as if the “oh’s!”
and “ah’s!” would never end. Especially they
examined the new-comers ; and from a distance
took the measure of the English governess,
who, fortunately for her, had the good luck to
please the majority. This lady stood apart,
but closely watched everything that transpired.
Some thoughtless, giddy-pated girls concluded
that she could speak only her native language.
They therefore took it into their heads to crowd
around her, and make bad jokes against Eng-
land and the English. Miss Helen seemed not
to understand them ; but I saw her draw from
her pocket a small red note-book, and pencil in
it a few lines with a cold, severe air.

The young jesters felt uneasy at this pro-
ceeding, and separated. Some of them felt a
little remorse, and asked one another whether

it would not be wiser if they admitted their
302) 3



34 ‘THE FIRST SCENE.

error and made an apology ; but pride and the
hope of impunity stifled their good intentions.
They were deaf to the voice of conscience, and
resumed their pastimes.

Shortly afterwards one of the mistresses came
upon the scene. Miss Helen approached her,
and in a clear, firm voice expressed her regret
that there should be some among her future
pupils utterly deficient in good breeding as
well as good feeling. Mademoiselle Clémence
seemed much troubled at this accusation, and
asked Miss Helen to point out the offenders.
She declined, however ; saying that she did -not
wish to bring punishment upon them on the
first day of her arrival, but that she should be
compelled to use some severity if they did not
immediately beg her pardon. The guilty ones
revealed. themselves by their crimson-coloured
faces. Mademoiselle Clémence pointed out in
affectionate words their rudeness and want of
good feeling ; and spoke warmly of the zeal of
Miss Helen, who had quitted her country and
family to assist in perfecting their education.
This wise language was not without effect:



“DEAR HELEN.” 35

moved to repentance, the guilty ones advanced,
and humbly requested a pardon, which was very
readily granted.

This little incident effectually confirmed the
position of the assistant-governess, who thence-
forth was beloved and respected. She was an
admirable lady, but her natural melancholy
was revealed by her sadness of manner. She
wore none but black garments, which harmon-
ized with her eyes, her complexion, and her
hair: the latter she wore in short curls, and
arranged like a boy’s. This strange exterior
concealed a host of qualities, which made her
cherished and appreciated, and which I was
not the last to recognize. My mistresses loved
and treated her like a sister : they always
spoke of her as “dear Helen,” and admitted
her into their confidence,

There was also at the boarding-school anothér
assistant, a non-resident— Mademoiselle Hen-
riette—to whom the elder pupils paid great
attention, in order to learn the news of the
town. She was a pretty young person, some-
what affected, and not well instructed: but



36 AN UNPLEASANT



AMUSEMENT.

then, on the other hand, she was always ac-
quainted with the current fashions; she gave
the ton, as it is called, to the boarders, taught
them to make their great chignons, and to wear
huge bands of hair, crimped and turned back.¢
To this assistant was entrusted the care of the
youngest pupils—a task requiring little know-
ledge, but much patience ; and it must be
owned that Mademoiselle Henriette was very
gentle with the little ones.

How I loved to see them at their sports!
Sometimes they came and invited me to join
in a round dance; to which I consented, to
please them, on condition that I was placed in
the middle of the ring. Fortunately for me,
the bad weather soon put an end to this species
of amusement, which nearly always made me
giddy.

On a certain Thursday, at the hour the chil-
dren went out for their usual walk, I had
climbed up to M. Antoine’s room, and installed
myself comfortably upon his knees. Whiléhe
was gently stroking my back, some persons
entered suddenly, and without announcing













SNOWDROP AND LEONTINE. 39

themselves. I immediately leaped to the
ground, almost mad with pleasure. It was
Leontine—my dearest Leontine! Yes, it was
Leontine, accompanied by her parents. She had
grown taller, and more beautiful than ever. After
the usual courtesies, she caught sight of me.

“What, are you there, my Snowdrop!” she
exclaimed. “How big you are grown! Come
quickly, and say ‘ How do you do?’ ”

A feeling of shame possessed me, and I was
literally unable to move.

“Do you no longer love me, then? I thought
you had more sense and feeling than common
rabbits.”

“Don’t you see,” said her mother, “that we
frighten him? Snowdrop knows neither me
nor your father. Wait a moment, and he will
recover from his alarm.”

Leontine having now drawn close to me, I
soon showed her that she was not forgotten.
I licked her hands with so much eagerness that
she and her parents soon ceased to doubt the
faithfulness of my memory and the nature of
my sentiments.



40 A HAPPY RECOGNITION.

They then dismissed me that they might
discuss business. Leontine carried me off with
her to visit her old schoolfellows and learn the
news. The moment she made her appearance
there was a general outburst of enthusiasm.
It is impossible to describe the welcome she
received—the shouts, the kisses, the embraces,
the confusion. I was nearly trodden under
foot in the crowd, and saved myself with diffi-
culty under Mademoiselle Eleonore’s desk. By
degrees tranquillity was re-established. I heard
from my hiding-place that my friend was com-
pelled to relate at least ten times the accident
by which she had nearly lost her life, and I
cannot tell you how many commentaries it
provoked, I was not at all at my ease under
the desk, and rejoiced when the dinner-bell
called away the boarders and allowed me to
emerge from my lair. Besides, I was very
much in want of rest after all my emotions.









CHAPTER IV.



TWELFTH-NIGHT—SNOWDROP AND THE LOTTERY—L
A BOOK—NOR IS SNOWDROP FORGOTT!



A book full of pictures, and handsomely bound,—
‘To waken the smile, or summon the tear,—

Say, what better gift for the young can be found
At Christmas-tide blithe, or at happy New Year?



OME weeks after this incident, an ex-
traordinary agitation prevailed in the
school. The snow fell in great flakes,
the sky was gray, and yet I could see
through the window-panes glimpses of
fresh toilettes of white muslin. Many shouts
of laughter travelled as far as my hutch, and I
bitterly regretted the snow-fall which kept my
young friends in-doors; for, if I could have
caught a few snatches of conversation, I should
quickly have understood all that was transpiring.



42 SNOWDROP AND THE LOTTERY.

While I gave full reins to my impatient
curiosity, a deputation came in search of me to
conduct me with all imaginable ceremony to
the principal class-room, which I found had
been transformed, by means of curtains, flags,
and wreaths, into a bright salon de danse.
My arrival was loudly applauded ; afterwards a
profound silence prevailed throughout the room.

“My dears,” said Mademoiselle Eleanore,
“you were disputing who should draw the
tickets for the lottery; now I think we will
bestow this honour upon Snowdrop, whose ex-
traordinary intelligence you all admire.”

At first I was confounded by the importance
of the position to which I was so suddenly
called, but I understood that I ought to do my
best to deserve Mademoiselle Eleanore’s eulo-
giums. So, collecting all my presence of mind,
I drew in succession the tickets placed in an
elegant basket. Our mistress then read aloud
the number written on the ticket, and indicated
the lot which corresponded to that number.
Oh, what a shout of joy on the part of the
happy winner!







“RSOWDROD'S PRIZE! CRIED TOE YOUNG GIily IN CHORUS.







SNOWDROP’S PRIZE. 45

When fate favoured any studious and gentle
girl, I myself applauded heartily; I desired,
above all, to secure the best prize for my dear
Leontine, but my paw was not gifted with any
prophetic power, and, therefore, I was unfor-
tunate enough, as I thought, to choose for her
only a small book. That amiable maiden, how-
ever, wished for nothing better; far from it, I
learned that the volume, thin and tiny as it
was, had a special value in Leontine’s eyes. It
was a collection of beautiful poems, edited by
the good old gentleman whom we all loved.
Was not this worth much more than laces, and
comfits, and toys? You see, we must not
judge by appearances.

I myself was not forgotten. “ Snowdrop’s
prize! Snowdrop’s prize!” cried the young
girls in chorus, seizing the last parcel left on
the table; “let us see if he can open it un-
aided.” I was somewhat puzzled. Leon-
tine detected my embarrassment, and, coming
to my assistance, showed me the largest car-
rot I had ever seen in my life. I was warmly
congratulated, and carried back in triumph



46 A SPLENDID FESTIVAL.

to my hutch, armed with my = splendid
prize.

Dances and round games lasted until ten
o'clock in the evening, and the twelfth-night
entertainment was closed by a magnificent
supper, of whose dainties and delicacies the
guests did nothing but talk for the next fort-
night.







CHAPTER V.

TRAGICAL ADVENTURE WITH A CAT—11
RVE AS A MODEL,




Prudence, in truth, I think a precious thin;
For what would not have been the young kid's fate,
If, when the gaunt wolf came, so sly and fierce,
‘And mimicked artfully the beggar’s voice,

She had not kept the door fast locked and barred?








HE days of winter rolled by very slowly:
cs the sky was exer of a dull leaden hue,
2 the snow lay thick upon the ground.
My hut appeared to me incrusted
with ice, notwithstanding all the external
precautions taken by my mistresses to protect
me from the cold. Sometimes I coiled myself
up in a motionless heap, as if I had been cut
out of card-board; sometimes I trotted out
in the garden, to unbend my limbs, and re-
turned frozen and shivering. One day, I re-



48 APPARITION OF AN ENEMY.

marked that the snow was covered with the
footprints of a cat. I had never seen this rest-
less animal except at a distance, on the roof of
a house, or climbing up the trees of the garden
in pursuit of birds. I had heard say that big
cats eat the little rabbits; but, thanks to my
size, I had no reason to fear any such cata-
strophe, and I would not have been sorry to ex-
amine our enemies more closely. An oppor-
tunity soon presented itself. One evening,
heard the snow cracking near me, and putting
my nose to the only aperture which had been
left to give me air and light, I saw a great
black cat prowling through the darkness in
search of prey. He soon discovered the im-
prudent Snowdrop. His two eyes glittered
like burning coals. He fixed them upon me,
and commenced a convérsation jn our animal
language, which, for the benefit of little boys
and girls, I translate :—

“Would my brother kindly give me hospi-
tality for this one night? I am dying with
cold and hunger, and would take up a very
small corner in his cabin. If my brother has



SNOWDROP’S PRUDENCE. 49

by him a crust of bread which he could spare,
I should be so content, and should feel so
sincere a gratitude towards him, that I would
praise his generosity to all the cats of the dis-
trict.” f

For a moment I was tempted to yield to the
feeling of compassion which his artful words
awakened ; but, counselled by prudence, I re-
plied :—

“T regret, my brother, that I have no means
of assisting you: in the first place, I have
nothing to eat; in the second, judge for your-
self if you could get through this tiny opening ;
it is scarcely large enough to admit your paw.”

In his rage at my refusal, the cruel creature
tore off a piece of my lip with one stroke
of his claws, and then took to flight. I re-
mained stupified with terror; but my wound
recalled me to my senses; and I felt that, bad
as it was, I had been fortunate in escaping a
more serious accident. It is necessary, as you
young people should always remember, to be
on our guard when dealing with strangers.

But for my regular visits to M. Antoine, my
(302) 4



50 SITTING FOR A PORTRAIT.

days, at this season of the year, would have
been intolerably long and dreary. In his nice
‘warm room, however, I always enjoyed some
hours of relaxation. Occasionally I saw there
one of his old friends, or sometimes a pupil or
two, who had made some pretext to get away
from their lessons for awhile. On a certain
occasion, I had the honour to be present at a
lesson in drawing, and the young ladies were
all very eager to take my portrait. I was
delighted, and assuming a proper position, re-
mained quite motionless, with the exception of
my nostrils. This delightful occupation lasted
for a couple of months. Nothing amused me
so much as to hear M. Antoine’s remarks on the
efforts of his pupils :—

“There now,” he would say, “you have
given Snowdrop a hump on his back, short,
thick legs, and a twist in his nose.”

“ But, sir,” they would answer, “we can’t
draw Snowdrop’s nose ; he can’t keep it quiet.”

“ At least,” M. Antoine would exclaim, with
a smile, “ you need not give him the back of a
dromedary and the legs of an elephant. Take











SNOWDROP CRITICIZED, 53

special note of his outlines, and observe that
Providence has endowed every animal with
limbs suitable to the particular part it has to ©
play in life. Snowdrop’s hind paws are longer
than his fore; because, in a wild state, the
rabbit crosses with a leap brooks and trenches
of tolerable width. He is equally nimble in
running, and holds himself constantly on the
watch, ready to start at the least alarm.”









CHAPTER VI.

A HOLIDAY EVENING—THE ‘‘ CHINESE SHADOWS ”—SNOWDROP'S
‘TERROR—THE EASTER VACATION—A GARDENER—A CARPENTER.

Pray tell me, at your early age,
‘Which is for you the nicest stage?
‘What theatre do you frequent?

Say, is it not the conjuror’s tent,
‘Where in his robe, as black as night,
And with the aid of mirror bright,
Or words and spells of magic might,
He causes wondrous forms to rise,—
Like spirits,—to your dazzled eyes?
Or marvellous changes he will work,
And turn a monk into a Turk,

Or thistles into glowing roses,

‘And donkeys’ tails to “jolly noses!”







ONSIEUR ANTOINE was proceeding
with his explanation, when he was
¢<. suddenly interrupted by the appear-
ance of Mademoiselle Clotilde. Hav-
ing dismissed the pupils, she said to
her father: —“ My dearest father, we have not
given the children any amusement since they



PROPOSAL FOR A MERRY EVENING. 55

came back after the holidays, and I have come
to. the conclusion that it would be a good thing
to get up a merry evening for them, with the
assistance of yourself and M. Valentine. I have
a great sheet of ‘Chinese shadows,’ full of all
kinds of figures, which you can easily manceuvre;
I leave to you and your friend the choice of
subjects, and all the merit of the invention.
During the intervals of the exhibition M. Valen-
tine, I doubt not, will sing some of his gay
little ballads, or tell us some of his charming
stories.”

M. Antoine was well pleased with the idea,
and my excellent mistress had no difficulty in
persuading her mother and sisters to give their
consent.

Chance, or rather, affection, brought M.
Valentine to the house, a few minutes after.

“How fortunate it is you have called upon
us!” exclaimed M. Antoine; “I will let Clo-
tilde know of your arrival, or she will be going
to your house in search of you. We shall keep
you here until ten o'clock p.m.,—that’s certain!
You are indispensable. After dinner, we in-



56 STAGE PREPARATIONS.

tend to surprise our young ladies with an ex-
hibition of the ‘Chinese shadows ;’ and more
shan any other person in this wide world, my
friend, will you lend life and animation to this
improvised entertainment. My daughter will
send up the puppets we shall have to act with,
and we can make our preparations up to as late
an hour as six o’clock.””

The actors arrived,—carefully wrapped up,
I can assure you; and my good master and his
friend, dismissing me to the garden, shut them-
selves into their room, that no one might gain
an inkling of their stage-secrets. *

At last, the hour arrived for the joyous ex-
hibition. All the school, and all the house-
hold, were collected in a spacious apartment,
and I was seated in the lap of my gentle Leon-
tine, who had placed herself among the youngest
pupils, that I might have a good view, she
said, of the wondrous spectacle. For the mo-
ment, I saw nothing at ‘all: the room was in
darkness, with the exception of a luminous
transparency from which I was unable to turn
my gaze. The most complete silence prevailed,



A BEAUTIFUL TRANSPARENCY. 57

and each young lady awaited, almost breathless,
the beginning of the entertainment.

A bell rung, and all was ready.

Then on the transparency appeared a mag-
nificent forest, whose trees thrust down their
roots to bathe them in a small brook that
rippled through the shades. A noble stag was
peacefully quenching his thirst in the cool fresh
water, when the sound of a horn was heard in
the distance. The stately animal raised his
head perturbedly. While he sought to dis-
cover from what quarter it proceeded, a pack
of*hounds came sweeping through the wood.
The stag took flight ; was pursued and over-
taken by the dogs; a couple of huntsmen gal-
lopped up, and fired at the unfortunate stag,
who fell dead. The attendants took up his
body, and carried it off; the chase disappeared,
and we could hear in the distance the triumph-
ant blast of the horn.

The forest was once more silent and lonely.
A few hares, and some wild rabbits, were frisk-
ing in various directions, when a gentle shep-
herdess made her appearance, with her distaff



58 THE SONG OF LABOUR.

in her hand. She was leading a flock of goats
and sheep to the pasture, and while they
cropped the fragrant herbage, she seated herself
on a bank, and sang aloud to console herself
against the feeling of alarm the loneliness of
the scene inspired. Meanwhile the spindle
revolved rapidly in her nimble hands.

Let me write down the pretty song she sang,
and which may fitly be called the Song of
Labour :

“* Before dawn reddens in the skies
Loud is the strain of Chanticleer ;
Straight to his forge the blacksmith hies,
And thick the ruddy sparks appear.

“ From earliest dawn all nature toils,
And still our efforts we renew ;
Like yonder ant, which bent with spoils,
‘Wii long its weary path pursue.

“ And so, each little cell to store
‘With honied sweetness, works the bec ;
Each nectared flower it hovers o'er,
And skims with eager wing the lea.

“The shepherd on the hillside green
Close watches o'er his wandering band :
And quickly goes the ploughshare keen,
‘When guided by a skilful hand,

“ And wilt thou then, O lady fair,
‘Thy precious hours in folly spend ?
Oh, see how earth, and sea, and air,
‘Their wealth on toiling man expend !



END OF THE FIRST ACT. 59

“ Ah, when the famished insect longs
To borrow but a little seed,
Of what avail its idle songs?
It perishes in utter need!”

“ Encore! encore!” shouted all the young
ladies, clapping their hands in an ecstasy of
delight. “Oh, show us again the little shep-
herdess, and let us hear her song.” The re-
quest was complied with, and the last verse
ended amidst a storm of applause. A thick
curtain was then let down in front of the
scene.

“End of the first act,” cried M. Valentine ;
“audience permitted to talk, but only in a
whisper!” Of this permission each pupil took
advantage, to the extent of deafening her
neighbour and herself.

-A loud stroke on the bell once moré re-
established silence. The curtain rose, and
revealed the interior of a kitchen and dining-
room, ornamented with a piano. A young
girl of twelve, with her eyes in the air, was
strumming on the instrument, when her mamma
entered.

“Rosalie, Rosalie, I wish to speak to you.”



60 ROSALIE AND HER MAMMA.

“What do you want of me, mamma ?”

“T am going out to see your little sister.”

«Will you not take me with you, mamma?”

“No; you must stay at home, and look
after the dinner until I return. Come with
me to the kitchen, and I will tell you what I
want you to do. First, you must take care
and keep this pot on the boil, for it contains
a delicious sausage-pudding. You know how
fond your papa, is of it, and I want to sur
prise him with his favourite dish.”

“Yes, mamma.”

“Next, you must put some more fire under
the oven to cook the leg of mutton; and be
sure you don’t let it burn.”

“Yes, mamma.”

“And mind you see the cat does not get at
the sausage-pudding, when you take it off the
fire.”

“Yes, yes, mamma; you can trust me; I
assure you I will attend to all your instruc-
tions, and not leave the kitchen for a single
moment. There now!”

“That is right ; and if you do what I have



ENTER VICTORINE. 61

told you, I will think of some reward for a
good girl. If you do not, I shall have to
punish you.”

And so speaking, mamma disappeared.

“Tet me look at this fine pudding,” said
Rosalie, removing the lid, and placing the pot
on the fender; “oh,

(She forgets to put on the lid again.) “Who
is that at the door? I am coming, I am com-

how nice it smells

ing!”

A young neighbour enters.

“What, is it you, Victorine? How kind
of you to come and see me! Just fancy, 1
am all alone! Mamma has gone out, and left
me in charge of the house.”

“Oh, capital! What a good opportunity
to enjoy ourselves!” exclaimed Victorine ;
“Jet us go into the garden, and pick some
cherries ; there is such a quantity of them that
your mamma will never miss a few.”

“Oh, but don’t you see, Victorine, I pro-
mised mamma that I would not leave the
kitchen, but look after the sausage-pudding
and the leg of mutton.”



62 AN UNWELCOME INTRUDER.

“Rubbish! won't a sausage-pudding boil
without your looking at it? Come, my dear,
come ; we need not stay long in the cherry-
tree, only ten minutes or so.”

“ Are you quite sure, Victorine ?”

“Yes, my dear, ten minutes. We will not
stay longer, I promise you.”

The two girls go out into the garden.

Scarcely have they disappeared, before—
mew! mew! mew !—a great black cat jumps
through the open window. He goes all around
the kitchen, sniffing and smelling, until he is
attracted to the fender by the exquisite odour
of the sausage-pudding. He draws close to
the pot ; put his nose in, burns it, and quickly
pulls it out again. Then he stretches forth a
paw, and contrives to hook up the dainty
pudding, which he rolls about the kitchen until
it is tolerably cold. Satisfied on this point,
he takes it up with his teeth, and bolts out of
the window much more quickly than he en-
tered.

A minute or two afterwards, the young girls
return,



END OF ACT SECOND. 63

“Let us see if the pudding is ready,” said
Rosalie. She peeped into the pot ; alas, it was
empty! Her companion immediately abandons

“her to her fate, and Rosalie, in a sad state of
mind, waits for her mother’s return, and the
punishment she knows she has deserved. At
length, mamma arrives, and I leave you to
guess the consequences.

“End of Act Second!” cries M. Valentine,
and the curtain drops a second time. The
buzz of voices recommences, and my darling
companion caresses me, saying,—

“Don’t you think, Snowdrop, if you had
been Rosalie’s mamma, you would have given
her the cane, and kept her without her dinner?”

I licked her hand by way of answer.

The second entr’acte, or pause, would have
seemed to us very long, had not M. Valentine
come forward, and recited some pretty fables
of his own composition. At their close he
announced a representation of different animals,
to take place in the beautiful forest we had
already seen.

And in truth, when the curtain rose, the



64 SNOWDROP HAS A FRIGHT.

landscape beamed before us. A light bark
moved slowly along the river, the fisherman
pausing from time to time to haul up his lines.
Suddenly he uttered a loud cry. An enormous
serpent reared its huge crest before him on the
margin of the water. He raised his iron-shod
pole to defend himself, but the frightful monster
avoided the blow, and sprang to the opposite
shore, where he had selected another victim.
He placed himself before one of my brothers,
drew the hapless victim into his yawning jaws,
and swallowed him alive.

At this horrid spectacle, I was paralyzed
with fear, and remained in a swoon on Leon-
tine’s knees until the scene had ended.

My friend then perceived my condition, car-
ried me into the open air, rubbed me, put her
eau-de-Cologne bottle to my nostrils, and did’
not leave me until I was completely recovered.

All night I dreamed that I was being de-
voured alive by gigantic serpents !

At length, this protracted winter drew to-
wards a close. The garden turf was green
again. The sparrows quitted their solitary











APPROACH OF SPRING. 67

nest, and came to pay me frequent visits. They
‘no longer wore a frightened and half-starved
aspect, for on the soil they found seeds and
insects of all kinds, and uttered little joyous
chirps as they basked in the rays of the sun,
which came anew to warm them. Not that it
was yet spring ; but the earth felt the sweet
influence of its coming. Every day when I
took my walk abroad, I discovered some new
flower among the herbage ; sometimes a daisy,
sometimes a violet, or, perhaps, a pimpernel or
two, and a cluster of wild pansies. The tips
of the branches were coloured red, which gave
them a charming aspect.

At intervals, the young ladies brought their
skipping-ropes into the court ; but this, as yet,
was a rare amusement, for their mistresses took
them out walking after dinner.

Easter soon afterwards arrived, and brought
with it a short vacation. I had, therefore, only
a few days of solitude to support, and these
were shortened by a host of amusing incidents.
First came the gardener, to prune the vine, and
turn up the garden, ready for fresh seeds and



68 WORK ON ALL SIDES.

plants. I followed him from point to point,
admiring the eagerness with which the spar-
rows devoured the insects turned up by his
spade.

The good man flattered and caressed me
warmly, and I soon grew quite familiar with
him. He pointed it out to my mistresses, who
replied by praising me fondly; and adding
that they allowed me full liberty in the garden,
so great was their confidence in my discretion.

At these kind words, I recollected the serious
fault of which I had once been guilty, and the
tip of my nose blushed suddenly. Fortunately,
no one noticed my confusion.

I was very glad, however, when the conver-
sation changed. We visited the dead trees to
root them up, and plant new ones, and we
selected a suitable place for the erection of a
hen-house.

Next day, it was the turn of the carpenter,
who came to run up the hen-house, which was
painted green, and surrounded by flowering
shrubs. We installed in it a fine hen, with
fifteen chickens ; and it was very amusing to



A GOOD EXAMPLE. 69

see them clustering round their mother, and
obeying her slightest signal. -My good mis-
tress frequently brought the younger pupils
thither to show them the admirable example ;
but I do not say that all of them profited
by it.







CHAPTER VIL.

PUNCTUAL RETURN OF THE PUPILS—M. HECTOR—EVERY YOUNG
LADY HER OWN GARDENER—M, HECTOR INSPECTS THE GAR-
DENS.

The Gardener— = ne
Nothing know I so good as the rich and genial earth,
‘Which, from her fertile breast, to flowers and plants give birth ;
Nothing know I so fair as an ample garden-ground,
In which the brightest hues and sweetest scents are found.
The Schoolmistress—
Nothing know I so good as the bold, assiduous mind,
Which, fed by knowledge, grows more virtuous and refined ;
Nothing know I so fair as the frank, ingemuous child,
‘Who by his conduct shows a spirit pure and mild.

ward to the pupils if they returned
punctually to school on the ap-
pointed day. The device succeeded,



( and there were not more than three
behind time. The novelties of the garden
proved a complete success, and the first hour of
recreation was spent in a visit to the chickens.



UNGRATEFUL SPIRITS. 7

I experienced a feeling of jealousy, but did
my best to conquer it; besides, Leontine had
again thought of me, and brought me some
delicious straw and a fine cabbage. This gen-
erous patron of mine bade the servant never
come without fresh straw for my litter, and
she watched keenly that her order was not
neglected.

Several weeks passed by, and the children
heard nothing of the promised reward, and
some were ungrateful enough to express their
dissatisfaction.

“You will see,” said certain troublesome
spirits, “that she does not intend to give it.
Twas just a stratagem of Mademoiselle Clo-
tilde, to make us return punctually.”

“Oh, that is impossible,” replied the others ;
“our mistresses always keep their promises,
but we don’t see that they are obliged to do
so to the minute! And then again, if they
intend to give us a pic-nie in M. Valentine’s
great park, we must wait for fine weather ; or,
at all events, until the cherries are ripe, and as
yet they are green. We know you too well,



72 AN AMATEUR OF GARDENING.

young ladies; you are always in a hurry to do
nothing.”
“Oh, how virtuous we are! So you think
yourselves qualified to give us a moral lecture !”
The bell rang for school, and interrupted a

discussion which was growing angry.

My good mistresses had an amiable neigh-
bour, who was particularly partial to roses and
rare plants. Though he was seventy-five years
of age, he cultivated with great success a couple
of pretty parterres, one of which led to a small
conservatory, admirably arranged, and filled
with representatives of the vegetable wealth of
all parts of the world. M. Hector’s great delight
was to offer his productions to his numerous
friends and these ladies. Every day brought
some new surprise, according to the season ; and
he was always consulted on the management of
the garden.

One Thursday, after dinner, while the school
were out walking, I saw him enter with
Mademoiselle Clotilde, the eldest of the mis-
tresses; they measured the beds which sur-



AN UNEXPECTED PLEASURE. 73

rounded the court, and divided them into little
square plots of different sizes. In each square
they planted a stake, to which was attached
a cord. By the time this allotment was
finished, the pupils returned home; and Miss
Helen, who had received her instructions,
brought them into the garden, and made them
take their places in silence, according to their
ages. Then Mademoiselle Clotilde spoke :—

“Young ladies, I promised to reward you
for the punctuality with which you returned
to school at Easter. I now keep my word, by
giving to each two of you a little garden to
cultivate; and our excellent neighbour here has
taken the trouble to parngn them off in sizes
adapted to your years.”

“Oh, how delightful! How agreeable! How
much obliged we are to mademoiselle, and M.
Hector !”

“That is not all, young ladies,” said M.
Hector, stepping forward; “close at hand is
my florist and nurseryman, whom I will intro-
duce to your notice.”

He disappeared for a few minutes, to return



74 HURRAH FOR M. HECTOR !

with an immense basket full of plants and cut-
tings of every kind. Then, calling the young
ladies forward, in due order, he supplied them
with materials for the decoration of their little
flower-beds, accompanying his gifts with suit-
able advice,—such as to pluck up weeds, re-
move stones, and water the plants only after
sunset. He concluded with a promise to visit
them frequently, and reward the most successful
gardeners. As joy spurns all limits, they
shouted merrily, “Hurrah for M. Hector!”
« and promised to show themselves worthy of his
generosity. So each set to work most dili-
gently. They planted, they dug, they raked,
and they watered, and were so busy that for
once the dinner-hour came unexpectedly, and
was considered unwelcome.
A few days afterwards, M. Hector came on
a visit of inspection. ‘Here comes our florist !”
cried Leontine; “ quick, girls, let us show him
our wonders, and do our best to please him.”
He was soon surrounded by the young ladies, and
accompanied by them, began his critical survey.
From the corner where I was lying I could





“FROM THE CORNER WHERE I WAS LYIN!



COULD HEAR THE
“HEM.”









THE YOUNG LADY GARDENERS, 17

hear the praises he bestowed upon them; nor
did he leave without acknowledging that he
was very well pleased with the results they had
obtained—an opinion which seemed to give them
great encouragement.

It was charming to see the solicitude in-
spired by the tiniest flower if it appeared to
droop; it was watched with redoubled care.
Every moment they came to me, saying:
“Snowdrop, you will not walk in my garden,
will you? You won't eat my flowers, and,
especially, my pretty pinks, or I shall love you
no longer.” I pricked up my ears as a sign
that I agreed: whereupon they all exclaimed,
“Snowdrop understands, you see: ob, he is
the most intelligent of rabbits !”

“Certainly, Snowdrop understood,” remarked
Miss Helen; “he is better bred than certain
little girls of my acquaintance, who are greedy
enough to pick green gooseberrics and eat them;
while others invent all sorts of excuses to leave
their class, and trespassing on the terrace, are
guilty of the same fault at the risk of making
themselves ill, But I keep my eye on all



78 LITTLE PILFERERS.

these petty acts of disobedience, and will cau-
tion Madame Antoine.” At the close of this
admonition, they dispersed, but a keen ob-
server would have noticed signs of confusion
on at least a dozen faces.

Green plums seemed an irresistible tempta-
tion for some of these imprudent girls. A
shake of the elbow, skilfully given, shook the
tree, and brought the fruit to the ground.
They profited by an instant when the governess
turned her back, to pick them up, and pocket
them, with incomparable rapidity. But their
mistresses soon detected these paltry tricks.
They then explained to them how mean and
dishonest was such conduct, and that to take
the fruit, whether green or ripe, was to commit
an act of theft, dishonourable to children brought
up with so much care. They made the offenders
pay a slight fine for the benefit of the poor.
And as, though greedy and thoughtless, they
were not wanting in goodness of heart, they
readily discharged their penance, and faithfully
promised to avoid for the future all such shame-
ful actions.





CHAPTER VIII.

THE HISTORY OF TWO DISOBEDIENT AND IDLE CHILDREN—WISE
RESOLUTIONS OF THE YOUNG SCHOLARS.

After long wanderings through many lands,

‘And suffering hunger, misery, and care,
‘The Prodigal upraised to Heaven his hands,

And bent his head in tearful, humble prayer.
Sweet thoughts came o'er him of his happy Past,

Of household joys and Childhood’s sunny years ;—
‘Then at his father’s knees himself he cast,

‘To gain the pardon which he sought with tears.



ie ATURE was rejoicing in the balmy
airs and sweet sunshine of May;
melodious songs of birds and streams
echoed on every breeze. The acacias
flung abroad the perfumes of their
pliant branches ; everything lived, everything
breathed. The happy note of the cuckoo once
more pealed through the glades, and the faith-



80 OUT IN THE GARDEN.

ful swallow rebuilt with ardent industry her
beloved nest.

All those pleasures were very sweet to me,
and I blessed God that he had bestowed them
on all his creatures, even on me, a poor pet
rabbit. I stayed but little in my hutch, greatly
preferring the freshness and beauty of the gar-
den. The young ladies thought me very for-
tunate in being able to spend my time so
agreeably. At the beginning of every half-
holiday, or every hour of relaxation, their faces
shone with delight; but oh, how gloomy they
looked when the bell summoned them back to
their studies!

“How delightful it is in the garden!” said
the graceful Sophie (by this time I knew all
their names) ; “if we were only allowed to do
our needlework here, I declare we would toil,
and toil, like so many benevolent fairies. My
dear Mademoiselle Clémence, will you allow us?”

Sophie’s request was so warmly seconded by
the majority, that their mistress could not but
consent. Some seats were quickly procured,
and the young girls set zealously to work.



TELLING A TALE. 81

“We have no more interesting books to
read,” said Sophie; “we have exhausted all
our present supply. Would you, Miss Clémence,
oblige us by relating one of your pretty little
stories ?””

“T have no objection, my dear Sophie.”

“Two victories, Sophie!” whispered one of
her companions; “what a pity you cannot
become a lawyer!”

“Before I tell my tale,” remarked Mademoi-
selle Clémence, “I will fetch Mademoiselle
Henriette and the junior class, who will be
delighted to sit here in the pleasant shade.
And then I will hear some of you read. Re-
member, my children, we must never neglect
our duties for the sake of pleasure.”

The reading lasted an hour, which, to the
impatient audience, seemed an age. At length
it was done, and Miss Clémence, requesting
perfect silence, and prohibiting interruptions,
announced her intention to relate the “ History
of Little Peter and Lucette ; or, the Fatal Con-
sequences of Disobedience and Idleness.” I

should never have been able to lodge the whole
{392) 6



82 PETER AND LUCETTE.

of it in my brain, which has not enough room
for such long stories; but it was committed to
writing by one of the school girls, from whose
manuscript it is now transcribed for the reader’s
benefit.

History of Wittle Peter and Ducette ;

OR, THE FATAL CONSEQUENCES OF DISOBEDIENCE AND IDLENESS.

The little village of Sinard is situated on a
narrow table-ground in the heart of the moun-
tains of Dauphiné. On its right it overhangs
the famous torrent of the Drac, and on its left
a succession of charming valleys, bright with
castles and villages. In the distance, the
snowy peaks and azure glaciers of the Alps are *
outlined against a deep blue sky. Altogether,
the scene is one of singular and surpassing
beauty.

The inhabitants of Sinard are compelled to
labour incessantly for the simplest comforts.
From a very early age, the children, both boys
and girls, weave and twist the coarse straw
of which the workmen’s hats are made, and at
the same time watch the herd while pasturing.



THE VILLAGE OF SINARD. 83

When a few years older, the boys work in the
fields, while the girls sew, with extraordinary
skill, the seams of leather gloves; but they earn,
in spite of all their industry, a very insufficient
wage.

Some years ago, they used to point out, in
the immediate neighbourhood of the church,
the ruins of a small cottage. I am going to
repeat the story which they told of its former
inhabitants. ‘

One day, there came from the town of Oisans,
driven out by a terrible fire, an aged woman
and her daughter. They brought with them
some few articles of furniture, and a box or
two full of the fashions of the day. At a low
rent, they engaged the cottage of which I have
spoken, and took up their residence in it. The
young girl was a milliner and dressmaker, and
was accustomed to set out in the only window
of the cottage the specimens of her handiwork.
The good curé of the village quickly called
upon his new parishioners: he interested the
lady of the chateau in their lot, and about a
month after their arrival at Sinard, Lucie mar-



84 LEFT MOTHERLESS.

ried a young and honest workman, employed
on one of the chatelaine’s farms. The three
first years of their married life passed in perfect
happiness. God had sent them a fine boy,
whom they called Little Peter, after his father,
and a sweet little girl, named Lucette, after her
mother Lucie.

The young family prospered. Every day
Peter repaired to his work at the farm, returning
in the evening to rest himself in the pleasant
companionship of his wife and childven, The
peace and joy which flow from a good con-
science made their home most happy ; nor was
there any sign or indication that this happiness
would be disturbed. :

Some years had passed since the birth of the
children, when their mother fell ill. For. a
whole month she struggled bravely against the
inroads of a severe fever, and then she sank,
—with her last breath commending the two
children, so soon to be motherless, to the care
of her husband and their grandmother.

Little Peter at this time was eight, and
Lucie six years old. They were two handsome



A COUPLE OF SPOILED CHILDREN. 85

children, but spoiled by excessive indulgence ;
and spoiled especially by their grandmother,
who was unable to resist them in the indulgence
of any of their caprices. To speak of spoiled
children -is to speak of idle children. Little
Peter and his sister would never go to school.
They were utterly ignorant, and spent their
days playing in the woods and meadows, where
Little Peter was always capturing birds’ nests.

Their parents, seeing them grow tall and
strong, never interfered ; waiting until they
should receive their first religious instruction
at the hands of the curé to commence their
education. In vain the good curé had remon-
strated. The two children had no other law
than that of their own will, and they became
true vagabonds. At length their father saw
how much evil had been done, and endeavoured
to remedy it. He prayed and entreated, but
all to no purpose. Then he resorted to severe
measures ; but these only drove the children
from their home. They would stay away from
their father’s house for whole days; and at last,
one fatal day, they did not return, In great



86 THE FUGITIVES.

distress of mind their father went in search of
them; and after vainly exploring the neigh-
bourhood for miles around, he was compelled
to apply to the authorities at Grenoble. On
his return to the village, everybody pitied him
from the bottom of their heart, for he was very
much esteemed. The aged grandmother grieved
so bitterly over the loss of her grandchildren,
that she fell ill and died, leaving Peter plunged
in an excess of misery and despair. The un-
fortunate man returned to his work for the
sake of a livelihood ; but silence and solitude
awaited him on his return to his deserted
home. His brain was unable to endure the
constant anxiety, and he went mad.

What became of Little Peter and Lucette?

On the day of their flight, having supplied
themselves with a double allowance of bread,
they had abandoned the frequented roads, in
order to avoid recognition, and taken the by-
paths across the fields which led to the town of
Oisans, their mother’s native place. They
came eventually to a place crowded by people
returning from a fair. Some were leading the



IN THE HANDS OF BEGGARS. 87

cattle they had purchased, others were loaded
with provisions ; all seemed surprised to see
two children, alone, unattended, and at such a
distance from any habitation. To the questions
put to them, the little fugitives replied, that
some friends expected them not far from this
spot, and that they should soon arrive at their
destination.

However, the road began to get very lonely,
and evening was coming on. Our fugitives
were trembling with fear, and weeping with
remorse, when they fell in with a troop of
beggars. These, on seeing the children, stopped,
and held a short consultation ; after which,
without paying attention to their cries, they
tied their hands behind them, and compelled
them to follow, threatening to beat them if
they were disobedient. Little Peter and Lu-
cette now lost all their headstrong audacity,
and thought with painful regret of the home
they had deserted. They had spurned the
authority of their father,—for what ?—to fall
into the hands of wicked vagabonds, who
would treat them with the utmost cruelty.



88 WEARY WITH TRAVEL.

Fain would they have returned to their native
village, but they were too closely watched to
be able to escape. And thus, you see, their
punishment had commenced ; would they know
how to profit by it?

On the threshold of a wood the beggars
halted, and after having handed a crust of hard
bread to the poor children, they questioned
them respecting their parents and friends ; not
indeed with any intention of returning them
to their family, for they saw clearly that the
children were poor, and that no reward was to
be expected; but that they might keep away
from their village, and avoid the pursuit of the
police. Little Peter told them his story, and
prayed them to take him and Lucette home.
But the beggars, far from complying with the
pathetic petition, quitted the country, passed
into Italy, and did not revisit France until
after a long sojourn in Savoy. They travelled
by short stages, and on the road taught the
children their dishonest trade, and all the vices
which accompany it. Little Peter and Lucette
profited too well by these wicked lessons, and





“pnEy TIED THEIR HANDS EBHIND THEM, AND COMPELLED THEM
's0 FOLLOW.”







A SISTER OF MERCY. 91

before long were versed in every kind of
roguery and deception.

However, the orphans had in heaven a
mother and a grandmother whose love watched
over them. One evening, on entering the
great city of Lyons, where they were begging
in company, their resemblance to one another
surprised a charitable woman, of whom they
had asked alms. She was what is called a
Sister of Mercy, and had dedicated her life to
the performance of works of benevolence and
love. “I have nothing to give you, my chil-
she said; “but I can help you in

dren,”

another way. You appear to me much too old
and strong to beg publicly for your daily bread,
which it is far more honourable to gain by
honest labour. You interest me; I see that
you are brother and sister, and, perhaps, more
unfortunate than guilty. Come with me: let
me try to move your hearts, to awaken better
feelings in your bosoms, and to rescue you from
a shameful life which can lead you only to
everlasting ruin.”

The first thought of the young mendicants



92 THE CHILDREN RESCUED.

was to fly, and preserve the wretched kind of
liberty they had bought at so fearful a price.
But in the Sister of Mercy’s countenance there
was a sad yet gentle look which reminded
them of their mother. They felt, as it were,
a dim remembrance of their paternal cottage.
It seemed to them as if they were once more
kneeling at the feet of their grandmother, and
repeating the morning and evening prayer
which they had long since forgotten ; and it
was with bended head and streaming eyes they
followed their new-found friend.

On reaching the door of the asylum, she
showed them into a little room, and bade them
sit down and rest. After a few minutes she
conducted them into the kitchen, and supplied
them with an ample meal, which they eagerly
devoured. Next she led them to the matron,
to whom she had already given notice of their
arrival. These admirable women listened at-
tentively to the children’s simple relation of
the various incidents of their lives. Tears
flowed from their eyes, for they knew not
whether they should succeed in reclaiming



WORDS OF GOOD COUNSEL. 93

the two poor creatures from the evil of their
ways.
“My children,” said the matron, “it is the
* will of Providence to save you, since it is Pro-
vidence alone that has sent you hither,—the
Providence of God; but you must be willing
to throw off your past sins. I cannot compel
you, and, therefore, I give you until to-morrow
morning to reflect. If you choose the path of
truth, and virtue, and piety, you will find in
this asylum all the means necessary for your
honourable return into society. If you persist
in the way of evil, the law demands that
vagabonds of your early age shall be confined
in a reformatory, whither you will accordingly
be removed. While waiting your decision, I
place you in the care of the good sister whom
you already know. Humble yourself before
God, and think of your unfortunate father,
who, it may be, still mourns your loss, if grief
and anxiety havé not slain him.”
The minds of both brother and sister were
agitated by very contrary sentiments up to
the moment which was to decide their future.



94 A HAPPY ENDING.

But in this conflict between good and evil,
the voice of their conscience—that “still, small
voice,” so long neglected and despised—once
more obtained a hearing; and when their pro-
tectress came to learn their resolution, she
found them on their knees, with their hands
folded in prayer. They followed her once more
into the matron’s presence. At a glance she
perceived that good had triumphed; she opened
her arms to receive them tenderly, and adopted
them as her children in the sight of God.
Many years have passed away since this
event took place, and I know from the excel-
lent curé at Sinard that Peter and Lucette have
persevered in well-doing. Peter has become a
clever workman, and lives with his father, who
has been happily restored to reason. Lucette
is now the wife of a decent tradesman in
Lyons, and sets to all her neighbours a bright
example of industry, benevolence, and piety.

The young ladies were very much affected
by this simple story, and for some minutes
preserved a profound silence.



SOME REFLECTIONS. 95

At length Marguerite exclaimed :—

“When I leave school, and return to the
country, I will do all I can to help the chil-
dren of the poor; I will call them together in
my father’s house, and teach them the Cate-
chism, and to read the Bible.”

“You know,” said Elise, “that my father
is a lawyer, and I am his only daughter. I
shall have much to do at home, but every
week I intend to visit the good people of the
village, to find out who are sick or unhappy,
and in need of help or consolation.”

“ And I,” added Leontine, “as my father is
proprietor of a large factory, shall insist on
work being found for all the poor, and that
they shall send their children to school.”

Such were the reflections inspired by Made-
moiselle Clémence’s affecting story, and Snow-
drop trusts they have not been without good
fruit. It is useless for us to mean well, if we will
not do well. Good deeds are worth more than
good thoughts, and true charity consists in an
active devotion of our lives to the welfare of
those who surround us, and have claims upon us.





CHAPTER IX.

A RIVAL TO SNOWDROP APPEARS ON THE SCENE—A TRUE FRIEND—
MADEMOISELLE ADELE’S MISCHIEVOUS TRICKS—AN OUTBURST
OF ANGER,



If, when your evil tempers rise,
‘You in a mirror saw your face,

And marked therein your flaming eyes,
Surely you'd feel a keen disgrace,

And strive those passions to subdue
Which make you frightful to the view.






g we to assert, iadisvenaable to certain
: be fa young ladies; and even the eldest

did not hesitate to converse in my
presence, and repeat their secrets. They did
not fear to confide them to me: I was ac-
quainted with their most intimate friendships ;
I knew all their little schemes for walking
together when they went out on their daily



ROSETTE THE KITTEN. 97

promenades ; I saw them divide and share
their dainties, of which they never failed to
offer me a portion, much to my satisfaction.
One evening, after they had completely
gorged me, I was on the point of falling asleep
when a lady arrived, a friend of my mistresses.
She drew from her basket a very little kitten,
about the size of your fist, and offered it to
Mademoiselle Eleonore. “She is called Rosette,”
said the lady, “and is only two months old.
I have brought her up for you. She is very
gentle, and will soon grow accustomed to Snow-
drop, and become very friendly with him.
Please introduce them to one another.”
Mademoiselle Eleonore brought Rosette to see
me. At first she was very much frightened ;
but when she saw that I did not stir, she
gradually recovered her composure, and amused
herself with the bits of straw. which projected
through the bars of my cage. I found her
exceedingly pretty and graceful. Her coat was
of three colours; her four paws were white.
Mademoiselle Eleonore decorated her with a
ruby-velvet collar, to which was attached a little

(392 7



Full Text


a ats



i 8
‘The Baldwin Library

RmB vie



en cathete

SNOWDROP;

on,

THE ADVENTURES OF A WHITE RABBIT,






SNOWDROP;

oR,

THE ADVENTURES OF A WHITE RABBIT.

Tyeclated by ©





LONDON:
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH ; AND NEW YORK.





1873.
Preface.

4S a rule, the world does not allow
any large amount of intelligence to
individuals of my race, because,

ordinarily, we remain motionless,



and with eyes fixed. People often
would think we were dead, but for a slight
movement of the little tip of our nose. This
disadvantageous opinion, however, has not dis-
couraged me. Having been fortunate in a
home where I was carefully trained, I grew
very learned, and I repeated to myself, several
times daily, a line from a great fabulist, who,
I was told, had condescended to write about us,
and our cousins the hare:



“What could I do in my bwrow, if I did not sit and think?”
vi 2 PREFACE.

And, therefore, I thought! And during
my long hours of meditation, the thought
occurred to me that I would write the history
of my early career.

It seemed to me that a narrative of the
events of which I had been the witness, and
in which I had sometimes been an actor—
that the delineation of the good and bad
qualities of the children with whom I was
brought up, and the repetition of the wise
lessons I had the good fortune to learn—could
not but be of advantage for young readers.

I dedicate these pages to the excellent family
who took such pains to make me happy. May
they accept them as a proof of the living grati-
tude of their very humble and affectionate

servant,
SNOWDROP, THE RABBIT.


@ontents.

CHAPTER I.

MY BIRTH—A YOUNG LADTES
TINE—THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES

BOARDING-SCHOOL—MY FRIEND LEON-
1





CHAPTER IL.

THE HOLIDAYS—A Yous
FRIENDS—A YOUNG

G RABBIT'S FROLIC—MY MASTER AND HIS
SWISS — MY PRESENTIME!






LEONTINE,



CHAPTER Il.

RECOMMENCEMENT OF STUDIES—PORTRAITS OF
ERNESSES—PENITENCE FOR RUDENESS —LEONTINI
EVERYBODY DELIGHTED, AND ESPECIALLY SNOWDRO!

‘TWO ASSISTA:



“Gov



'S RETURN—



CHAPTER IV.

TWELFTH-NIGHT—SNOWDROP AND THE LOTTERY —LEONTINE WINS A







BOOK—NOR IS SNOWDROP FORGOTTEN .. «+. cece
CHAPTER V.

TRAGICAL ADVENTURE WITH A CAT—LESSONS IN DRAWING —I SERVE

AS A MODEL eaeenen aT




viii CONTENTS.

CHAPTER VI.



f SHADOWS "—SNOWDROP’S TEI
TER.. 5¢

« CHINES!
AGARD!



A HOLIDAY EVENING—THE,
ROR—THE EASTER VACATIO?



ERA CARP]



CHAPTER VIL

PUNCTUAL RETURN OF THE PUPILS—M. HECTOR—EVERY YOUNG LADY
HER OWN GARDENER—M. HECTOR INSPECTS THE GARDENS... 70



CHAPTER VIIL.

THE HISTORY OF TWO DISOBEDIENT AND IDLE CHILDREN—WISE RE
SOLUTION



SS OF THE YOUNG SCHOLARS .....26 0606+ ee



CHAPTER IX,

A RIVAL TO SNOWDROP APPEARS ON THE SCENE—A TRUE FRIEND—
MADEMOISELLE. ADELE'S MISCHTEVOUS TRICKS—AN OUTBU!



ANGER...



CHAPTER X.
MADEMOISELLE CLOTILDE’S BIRTH-DAY—A PLEASANT PROMENADE, IN
RIOUS GAM
RUPTION—-RETURN TO THE BOARDING-SCHOOL—AN AGREEABLE,
SURPRISE—THE JUSTICE OF CHARLEMAGNE... mL

WHICH I TAKE PART-



-—A DISAGREEABLE INTER-



CHAPTER XL.

A NEW FRIEND—AN ACCIDENT TO THE PARROQUET THE SINFU!
ORMNYRcc.sentace





ENTS. ix



CHAPTER XIL

A WANDERING FAMILY—A WORK OF CHARITY —THE BLESSING OF ALMS-
135

GIVING—A VISIT FROM THE CURE,



CHAPTER XIII.

A TRIP BY THE RIVER—CRUEL JOKE OF A COoK—THU
AN EXERCISE IN ARITHMETIC—RETURN TO SCHOOL





CHAPTER XIV.



ANOTHER EXPEDITION, IN WHICH
DIAN’:

OWDROP TAKES PART — BLIND-



BUFF



(OWDROP MAKES AN



EXCURSIO: DS +



CHAPTER XY.



THE OREAT LADY WHO LOVED KABBITS—A YOUNG ANGLER—HIS WON-
DEREUL ANGLING—AND THE CURIOUS FISH HE CAUGHT...... 166

CHAPTER XVI
ANECDOTES ABOUT ANTS—A HUMANE SOCIETY—A GRAND BATTLE —

ANTS AND APHIDES. 17g





CHAPTER XVIL

AN EXHIRITION OF RABBITS—I AM CONSIDERED WORTHY TO BE A COM-
PETITOR—REFLECTIONS WHICH THE EVENT SUGGESTS—1 CARRY
OFF A PRIZE 188



CHAPTER XVIII



PHILOSOPHICAL REFL
THE WALL—PUNISHMENT—THE TRIE

“TIONS ON THE PROGRESS OF SOCIETY —CLIMBING
Totean 100.


NTENT





CHAPTER XIX.

SNOWDROP AS A NATURALIST AND PHILOSOPHER—A NOCTURNAL EX-
CURSION—THE GLOW-WORMS—THE NECROPHORES—THE ANT-LION
THE CARPENTER-BEE. 211









CHAPTER X



THE VINE-TRELLIS AND THE FIELD-MICE—A CHANGE OF RESIDENCE—
‘THE SPIDERS--I REMOVE TO THE IRON-WORKS—THE FRIES
WHOM I DEDICATE MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.......-



Ds TO
219








CHAPTER I.



MY BIRTH—A YOUNG LADIES’ BOARDING-SCHOOL-
LEONTINE—THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZI



Oh, happy they for whom kind Heaven prepares

A sheltering roof, and friends to soothe their cares!
Deep in their heart of hearts should ever rest

‘The memory of a youth so fondly blest.



WAS bern at a young ladie:



” boarding-
school—or seminary, as it is some-
times called ;—and upon opening my
eyes to the light, I found myself sur-
rounded by a numerous group of girls
who, on seeing me, all cried out, “Oh, the
darling little white rabbit! How pretty
he is!”

“Has he pink eyes?” asked a handsome
brunette, who was too far off to judge for her-
self.
12 “ SNOWDROP.”

“No, my dear,” answered my nearest neigh-
bour.

“That is very singular,” replied the brunette.

“ Mesdemoiselles ! — mesdemoiselles !” she
said to some grown-up pupils who were con-
versing in an avenue of the garden; “come
and see a little white rabbit with brown eyes!”

Her exclamations attracted towards me the
attention of an aged lady, who, as I afterwards
learned, was the mother of the schoolmistress.
She took me up in her hands, fondled me,
showed me to her family, and christened me
“Snowdrop.” And from that hour I became
the object of assiduous care and watchfulness,
and I shared even in the advantages of the
admirable education which was given in the
establishment.

You will see from my example how great a
change education can effect in men and ani-
mals,

Two months passed away, in which I was
left to grow big and strong. It was the ful-
ness of summer ; and I listened, much amused,
to the little ladies, who called themselves very
A NEW PET. 13,

busy. One would be learning her catechism
for the approaching examination ; another,
Biblical history. The elder girls assumed a
grave air, and marched about with measured
steps, studying big—oh, such big !—books.
Chat and gossip ceased ; all the games were
given up; and even Snowdrop was neglected.
All this appeared to me very mysterious, and
I puzzled my brain fruitlessly to ascertain the
cause.

Several days passed by in these important
occupations. Then they came to an end, and
I was no longer forgotten. ‘‘Let us have a
game together, my pretty pet,” said the hand-
some brunette, whose name was Leontine; “let
us have a game together, for now I have time
to amuse myself. I have obtained a lot of
good marks for my examination, and I am sure
to carry off a prize. But you, Snowdrop, don’t
know what it is to have prizes; do you, foolish
little fellow? Well, then, listen: prick up
your ears, and pay attention. At the end of
every year, our mistresses have a grand day of
it. They invite all our mammas and friends
14 SNOWDROP AT LUNCH.

to attend, and into their presence they summon
every girl who has been—like me, you know—
awfully wise, obedient, and industrious, and
got on well in our studies. They place a fine
wreath on our heads, and in our hands a mag-
nificent book, full of pictures, and covered with
gilt. Oh, it is very delightful; and our
mammas can’t help weeping with joy !”

“That is fine,” I said to myself; “and I
should very well like to be in my young
friend’s place.”

Leontine continued talking to me for a long
time. She told me that the holidays had
come, and she was about to go home. This
news brought tears into my eyes; but I felt
that after so much hard work she deserved a
rest. I became very sad, however, when I
thought of my coming loneliness; and Leon-
tine, as if she entered into my feelings, pro-
-mised to visit me frequently, and to console
me, gave me part of her lunch. She seemed
delighted to do without it. I have since
learned, from my own experience, that it is in
the happiness of others we must seek our own.


A DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES. 17

Next day, the grand ceremony of distribut-
ing the prizes took’ place in the garden ; where,
on a platform erected for the occasion, all the
young ladies were seated, attired in white.
They looked very fair and innocent, and I am
sure it would not have been easy to find a prettier
spectacle. The mistresses spread a gay car-
pet over my hatch. I daresay it looked very
handsome, but it deprived me of much amuse-
ment, and, especially, prevented me from seeing
Leontine. I heard the speeches, however, and
the music, which was most delightful; and to
enjoy it fully, I made my little brothers and
sisters in the apartment adjoining mine keep as
still as possible. It seemed that my young
ladies were too busy on this memorable day to
bestow a thought on poor Snowdrop. Leon-
tine alone came to say “Good-bye.” I was
very hungry, but I would not tell her of it.
She slipped her little white hand between the
bars of my hutch; I licked it affectionately ;
and nourishing myself on my regret and
anxiety, I fasted until the following morning.

(392) 2


CHAPTER II.

THE HOLIDAYS—A YOUNG RABBIT’S FROLIC—MY MASTER AND HIS
“A YOUNG SWISS—MY PRESENTIMENTS—ILLNESS OF



LEONTINE,

A little child, obedient and good,
‘A sore temptation gallantly withstood
Before him lay a tart, a tempting prize!
But, quick as thought, he turned away his eyes.
His only fault was greediness, and yet

ie conquered it !—“Jam’s very nice, I know,
But yonder tart is safer where ’tis set—

Since I remember my dear mother’s ‘No !’—-
‘Than if ’twere in a cupboard locked away;
For I would ne'er her orders disobey.”



WAS awakened by a dispute between
two young sparrows, who had found
an old dead beetle, and could not
agree to divide it. While they were
struggling and fighting with each
other, down swooped a merry swallow, and
carried off the prey; so they were rightly
punished for their selfishness and gluttony.
PARTIAL LIBERTY. 19

There were four of us rabbits, with sometimes
only a single cabbage-leaf among us; but we
lived together in peace ; and I know more than
one little girl who would do well to follow our
example. At length one of the servants came
with my breakfast, and I spent the most mel-
ancholy day imaginable. A continual rain in-
creased my depression; I saw none of my
young ladies; it seemed they were too tired
with the previous day’s exertions to bid me
farewell. The greatest silence everywhere pre-
vailed, and I soon understood that each pupil
had gone home with her mamma.

The day following, the fine weather re-
turned ; and my mistresses, the proprietary of
the school, allowed me to roam about the
courtyard, only prohibiting me from going
into the garden, for fear I should touch the
flowers and vegetables. At first I was over-
joyed with this partial liberty, and I shook my
ears as a token of obedience. They placed too
much confidence in me, however; for impelled
by curiosity, that ugly vice, I escaped one fine
morning at sunrise, and darted like a madman
20 IN THE GARDEN,

into the avenues, and across the flower-beds.
I soon grew weary, and arriving on a little
terrace, I abandoned myself to a frenzy of ad-
miration. Certainly the scene before me was
ravishing ; I was present at the awakening of
the flowers. The roses balanced themselves on
their stalks, opening their delicious bosoms to
the first rays of the sun; the queen-daisies
shook from their petals the glittering dew-
drops; the immortelles and the May-flowers were
still asleep ; only the “ Marvels of Peru” drew
themselves up in all their pride, and expanded
their blossoms in the very ripeness of beauty,
to close them, however, as the heat of the day
increased. I could not grow tired of contem-
plating them, of listening to the sweet warble
of the birds and the hum of busy insects, wan-
dering hither and thither in search of food.
This last observation, and still more my un-
usual excursion, had sharpened my appetite.
From my post I caught sight, at the bottom of
the garden, of a magnificent bed of cabbages,
which tempted me powerfully. My conscience
disturbed me at first at the idea of eating them
SNOWDROP AT FAULT. 21

without permission; it advised me to turn
away mine eyes; but instead of flying, I kept
my gaze fixed upon the spectacle. Then I
thought there could be no harm in going
nearer to examine such very fine vegetables.
I approached ; and, alas! intoxicated by the
delightful fragrance, I put aside my scruples,
and tasted successively those which seemed to
me the finest. While I was making a hearty
breakfast, the cook arrived. She was struck
with astonishment at the sight of the ravages
I had committed !

“What will missus say ?” she cried; “the
very best cabbages nibbled at and spoiled !
And there, too! all Miss Clotilde’s flowers
are trampled over! Dear me, what a shame!
Iam quite sure the mischief has been done by
those nasty rabbits; and if I get hold of them,
won't I pinch their ears, and beat them
soundly !” j

_I trembled with alarm, and kept myself
concealed behind an enormous gooseberry-bush.
Fortunately the cook did not see me, and went
away growling, to complain to her mistress. I
22 SNOWDROP PENITENT.

profited by the opportunity to return to my
hutch with the utmost speed. Oh, how fast I
ran !—but when I got there, I could not lift
the lid! Then I reflected seriously on the
consequences of my error; and conquering all
false pride, resolved to remain by my cabin,
and receive in silence and humility the punish-
ment I had deserved. I repented sincerely of
having disobeyed my excellent mistresses.
When they arrived, they were more affected
by my sad and contrite air than they were
willing to show. They made me re-enter my
hutch, without saying a single word. Their
cold looks, and the absence of their usual fond
caresses, were a chastisement so bitter and so
complete that I was entirely cured of my
greediness, though I dare not say of my love
of liberty. Though I am not a warren-rabbit,
I feel all the charm which those of my kind ex-
perience who spend their lives sometimes in the
deep shady woods, sometimes in the genial sun-
shine, or in the midst of purple heather, scented
with wild thyme. My life is a different one; but,
by way of compensation, I enjoy perfect security,
A NEW PUPIL. 23.

food, and shelter. I am not exposed to the
danger of perishing by the hunter’s gun. IT
shall not be handed over to the remorseless
cook ; and, besides, the education I have re-
ceived procures me a host of intellectual enjoy-
ments. Decidedly, I am a happy creature.

The days which followed my escapade among
the cabbages passed quietly. I made a rapid
progress, especially in the art of observation.
I soon perceived that the days diminished in
length, and the rains became more frequent.
My mistresses did not walk out so frequently ;
and I learned, from a conversation which I
overheard, that one of them had set out for

~ Switzerland to bring back a new pupil. At
this intelligence I was delighted: my solitude
would soon terminate.

And a week later Miss Clotilde returned,
and did me the honour to present me to the
new boarder, who was called Marie. At first
she did not very much please me. She was
fair, short, and stout, with a large head, high-
coloured cheeks, a turned-up nose, and eyes
like a mole’s. Nor was the sound of her voice
24 A GAME AT TRIC-TRAC.

agreeable to my ears; she crunched out three
or four words before me which I could not
understand. I afterwards learned that her
native tongue was German, and that she had
come to France to learn French. She did not
seem at all sorrowful at being separated from
her family ; a circumstance which gave me a
poor opinion of her. All the little attentions
which she lavished on me gave me little pleas-
ure ; for, in my belief, a good heart is the quality
which, more than any other, wins admiration.

Every day my mistresses’ father played
tric-trac with Mademoiselle Marie to amuse
her. She was passionately fond of it, and
greatly amused at the alarm which the in-
cessant noise of the game excited in my timid
breast. I endeavoured gradually to accustom
myself to it, that she might no longer laugh at
my expense. By dint of self-control we may
conquer many weaknesses.

The game was generally followed by an in-
structive conversation. M. Antoine, an old
man of great intelligence and very amiable
manners, always combined the useful with the


“SHB WAS FAIR, SHORT, AND STOUT.”

jump about joyously—I y

SNOWDROP IN GOOD SOCIETY. 27

agreeable. He compelled his pupil to pro-
nounce her words correctly —a task which she
found very difficult. All the time she remained
at the school she could not pronounce my name
properly ; and so it was with a host of words,
which greatly amused her companions, and
suggested various little jests and pleasantries,
which she bore with tolerable good-humour.

M. Antoine was very partial to little Snow-
drop ; in fact, I became quite necessary to him,
and when the games at tric-trac came to an
end simultaneously with the holidays, I con-
tinued to pay him daily a prolonged visit.

His room was the general rendezvous of the
family and their most intimate friends, whose
acquaintance I made in due succession. When
they came I used to frolic before them, and
so proud of being
admitted into the society of distinguished men.
How many fine sayings I heard! how much
wit and wisdom! I was unable to retain



them, however, in spite of all my efforts, for I
have not been gifted with a sufficient memory.
Yet in these agreeable social gatherings I did
28 AN AFFECTIONATE FAMILY.

not wish to be considered stupid : so I assumed,
as well as I could, an air of intelligence, and T
pricked my ears, sometimes forwards, some-
times backwards, according to the greater or
less interest which I felt in the conversation.
M. Valentine, a charming poet, like my master,
would often call attention to my attitude of
intelligence ; at which, you may be sure, my
vanity was very much tickled.

But what gave me the greatest pleasure was
to see the tender and assiduous care which
each of my mistresses lavished on their excel-

“lent father. Their affection for him was equalled
only by their veneration. He was fully sen-
sible of their love, and deeply happy in it, and
often blessed his dear family. How great
was their anxiety when he was ill! how raptur-
ous their delight when he recovered! I can-
not think of these things without feeling so
strong an emotion that the tears gather in my
eyes.

The holidays drew to an end. Several little
girls had come to see me, but I had no news of
my special friend. How was I to learn some-
EVIL DAYS. 29

thing about her? What a bitter grief I felt it
to be deprived of the power of speech! My
fancy brooded over the gloomiest ideas: I
dreamed of illness and accidents befalling my
beloved Leontine. Gradually I lost both sleep
and appetite. My mistresses declared that I was
growing quite a skeleton, and set me at liberty
in the garden. I had not seen it since my
escapade, and found it sadly changed: no more
flowers, no more cabbages—the ground was
strewn with dead leaves. I sadly gained the
‘terrace, after having nibbled at a few sprigs of
parsley. By my side a troop of black ants
were hastily collecting their winter supply of
provisions.

No more butterflies — no more bees —no
more sweet strains among the leafy shades !
Everything seemed dead within me and around
me ; and yet winter was not come. What,
then, would be the utter dreariness and deso-
lation of that closing season! But why allow
one’s-self to feel discouraged beforehand? To
each day suffices the burden. Providence
watches over us: let us not aggravate our
30 LEONTINE’S CHARACTER.

misfortunes by anticipated sorrows, but submit
to God’s will in all humility of spirit. These
brief reflections did me much good. I returned
to my lodging with a ‘lighter heart, and waited
patiently until the commencement of the school
session should restore to me my beloved Leon-
tine.

Hitherto I have simply said that she was a
brunette, and handsome ; but without any risk
of exaggeration or fear of partiality, I assert
that she was the most amiable of all the
pupils. Her companions recognized, and with-
out jealousy accepted, her superiority, because
she was so good to each. It was said that as
she had grown older she had carefully corrected
herself of many serious faults, such as a ten-
dency to telling stories, sloth, and greediness.
Her parents loved her with a wise affection,
and never spoiled her. In every respect. they

chad seconded the exertions of the worthy in-
structresses to whom they had intrusted her ;
and Leontine, instead of becoming a vain, false,
selfish, and unendurable little creature, had
grown in virtue and in all precious qualities.
AN ACCIDENT. 3L

Happy the husband who in due time shall
take to himself a wife so charming, affection-
ate, truthful, and devoted! A good, and lov-
ing, and dutiful daughter cannot fail to make
a good, and loving, and attentive wife.

I think we are sometimes the victim of what
I may call sympathetic: presentiments, for I
afterwards learned that my anxiety respecting
Leontine had not been in vain. She had met
with a severe fall from a carriage, and had
suffered much, though recovering as rapidly as
could be expected. Her parents were kind
enough to send a servant to the school with
this information, and to ask that their daugh-.
ter’s holidays might be extended. I was not
forgotten : the worthy man brought me a thick
root of chicory, which she had cut for me with
her own hands. This friendly gift completed

my cure.


CHAPTER ITI.

RECOMMENCEMENT OF STUDIES — PORTRAITS OF TWO
GOVERNESSES—PENITENCE FOR RUDE!
TURN—EVERYBODY DELIGHTED, AND ESPECIALLY





Have pity on the stranger ; she who comes
From a far land, to seek among us work,

And work’s just recompense. Let no chill frown
Afflict her heart ; but by our genial hearth

Let her find happiness.



T length the pupils returned. It was
one of those rare but beautiful days
which seem the last adieux of
autumn,

The mistresses gave up this day
ener to their pupils, that they might prattle
entirely at their ease, and make acquaintance
with the new-comers. The elder ones came to
see me, and presented me to the rest. They
found that I had grown considerably, and had


AN ENGLISH GOVERNESS. 33

learned some very pretty habits. I received
numerous compliments; some fine apples and
a quantity of nice crumbs—for these young
ladies had so much to say they could not find
time to eat. It was a cross fire of questions
and answers, and it seemed as if the “oh’s!”
and “ah’s!” would never end. Especially they
examined the new-comers ; and from a distance
took the measure of the English governess,
who, fortunately for her, had the good luck to
please the majority. This lady stood apart,
but closely watched everything that transpired.
Some thoughtless, giddy-pated girls concluded
that she could speak only her native language.
They therefore took it into their heads to crowd
around her, and make bad jokes against Eng-
land and the English. Miss Helen seemed not
to understand them ; but I saw her draw from
her pocket a small red note-book, and pencil in
it a few lines with a cold, severe air.

The young jesters felt uneasy at this pro-
ceeding, and separated. Some of them felt a
little remorse, and asked one another whether

it would not be wiser if they admitted their
302) 3
34 ‘THE FIRST SCENE.

error and made an apology ; but pride and the
hope of impunity stifled their good intentions.
They were deaf to the voice of conscience, and
resumed their pastimes.

Shortly afterwards one of the mistresses came
upon the scene. Miss Helen approached her,
and in a clear, firm voice expressed her regret
that there should be some among her future
pupils utterly deficient in good breeding as
well as good feeling. Mademoiselle Clémence
seemed much troubled at this accusation, and
asked Miss Helen to point out the offenders.
She declined, however ; saying that she did -not
wish to bring punishment upon them on the
first day of her arrival, but that she should be
compelled to use some severity if they did not
immediately beg her pardon. The guilty ones
revealed. themselves by their crimson-coloured
faces. Mademoiselle Clémence pointed out in
affectionate words their rudeness and want of
good feeling ; and spoke warmly of the zeal of
Miss Helen, who had quitted her country and
family to assist in perfecting their education.
This wise language was not without effect:
“DEAR HELEN.” 35

moved to repentance, the guilty ones advanced,
and humbly requested a pardon, which was very
readily granted.

This little incident effectually confirmed the
position of the assistant-governess, who thence-
forth was beloved and respected. She was an
admirable lady, but her natural melancholy
was revealed by her sadness of manner. She
wore none but black garments, which harmon-
ized with her eyes, her complexion, and her
hair: the latter she wore in short curls, and
arranged like a boy’s. This strange exterior
concealed a host of qualities, which made her
cherished and appreciated, and which I was
not the last to recognize. My mistresses loved
and treated her like a sister : they always
spoke of her as “dear Helen,” and admitted
her into their confidence,

There was also at the boarding-school anothér
assistant, a non-resident— Mademoiselle Hen-
riette—to whom the elder pupils paid great
attention, in order to learn the news of the
town. She was a pretty young person, some-
what affected, and not well instructed: but
36 AN UNPLEASANT



AMUSEMENT.

then, on the other hand, she was always ac-
quainted with the current fashions; she gave
the ton, as it is called, to the boarders, taught
them to make their great chignons, and to wear
huge bands of hair, crimped and turned back.¢
To this assistant was entrusted the care of the
youngest pupils—a task requiring little know-
ledge, but much patience ; and it must be
owned that Mademoiselle Henriette was very
gentle with the little ones.

How I loved to see them at their sports!
Sometimes they came and invited me to join
in a round dance; to which I consented, to
please them, on condition that I was placed in
the middle of the ring. Fortunately for me,
the bad weather soon put an end to this species
of amusement, which nearly always made me
giddy.

On a certain Thursday, at the hour the chil-
dren went out for their usual walk, I had
climbed up to M. Antoine’s room, and installed
myself comfortably upon his knees. Whiléhe
was gently stroking my back, some persons
entered suddenly, and without announcing




SNOWDROP AND LEONTINE. 39

themselves. I immediately leaped to the
ground, almost mad with pleasure. It was
Leontine—my dearest Leontine! Yes, it was
Leontine, accompanied by her parents. She had
grown taller, and more beautiful than ever. After
the usual courtesies, she caught sight of me.

“What, are you there, my Snowdrop!” she
exclaimed. “How big you are grown! Come
quickly, and say ‘ How do you do?’ ”

A feeling of shame possessed me, and I was
literally unable to move.

“Do you no longer love me, then? I thought
you had more sense and feeling than common
rabbits.”

“Don’t you see,” said her mother, “that we
frighten him? Snowdrop knows neither me
nor your father. Wait a moment, and he will
recover from his alarm.”

Leontine having now drawn close to me, I
soon showed her that she was not forgotten.
I licked her hands with so much eagerness that
she and her parents soon ceased to doubt the
faithfulness of my memory and the nature of
my sentiments.
40 A HAPPY RECOGNITION.

They then dismissed me that they might
discuss business. Leontine carried me off with
her to visit her old schoolfellows and learn the
news. The moment she made her appearance
there was a general outburst of enthusiasm.
It is impossible to describe the welcome she
received—the shouts, the kisses, the embraces,
the confusion. I was nearly trodden under
foot in the crowd, and saved myself with diffi-
culty under Mademoiselle Eleonore’s desk. By
degrees tranquillity was re-established. I heard
from my hiding-place that my friend was com-
pelled to relate at least ten times the accident
by which she had nearly lost her life, and I
cannot tell you how many commentaries it
provoked, I was not at all at my ease under
the desk, and rejoiced when the dinner-bell
called away the boarders and allowed me to
emerge from my lair. Besides, I was very
much in want of rest after all my emotions.






CHAPTER IV.



TWELFTH-NIGHT—SNOWDROP AND THE LOTTERY—L
A BOOK—NOR IS SNOWDROP FORGOTT!



A book full of pictures, and handsomely bound,—
‘To waken the smile, or summon the tear,—

Say, what better gift for the young can be found
At Christmas-tide blithe, or at happy New Year?



OME weeks after this incident, an ex-
traordinary agitation prevailed in the
school. The snow fell in great flakes,
the sky was gray, and yet I could see
through the window-panes glimpses of
fresh toilettes of white muslin. Many shouts
of laughter travelled as far as my hutch, and I
bitterly regretted the snow-fall which kept my
young friends in-doors; for, if I could have
caught a few snatches of conversation, I should
quickly have understood all that was transpiring.
42 SNOWDROP AND THE LOTTERY.

While I gave full reins to my impatient
curiosity, a deputation came in search of me to
conduct me with all imaginable ceremony to
the principal class-room, which I found had
been transformed, by means of curtains, flags,
and wreaths, into a bright salon de danse.
My arrival was loudly applauded ; afterwards a
profound silence prevailed throughout the room.

“My dears,” said Mademoiselle Eleanore,
“you were disputing who should draw the
tickets for the lottery; now I think we will
bestow this honour upon Snowdrop, whose ex-
traordinary intelligence you all admire.”

At first I was confounded by the importance
of the position to which I was so suddenly
called, but I understood that I ought to do my
best to deserve Mademoiselle Eleanore’s eulo-
giums. So, collecting all my presence of mind,
I drew in succession the tickets placed in an
elegant basket. Our mistress then read aloud
the number written on the ticket, and indicated
the lot which corresponded to that number.
Oh, what a shout of joy on the part of the
happy winner!




“RSOWDROD'S PRIZE! CRIED TOE YOUNG GIily IN CHORUS.

SNOWDROP’S PRIZE. 45

When fate favoured any studious and gentle
girl, I myself applauded heartily; I desired,
above all, to secure the best prize for my dear
Leontine, but my paw was not gifted with any
prophetic power, and, therefore, I was unfor-
tunate enough, as I thought, to choose for her
only a small book. That amiable maiden, how-
ever, wished for nothing better; far from it, I
learned that the volume, thin and tiny as it
was, had a special value in Leontine’s eyes. It
was a collection of beautiful poems, edited by
the good old gentleman whom we all loved.
Was not this worth much more than laces, and
comfits, and toys? You see, we must not
judge by appearances.

I myself was not forgotten. “ Snowdrop’s
prize! Snowdrop’s prize!” cried the young
girls in chorus, seizing the last parcel left on
the table; “let us see if he can open it un-
aided.” I was somewhat puzzled. Leon-
tine detected my embarrassment, and, coming
to my assistance, showed me the largest car-
rot I had ever seen in my life. I was warmly
congratulated, and carried back in triumph
46 A SPLENDID FESTIVAL.

to my hutch, armed with my = splendid
prize.

Dances and round games lasted until ten
o'clock in the evening, and the twelfth-night
entertainment was closed by a magnificent
supper, of whose dainties and delicacies the
guests did nothing but talk for the next fort-
night.




CHAPTER V.

TRAGICAL ADVENTURE WITH A CAT—11
RVE AS A MODEL,




Prudence, in truth, I think a precious thin;
For what would not have been the young kid's fate,
If, when the gaunt wolf came, so sly and fierce,
‘And mimicked artfully the beggar’s voice,

She had not kept the door fast locked and barred?








HE days of winter rolled by very slowly:
cs the sky was exer of a dull leaden hue,
2 the snow lay thick upon the ground.
My hut appeared to me incrusted
with ice, notwithstanding all the external
precautions taken by my mistresses to protect
me from the cold. Sometimes I coiled myself
up in a motionless heap, as if I had been cut
out of card-board; sometimes I trotted out
in the garden, to unbend my limbs, and re-
turned frozen and shivering. One day, I re-
48 APPARITION OF AN ENEMY.

marked that the snow was covered with the
footprints of a cat. I had never seen this rest-
less animal except at a distance, on the roof of
a house, or climbing up the trees of the garden
in pursuit of birds. I had heard say that big
cats eat the little rabbits; but, thanks to my
size, I had no reason to fear any such cata-
strophe, and I would not have been sorry to ex-
amine our enemies more closely. An oppor-
tunity soon presented itself. One evening,
heard the snow cracking near me, and putting
my nose to the only aperture which had been
left to give me air and light, I saw a great
black cat prowling through the darkness in
search of prey. He soon discovered the im-
prudent Snowdrop. His two eyes glittered
like burning coals. He fixed them upon me,
and commenced a convérsation jn our animal
language, which, for the benefit of little boys
and girls, I translate :—

“Would my brother kindly give me hospi-
tality for this one night? I am dying with
cold and hunger, and would take up a very
small corner in his cabin. If my brother has
SNOWDROP’S PRUDENCE. 49

by him a crust of bread which he could spare,
I should be so content, and should feel so
sincere a gratitude towards him, that I would
praise his generosity to all the cats of the dis-
trict.” f

For a moment I was tempted to yield to the
feeling of compassion which his artful words
awakened ; but, counselled by prudence, I re-
plied :—

“T regret, my brother, that I have no means
of assisting you: in the first place, I have
nothing to eat; in the second, judge for your-
self if you could get through this tiny opening ;
it is scarcely large enough to admit your paw.”

In his rage at my refusal, the cruel creature
tore off a piece of my lip with one stroke
of his claws, and then took to flight. I re-
mained stupified with terror; but my wound
recalled me to my senses; and I felt that, bad
as it was, I had been fortunate in escaping a
more serious accident. It is necessary, as you
young people should always remember, to be
on our guard when dealing with strangers.

But for my regular visits to M. Antoine, my
(302) 4
50 SITTING FOR A PORTRAIT.

days, at this season of the year, would have
been intolerably long and dreary. In his nice
‘warm room, however, I always enjoyed some
hours of relaxation. Occasionally I saw there
one of his old friends, or sometimes a pupil or
two, who had made some pretext to get away
from their lessons for awhile. On a certain
occasion, I had the honour to be present at a
lesson in drawing, and the young ladies were
all very eager to take my portrait. I was
delighted, and assuming a proper position, re-
mained quite motionless, with the exception of
my nostrils. This delightful occupation lasted
for a couple of months. Nothing amused me
so much as to hear M. Antoine’s remarks on the
efforts of his pupils :—

“There now,” he would say, “you have
given Snowdrop a hump on his back, short,
thick legs, and a twist in his nose.”

“ But, sir,” they would answer, “we can’t
draw Snowdrop’s nose ; he can’t keep it quiet.”

“ At least,” M. Antoine would exclaim, with
a smile, “ you need not give him the back of a
dromedary and the legs of an elephant. Take


SNOWDROP CRITICIZED, 53

special note of his outlines, and observe that
Providence has endowed every animal with
limbs suitable to the particular part it has to ©
play in life. Snowdrop’s hind paws are longer
than his fore; because, in a wild state, the
rabbit crosses with a leap brooks and trenches
of tolerable width. He is equally nimble in
running, and holds himself constantly on the
watch, ready to start at the least alarm.”






CHAPTER VI.

A HOLIDAY EVENING—THE ‘‘ CHINESE SHADOWS ”—SNOWDROP'S
‘TERROR—THE EASTER VACATION—A GARDENER—A CARPENTER.

Pray tell me, at your early age,
‘Which is for you the nicest stage?
‘What theatre do you frequent?

Say, is it not the conjuror’s tent,
‘Where in his robe, as black as night,
And with the aid of mirror bright,
Or words and spells of magic might,
He causes wondrous forms to rise,—
Like spirits,—to your dazzled eyes?
Or marvellous changes he will work,
And turn a monk into a Turk,

Or thistles into glowing roses,

‘And donkeys’ tails to “jolly noses!”







ONSIEUR ANTOINE was proceeding
with his explanation, when he was
¢<. suddenly interrupted by the appear-
ance of Mademoiselle Clotilde. Hav-
ing dismissed the pupils, she said to
her father: —“ My dearest father, we have not
given the children any amusement since they
PROPOSAL FOR A MERRY EVENING. 55

came back after the holidays, and I have come
to. the conclusion that it would be a good thing
to get up a merry evening for them, with the
assistance of yourself and M. Valentine. I have
a great sheet of ‘Chinese shadows,’ full of all
kinds of figures, which you can easily manceuvre;
I leave to you and your friend the choice of
subjects, and all the merit of the invention.
During the intervals of the exhibition M. Valen-
tine, I doubt not, will sing some of his gay
little ballads, or tell us some of his charming
stories.”

M. Antoine was well pleased with the idea,
and my excellent mistress had no difficulty in
persuading her mother and sisters to give their
consent.

Chance, or rather, affection, brought M.
Valentine to the house, a few minutes after.

“How fortunate it is you have called upon
us!” exclaimed M. Antoine; “I will let Clo-
tilde know of your arrival, or she will be going
to your house in search of you. We shall keep
you here until ten o'clock p.m.,—that’s certain!
You are indispensable. After dinner, we in-
56 STAGE PREPARATIONS.

tend to surprise our young ladies with an ex-
hibition of the ‘Chinese shadows ;’ and more
shan any other person in this wide world, my
friend, will you lend life and animation to this
improvised entertainment. My daughter will
send up the puppets we shall have to act with,
and we can make our preparations up to as late
an hour as six o’clock.””

The actors arrived,—carefully wrapped up,
I can assure you; and my good master and his
friend, dismissing me to the garden, shut them-
selves into their room, that no one might gain
an inkling of their stage-secrets. *

At last, the hour arrived for the joyous ex-
hibition. All the school, and all the house-
hold, were collected in a spacious apartment,
and I was seated in the lap of my gentle Leon-
tine, who had placed herself among the youngest
pupils, that I might have a good view, she
said, of the wondrous spectacle. For the mo-
ment, I saw nothing at ‘all: the room was in
darkness, with the exception of a luminous
transparency from which I was unable to turn
my gaze. The most complete silence prevailed,
A BEAUTIFUL TRANSPARENCY. 57

and each young lady awaited, almost breathless,
the beginning of the entertainment.

A bell rung, and all was ready.

Then on the transparency appeared a mag-
nificent forest, whose trees thrust down their
roots to bathe them in a small brook that
rippled through the shades. A noble stag was
peacefully quenching his thirst in the cool fresh
water, when the sound of a horn was heard in
the distance. The stately animal raised his
head perturbedly. While he sought to dis-
cover from what quarter it proceeded, a pack
of*hounds came sweeping through the wood.
The stag took flight ; was pursued and over-
taken by the dogs; a couple of huntsmen gal-
lopped up, and fired at the unfortunate stag,
who fell dead. The attendants took up his
body, and carried it off; the chase disappeared,
and we could hear in the distance the triumph-
ant blast of the horn.

The forest was once more silent and lonely.
A few hares, and some wild rabbits, were frisk-
ing in various directions, when a gentle shep-
herdess made her appearance, with her distaff
58 THE SONG OF LABOUR.

in her hand. She was leading a flock of goats
and sheep to the pasture, and while they
cropped the fragrant herbage, she seated herself
on a bank, and sang aloud to console herself
against the feeling of alarm the loneliness of
the scene inspired. Meanwhile the spindle
revolved rapidly in her nimble hands.

Let me write down the pretty song she sang,
and which may fitly be called the Song of
Labour :

“* Before dawn reddens in the skies
Loud is the strain of Chanticleer ;
Straight to his forge the blacksmith hies,
And thick the ruddy sparks appear.

“ From earliest dawn all nature toils,
And still our efforts we renew ;
Like yonder ant, which bent with spoils,
‘Wii long its weary path pursue.

“ And so, each little cell to store
‘With honied sweetness, works the bec ;
Each nectared flower it hovers o'er,
And skims with eager wing the lea.

“The shepherd on the hillside green
Close watches o'er his wandering band :
And quickly goes the ploughshare keen,
‘When guided by a skilful hand,

“ And wilt thou then, O lady fair,
‘Thy precious hours in folly spend ?
Oh, see how earth, and sea, and air,
‘Their wealth on toiling man expend !
END OF THE FIRST ACT. 59

“ Ah, when the famished insect longs
To borrow but a little seed,
Of what avail its idle songs?
It perishes in utter need!”

“ Encore! encore!” shouted all the young
ladies, clapping their hands in an ecstasy of
delight. “Oh, show us again the little shep-
herdess, and let us hear her song.” The re-
quest was complied with, and the last verse
ended amidst a storm of applause. A thick
curtain was then let down in front of the
scene.

“End of the first act,” cried M. Valentine ;
“audience permitted to talk, but only in a
whisper!” Of this permission each pupil took
advantage, to the extent of deafening her
neighbour and herself.

-A loud stroke on the bell once moré re-
established silence. The curtain rose, and
revealed the interior of a kitchen and dining-
room, ornamented with a piano. A young
girl of twelve, with her eyes in the air, was
strumming on the instrument, when her mamma
entered.

“Rosalie, Rosalie, I wish to speak to you.”
60 ROSALIE AND HER MAMMA.

“What do you want of me, mamma ?”

“T am going out to see your little sister.”

«Will you not take me with you, mamma?”

“No; you must stay at home, and look
after the dinner until I return. Come with
me to the kitchen, and I will tell you what I
want you to do. First, you must take care
and keep this pot on the boil, for it contains
a delicious sausage-pudding. You know how
fond your papa, is of it, and I want to sur
prise him with his favourite dish.”

“Yes, mamma.”

“Next, you must put some more fire under
the oven to cook the leg of mutton; and be
sure you don’t let it burn.”

“Yes, mamma.”

“And mind you see the cat does not get at
the sausage-pudding, when you take it off the
fire.”

“Yes, yes, mamma; you can trust me; I
assure you I will attend to all your instruc-
tions, and not leave the kitchen for a single
moment. There now!”

“That is right ; and if you do what I have
ENTER VICTORINE. 61

told you, I will think of some reward for a
good girl. If you do not, I shall have to
punish you.”

And so speaking, mamma disappeared.

“Tet me look at this fine pudding,” said
Rosalie, removing the lid, and placing the pot
on the fender; “oh,

(She forgets to put on the lid again.) “Who
is that at the door? I am coming, I am com-

how nice it smells

ing!”

A young neighbour enters.

“What, is it you, Victorine? How kind
of you to come and see me! Just fancy, 1
am all alone! Mamma has gone out, and left
me in charge of the house.”

“Oh, capital! What a good opportunity
to enjoy ourselves!” exclaimed Victorine ;
“Jet us go into the garden, and pick some
cherries ; there is such a quantity of them that
your mamma will never miss a few.”

“Oh, but don’t you see, Victorine, I pro-
mised mamma that I would not leave the
kitchen, but look after the sausage-pudding
and the leg of mutton.”
62 AN UNWELCOME INTRUDER.

“Rubbish! won't a sausage-pudding boil
without your looking at it? Come, my dear,
come ; we need not stay long in the cherry-
tree, only ten minutes or so.”

“ Are you quite sure, Victorine ?”

“Yes, my dear, ten minutes. We will not
stay longer, I promise you.”

The two girls go out into the garden.

Scarcely have they disappeared, before—
mew! mew! mew !—a great black cat jumps
through the open window. He goes all around
the kitchen, sniffing and smelling, until he is
attracted to the fender by the exquisite odour
of the sausage-pudding. He draws close to
the pot ; put his nose in, burns it, and quickly
pulls it out again. Then he stretches forth a
paw, and contrives to hook up the dainty
pudding, which he rolls about the kitchen until
it is tolerably cold. Satisfied on this point,
he takes it up with his teeth, and bolts out of
the window much more quickly than he en-
tered.

A minute or two afterwards, the young girls
return,
END OF ACT SECOND. 63

“Let us see if the pudding is ready,” said
Rosalie. She peeped into the pot ; alas, it was
empty! Her companion immediately abandons

“her to her fate, and Rosalie, in a sad state of
mind, waits for her mother’s return, and the
punishment she knows she has deserved. At
length, mamma arrives, and I leave you to
guess the consequences.

“End of Act Second!” cries M. Valentine,
and the curtain drops a second time. The
buzz of voices recommences, and my darling
companion caresses me, saying,—

“Don’t you think, Snowdrop, if you had
been Rosalie’s mamma, you would have given
her the cane, and kept her without her dinner?”

I licked her hand by way of answer.

The second entr’acte, or pause, would have
seemed to us very long, had not M. Valentine
come forward, and recited some pretty fables
of his own composition. At their close he
announced a representation of different animals,
to take place in the beautiful forest we had
already seen.

And in truth, when the curtain rose, the
64 SNOWDROP HAS A FRIGHT.

landscape beamed before us. A light bark
moved slowly along the river, the fisherman
pausing from time to time to haul up his lines.
Suddenly he uttered a loud cry. An enormous
serpent reared its huge crest before him on the
margin of the water. He raised his iron-shod
pole to defend himself, but the frightful monster
avoided the blow, and sprang to the opposite
shore, where he had selected another victim.
He placed himself before one of my brothers,
drew the hapless victim into his yawning jaws,
and swallowed him alive.

At this horrid spectacle, I was paralyzed
with fear, and remained in a swoon on Leon-
tine’s knees until the scene had ended.

My friend then perceived my condition, car-
ried me into the open air, rubbed me, put her
eau-de-Cologne bottle to my nostrils, and did’
not leave me until I was completely recovered.

All night I dreamed that I was being de-
voured alive by gigantic serpents !

At length, this protracted winter drew to-
wards a close. The garden turf was green
again. The sparrows quitted their solitary


APPROACH OF SPRING. 67

nest, and came to pay me frequent visits. They
‘no longer wore a frightened and half-starved
aspect, for on the soil they found seeds and
insects of all kinds, and uttered little joyous
chirps as they basked in the rays of the sun,
which came anew to warm them. Not that it
was yet spring ; but the earth felt the sweet
influence of its coming. Every day when I
took my walk abroad, I discovered some new
flower among the herbage ; sometimes a daisy,
sometimes a violet, or, perhaps, a pimpernel or
two, and a cluster of wild pansies. The tips
of the branches were coloured red, which gave
them a charming aspect.

At intervals, the young ladies brought their
skipping-ropes into the court ; but this, as yet,
was a rare amusement, for their mistresses took
them out walking after dinner.

Easter soon afterwards arrived, and brought
with it a short vacation. I had, therefore, only
a few days of solitude to support, and these
were shortened by a host of amusing incidents.
First came the gardener, to prune the vine, and
turn up the garden, ready for fresh seeds and
68 WORK ON ALL SIDES.

plants. I followed him from point to point,
admiring the eagerness with which the spar-
rows devoured the insects turned up by his
spade.

The good man flattered and caressed me
warmly, and I soon grew quite familiar with
him. He pointed it out to my mistresses, who
replied by praising me fondly; and adding
that they allowed me full liberty in the garden,
so great was their confidence in my discretion.

At these kind words, I recollected the serious
fault of which I had once been guilty, and the
tip of my nose blushed suddenly. Fortunately,
no one noticed my confusion.

I was very glad, however, when the conver-
sation changed. We visited the dead trees to
root them up, and plant new ones, and we
selected a suitable place for the erection of a
hen-house.

Next day, it was the turn of the carpenter,
who came to run up the hen-house, which was
painted green, and surrounded by flowering
shrubs. We installed in it a fine hen, with
fifteen chickens ; and it was very amusing to
A GOOD EXAMPLE. 69

see them clustering round their mother, and
obeying her slightest signal. -My good mis-
tress frequently brought the younger pupils
thither to show them the admirable example ;
but I do not say that all of them profited
by it.




CHAPTER VIL.

PUNCTUAL RETURN OF THE PUPILS—M. HECTOR—EVERY YOUNG
LADY HER OWN GARDENER—M, HECTOR INSPECTS THE GAR-
DENS.

The Gardener— = ne
Nothing know I so good as the rich and genial earth,
‘Which, from her fertile breast, to flowers and plants give birth ;
Nothing know I so fair as an ample garden-ground,
In which the brightest hues and sweetest scents are found.
The Schoolmistress—
Nothing know I so good as the bold, assiduous mind,
Which, fed by knowledge, grows more virtuous and refined ;
Nothing know I so fair as the frank, ingemuous child,
‘Who by his conduct shows a spirit pure and mild.

ward to the pupils if they returned
punctually to school on the ap-
pointed day. The device succeeded,



( and there were not more than three
behind time. The novelties of the garden
proved a complete success, and the first hour of
recreation was spent in a visit to the chickens.
UNGRATEFUL SPIRITS. 7

I experienced a feeling of jealousy, but did
my best to conquer it; besides, Leontine had
again thought of me, and brought me some
delicious straw and a fine cabbage. This gen-
erous patron of mine bade the servant never
come without fresh straw for my litter, and
she watched keenly that her order was not
neglected.

Several weeks passed by, and the children
heard nothing of the promised reward, and
some were ungrateful enough to express their
dissatisfaction.

“You will see,” said certain troublesome
spirits, “that she does not intend to give it.
Twas just a stratagem of Mademoiselle Clo-
tilde, to make us return punctually.”

“Oh, that is impossible,” replied the others ;
“our mistresses always keep their promises,
but we don’t see that they are obliged to do
so to the minute! And then again, if they
intend to give us a pic-nie in M. Valentine’s
great park, we must wait for fine weather ; or,
at all events, until the cherries are ripe, and as
yet they are green. We know you too well,
72 AN AMATEUR OF GARDENING.

young ladies; you are always in a hurry to do
nothing.”
“Oh, how virtuous we are! So you think
yourselves qualified to give us a moral lecture !”
The bell rang for school, and interrupted a

discussion which was growing angry.

My good mistresses had an amiable neigh-
bour, who was particularly partial to roses and
rare plants. Though he was seventy-five years
of age, he cultivated with great success a couple
of pretty parterres, one of which led to a small
conservatory, admirably arranged, and filled
with representatives of the vegetable wealth of
all parts of the world. M. Hector’s great delight
was to offer his productions to his numerous
friends and these ladies. Every day brought
some new surprise, according to the season ; and
he was always consulted on the management of
the garden.

One Thursday, after dinner, while the school
were out walking, I saw him enter with
Mademoiselle Clotilde, the eldest of the mis-
tresses; they measured the beds which sur-
AN UNEXPECTED PLEASURE. 73

rounded the court, and divided them into little
square plots of different sizes. In each square
they planted a stake, to which was attached
a cord. By the time this allotment was
finished, the pupils returned home; and Miss
Helen, who had received her instructions,
brought them into the garden, and made them
take their places in silence, according to their
ages. Then Mademoiselle Clotilde spoke :—

“Young ladies, I promised to reward you
for the punctuality with which you returned
to school at Easter. I now keep my word, by
giving to each two of you a little garden to
cultivate; and our excellent neighbour here has
taken the trouble to parngn them off in sizes
adapted to your years.”

“Oh, how delightful! How agreeable! How
much obliged we are to mademoiselle, and M.
Hector !”

“That is not all, young ladies,” said M.
Hector, stepping forward; “close at hand is
my florist and nurseryman, whom I will intro-
duce to your notice.”

He disappeared for a few minutes, to return
74 HURRAH FOR M. HECTOR !

with an immense basket full of plants and cut-
tings of every kind. Then, calling the young
ladies forward, in due order, he supplied them
with materials for the decoration of their little
flower-beds, accompanying his gifts with suit-
able advice,—such as to pluck up weeds, re-
move stones, and water the plants only after
sunset. He concluded with a promise to visit
them frequently, and reward the most successful
gardeners. As joy spurns all limits, they
shouted merrily, “Hurrah for M. Hector!”
« and promised to show themselves worthy of his
generosity. So each set to work most dili-
gently. They planted, they dug, they raked,
and they watered, and were so busy that for
once the dinner-hour came unexpectedly, and
was considered unwelcome.
A few days afterwards, M. Hector came on
a visit of inspection. ‘Here comes our florist !”
cried Leontine; “ quick, girls, let us show him
our wonders, and do our best to please him.”
He was soon surrounded by the young ladies, and
accompanied by them, began his critical survey.
From the corner where I was lying I could


“FROM THE CORNER WHERE I WAS LYIN!



COULD HEAR THE
“HEM.”



THE YOUNG LADY GARDENERS, 17

hear the praises he bestowed upon them; nor
did he leave without acknowledging that he
was very well pleased with the results they had
obtained—an opinion which seemed to give them
great encouragement.

It was charming to see the solicitude in-
spired by the tiniest flower if it appeared to
droop; it was watched with redoubled care.
Every moment they came to me, saying:
“Snowdrop, you will not walk in my garden,
will you? You won't eat my flowers, and,
especially, my pretty pinks, or I shall love you
no longer.” I pricked up my ears as a sign
that I agreed: whereupon they all exclaimed,
“Snowdrop understands, you see: ob, he is
the most intelligent of rabbits !”

“Certainly, Snowdrop understood,” remarked
Miss Helen; “he is better bred than certain
little girls of my acquaintance, who are greedy
enough to pick green gooseberrics and eat them;
while others invent all sorts of excuses to leave
their class, and trespassing on the terrace, are
guilty of the same fault at the risk of making
themselves ill, But I keep my eye on all
78 LITTLE PILFERERS.

these petty acts of disobedience, and will cau-
tion Madame Antoine.” At the close of this
admonition, they dispersed, but a keen ob-
server would have noticed signs of confusion
on at least a dozen faces.

Green plums seemed an irresistible tempta-
tion for some of these imprudent girls. A
shake of the elbow, skilfully given, shook the
tree, and brought the fruit to the ground.
They profited by an instant when the governess
turned her back, to pick them up, and pocket
them, with incomparable rapidity. But their
mistresses soon detected these paltry tricks.
They then explained to them how mean and
dishonest was such conduct, and that to take
the fruit, whether green or ripe, was to commit
an act of theft, dishonourable to children brought
up with so much care. They made the offenders
pay a slight fine for the benefit of the poor.
And as, though greedy and thoughtless, they
were not wanting in goodness of heart, they
readily discharged their penance, and faithfully
promised to avoid for the future all such shame-
ful actions.


CHAPTER VIII.

THE HISTORY OF TWO DISOBEDIENT AND IDLE CHILDREN—WISE
RESOLUTIONS OF THE YOUNG SCHOLARS.

After long wanderings through many lands,

‘And suffering hunger, misery, and care,
‘The Prodigal upraised to Heaven his hands,

And bent his head in tearful, humble prayer.
Sweet thoughts came o'er him of his happy Past,

Of household joys and Childhood’s sunny years ;—
‘Then at his father’s knees himself he cast,

‘To gain the pardon which he sought with tears.



ie ATURE was rejoicing in the balmy
airs and sweet sunshine of May;
melodious songs of birds and streams
echoed on every breeze. The acacias
flung abroad the perfumes of their
pliant branches ; everything lived, everything
breathed. The happy note of the cuckoo once
more pealed through the glades, and the faith-
80 OUT IN THE GARDEN.

ful swallow rebuilt with ardent industry her
beloved nest.

All those pleasures were very sweet to me,
and I blessed God that he had bestowed them
on all his creatures, even on me, a poor pet
rabbit. I stayed but little in my hutch, greatly
preferring the freshness and beauty of the gar-
den. The young ladies thought me very for-
tunate in being able to spend my time so
agreeably. At the beginning of every half-
holiday, or every hour of relaxation, their faces
shone with delight; but oh, how gloomy they
looked when the bell summoned them back to
their studies!

“How delightful it is in the garden!” said
the graceful Sophie (by this time I knew all
their names) ; “if we were only allowed to do
our needlework here, I declare we would toil,
and toil, like so many benevolent fairies. My
dear Mademoiselle Clémence, will you allow us?”

Sophie’s request was so warmly seconded by
the majority, that their mistress could not but
consent. Some seats were quickly procured,
and the young girls set zealously to work.
TELLING A TALE. 81

“We have no more interesting books to
read,” said Sophie; “we have exhausted all
our present supply. Would you, Miss Clémence,
oblige us by relating one of your pretty little
stories ?””

“T have no objection, my dear Sophie.”

“Two victories, Sophie!” whispered one of
her companions; “what a pity you cannot
become a lawyer!”

“Before I tell my tale,” remarked Mademoi-
selle Clémence, “I will fetch Mademoiselle
Henriette and the junior class, who will be
delighted to sit here in the pleasant shade.
And then I will hear some of you read. Re-
member, my children, we must never neglect
our duties for the sake of pleasure.”

The reading lasted an hour, which, to the
impatient audience, seemed an age. At length
it was done, and Miss Clémence, requesting
perfect silence, and prohibiting interruptions,
announced her intention to relate the “ History
of Little Peter and Lucette ; or, the Fatal Con-
sequences of Disobedience and Idleness.” I

should never have been able to lodge the whole
{392) 6
82 PETER AND LUCETTE.

of it in my brain, which has not enough room
for such long stories; but it was committed to
writing by one of the school girls, from whose
manuscript it is now transcribed for the reader’s
benefit.

History of Wittle Peter and Ducette ;

OR, THE FATAL CONSEQUENCES OF DISOBEDIENCE AND IDLENESS.

The little village of Sinard is situated on a
narrow table-ground in the heart of the moun-
tains of Dauphiné. On its right it overhangs
the famous torrent of the Drac, and on its left
a succession of charming valleys, bright with
castles and villages. In the distance, the
snowy peaks and azure glaciers of the Alps are *
outlined against a deep blue sky. Altogether,
the scene is one of singular and surpassing
beauty.

The inhabitants of Sinard are compelled to
labour incessantly for the simplest comforts.
From a very early age, the children, both boys
and girls, weave and twist the coarse straw
of which the workmen’s hats are made, and at
the same time watch the herd while pasturing.
THE VILLAGE OF SINARD. 83

When a few years older, the boys work in the
fields, while the girls sew, with extraordinary
skill, the seams of leather gloves; but they earn,
in spite of all their industry, a very insufficient
wage.

Some years ago, they used to point out, in
the immediate neighbourhood of the church,
the ruins of a small cottage. I am going to
repeat the story which they told of its former
inhabitants. ‘

One day, there came from the town of Oisans,
driven out by a terrible fire, an aged woman
and her daughter. They brought with them
some few articles of furniture, and a box or
two full of the fashions of the day. At a low
rent, they engaged the cottage of which I have
spoken, and took up their residence in it. The
young girl was a milliner and dressmaker, and
was accustomed to set out in the only window
of the cottage the specimens of her handiwork.
The good curé of the village quickly called
upon his new parishioners: he interested the
lady of the chateau in their lot, and about a
month after their arrival at Sinard, Lucie mar-
84 LEFT MOTHERLESS.

ried a young and honest workman, employed
on one of the chatelaine’s farms. The three
first years of their married life passed in perfect
happiness. God had sent them a fine boy,
whom they called Little Peter, after his father,
and a sweet little girl, named Lucette, after her
mother Lucie.

The young family prospered. Every day
Peter repaired to his work at the farm, returning
in the evening to rest himself in the pleasant
companionship of his wife and childven, The
peace and joy which flow from a good con-
science made their home most happy ; nor was
there any sign or indication that this happiness
would be disturbed. :

Some years had passed since the birth of the
children, when their mother fell ill. For. a
whole month she struggled bravely against the
inroads of a severe fever, and then she sank,
—with her last breath commending the two
children, so soon to be motherless, to the care
of her husband and their grandmother.

Little Peter at this time was eight, and
Lucie six years old. They were two handsome
A COUPLE OF SPOILED CHILDREN. 85

children, but spoiled by excessive indulgence ;
and spoiled especially by their grandmother,
who was unable to resist them in the indulgence
of any of their caprices. To speak of spoiled
children -is to speak of idle children. Little
Peter and his sister would never go to school.
They were utterly ignorant, and spent their
days playing in the woods and meadows, where
Little Peter was always capturing birds’ nests.

Their parents, seeing them grow tall and
strong, never interfered ; waiting until they
should receive their first religious instruction
at the hands of the curé to commence their
education. In vain the good curé had remon-
strated. The two children had no other law
than that of their own will, and they became
true vagabonds. At length their father saw
how much evil had been done, and endeavoured
to remedy it. He prayed and entreated, but
all to no purpose. Then he resorted to severe
measures ; but these only drove the children
from their home. They would stay away from
their father’s house for whole days; and at last,
one fatal day, they did not return, In great
86 THE FUGITIVES.

distress of mind their father went in search of
them; and after vainly exploring the neigh-
bourhood for miles around, he was compelled
to apply to the authorities at Grenoble. On
his return to the village, everybody pitied him
from the bottom of their heart, for he was very
much esteemed. The aged grandmother grieved
so bitterly over the loss of her grandchildren,
that she fell ill and died, leaving Peter plunged
in an excess of misery and despair. The un-
fortunate man returned to his work for the
sake of a livelihood ; but silence and solitude
awaited him on his return to his deserted
home. His brain was unable to endure the
constant anxiety, and he went mad.

What became of Little Peter and Lucette?

On the day of their flight, having supplied
themselves with a double allowance of bread,
they had abandoned the frequented roads, in
order to avoid recognition, and taken the by-
paths across the fields which led to the town of
Oisans, their mother’s native place. They
came eventually to a place crowded by people
returning from a fair. Some were leading the
IN THE HANDS OF BEGGARS. 87

cattle they had purchased, others were loaded
with provisions ; all seemed surprised to see
two children, alone, unattended, and at such a
distance from any habitation. To the questions
put to them, the little fugitives replied, that
some friends expected them not far from this
spot, and that they should soon arrive at their
destination.

However, the road began to get very lonely,
and evening was coming on. Our fugitives
were trembling with fear, and weeping with
remorse, when they fell in with a troop of
beggars. These, on seeing the children, stopped,
and held a short consultation ; after which,
without paying attention to their cries, they
tied their hands behind them, and compelled
them to follow, threatening to beat them if
they were disobedient. Little Peter and Lu-
cette now lost all their headstrong audacity,
and thought with painful regret of the home
they had deserted. They had spurned the
authority of their father,—for what ?—to fall
into the hands of wicked vagabonds, who
would treat them with the utmost cruelty.
88 WEARY WITH TRAVEL.

Fain would they have returned to their native
village, but they were too closely watched to
be able to escape. And thus, you see, their
punishment had commenced ; would they know
how to profit by it?

On the threshold of a wood the beggars
halted, and after having handed a crust of hard
bread to the poor children, they questioned
them respecting their parents and friends ; not
indeed with any intention of returning them
to their family, for they saw clearly that the
children were poor, and that no reward was to
be expected; but that they might keep away
from their village, and avoid the pursuit of the
police. Little Peter told them his story, and
prayed them to take him and Lucette home.
But the beggars, far from complying with the
pathetic petition, quitted the country, passed
into Italy, and did not revisit France until
after a long sojourn in Savoy. They travelled
by short stages, and on the road taught the
children their dishonest trade, and all the vices
which accompany it. Little Peter and Lucette
profited too well by these wicked lessons, and


“pnEy TIED THEIR HANDS EBHIND THEM, AND COMPELLED THEM
's0 FOLLOW.”

A SISTER OF MERCY. 91

before long were versed in every kind of
roguery and deception.

However, the orphans had in heaven a
mother and a grandmother whose love watched
over them. One evening, on entering the
great city of Lyons, where they were begging
in company, their resemblance to one another
surprised a charitable woman, of whom they
had asked alms. She was what is called a
Sister of Mercy, and had dedicated her life to
the performance of works of benevolence and
love. “I have nothing to give you, my chil-
she said; “but I can help you in

dren,”

another way. You appear to me much too old
and strong to beg publicly for your daily bread,
which it is far more honourable to gain by
honest labour. You interest me; I see that
you are brother and sister, and, perhaps, more
unfortunate than guilty. Come with me: let
me try to move your hearts, to awaken better
feelings in your bosoms, and to rescue you from
a shameful life which can lead you only to
everlasting ruin.”

The first thought of the young mendicants
92 THE CHILDREN RESCUED.

was to fly, and preserve the wretched kind of
liberty they had bought at so fearful a price.
But in the Sister of Mercy’s countenance there
was a sad yet gentle look which reminded
them of their mother. They felt, as it were,
a dim remembrance of their paternal cottage.
It seemed to them as if they were once more
kneeling at the feet of their grandmother, and
repeating the morning and evening prayer
which they had long since forgotten ; and it
was with bended head and streaming eyes they
followed their new-found friend.

On reaching the door of the asylum, she
showed them into a little room, and bade them
sit down and rest. After a few minutes she
conducted them into the kitchen, and supplied
them with an ample meal, which they eagerly
devoured. Next she led them to the matron,
to whom she had already given notice of their
arrival. These admirable women listened at-
tentively to the children’s simple relation of
the various incidents of their lives. Tears
flowed from their eyes, for they knew not
whether they should succeed in reclaiming
WORDS OF GOOD COUNSEL. 93

the two poor creatures from the evil of their
ways.
“My children,” said the matron, “it is the
* will of Providence to save you, since it is Pro-
vidence alone that has sent you hither,—the
Providence of God; but you must be willing
to throw off your past sins. I cannot compel
you, and, therefore, I give you until to-morrow
morning to reflect. If you choose the path of
truth, and virtue, and piety, you will find in
this asylum all the means necessary for your
honourable return into society. If you persist
in the way of evil, the law demands that
vagabonds of your early age shall be confined
in a reformatory, whither you will accordingly
be removed. While waiting your decision, I
place you in the care of the good sister whom
you already know. Humble yourself before
God, and think of your unfortunate father,
who, it may be, still mourns your loss, if grief
and anxiety havé not slain him.”
The minds of both brother and sister were
agitated by very contrary sentiments up to
the moment which was to decide their future.
94 A HAPPY ENDING.

But in this conflict between good and evil,
the voice of their conscience—that “still, small
voice,” so long neglected and despised—once
more obtained a hearing; and when their pro-
tectress came to learn their resolution, she
found them on their knees, with their hands
folded in prayer. They followed her once more
into the matron’s presence. At a glance she
perceived that good had triumphed; she opened
her arms to receive them tenderly, and adopted
them as her children in the sight of God.
Many years have passed away since this
event took place, and I know from the excel-
lent curé at Sinard that Peter and Lucette have
persevered in well-doing. Peter has become a
clever workman, and lives with his father, who
has been happily restored to reason. Lucette
is now the wife of a decent tradesman in
Lyons, and sets to all her neighbours a bright
example of industry, benevolence, and piety.

The young ladies were very much affected
by this simple story, and for some minutes
preserved a profound silence.
SOME REFLECTIONS. 95

At length Marguerite exclaimed :—

“When I leave school, and return to the
country, I will do all I can to help the chil-
dren of the poor; I will call them together in
my father’s house, and teach them the Cate-
chism, and to read the Bible.”

“You know,” said Elise, “that my father
is a lawyer, and I am his only daughter. I
shall have much to do at home, but every
week I intend to visit the good people of the
village, to find out who are sick or unhappy,
and in need of help or consolation.”

“ And I,” added Leontine, “as my father is
proprietor of a large factory, shall insist on
work being found for all the poor, and that
they shall send their children to school.”

Such were the reflections inspired by Made-
moiselle Clémence’s affecting story, and Snow-
drop trusts they have not been without good
fruit. It is useless for us to mean well, if we will
not do well. Good deeds are worth more than
good thoughts, and true charity consists in an
active devotion of our lives to the welfare of
those who surround us, and have claims upon us.


CHAPTER IX.

A RIVAL TO SNOWDROP APPEARS ON THE SCENE—A TRUE FRIEND—
MADEMOISELLE ADELE’S MISCHIEVOUS TRICKS—AN OUTBURST
OF ANGER,



If, when your evil tempers rise,
‘You in a mirror saw your face,

And marked therein your flaming eyes,
Surely you'd feel a keen disgrace,

And strive those passions to subdue
Which make you frightful to the view.






g we to assert, iadisvenaable to certain
: be fa young ladies; and even the eldest

did not hesitate to converse in my
presence, and repeat their secrets. They did
not fear to confide them to me: I was ac-
quainted with their most intimate friendships ;
I knew all their little schemes for walking
together when they went out on their daily
ROSETTE THE KITTEN. 97

promenades ; I saw them divide and share
their dainties, of which they never failed to
offer me a portion, much to my satisfaction.
One evening, after they had completely
gorged me, I was on the point of falling asleep
when a lady arrived, a friend of my mistresses.
She drew from her basket a very little kitten,
about the size of your fist, and offered it to
Mademoiselle Eleonore. “She is called Rosette,”
said the lady, “and is only two months old.
I have brought her up for you. She is very
gentle, and will soon grow accustomed to Snow-
drop, and become very friendly with him.
Please introduce them to one another.”
Mademoiselle Eleonore brought Rosette to see
me. At first she was very much frightened ;
but when she saw that I did not stir, she
gradually recovered her composure, and amused
herself with the bits of straw. which projected
through the bars of my cage. I found her
exceedingly pretty and graceful. Her coat was
of three colours; her four paws were white.
Mademoiselle Eleonore decorated her with a
ruby-velvet collar, to which was attached a little

(392 7
98 A PERFECT CAT.

bell. Every day Rosette and I enjoyed our little
games. Sometimes the ring of her tiny bell
put to flight the birds, and the neighbours’ cats
which were in pursuit of them ; sometimes she
gambolled among the flowers, as the wind
shook them to and fro upon their bending
stalks. She was always ready for play, and
found me much too grave and reflective. I
never caught sight of her claws; she reserved
them for the mice of the house and the rats of
the garden, among whom, I assure you, she
committed a fearful carnage. Frequently she
lay down to sleep in the sunshine, close beside
my cabin; or with watchful eyes she looked
out for the lizards, and strangled them before I
had time to distinguish them : however, she
never touched the fish or poultry. In short,
for a cat, she was—perfection.

Our gentle Margaret displayed a marked
partiality for Rosette ; and I saw that she
frequently put aside for her a scrap of cheese
or a little bit of meat.

Leontine and Margaret frequently disputed
about us, each asserting that she had made the


oma































“1 FOUND HER Fi: PRETTY AND GRACEFUL,”
fs


A VISIT TO THE GARDEN. 101

better choice, and boasting of our good quali-
ties. Margaret had taught Rosette to leap
‘through 2 hoop and. play with an elastic ball.
I could never attain to such a degree of excel-
lence, as you will easily understand, because I
am fat and too heavy. But then I never ate
the birds — those charming little creatures
whose melodious minstrelsy gave me so much
pleasure. A good disposition is worth more
than talent.

The warm sunny days soon enticed my good
master into the garden, wherg he sometimes
received his friends and acquaintances. The
little flower-beds of the pupils interested him
greatly ; he examined them one by one. After-
wards he let me out of my hutch, that I might
accompany him. I knew in what part of the
garden he cultivated his radishes and English
strawberries: I got there before him, and felt
a great delight in seeing him admire his plants
and gather the ripe fruit. When my good
master chanced to be in the garden at the hour
of recreation, he was immediately surrounded
and caressed, until he had kissed the forehead
102 A COUPLE OF SCHOOL-GIRLS.

of each affectionate girl, not omitting one. I
must confess that the good old man willingly
performed this agreeable part of “ grandpapa.”
As he never punished a pupil, every one met
him with smiles; they kept their sulky looks
for their mistresses, who did not always feel
inclined to acknowledge they were without
faults. And, indeed, I observed that all the
girls, old and young, tall and short, required a
hint or a caution every minute; and the vigi-
lant eye of their teachers suffered no error to
pass unperceived.

“How tired I am of this school
nanda one day to Sidonia; “you can’t move

1

said Fer-

your little finger but our Arguses take notice
of it. I would like to know if, when they
were ‘at our age, they were kept under so
vigorous a yoke. Oh, how I wish that’ the end
ofthe term would come, that I might escape
for ever from this prison !”

“How agreeable you are!” replied her com-
panion. “It is very clear you are disgusted
with work, and have given up all-idea of gain-
ing a prize.”
AN ENVIOUS SPIRIT. 103

“Yes, indeed; I have abandoned the notion
of trying for one. Everything is for that beauti-
ful Jeanette—everything for her; she secures
all the good marks, and the first place.”

“Confess that at least she deserves all she
gains, by her unfailing industry. She does not
even allow herself any recreation; her exer-
cises are very carefully written, and never
behind-hand ; and she invariably knows her
lessons. I don’t know, indeed, what more
you could wish for.”

“What more I could wish for!” continued
Fernanda, “I wish you would look at her in
the light that Ido. Hitherto I have thought
you were my friend, but now I see that you
are not.”

“My dear Fernanda, I should be but a false
friend if I did not endeavour to combat your
morose disposition. We are each thirteen
years old—we have taken our first communion
together ; remember, then, the resolutions you
have made to conquer your idleness, anger, and
jealousy. I love you truly, as you know ; but
T cannot approve of everything you do. Re-


104 ADELE’S FOOLISH FREAKS.

flect, and change your conduct. You pain me
greatly, and are preparing for yourself a very
unhappy future.”

I saw that Fernanda was moved by the good
advice of Sidonia. She quitted her friend, and
went for a solitary walk, brooding over her
own thoughts.

“What are you doing, Adtle?” cried Miss
Helen one day, quite alarmed by a rash gym-
nastic feat which that foolish young lady had
accomplished.

This great hair-brained, fifteen-year-old girl
had jumped from the top of a staircase which
counted five steps.

“ Addle, leave off your thoughtless tricks, or
I shall punish you immediately.”

Fortunately Adéle stopped.

This pupil was the buffoon, I may say, of
the school. Having been to see the perform-
ances at a circus, for the following month she
did nothing but ride upon a stick ; or climb an
old pear-tree, whence she harangued her com-
panions. She composed a kind of ‘ Lament”
AN UNLUCKY YOUNG LADY. 105

on every incident that occurred in the school—
such as the sickness of a pupil or the death of
a hen. Her body was never at rest; and
when she played at skipping-rope, she made
jump after jump, each higher than the other,
at the risk of dislocating her shoulders. Her
mother found that it cost twice as much to
support her as either of her sisters. Addle
outwardly, as you may suppose, was always in
a condition of perfect disorder, which some-
times influenced her ideas. She was very
original ; was good-hearted and clever; and
was very much liked, because she was amus-
ing. Her mistresses were always in a state of
alarm lest she should meet with an accident.
They watched over her, like milk upon the
fire; and Miss Helen always carried a small
phial of arnica in her pocket. Fortunately
Adele’s two little sisters did not resemble her ;
they were as quiet as she was noisy. Had
they been less greedy and less talkative, they
might have been pointed out as perfect models.
I have heard say that Lucy, the youngest,
would weep at table if she had a prune less
106 GREEDY LUCY.

than her sister Mary ; and that the latter never
finished eating, because she spent all the dinner-
hour in chattering.

Lucy was so greedy that she would even
visit the cupboard where my stock of provisions
was kept during the fruit-scason: she carried
off the pears and apricots, pretending that I
had too many. Oh, how often I wished she
might be surprised at her robbery! How
shameful to begrudge a poor rabbit his little
meal !

I had not seen Fernanda since her conver-
sation with Sidonia, and I did not know
whether good had triumphed over evil in her
heart. One Monday, at the noontide hour of
recreation, I saw her arrive, with her copy-book
in her hand. She approached Mademoiselle
Clotilde, and presented it to her.

“Ts this your exercise?” inquired her mis-
tress.

“Yes, mademoiselle ; I finished it before
dinner.”

“Let us see it,—But, my dear girl, I cannot
A SCENE WITH FERNANDA. 107

receive it. Four—six—eight—nay, ten blots ;
a host of erasures ; and a countless number of
mistakes. You must re-write it; I cannot let
you go out to play until you have done it
properly.”

On hearing this Fernanda turned pale with
anger: she stamped her feet, tore her exercise-
book into a thousand pieces, threw down her
pen and inkstand, and raged like a fury in the
presence of all her companions.

“J will not re-write my exercise ; I would
rather be sent home to my mother than submit
to such injustice.”

“Withdraw, mademoiselle !” said her mis-
tress severely. ‘For the moment you are not
yourself ; your passion has confused your brain.
Go into the class-room and reflect on your con-
duct ; I will speak to you in an hour.”

“T will noé go into the class-room,” she re-
plied, growing more and more violent; “I will
stay here.”

“ Well, remain here until you recover your
senses.” Then, addressing herself to her other
pupils, Mademoiselle Clotilde said,—‘“ Young
108 ‘THE VOICE OF CONSCIENCE.

ladies, you may all go to the end of the main
avenue, leaving yow: companion to solitude
and silence.” And Mademoiselle, carrying her
orders into execution, led her train of pupils to
the place she had indicated.

Fernanda remained alone, tearing her hair,
and sobbing loudly. Gradually, however, her
passion decreased, and her conscience reproached
her bitterly for her bad conduct. She looked
around at the torn and scattered leaves of her
exercise-book, the fragments of her inkstand,
and the ink sprinkled on the pavement of the
courtyard. Her pen had rolled close to my
hutch ; she stooped to pick it up.

“You are very happy, Snowdrop,” she com-
plained, weeping. ‘No one ever scolds you,
everybody caresses you; all day you amuse
yourself, and nothing puts you out of temper.”

I shook my head with a pensive air, and
looked at her compassionately.

“Do you love me, Snowdrop? Just see
how unfortunate I am! What ought I to do
now? Mademoiselle Clotilde says she will not
speak to me for an hour, Alas! an inner
FERNANDA’S PENITENCE. 109

voice bids me go back to my desk and re-write
my exercise; but if I obey, the girls will de-
clare I did so through fear of punishment.
There’s my mother, now: she never scolds at
me—she is so indulgent, especially since my
little brothers died. If I could say but two
words to Sidonia! I was in too great a passion
just now to listen to her when she begged me
to obey Mademoiselle Clotilde. It is easy for
her to obey; she never has any wish to act
contrary to her mistresses’ orders.”

Overcome at last by her conscience, she re-
paired to'the class-room ; and when the recre-
ation-hour was over, the pupils entered in
silence. to resume their tasks. At luncheon
Fernanda and her companions again returned
to the garden. I noticed that they all sur-
rounded and endeavoured to console her. They
congratulated her on having been forgiven by
Mademoiselle Clotilde. Sidonia paid her espe-
cial attention, to encourage her in keeping
good, and to inspire her with good resolu-
tions.

This little incident produced an excellent
110 A COMPLETE REFORMATION.

effect. Headstrong characters grew more mode-
rate and subdued ; and Fernanda eventually
took her place among the best pupils in the
establishment.




CHAPTER X.

MADEMOISELLE CLOTILDE’S BIRTH-DAY—A PLEASANT PROMENADE,
IN WHICH I TAKE PART—VARIOUS GAMES—A DISAGREEABLE
INTERRUPTION —RETURN T0 THE BOARDING-SCHOOL— AN
AGREEABLE SURPRISE—THE JUSTICE OF CHARLEMAGNE,

Say, children, what your mirth o'erclouds ?
‘What saddens all your hours?-—

Ah, see, a serpent’s head uprears
Among the glowing flowers !



VERYTHING went well in the board-
ing-school. The pupils were all full
of ardour, for the sweet spring was
giving way to summer, and the day

) approached for the grand distribution
of the half-yearly prizes. Already rumours
flew about as to the fortunate girl who would
receive the reward for good conduct. Some
said, Anna: my friend Leontine, said others,
112 A BIRTH-DAY-!



might have had the honour if she had not talked
so much during the hours of study. But this
interesting subject was soon eclipsed by the
preparations for Mademoiselle Clotilde’s birth-
day-féte. The pupils wished to share in the
solemnity. Among the elder some mysterious
conferences took place; after which, the pro-
gramme was decided upon, and communicated
to the younger scholars. They had resolved
to offer their mistress some elegant vases full
of rare flowers. Miss Helen was intrusted
with the task of selecting and purchasing the
present. On the memorable day, after break-
fast I observed a great deal of agitation. The
young ladies, instead of playing in the garden,
as was their wont, repaired to their bedrooms
to dress. Then they assembled in a group upon
the terrace. One of the servants was de-
spatched to Mademoiselle Clotilde with a re-
quest that she would repair to the garden.
She immediately did so; and was much sur-
prised at the appearance of her pupils, who
came forward in a body to offer their bouquets
and their congratulations. There was then a
OUT FOR A WALK. 113

moment of confusion ; for all, young and old,
simultaneously rushed to embrace their good
mistress, who was much affected by so many
proofs of their love.

“T thank you, my dear children,” she said,
at last, “and accept your flowers, which will
henceforth seem to me the emblems of your-
selves. They will tell me that from this day
you are my living garden, shining with gentle
graces and lovely virtues. To reward you for
your thoughtfulness, I will take you into the
park of our friend, M. Valentine. It is only
one o’clock—you ‘are all ready—we can dine
on our return.”

“Hurrah for Mademoiselle Clotilde!” cried
the merry group, who defiled before me with
laughter on their lips.

“Oh, let us take Snowdrop with us!”
Leontine exclaimed ; “may we, Miss Helen?”
“Yes, if Mademoiselle Antoine consents.”

“T will run and ask her.”

Five minutes afterwards, Leontine and Si-
donia were proudly carrying me in a handsome

covered basket.
(392) 8
114 WHO WILL CARRY SNoWDROP?

“People will say that our basket is full of
provisions,” they cried; “they'll think it is
stuffed with cakes and tarts, buns and spice,
and everything nice. What a bit of fun if
somebody thought of opening it!”

They chatted in this way until they were
out of the town; then the children broke from
their ranks, and dispersed in all directions. I
also changed my bearers, and when these, too,
were weary, they exclaimed : “Who will carry
Snowdrop?” Immediately I was surrounded
by young girls contending who should enjoy
this great pleasure. However, I was a toler-
ably heavy burden.

At length we arrived at the end of our
walk, when, after a cordial reception from M.
and Madame Valentine, we began our various
pastimes. Some of the pupils played at hide-
and-seek in the thickets; others, armed with
nets, went in quest of butterflies ; others, again,
climbed up a small artificial mound, and seat-
ing themselves on the summit, engaged in
games of intellect and memory. As this form
of amusement had been chosen by Leontine
A GAME IN THE RING. 115
and Sidonia, I was naturally taken into the
merry company, and was placed at liberty in
the centre of the circle. Then my friends took
a long narrow ribbon, passed it through a ring ;
and slipped the latter from hand to hand, sing-
ing :—

“ Have you seen the ferret,
Little Pink, to-day?
Did the little ferret
Go running past this way ?”

Meantime, one of the girls, placed in the
centre, like myself, endeavoured to guess in
whose hands the ring was concealed. I could
see it pushed from one to the other, but so
very rapidly, that it was difficult to know
where to catch it. By dint of close attention,
Leontine surprised it in the hands of Emilia, and
it then became the duty of the latter to take
her place,in the centre. To describe the jokes
and tricks which accompanied the game would
be quite impossible; but never did I see my
young ladies more thoroughly amused.

It happened, however, that the noise had
aroused an adder, which lay concealed in his
nest. Not knowing what to think of this un-
116 A SERPENT! A SERPENT !

accustomed revel, he glided among the irises
which crowned the crest of the hillock, and
reared his hideous head. Anna, who was then
in the middle of the ring, was the first to de-
tect it. She uttered a cry of terror, “A
serpent, dears, a serpent! Let us run to Mon-
sieur Valentine!”

Immediately they took to flight, crying,
shrieking, running, jumping, never thinking of
poor me! But the serpent himself was so
alarmed that he had quickly shrunk back into
his hiding-place. I remained alone on the
mound, enjoying a splendid prospect, and giv-
ing myself up to its examination so entirely,
that it was not until a quarter of an hour
later I heard Leontine’s voice calling me,—
“Snowdrop, my poor Snowdrop! Did I leave
you, like a coward? Where are you? Has
the serpent stung you? Come, Snowdrop,
come, for we are going home!”

With all possible speed I hastened in the
direction of the voice, and was soon at the
feet of my patroness, who did not know how
to express her great joy at finding me safe and


THE CLOSE OF THE FETE. 119

sound. She put me back in my basket, and
would not quit me again until we reached the
house.

There a surprise awaited us; during our
absence a beautiful collation had been pre-
paved in the garden, and the girls, with appe-
tites sharpened by exercise, regaled themselves
to their heart’s content on ham, and cake, and
fruits, and sweets. They also drank, in wine
and water, to the health of their mistresses and
family. Leontine came to me to know if I
had had anything to eat, and, not finding me
properly provided for, she went in search of
cabbage-leaves and a piece of bread.

The day was finished in mirth and happi-
ness. Adéle, mounted on a chair, gave a spirited
narrative of our adventure with the serpent,
describing the terror of her companions, their
cowardice in abandoning Snowdrop, and my
marvellous escape.

After the recital I was overwhelmed with
congratulations and caresses, which pleased me
greatly, for it is very sweet to find one’s-self
surrounded with affection.
120 M. ANTOINE’S STORY.

In the evening I was carried up-stairs to
M. Antoine, who applauded me for my cour-
age; he informed us that adders are not
poisonous, and that in some countries they are
even sought after as a dainty dish. He could
not understand the conduct of his pupils in
deserting me. “TI am thinking,” he said, with
a smile, “that the adder wanted to test your
courage, Snowdrop, and that of your young
friends. The incident reminds me of a visit
paid by an adder to the great emperor Charle-
magne. I once put the legend into verse,*
but on the present occasion I will repeat it in
orose. It runs as follows :—

“One day, Charles was seated at table,
dining off poultry and fish, as a king ought
to do, when he heard the bell ring. He said:
—‘That is some poor suppliant. If he has
suffered any wrong, by my life I will do him
justice, whether he be man or woman.’

«The porters immediately hastened to see
who had rung the bell. They could discover no

* This legend has been translated from a German poot of the thir-
teenth century, by M. Gaston Paris, in his “Histoire Poétique de
Charlemagne.”
CHARLEMAGNE AND THE ADDER. 121

one, and returned to inform their lord. Again
the bell rang, and the emperor ordered them
to look a second time :—

“Tf you do not bring to me the man who
is seeking justice, I will punish you immedi-
ately.’

“When they heard these severe words, the
four porters immediately went out, and searched
in every direction for the man or woman who
had rung the bell. It was useless; not a soul
was visible. Then they returned to the king,
and said :—‘We cannot find any person who
has rung the bell, though we have not left a
single nook or corner unexplored.’

“For the third time the bell resounded.
The king poured out a volley of threats.

“ rung yonder bell, you shall be put to death.’

“The four squires, trembling with a great
fear, departed on their fatal errand.

“Must we perish,’ said they, ‘when we
are innocent? May Heaven help us!’ Then
one of them happening to look inside the bell,
observed that a long adder was coiled round
122 THE KING AND THE ADDER.

the tongue; it was this which rung the bell.
They then returned to the king.

«Bring to me,’ said Charlemagne, ‘the
man who seeks justice; I do not refuse it to
him.’

« ¢Sire,’ answered they, ‘there is no crea-
ture visible but an adder, which, twisted round
the tongue, makes the bell ring; it is a mon-
ster horrible to see.’

“ «Tt is a miracle of God,’ replied the king.
‘Perhaps it is unfortunate and tormented, and
wishes to complain to me. Open the door,
and let it enter; I will see it, and I shall then
learn what God wishes me to do for it.’

“ And the adder, unabashed, descended from
the bell, and approached the gate without
hindrance. The king gave orders that none
should disturb it; and when it drew near, he
said :—

“ ¢What ails this long adder? It is painful
to see it in such agony.’

“ «Tt is close upon you, sire!’ cried the
nobles.

“ THE END OF THE STORY. 123

“So it came right up to the king’s feet,
and remained there in front of him.

“<«TIt is supplicating me, certainly,’ said
Charles; ‘and is fain I should do justice to
it.—Let me know of what you complain, O
adder, and right shall be done.’

“The adder then began to retire, and Charle-
magne ordered the four keepers of the gate to
follow.

“Tt led them into a garden, near a thick
bush: there lay a great frog, stretched over
the adder’s eggs, and causing it to be tor-
mented with alarm. So the frog was taken,
and brought before the king, who adjudged it
to die. And by his royal order it was pierced
with a stake, and the adder was satisfied.”




CHAPTER XI.

A NEW FRIEND—AN ACCIDENT TO THE PARROQUET—THE
SINFULNESS OF ENVY.

He who another's pleasure hates,
‘And at another's fortune sighs,
Nor calm nor sweet contentment knows,—
‘No soothing sleep e’er seals his eyes.
‘To selfish thoughts a willing prey,
He crawls through life a hateful thing, —
His only happiness to see
His fellows sorely suffering :
‘Then, O my friends, crush envy down,
Nor at a brother's victories frown.



OSETTE the cat, the poultry, and my-
self were not the only animals bred
and petted in Monsieur Antoine’s
house—I say Monsieur’s, though I
think it belonged to his daughters
more than to him. There was a handsome
Senegal parroquct, which, more gifted than we
were, spoke with much fluency. When the
NICE COMPANIONS. 125

weather was hot, he was brought every day
into the garden, at the hour of recreation.

Rosette did him no harm. She taught him
to mew, and Cocotte profited so well by her
lessons, that, being left alone one day, he
collected a group of cats around his cage, and
maintained a combat in which he nearly lost
his life. His cries of distress brought the cook
to the spot, who found him bathed in his blood,
and with his wings nearly broken. You may
fancy that the monsters fled rapidly before the
whirling broom, and poor Cocotte, — trem-
bling and half dead,—was carried away to his
mistress, Mademoiselle Clémence, who gave him
a little sugared wine to drink. At the end of
a week his wounds were healed, and as it was
thought advisable he should enjoy the fresh air
of the garden, he was protected by a light rail-
ing from the attacks of feline enemies, and
placed where we could see and converse with
each other. ‘They will be nice companions,”
said the cook.

As soon as we were alone, I related to
Cocotte the misadventure by which I too
126 A CLOSE FRIEND.

had nearly fallen a victim to the malice of a cat,
and we agreed that it was probably the same
monster which had injured both of us. The
common danger we had run proved a link of
friendship between us: nothing draws persons
so closely together as a similar fate.

My new friend was amazingly clever. He
had been eighteen years in the house, and had
successively inhabited the drawing-room, the
dining-room, and the kitchen. He took a
pleasure in furnishing me with a thousand
interesting details of each, and was never weary
of relating all he had seen and heard.

Among my good mistresses, it was Mademoi-
selle Eleonore whom he preferred; and among
the pupils, Leontine. As soon as the latter
made her appearance, “Leontine! Leontine!”
he cried, and clapped his wings as a token of his
joy. Leontine as a reward promised him a ball
of sugared gum, but this she never gave him,
not from unkindness, but from forgetfulness.
So Mademoiselle Clotilde undertook to discharge
towards Cocotte the debt of my friend. I ad-
mired the skill with which Cocotte used his




“dp WAS MESS ELEONORE WHOM HE PREFERRED.”

COCOTTE AND HIS TRICK. 129

claw, like a hand, to carry his food to his beak ;
everybody complimented him on this movement,
which he constantly practised before a small
circular mirror suspended in his cage.

From his place Cocotte could observe all
that took place in the garden. He counted
the butterflies and the lizards which Rosette
killed, amused himself with the quarrels of the
sparrows, and mimicked the cats, which could
no longer reach him. If a little girl wept, he
also wept to console her ; if others laughed, he
did the same; if the pupils sung a song, Cocotte
also sang. In a word, my amiable friend
interested himself in all that transpired, and
enabled me to spend my solitary hours in a
very agreeable manner.

The pupils continued to cultivate their little
flower-plots with the greatest care. Some asked
permission to unite with their neighbours, that
they might have a larger space to cultivate.
To this Mademoiselle Clotilde consented with
great pleasure, and the gardens grew daily more
beautiful.

M. Hector, our amiable neighbour, delighted
(392) 9
130 A SOURCE OF ENVY.

with the taste and perseverance of the young
gardeners, came, one morning, with a surprise
for the most meritorious. He deposited in their
parterre a magnificent orange-tree, rich in buds
and blossoms. When they saw it, they saluted
it with exclamations of delighted astonishment
which attracted the attention of their school-
fellows. All were anxious to look at it, and
smell at it, which wofully perturbed its new
owners lest certain imprudent noses should shake
off the flowers.

They were requested, therefore, neither to
touch nor smell. But envy, alas! had entered
the heart of Josephine. That young lady, I
must tell you, was of a dull and gloomy dis-
position, and her face corresponding with her
disposition, she was by no means attractive or
lovable. She was not always wicked, but
her mind seemed to incline naturally to evil
thoughts; she looked upon everything that
happened as, in some way, a wrong done to
herself. On this occasion, when the girls had
left the garden, she began to think aloud :—

“Why is not that orange-tree mine? Is not
JOSEPHINE’S EVIL THOUGHTS. 131

my garden as well kept as that of Elise, Anna,
and Victorine? It’s only because M. Hector is
partial to Elise, as you can see by all he does:
he is continually paying her compliments, and
then the little minx blushes so, you would
think her the most modest little creature on
the face of the earth !—Oh, that hateful orange-
tree! One must not even draw near enough
to smell the perfume of its flowers, these fine
ladies are so mighty afraid one will injure it!
How glad I should be if a strong gust of wind
would tear it to pieces! Ha, ha! it would
then be the turn of my nice young friends, as
they call themselves, to look sad and sulky!
Eh, now, why shouldn’t I bring about such a
tragical catastrophe? ‘The Broken Orange-
Tree ; or, the Melancholy Fortune of the Three
Goody Young Ladies :’ would not that be a fine
title for a romance ?—Well, this evening, after
prayers, I'll come down and see what I can
do; nobody will then be about.”

And the envious Josephine, smiling evilly,
rejoined her companions.

“‘Have you been playing the philosopher all
132 LITTLE QUARRELS.

to yourself on the terrace?” said Adéle. “You
seem to have been meditating on some very
pleasant subject, for you don’t often look so
lively !”

“Be good enough to cease your railing,” re-
plied Josephine ; “your jokes are very poor,
and very offensive.”

“Come, cease your incessant quarrels,” in-
terrupted Miss Helen; “I am sorry to say you
have each your bad qualities; if Josephine is
ill-humoured, Adele is addicted to an excess
of levity. Your best plan is to learn to bear
with each other’s faults. When you are older,
and mix in society, you will be compelled to
tolerate much greater evils, without being per-
mitted to show your resentment in your words
or actions.”

“Amen! so be it!” said Adele, with a sen-
tentious air.

“You are incorrigible,” said Miss Helen, smil-
ing. And on rejoining Mademoiselle Henriette,
she remarked, “ Notwithstanding Adéle’s habit
of jesting, I cannot help feeling convinced that
in a few years she will be a remarkable woman.
JOSEPHINE’S PROJECT. 133

She has talent and generosity, and from her
mother she will learn more sobriety and stead-
fastness. As for Josephine, she will never be
happy in herself, nor a source of happiness to
others. I tremble now for her father; I shall
tremble by-and-by for her husband,—if she
ever secures one, which I am much inclined to
doubt.”

In the evening, Josephine hastened to the
garden to execute her project, in which she was
but too well seconded by circumstances. It
was dark, and no one was about. By inserting
some thin pieces of wood under the pot she
caused it to tip forward, in such a manner that
if once shaken it would not recover its equi-
librium. Having effected this amount of mis-
chief, she disappeared; and on returning into the
house found that no one had noticed her absence.

The night proved to be very rough, and in
the morning an unfortunate spectacle greeted
the eyes of the three gardeners. They could
not restrain their tears and exclamations of dis-
tress, Loud was the voice of sympathy when
their companions hastened to the spot, and
134 JOSEPHINE’S PUNISHMENT.

found the orange-tree lying prostrate on the
ground, with all its beautiful branches broken.
Josephine alone was not present: the truth is,
she had already begun to repent of listening to
the envious instincts of her heart. She was
not suspected, it is true; but her conscience
bore witness against her, and left her no repose.
At length, when a week had elapsed, her re-
morse induced her to make confession to Made-
moiselle Clotilde. Her wise and thoughtful
mistress did not scold or punish her, but took
her to a famous horticulturist’s in the town,
where she purchased an orange-tree exactly like
the first. It was carried home, and secretly
planted in the vacant spot. Our three gardeners
were immediately content; they never knew
the history of the transaction, and thought the
new orange-tree another proof of M. Antoine’s
generosity. To prevent another accident, the
pot was deeply embedded in the ground.




CHAPTER XII.



A WANDERING FAMILY.
OF ALMS-GIVIN



‘A WORK OF CHARITY—THE BLESSING
—A VISIT FROM THE CURE,



By the wayside you often see
A family plunged in misery :

More wretched than a gipsy band,
Without a single helping hand;

‘Their faces gaunt with want and woe,
‘Their tattered clothes a very show.
No home, no shelter, weary, poor,
‘Their sorrows they in peace endure,
And in the hour of darkness still
Bow humbly to the Father’s will.




HAT a lovely afternoon,” exclaimed
Mademoiselle Henriette, one day, to
KSZRPE Miss Helen; “my little ones nearly
drive me mad with their constant
petitions for leave to go into the
garden. If you would ask otir good ladies to
let us give all the school a lesson in needlework,
136 THE STREET-SINGERS.

I am sure they would say ‘Yes,’ for they refuse
you nothing.”

“My dear, I will go and ask them immedi-
ately.”

A few minutes afterwards Miss Helen re-
turned with the coveted permission. The news
was received with joy, and teachers and pupils
soon completed their arrangements.

When the bell rang for their return to the
house, Mademoiselle Clotilde arrived with a
train of four poor wretched girls, and their still
poorer and more wretched mother. The youngest
was not more than three years old, the eldest
was fourteen. They were clothed in rags, and
their pinched, hungry look made every heart
beat with compassion. To the questions put
to them, they replied, in a low voice, that they
were Germans, and gained a scanty livelihood
by singing their native songs in the streets and
byways. Mademoiselle Clotilde had met with
them in the town, and, struck by their wretched
appearance, had told them to follow her home,
that she might do something for them.

“Quick, quick, my dears,” she exclaimed,


THE PLEASURES OF CHARITY. 139

“to work! to work! for here you see a case of
real distress. You can surely devote a little
time to a charitable action.” And pointing to
an empty bench, she said to the unfortunate
wanderer, “Sit down there, my good woman,
with your children, while I procure you some
food and clothing.”

The poor creatures were soon seated, and all
the young ladies sewed and stitched with in-
credible ardour. Madame Antoine and her
daughters could not have got through the work
alone ; but even the least active seemed stimu-
lated by an emotion of benevolence, and the
necessary garments were completed with a
rapidity which was almost marvellous.. My
dear Leontine, after finishing her part. ‘of the
task, proposed to the mother that she’ should
wash her children ; and hastening to the bath-
room, ‘returned with water, ‘towels, and soap,
and then watched over the operation with the
liveliest satisfaction.

When the new clothes were ready, the young
ladies distributed them according to the age and
size of the recipients, who quickly presented a
140 GOOD ACTIONS MAKE ONE HAPPY.

wonderfully changed appearance. In truth, it
was a complete—what do you call it ?—meta-
morphosis ; I myself could no longer recognize
them. Tears of joy and gratitude flowed from
the eyes of the poor woman when she found
herself and her children the objects of so much
generous care. The children leaped about in an
ecstasy of joy, clapping their hands, and sing-
ing a song, of which I remember only the last
two lines :—
* Give you in silver or in gold,
God will return an hundredfold.”

Afterwards Anna went round to every girl
in the school, and collected a sum of money
sufficient to provide the unfortunate family
with food and lodging for several days.

Nothing renders one so happy as a good
action. I never saw the school in a state of
greater calm and contentment than on this
memorable day, and for many days following.
My good mistresses had wished to excite in the
hearts of their pupils a desire to do good, and
a longing to assist the unfortunate. I think
they succeeded; indeed, I know that at the
A VISIT FROM THE CURE. 141

unanimous request of the school an afternoon
was set apart every week for charitable work ;
clothes and other articles being made up to give
away, or sell at a very low price, to the poor
and deserving.

Soon after the German wanderers had left,
the parish priest, or curé, made his appearance.
When he was informed of all that had trans-
pired his satisfaction was very great. I have
not yet spoken of this excellent old man, though
his visits were tolerably frequent, and he was
much loved by the school-girls on account of
his amiability and paternal kindness. It was
he who distributed the prizes on the occasions
of the half-yearly examinations, and he always
accompanied them with wise and tender words,
which seemed to give them a twofold value.

When the good curé paid a visit to the gar-
den he never failed to caress me. This I felt
to be so great an honour that I was always
much confused.

Leontine would frequently laugh at my
timorousness, but did not succeed in correct-
ing it.
142 LEONTINE GIVES A LESSON.

“Why, Snowdrop,” she would say, “why
don’t you lick M. the Curé’s hand? Why
don’t you raise yourself on your paws when he
comes to see you? I cannot understand how
so clever a rabbit as you are can make such
little use of your opportunities. I want every-
body to admire you as much as I love you, my
pretty plump Snowdrop. Now I was quite
proud of you the other day, when Madame
Antoine had shown you to Dr. Toulon, and
he declared that never in all his life—never,
NEVER, NEVER, do you hear, Snowdrop?
—had he seen so fine a rabbit! Think of
that, Snowdrop! Why, you are the king of
rabbits !”

At this compliment I arched my back like
vain Rosette, and brushed and rubbed my hair
from head to foot, much to Leontine’s satisfac-
tion. Then she took me in her arms, carried
me around the garden, and having found me a
juicy stalk of chickory, allowed me to eat it on
her knees, While I was feasting, the lady’s
maid brought Cocotte into the garden. On
catching sight of us he made such a dreadful
TRANSFERRED ATTENTION. 143

noise, and shrieked after- Leontine so many
times, that she was at last obliged to put me
back in my hutch, and pay him a, little atten-
tion.






CHAPTER XIII.

A TRIP BY THE RIVER—CRUEL JOKE OF A COOK—THE IKON-WORKS
—AN EXERCISE IN ARITHMETIC—RETURN TO SCHOOL.

And around it columns of smoke, upwreathing,
Rose from the boiling, bubbling, seething
Caldron, that glowed
And overflowed
With the black tar, heated for the sheathing...

Amid the clamours
Of clattering hammers.

LoNGFELLOW.



EONTINE resorted to a thousand tricks,
always with the view, she said, of per-
fecting my education.

One day she had seen some learned

VX" rabbits who could count up to fifteen.
Atter this she would not rest until she had first
taught me to raise my paw, at first up as high
as five times, and, afterwards, as ten. When
I reached ten I lost my head. My patience
A SLOW PUPIL. 145

was exhausted, and I scratched, and scratched,
incessantly, until she lost patience in her turn.
But as she had made up her mind that she
would succeed in her project, and exhibit me as
a specimen of a wonderful rabbit, she returned
daily, and insisted on my perseverance. To
triumph over the obstacles which my narrow
brain presented, sometimes she flattered my
self-love with the bait of wide-spread renown,
and sometimes she appealed to my affections.
I was sorry I could make no better response to
all her cares, and endeavoured with my veriest
strength to master my lessons, At the end of
a month I had made some progress, and Leon-
tine’s delight was so great she resolved to reward
me specially. The school was on the point of
breaking up, and Leontine contrived to obtain
permission that I might spend the day at her
father’s house.

A carriage came to take her away, for her
father’s iron-works were at a distance from the
school.

I shall never forget the astonishment I felt

at making so long a journey without being
(392) 10
146 SNOWDROP ON A VISIT.

called upon to use my legs. I lay in a softly-
lined basket, on my friend’s knees. I saw, on
both sides of me, trees and houses flying by,
and numerous other carriages passing and re-
passing ours. After leaving the town we
skirted the bank of a broad and beautiful river,
the sight of which produced on my mind so
lively an impression of terror that I thought: I
should fall ill. I trembled so much that Leon-
tine threw her handkerchief over my eyes.
“Come, you little coward of a Snowdrop,”
she said, “this is the way we play at Blindman’s
Buff! Of what are you afraid? Don’t you
want to see papa’s house? I can tell you it is
a little bigger than your own.” Then, remov-
ing the bandage from one of my eyes, “ Look
yonder; do you see those tall chimneys with
their thick volumes of smoke? That is where
I live. Not, indeed, in the wide long rooms
where the chimneys are, but close beside them,
in the house with the green shutters. You see
I must dot all my ?s* to make you compre-

* A French proverbial expression—ZI faut que je te mette les points sur
lest.
A WARM RECEPTION. 147

hend anything—your fright has rendered you
stupid.”

* On arriving at a place where the river wound
away in the rear of a grove of poplars, Leontine
gave me the use of both eyes, and bade me
notice and admire the landscape.

In the distance I perceived a beautiful valley,
between the river and a chain of precipitous
mountains which were covered with luxuriant
verdure and superb woods. I had scarcely
time to contemplate these wonders before the
carriage turned abruptly to the right, and in a
couple of seconds brought us to the iron-works.
Leontine’s mamma was waiting at the gate, and
stretched out her arms to receive her; but
Leontine began by relieving herself of her friend
Snowdrop, and handed me over to her mamma,
greatly to her surprise.

“Your mistresses spoil you, Leontine,” she
said, embracing her. “How came it that
Mademoiselle Antoine allowed you to bring her
rabbit? Your little brother will be delighted
to make his acquaintance.”

“QO mamma, you cannot think what a
148 A WARMER RECEPTION.

clever fellow Snowdrop is! I am teaching him
to count, and when you see how much he
knows already you will be quite astonished.
But first I will take him into the kitchen, and
see if there is anything for him to eat.”

Accordingly we repaired to the kitchen.
“What, Miss Leontine! have you come home?
Now, isn’t that nice! And may I ask you
what fine thing you have got in that basket?”

“Why, Snowdrop—Snowdrop, the best and
beautifullest of rabbits! He has been my com-
panion to-day ; have not you, Snowdrop?”

“Please, miss, let me have a look at him!
Oh, what a splendid animal! How plump he
is! He would make a famous stew. Come,
come, let us knock him on the head, and strip
his skin off.”

At these cruel and sanguinary words, I
shuddered with fright and horror. I closed my
eyes, and the blood buzzing in my ears, I fell
into a swoon for quite a minute. I could not
understand what Leontine said to the cook, but
I wished with all my heart that she would rescue
me from her hands. On recovering my senses,


“ How PLUMP HE 18! HE WOULD MAKE A FAMOUS STEW.”

THE COOK AND THE RABBIT. 151

I found that the cook had been joking, for she
had restored me to my basket, and placed in it
a host of dainties. However, it is very cruel
to amuse one’s-self at the expense of the weak.
Though I felt no appetite, I ate something
as a duty, that I might be able to perform
my part tranquilly, without any qualms of the
stomach.

The cook flitted about from my basket to
her frying-pan, and I soon discovered how
foolish I had been to feel any apprehension.
She caressed me kindly, and said she was cook-
ing a very nice dinner for Leontine, who, she
dared to say, never got anything good at school.
In this she was wrong, for Mademoiselle Antoine
liked her pupils to be treated as if they were
her own children.

Leontine now returned with her brother to
take me into the garden. I was delighted, for
having lain so long in my hamper, my limbs
had grown quite stiff. No sooner was I at
liberty than I indulged in a succession of jumps
and gambols, which seemed so comical to my
friends that they laughed until, as they said,
152 SNOWDROP’S REFLECTIONS.

“they had made their sides ache.” Albert
attempted to imitate me, and so we rivalled
each other in our fantastic bounds, Then we
played at hide-and-seek; and it was always
Snowdrop whom they searched for.

. During these amusements, Leontine’s papa ar-
rived. He pressed his daughter to his heart, and
inquired what made her so very gay. Leontine
presented me, and related the morning’s adven-
ture ; after which we all repaired to the dining-
room. They thought, with much justice, that
I should soon get tired there, and they placed
me in a pretty hutch which had formerly been
tenanted by some of my congeners. I could
tell by the scent, and I set myself to work to
fancy what had become of them; the cook’s
knife then returned to my memory, and I
thanked Heaven for snatching me from the bar-
barous lot reserved for nearly all my unfortunate
kind. Thus thinking, I fell asleep, and I know
not how long my slumber might have lasted, if
my friends had not fetched me to see the
marvels of the iron-works.

It was Albert who carried me, and, in con-
THE IRON-FURNACE. 153

junction with Leontine, endeavoured to arouse
my curiosity.

“You will see,” they said, “a river of fire.
Now, this morning, you trembled at the sight
of a river of water; a river of fire will be far
more terrible!”

“Be calm, my dear Snowdrop,” continued
Leontine ; “calmness is the great secret in all
the difficult circumstances of lifee As my
governesses say, we ought never to lose our
presence of mind, for if we do, we become in-
capable of extricating ourselves from our em-
barrassments, And remember, Snowdrop, if
you stir, you will run the risk of being crushed
to death. I need say no more; let us pro-
ceed.”

And we went in the direction of the iron-
works.

Men were in waiting to pour out the pig-
iron. A man, all swarthy and dirty, armed
with an iron hook, opened a little door at the
bottom of a furnace, and suddenly a torrent of
fire poured forth into the channel prepared for
its reception. I closed my eyes abruptly, for
154 SNOWDROP LEARNS PATIENCE. ,

the heat pained them. Then I heard a most
indescribable uproar ; heavy hammers clanging,
steam-engines whistling and hissing, great
chimneys roaring. The reader will believe that
I was very glad when our visit ended. Leon-
tine and Albert appeared overjoyed, and had it
not been for the excessive heat, which almost
suffocated them, would probably have spent
there a great part of the afternoon.

Once in the open air, they asserted that T
had shown myself truly brave and courageous ;
but as my white fur had assumed a dingy
tint, they washed me thoroughly, and after-
wards rubbed me, not so much to clean me,
they said, as to prevent me from catching
cold.

This day I served an apprenticeship to
patience. Besides, as an invited guest, I felt
I was bound to comply graciously with the
slightest desires of my hosts, and to make my-
self as agreeable as possible.

My friends found me a place beside them,
while they were regaled on cakes and fruits.
Their mamma, who presided over the little
DISPLAYS HER ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 155

feast, afterwards desired Leontine to exhibit
my accomplishments. But Leontine thought
that, before doing so, I ought to imitate her,
and banquet in my turn, which, she said,
would enable me to perform much more
cleverly.

Mamma thought she was right, and I found
myself provided with some juicy and delicious
vegetables. I ate heartily, but with the utmost
cleanliness. And having enjoyed an ample
collation, the time came for me to make my
appearance as a public performer.

I confess I felt very anxious, and much mis-
trusted my memory. Nor did I succeed at
first, but I continued to make such efforts with
my brain, that, at length, I succeeded in
counting without mistake every number which
Leontine asked me, from one to ten, ‘Count
sthree!” she would say; and three times I
raised and lowered my right paw. And so on
with four, six, eight, and the like. After this
brilliant display you will not be surprised to
hear that I was greatly caressed, and carried in
triumph all around the dining-room.
156 HOMEWARD BOUND.

Observe, as a noteworthy fact, that many
savages cannot calculate beyond jive.*

The day was now far advanced, and the time
had come for Leontine’s return to school. Our
games were at an end; I was put back into
my basket; and my young friends enjoyed a
little conversation with their parents. From
my corner I could hear the excellent advice
they received, and I glowed with delight while
Leontine’s father spoke of her return to a
happy home when her education was completed,
and of the many good works it would be in
her power to do. Leontine’s sighs showed me
that she was much affected ; and I think she
was even weeping a little, when the carriage
came to take us away. After a thousand
kisses, she started. She took me again on
her knees, with my back towards the river ;
then she gave herself up to reflection. The
return journey was a melancholy one for my
good and kind friend ; as for myself, the motion

* Some savages in Australia have but two words for all the numbers.
For three, they say, two and ones for four, two and two ; for five, two-

two-one, This is called the binary system. Other races make use of
the ternary or quaternary system.
THE VALUE OF TRAVEL. 157

of the carriage sent me so fast asleep that I
knew nothing of what happened, until we
arrived at home, and I was reinstalled in my
hutch.

On the following morning, I was aroused by
the warbling of the birds. My first care was to
go over all the events of the previous day ; and
these were so numerous, that it seemed to have
been much longer than any other. Like the
swallow in La Fontaine’s fable, I had learned
much, for I had seen much; and I understood
the value of travel as a means of perfecting
one’s education.

Leontine came to see me take my breakfast.
She appeared well satisfied with my appetite,
and promised to devote to me a portion of her
hours of relaxation. I then emerged from my
dwelling-place, and walked about the garden
for a considerable period ; I felt a kind of lassi-
tude, and it disturbed me greatly. Exercise
wore away this annoying tendency, which I
afterwards attributed to the inconvenience I
had endured in my narrow basket.


CHAPTER XIV.

ANOTHER EXPEDITION, IN WHICH SNOWDROP TAKES PART—BLIND-
MAN’S-BUFF—SNOWDROP MAKES AN EXCURSION.

Saturday comes—to school good-bye ;
To lessons, too, we say farewell ;
And like a swarm of bees we fly
O’er hill and plain, through vale and dell.

Come away, girls, and let us sing
A merry song with a merry voice ;

And when next week its lessons shall bring,
In Saturday we'll all rejoice !



N the following Saturday took place
Idg\ the usual grand promenade, and it
SA, was decided’ that all the Antoines
should accompany their pupils, except
Mademoiselle Clotilde, who would
remain to take charge of the house.

“Tt is my turn,” she said, “since I had my
enjoyment on my birth-day.”
AWAY 'TO TILE OOD. 159

The weather was splendid, and we were
going to spend fowr hours in a luxuriant wood,
full of the most beautiful flowers. When’ T
heard in what direction they were going, [
exerted mysclf so much and so well before my
mistresses that they divined my desire to follow
them, and accorded me the privilege. Leontine,
Sidonia, Fernanda, and Anna declared that they
would carry me, and I was once more deposited in
the beautiful covered basket which T had occu-
pied on the day of our adventure with the adder.
Adele came to salute me, and express her hope
I should enjoy myself’; I bowed my head as a
proof that I was sensible of her polite attention.

The wood was distant about an hour’s walk
from the school, but the impatient holiday-
makers went so rapidly that the good relatives
of my mistresses would have remained alone in
the rear but for my friendly bearers. The
latter, spite of my weight—a sufficient reason
for walking more slowly—were delighted to
hover round M. Antoine and his sister, showing
the goodness of their hearts by this little act of
courtesy. They were rewarded for it by a
160 BLINDMAN’S-BUFF.

most entertaining and instructive conversation
in botany.

On our arrival we found the girls arranged
in a ring, with their hands linked together,
playing Blindman’s-buff. My emergence from
the basket was enthusiastically greeted. Then
all the players shouted, with one accord, “ Let
us bandage Snowdrop’s eyes, and see if he will
recognize us.” Leontine took me on her knees,
covered up my eyes, and then set me in the
middle of the ring. Each of the girls in. turn
called me by name, and the one whose voice I
recognized came and took my place. No
mimicry or change of voice was allowed; our
good master had declared that to deceive was
wrong even when playing with a rabbit. Well,
at first the most complete silence prevailed ;
then, from one to another, all round the merry
ring, my name was pronounced, loudly and
clearly ; I detected several girls, but took no
notice of them, having an idea of my own. At
length Adéle called me twice; I answered, by
springing to her feet. “ Bravo, bravo!” they
cried ; “well done, Snowdrop !”


SNOWDROP TAKES A STROLL. 163

“Yes, my dear good rabbit,” said Adéle ;
“you have well deserved the privilege of being
allowed to crop the flowery herbage ;” and
she unfastened the handkerchief from my eyes.
“You will find close by us such wild thyme as
you don’t often eat, I can tell you; but don’t
go too far, or we shall lose you, which will be
a great pity.”

As I took my leave, I thought to myself that
young girls are generally noisy enough at play
to be heard a tolerable distance off, and that
therefore I should not be likely to lose myself,
especially in so small a wood.

I trotted along, in rapturous delight with
my solitude, until I reached a thick luxuriant
copse, where I rested awhile to listen to the
song of a nightingale which had taken up her
abode in this remote asylum. It was the first
time I had had the good fortune to hear the
principal singer of the woods: her voice—
sometimes sweet, thrilling, and harmonious ;
sometimes loud, splendid, and audacious—
filled me with ecstasy. A merry chaffinch
began to answer her from the neighbouring
164 A STRANGE ENCOUNTER.

thicket ; I moved in his direction, to watch him
hopping restlessly from bough to bough: his
mate was near him, and both were hovering
round the nest which sheltered their young
family. I returned to the copse, to enjoy
again the music of my nightingale,—and I know
not how long my trance of rapture would have
lasted, if I had not been recalled to reality by
the sound of a rustling among the grass. There
bounded out in front of me a young wild rab-
bit, strong, gay, and lively. His far, of a dull
reddish-gray, contrasted strangely with the
dazzling whiteness of mine. He seemed sur-
prised at the difference, and approached to ex-
amine me closely, My gentleness inspired him
with confidence, and he sat down beside me ;
I did my best to respond to his courtesy, and
perceiving close at hand a delicious carpet of
the softest moss, I proposed that we should
remove thither to rest ourselves. In a few
minutes, the stranger and I were like two
brothers, and he made every effort to induce
me to link my existence to his, He boasted
of the ineffable joys of a free and independent
CONQUERING A TEMPTATION. 165

life, the charm of his romantic excursions in
the pale moonlight, and the fragrant plants
which composed his repasts. Iwas too old and
experienced to commit the folly of deserting my
beloved mistresses for a kind of life to which I
was unaccustomed. In my turn, I described
to him the very different manner in which I
spent my days, and the advantages to be de-
rived from education. He, however, persisted
in regarding me as the most unfortunate of his
brothers, because I had but a narrow hutch, in
which, he said, he should speedily die of in-
activity and grief.

I then perceived that the sun’s rays were
slanting rapidly, and that it was time to rejoin
my friends. Their merry laughter served as a
guide ; and in less than a quarter of an hour
I was again among them. They all seemed
delighted at my return; and I could see from
their faces that they had been disturbed by my
prolonged absence. They never knew, how-
ever, to what a temptation I had been ex-
posed !


CHAPTER XV.

THE GREAT LADY WHO LOVED RABBITS—A YOUNG ANGLER—HIS
WONDERFUL ANGLING—AND THE CURIOUS FISH HE CAUGHT.

‘The peasants have a saying, quaint but true:

‘To trespass on your neighbour's hearth, and there
The pot uncover, curious to know

If the rich joint within it be well-cooked,

Is but to risk—and gain no profit by it—

‘A scalded finger! Wherefore, meddle not

With business of your neighbour, lest, perchance,
Some unexpected ill should you befall.



ae EXT day, while I was taking a walk
ux in the garden, and recalling the con-
= versation between myself and my wild
friend, without any regret that my
lot was very differently cast, the hour
of luncheon let loose the joyous troop of school-
girls, I prudently beat a retreat to my domi-
cile, when I perceived, from their dress and de-
meanour, that some visitor had arrived. This
AN AMIABLE VISITOR. 167

was a lady, a friend of Mademoiselle Clotilde,
already past the bloom of womanhood, but
richly attired in costly silk and lace. As
she moved along, she diffused around her an
agreeable violet perfume. Her handsome coun-
tenance expressed both gentleness and melan-
choly. She seemed in ill-health, coughed fre-
quently, and breathed heavily, though it was
but a few steps from her house to Monsieur
Antoine’s.

“You are in want of rest, madame,” said
Mademoiselle Clotilde; “the day is hot and
oppressive. Close at hand we shall find a seat
well exposed to the sunshine, and I beg you
will repose yourself for a few moments.”

The amiable lady complied with my mis-
tress’s request, and took her place with a melan-
choly air.

“Your garden,” she said, “has no outlook,
no view ; this renders it gloomy,—at least, such
is the impression it always produces on my
mind. True it is, that to brighten it you have
a host of young girls, full of liveliness and
merriment ; and as you are compelled, my dear
168 HAVE PATIENCE AND COURAGE.

mademoiselle, to maintain a constant super-
vision, I daresay you do not think of what
may lie beyond your four walls,”

“Tt is certainly much pleasanter, madame,
that our eyes and thoughts are not distracted
by the magnificence of the landscape which
spreads away to the distant horizon. We —
should be sure to yield to its attractions, and
some thoughtless girl would take advantage of
our preoccupation.—Are you going to Allevard
this year?” inquired my mistress, to change
the subject of conversation.

“Yes,” answered the lady; “I leave very
shortly. My husband, as well as our doctor,
lay much stress upon my attempting the jour-
ney, from which they anticipate I shall receive
great benefit. I hope so myself. It is very
depressing to live in constant pain, to be con-
fined within the house for eight months of the
year, and to be compelled to give up every
kind of amusement.”

“Have patience and courage, my dear madame.
A merciful Providence will not try you beyond
what you can bear. But a wind is blowing
A PRESENTATION. 169

up; the air grows colder; and, perhaps, it will
be best for you to go indoors.”

They rose to return to the house. I had
followed them through the garden, and stationed
myself near enough to the bench to hear what
my beautiful lady said. I felt a great desire
to look at her again, and accordingly advanced
a few steps toward her. When she caught sight
of me, she was quite surprised to see a rabbit
wandering freely in the enclosure. Mademoiselle
Clotilde therefore called me, and presented me to
her. I was much 'less timid since my excursion
of the day before; so I raised myself gracefully
0 receive the amiable lady’s caresses; and as
she had removed her glove to stroke me, I ac-
knowledged her kindness by licking her hand.
Mademoiselle Clotilde gave me to understand
that I must behave myself discreetly; and I
left with much regret that soft white hand to
follow my new friend to the garden-gate.

“ Aw revoir, Snowdrop,” she cried; “I will
not forget you.”

Alas! I never saw her niore! Her disease
made so rapid a progress, that in a few months
170 MADAME WALSTEIN’S DEATH.

she was torn from the arms of her inconsolable
husband.

There was much mourning in our boarding-
school, for she was greatly esteemed, and so too
was her excellent husband. Both had found
their highest happiness in doing good, and
helping all who stood in need of help. They
could the more effectively yield to these noble
inclinations that they possessed a large fortune,
and held a high rank in society.

So long as Madame Walstein lived, she
kept her word; she did not forget me. Her
servant, Simon, frequently brought me some
fresh grass and hay to make me a new couch;
therefore, I have been unable to resist the de-
sire of offering to her memory my humble
tribute of gratitude.

My good mistresses were not the only chil-
dren of Monsieur and Madame Antoine; they
had also two sons, The elder, who was mar-
ried and settled in the south-west of France,
came but very seldom to see his family. The
second was a handsome young man, good-
tempered and intelligent, who lived at home
A SKILFUL ANGLER. 171

with his parents, but was seldom seen in the
school. He devoted the greater part of the
day to his desk, and his leisure to the pastime
of angling, of which he was passionately and
singularly fond. As I have said, he was
scarcely known to the pupils even by sight,
and he always left the house or entered it by
a private gate. On returning from his office,
he donned his angling costume, and set out
with his back loaded with a store of imple-
ments and engines manufactured by bis own
hands. He had acquired a great reputation for
his skill, and was known all along the banks
of the magnificent river which had terrified me
by its broad waters on my visit to Leontine’s
house. Sometimes he would row his little
skiff to a considerable distance from the point
where he had liberty to fish; sometimes, gliding
noiselessly along the margin of the river, he
fastened to the overhanging branches of the
willows his long night-lines, armed with sharp
hooks, and set with dainty baits. The fol-
lowing day he would be up before dawn,
and eagerly pounce upon the foolish fish which
172 CURIOSITY PUNISHED.

had suffered themselves to be caught in his
snares.

One day, I remember, he brought home a
couple of enormous eels, so lively and so strong,
that it was with the utmost difficulty the cook
contrived to shut them down in a pail of water
which stood in the courtyard, opposite my hutch.

After breakfast, a very inquisitive young
lady, named Agatha, happened to pass this
way. The pail, with a stone placed upon it
to serve as a lid, attracted her attention; and
she went round, and round, and round it, burn-
ing with an intense desire to know what it
contained. At length, unable to control her-
self, she pushed the stone far enough aside to
pass her hand into the pail. I watched her in
silence, wondering what would be the result
of her mean curiosity. Scarcely had she plunged
her arm into the water before she uttered a
ery of terror; one of the eels coiled rapidly
around it, and sprang upon her neck and
shoulder. The unfortunate Agatha, with sobs
and shrieks, fled into the kitchen, imploring to
be delivered from the monster, which, she said,


“THE UNFORTUNATE AGATHA, WITH SOBS AND SHRIEKS, FLED
INTO THE KITCHEN.”

DAUGHTERS OF EVE. 175

was choking her. Mademoiselle Clémence
hastened to her assistance, with some difficulty
removed the eel, and flung it into a basket
which happened to be close at hand. The
basket and its contents she placed in the pail,
which Agatha helped to cover up again with
even more eagerness than she had shown in
satisfying her inquisitiveness.

Adéle wrote a little song on this adventure,
and Agatha had the mortification of hearing it
sung in all directions for a week or more.

You would have thought that such a lesson
as this would be taken to heart by every young
lady ; but, alas! it was not so. The number of
“daughters of Eve” is far greater than you
would suppose, as Miss Martha very quickly
showed us.

Our young angler had received from the
country a small tin case full of red ants, which
he wanted to use as bait for some particular
kind of fish. At night the case was carried
out into the garden, and deposited in a cold
damp place, at the foot of a dense luxuriant ivy
bush, which very conveniently sheltered it.
176 HOW MARTHA SUFFERED.

In the morning, Martha, who was always
ferreting about in every corner, discovered the
case. She took it up, and finding that it
weighed but little, wondered what it could
contain. An opening in the case had been
carefully closed up with a large new cork.
After persuading herself that she ran no risk of
any accident by removing the cork, she drew it
out, and applied her eye to the opening.

Immediately it was attacked by the furious
ants !

One after the other, they issued forth in
hundreds, spread themselves on every side, and
crawled about over Martha’s arms and shoul-
ders, until she was terribly bitten, and in
absolute torture.

Of course, she took care to cork up the tin
again, but very few ants were left in it.

Mademoiselle Eleonore, who had been wonder-
ing what Martha was about, now arrived upon
the scene; and though she was sorry for her
sufferings, she could not but feel that she was
justly punished. The unfortunate child was
completely covered with ants, and had to return
PAYING DEARLY FOR A PEEP. 177

to the house and change every article of
clothing before she could free herself from their
annoyance. Let us hope that this painful ex-
perience completely cured her of the vice of
curiosity. :




CHAPTER XVI.

ANECDOTES ABOUT ANTS—A HUMANE SOCIETY—A GRAND BATTLE
—ANTS AND APHIDES.

Far as Creation’s ample range extends,

The scale of sensual, mental powers ascends:

‘Mark, how it mounts, to man’s imperial race,

From the green myriads in the peopled grass:

‘What modes of sight betwixt each wide extreme—

‘The mole’s dim curtain, and the lynx’s beam !

Of smell, the headlong lioness between,

And hound sagacious on the tainted green:

Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood,

‘To that which warbles through the vernal wood.
Pore.

oe supper, on the evening of

Martha’s adventure, the girls had
assembled, according to custom, in
the room of M. Antoine, where I lay




coiled up on a soft silky rug. Some
of them did not forget to describe Martha’s
unfortunate mishap; but M. Antoine was un-
ANECDOTES ABOUT ANTS. 179

willing to ‘punish by any further humiliation
the child’s curiosity. He thought she had
suffered sufficiently, and endeavoured to turn
the incident to advantage by making it the
pretext for a variety of interesting particulars
about the ants and their ways, and their extra-
ordinary partiality for sugar, honey, syrups,
and saccharine liquids. Afterwards he re-
quested Martha to read aloud, from a, little
book which he put into her hands, the follow-
ing anecdote :—

“Dupont de Nemours relates in his
‘Memoirs,’ that, to protect his sugar-basin
from the ravages of the ants, he could devise
no better plan than to place it ‘in an island’—
that is, in the centre of a dish full of water.
He thought that by this means it was impreg-
nable against all attacks ; but he little counted
on the ingenuity of his assailants.

“The ants climbed the outside of the dish
up to the rim, which hung perpendicularly
above the sugar-basin. Thence they let them-
selves drop into the interior, penetrating, as it
180 ANECDOTES ABOUT ANTS.

were, by their force, and without doing harm
to anybody, into the town of sugar. As the
rim was of some elevation, the current of air
whirled aside a certain number of the enemy,
who fell into the fosses of the citadel; that is,
into the water between the sugar-basin and the
sides of the dish.

“Their companions, safe ashore, used every
imaginable effort to fish out the unfortunate.
But they feared to take to the water in a lake
of such vast extent. All they could do was to
cling firmly to the shore, while stretching out
their limbs as far as possible to catch hold of
the floating ants.

“The rescue, however, did not progress very
swiftly by this expedient, when a new idea
occurred to the anxious crew.

“Some of them ran to the ant-hill, and in
due time reappeared. They were accompanied
by a squadron of eight grenadiers, who flung
themselves into the water without hesitation,
and who, swimming vigorously, seized the
half-drowned ants with their pincers, and
brought them back in safety to the mainland.
ANECDOTES ABOUT ANTS. 181

Eleven half-dead ants were thus brought back
to the shore—that is, to the edge of the dish.
Probably they would have all succumbed, if
their companions had not hastened to lavish
upon them the same attentions as men bestow
on their fellow-creatures who have been saved
from drowning. They rolled them, and rubbed
them, and stretched themselves upon the mori-
bund to warm them, then rolled them and
rubbed them again. Four were restored to
life. A fifth, who was partially recruited, but
still shook a good deal in its limbs and an-
tennie, was carried home with all kinds of pre-
cautions. The six others were dead, and were
earried into the ant-hill by their sorrowful
comrades.”

“Oh dear, what a pity you have finished !”
cried the girls; “can you tell us nothing more
about the ants?”

“T can read you another passage respecting
the russet ants, a warrior-tribe, which live in
community with the ants they reduce into
slavery. It frequently happens that they
depopulate the neighbouring ant-hills. They
182 THE RUSSET ANTS.

breathe only strife and combat. Francis
Huber, a naturalist of Geneva, thus describes
an expedition of which he was an_ eye-
witness :—

“On the 17th of June 1804,’ he says,
‘while walking in the neighbourhood of Geneva,
between four and five in the afternoon, I saw
at my feet a legion of tolerably large russet
ants, which were crossing the road. They
marched in a body, and with great rapidity.
Their troop occupied an area of eight to ten
feet in length by three to four inches in width.
In a few minutes they were entirely clear of
the road. Penetrating through a very thick
hedge, they betook themselves into a meadow,
whither I followed them. They wound across
the sward, without confusion, and still pre-
served their ranks unbroken, in spite of the
obstacles they were called upon to surmount.
Soon they arrived near a nest of ashy-black
ants, whose dome rose in the grass at a dis-
tance of twenty yards from the hedge. Some
ants of this species were standing at the door
of their dwelling-place. As soon as they caught
A MARTIAL EXPEDITION. 183

sight of the approaching army, they sprang
upon the skirmishers in advance. The alarm
spread instantly into the interior of the nest,
and their companions issued forth in crowds.
“ army was only two yards distant, hastened to
reach the base of the hillock. Then they pre-
cipitated themselves headlong on the black
ants, who, after a brief but keen struggle,
withdrew into the recesses of their domicile.
The russet ants clambered up the acclivities
of the hillock, gathered upon its summit, and
forced their way into its various avenues.
Other groups worked with their teeth to effect
a lateral breach. They succeeded in their
design, and the remainder of the army swarmed
through the breach into the besieged city.
They did not long remain there. Three or
four minutes later the russet ants hastily
emerged by the same openings, each holding in
its mouth a nymph or larva belonging to the
desolated ant-hill. They then returned by the
route they had previously trodden, but without
order, following one another in irregular files,
184 THE INSECTS ON THE ROSE-TREE.

Their progress along the grass was easily traced
by the curious appearance of the multitude of
white cocoons and nymphs carried in triumph
by their russet conquerors. The latter tra-
versed a second time the hedge and the road,
and afterwards took their way through a thick
crop of ripe corn, where I was no longer able
to follow them.’”

“Tf you please, sir,” said Martha, “T should
be glad to copy out these two pretty stories,
which have quite reconciled me to my after-
dinner enemies.”

“T saw something very curious the other
day,” remarked Leontine, “when I was pruning
my beautiful rose-tree. A new shoot of it was
quite covered with aphides—don’t you call
them ?—and ants, which seemed to be caressing
the aphides. I can’t tell what they wanted.”

“What they wanted,” replied M. Antoine,
“T can tell you, not only from the writings of
certain illustrious naturalists, but from my own
observations.

“The aphides carry at the extremity of their
abdomen two tiny movable tubes, which com-


ANTS AND APHIDES. 187

municate with a small gland furnishing a
sugary liquid; a liquid destined for the
nourishment of their new-born. For this
liquid the ants have a special liking, and obtain
it very easily by stroking and caressing the
aphides with their antennz.

“Some ant-hills positively contain herds or
flocks of aphides. The more there are, the
richer is the ant-hill. The little insects are so
many milch-cows, and capital nurses. The
ants suck them when they are hungry, but
they take very great care of them ; and so com-
fortable do the aphides find themselves in the
ant-hills, that they make no attempt to escape.”

“Thank you, sir,”

said Leontine; “I am
very sorry I did not observe them more closely.
Another time I will be less indifferent and more
patient.”

During M. Antoine’s explanation Martha
had copied out the anecdotes, for which she
heartily thanked him. By an accident I ob-
tained possession of her manuscript a few days
afterwards, and I have profited by it to insert
it in my autobiography.


CHAPTER XVII.

AN EXHIBITION OF RABBITS—I AM CONSIDERED WORTHY TO BE A
COMPETITOR—REFLECTIONS WHICH THE EVENT SUGGESTS—1
CARRY OFF A PRIZE,

Snowdrop from his hutch goes forth
To win a great renown ;
Upon the field of contest he
Is judged to bear the crown:
‘Then, though his heart with pleased ambition burns,
‘To his own home he modestly returns.





\gEXT morning, when I awoke, my little
brain was almost distracted with the
= remembrance of what I had heard on

the preceding evening; and an eager

desire to examine the ants sent me
off very early on my morning walk.

While I was engaged in my observations, I
heard a voice calling me. It was Madame
Antoine’s. “Snowdrop, Snowdrop,” she cried,
AN ABRUPT REMOVAL. 189

“where are you? Come quickly; I have been
looking for you everywhere.” I bounded to
her side. She took me up, and placed me in
a convenient basket which the cook was carry-
ing, and gave her the following instructions:—

“Carry Snowdrop to M. Xavier to take a
place in the Exhibition of Animals: he has
seen him, and thought him likely to carry off
a prize in the rabbit department. His case is
ready for him, and very nicely fitted up.”

After stroking me, and begging me not to
be alarmed, Madame Antoine closed my basket,
and accompanied me to the gate, bidding the
cook take particular notice of the number of
my case, and put me in it with her own
hands.

This abrupt removal disturbed my ideas.
The words “rabbits,” ‘ exhibition,” ‘‘ case,”
“number,” jostled one another in my brain,
without throwing any light upon the matter.
I resigned myself composedly to the course ot
events, in the conviction that all would be
satisfactorily explained.

At the end of an hour I reached my destina-
190 THE EXHIBITION OF ANIMALS.

tion, and entered a splendid park planted with
beautiful trees. On either side were set.pretty
wooden houses which sheltered a multitude of
different animals; their various cries frightened
me terribly at first, but I soon recovered my-
self. I had plenty of time to examine every-
thing at my ease, for the cook was lost in
wonder, and kept continually pausing to stare
at each novel object. “Oh, what fine horses!”
she would cry ; then “Oh, the enormous oxen!
Oh, the magnificent sheep! And those pigs!
how fat they are, and of what a size! They
can hardly move.” And similar exclamations
of astonishment greeted the hens, and the
pigeons, and the ducks, and the geese. At
length we reached the compartment allotted to
the rabbits ; here the cook was amiable enough
to let me admire my fellows. I observed that.
some had pink eyes, a white robe of long hair,
and long straight ears ; while others were black
all over. They examined me in their turn,
and we paid each other our respects after the
usual fashion of rabbit society. M. Xavier
then joined us, and pointed out the place.
SNOWDROP EXHIBITED. 191

Here the cook duly installed me, and I saw
her move away very slowly, to halt again in
front of the donkeys and horses, which she had
not sufficiently seen.

I could not repress a certain feeling of pride
on observing that I had been thought worthy
to figure in so superb a spectacle. It is true,
I said to myself, that my good mistresses have
prepared this triumph for me, by the cares
they have lavished upon me from my very
birth. Ihave always been caressed and well-
fed, to say nothing of my education. These
reflections, however, showed me that my per-
sonal merit was, after all, their work, and that
I had no right to value myself more highly
than other rabbits, who had not been brought
to the show.

My glass-case was opposite the sheep-pen. I
took a great pleasure in watching those gentle
animals, and in observing the benevolence
and mutual affection which prevailed among
them.

Their baaing, which at first had shocked
me, seemed very soft and mild. Among them
192 SNOWDROP ALONE.

were some young mothers, who tenderly suckled
their little snow-white lambkins.

Next day it rained, and the weather was
very cold. I saw the sheep crowd up together
to keep themselves warm. These good beasts,
lending each other their mutual help, taught a
lesson of charity, by which I promised myself
I would profit, if I ever met with any of my
own kind in distress.

On the third day, the sun shone splendidly.
Every animal, on awakening, saluted it with
joyous cries. Our keepers came, singing and
whistling, to feed us, and the birds warbled
strains of mirth and happiness as they flew
from tree to tree. A great crowd of visitors
came to the exhibition, but I did not know
one of them. My heart beat every moment
with the hope of seeing my good mistresses and
their pupils; but my expectation was vain.

The next day, Thursday, my excellent mas-
ter made his appearance, along with- Made-
moiselle Eleonore, and some of the pupils, in-
cluding Leontine. My happiness was at its
height; I was féted, caressed, and regaled.
APPEARANCE OF THE JUDGES. 193

Leontine good-humouredly advised me not to
grow too proud of all the compliments I re-
ceived on my grace and beauty. She told me
it was a simple formality of politeness, observed
in good society, but without any real import-
ance, since the praise was confined to the ew-
terior only, and none gave heed to the qualities
of the heart and mind. My amiable friends
quitted me to visit the other parts of the show;
as far as I could I followed them with wistful
gaze. I would gladly have given the silver
medal‘I had in prospect to secure an immedi-
ate return to my own hutch.

On the fifth day the garden was closed to
the public ; nly our judges were admitted,
but they formed a goodly company. At their
head marched a tall, lean, dried-up old gentle-
man, with pinched-in lips and bald forehead.
In succession they visited and took notes of
every animal. Our turn arrived, and then I
heard the tall gentleman addressed as the Pre-
fect, or magistrate. Rising on my hind-paws,
I looked him in the face; my manner attracted

his attention.
(302) 13
194 SNOWDROP WINS A PRIZE.

“Here is an extraordinary rabbit,” he said,
pointing me out; “what a beautiful figure,
and what fine black eyes! Is he fat? Is he
of a good breed? Tell us what you know
about him, keeper.”

“ Sir,” said the keeper, “I have learned from
his owner, Madame Antoine, that his mother
was a fine warren rabbit, and his father a
domestic one.”

“Weigh him,” was the prefect’s order.

I was weighed, and found to be of an
enormous weight.

“This rabbit,” continued the prefect, “seems
to me worthy of a prize; what say you, gen-
tlemen ?”

Each of the judges examined me in turn,
and I behaved with so much patience and
mildness, that they unanimously declared I
was as good as I was handsome, and that they
were of the same opinion as the prefect. At this
I began to frisk about, and prick up my ears
in token of delight; which diverted them
greatly. The secretary took his notes, and a

-man fastened to the bars of my cage a label,


“PWAS WEIGHED, AND FOUND TO BE OP AN RNORMOUS WEIGHT.”

A RABBIT OF THE FIRST CLASS. 197

setting forth the value of the prize I had ob-
tained.

Then, indeed, I allowed myself to in-
dulge in a transient emotion of pride, when
I thought of the honour I had procured for
my good Monsieur Antoine. I would have
been very glad to let him know of my suc-
cess, but this was uot possible, and I could
only hope his visit would not be long de-
ferred.

The inspection of the animals being at an
end, the garden was opened anew to visitors,
with the understanding that on the Monday
following the exhibition would terminate with

"the distribution of prizes. Monsieur Antoine,
who had received notice from M. Xavier, came,
with his daughter, to visit me, and congratulate
me on the prize I had carried off. They were
invited to the Monday’s ceremony, and accord-
ingly attended it, receiving the beautiful silver
medal allotted to “Snowdrop,” as a rabbit of
the first class.

A few hours later, I found myself again in
my good master’s room. I spent the remainder
198 HOME, SWEET HOME !

of the day there, and was caressed and com-
plimented by all the family.

It was with a feeling of lively satisfaction,
however, that I resumed possession of my own
comfortable hutch, from which I had been
absent a whole week. It seemed to me plea-
santer than ever after so prolonged a separa-
tion, and I went to sleep with the happy
reflection that I should thenceforth remain in
it until the termination of my brief career.
Ah, my children, we never know how sweet
Home is, how truly happy, until cireumstances
have torn us from it! Then we look back to
it with mingled feelings of regret and longing,
and sigh for the hour when we shall once
more enjoy its pure domestic pleasures.




CHAPTER XVIII.

PHILOSOPHICAL REFLECTIONS ON THE PROGRESS OF SOCIETY—
CLIMBING THE WALL—PUNISHMENT—THE THIEVES.



I will not crush one little blade

‘That springs within my neighbour's field ;
The biade will grow, and in due time

‘The ripened grain will freely yield.



IME glided on with its wonted rapid-
ity, and the summer had attained its
meridian glory. The garden re-
sembled a wilderness of flowers of all
kinds, rich in fragrance as in beauty.
The industrious bees and the idle butterflies
hovered incessantly around them; the former
rifled the juice and pollen (the dust or farina) of
the blossom to convert them into honey; the
latter, capricious and restless, pleased the eye
200 WISE REFLECTIONS.

with the brilliancy of their many-hued wings,
but drew from the flowers only the drop of nectar
necessary for their subsistence. So goes the
world. Some, like the gay butterfly, glitter
with the splendour they owe to the chances of
Fortune; the transient splendour passes away
with them, and leaves behind not even a re-
collection. Others, like the diligent bee, labour
for the happiness of all, and leave behind them
the lasting monuments of their goodness: such
are those devoted enthusiasts who consecrate
their lives to the instruction and training of
the young; such are those benefactors of hu-
manity, who have established asylums for the
poor, the sick, and the suffering.

I was occupied in the wise reflections which
my contact with the outside world had sug-
gested, and which you will think, perhaps,
above the intelligence of a rabbit, when the
chain of thought was interrupted by an unex-
pected event. I saw three of the school-girls,
who ought to have been receiving their draw-
ing-lesson, shoot past me like a fash of light-
ning! They were followed closely by two
GOOD GIRLS AND BAD ONES. 201

others. I concealed myself behind a tuft of
zinias to see what they were going to do.

“ My dears,” said the two last comers, whom
I recognized as Leontine and Anna, “don’t do
this, we beg of you. We ought at this very
moment to be in class. If one of the gover-
nesses should surprise us here, we shall be
punished; you know that they think us still
at our drawing-lessons. You want to climb
the wall, you say, to recover your balloons and
straw-hats from our neighbour’s garden. Pray,
do not think of anything so wild and rude.
You know very well that the cook would fetch
them for you. This neighbour is not like our
friend, M. Hector, I can tell you; and you are
mad to think of such a scheme.”

“Have done with your objections,” answered
Idalie, for herself and her companions, Adéle
and Victorine; “it is just because you are
afraid of being caught with us that you would
hinder us from fetching our own things. But
you may preach for an hour, and do no good;
we have made up our minds to a bit of fun.
Come along.”
202 AN UNLADY-LIKE EXPLOIT.

They began to scale the wall, one standing
on the other’s shoulder, and when she reached
the top, lending her hand to help up her com-
panion. The wall was not very high, and all
three were soon seated on its summit.

“Oh, what luck!” cried Victorine; ‘here
is a ladder, and we can get up and down easily.
What a beautiful garden! Cabbages, pease,
beans, beet-root, carrots, turnips, lettuces—but
no flowers! Not even a rose! Well, here ave
our hats and balloons, and we want nothing
else. So now for our return.”

“Hush!” said Idalie, “I think I hear the
old gentleman moving in his house. My! I
hope he won't come into the garden.”

“ Quick, quick, girls!” cried Anna, from her
side of the wall; “I hear Miss Helen inquiring
for you. If we remain here, it is just out of
charity. We must help you to descend, or
you will break your necks.”

At length the delinquents appeared. With-
out hesitation they availed themselves of their
companions’ assistance, and were in the very
act of letting themselves down when Miss


oy eu
a

Sains fae Ge.




“NEY BEGAN TO SCALE THE WALL, ONE STANDING ON THE OTHER'S
SHOULDER,”



A WARNING TO TRESPASSERS. 205

Helen came upon the scene. That dear lady
wasted no time in a useless lecture. She would
not even listen to the excuses of Leontine and
Anna. She was content to know that three
of her pupils, assisted by two others, had
climbed the garden-wall. While they endea-
voured to appease her, the terrible face of the
neighbour appeared above the wall. He in-
veighed against the rudeness and impertinence
of the trespassers; complained of the injury
they had done to his trellises and his garden-
beds; and added that he should bring the matter
before the police.

You may imagine the terror of my little
friends. They begged and prayed him to for-
give them, and offered to pay for any mischief
they had committed. The man saw that they
were really penitent, and did not wish to
frighten them too much. He refused their
money, but declared, with a frown, which, I
think, half lapsed into a smile, that if they
again trespassed on his property, he would fling
them into prison.

The terrified girls quitted the scene of their
206 THE DELINQUENTS AND THEIR MEANNESS.

fault with downcast faces, and each returned,
anxious, alarmed, and ashamed, to her several
occupations.

It was not until evening that Miss Helen
reported the affair to the mistresses, who, you
may suppose, were not less pained than sur-
prised to learn that Anna and Leontine were
mixed up in it. They felt certain that two
such well-behaved girls could not have conde-
scended to climb a wall, like schoolboys; but
why were they present? How far were they
guilty? That was the difficulty. So, on the
following morning, all five were summoned
before their governesses, but no light was
thrown upon the ‘transaction, because Anna
and Leontine were resolute not to aggravate
the wrong-doing of their rash companions.
And these, possessing no generosity of char-
acter, were mean enough to profit by their
silence. Moreover, they were jealous of the
success of Anna and Leontine, since they them-
selves were nearly always at the bottom of
their classes.

Nothing, therefore, could be done but to
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL. 207

inflict the punishment proper for so shameful
an escapade. My mistresses endeavoured to
be merciful as well as just, and the result was
that they ordered the five guilty ones to make
a public acknowledgment of their fault, and a
public apology to their neighbour.

All the school, therefore, was called together,
and the dreaded neighbour likewise made his
appearance. But at this moment the three
trespassers, moved by the heroic self-denial of
Anna and Leontine, confessed the true facts of
the case, and acknowledged that they alone
deserved punishment. Our neighbour was
much affected, and begged leave to excuse the
three girls from the proposed apology. Mon-
sieur Antoine politely escorted him back to his
own house, while our mistresses expressed their
satisfaction at the innocence of Anna and
Leontine, whom they affectionately embraced,
promising at the same time to forgive the others.

In the evening our venerable master related
to the young girls gathered around him the
history of an act of trespass which had ended
much more tragically.
208 TRESPASSING IN AN ORCHARD.

Two of his fellow-students had cast their
eyes on an orchard famous for its splendid
plums. They resolved to obtain possession of
the tempting fruit, and to spare their owner,
a man well known for his avarice, the trouble
of making them into preserves or jellies. But
Monsieur Harpagon,* the lord of the demesne,
was by no means the kind of man to leave it
unprotected ; and had set traps all about and
around the enclosure.

The two students, by catching hold of every
little projection, contrived to climb the wall.
They penetrated into the orchard, like the
Greeks into the streets of Troy; but, in the
course of their wanderings, one of them fell
into a deep ditch, which had been skilfully
concealed by a screen of branches. The poor
fellow cried aloud for help, but what could his
comrade do? He had neither rope nor ladder,
and was reduced to the necessity either of
abandoning the captive, or of seeking out the
owner of the orchard, and asking pardon. To
leave his friend would have been cowardly; to

* The name of the miser in Molitre’s famous comedy of “ L’Avare.”
BITTER FRUIT. 209

humble himself before the man on whose pro-
perty he had trespassed was a terrible punish-
ment ; but nevertheless he resolved on the latter
plan.

With drooping head and downcast eyes he
moved forward, resolved to acknowledge the
sin they had committed, and to solicit assist-
ance for his companion.

In the distance he could see a little candle
burning tremulously in a spacious dining-room,
and as he drew near he could see the profile of
the terrible miser, who was about to become
his judge. But he was not at the end of his
troubles. As he set his foot on the lowest step
of the flight which led to the front door, a
great dog sprang out upon him, barking furi-
ously.

Forth came the proprietor, armed with a
gun, and our young heroes found that they had
paid dearly for their plums.

The miser was pitiless, and would listen to
no apologies. He brought an action against
the trespassers, whose parents had to pay a

heavy fine and the legal expenses. And our
(392) 14
210 SNOWDROP’S SUDDEN TERROR.

two students, one with his arm broken by his -
fall into the ditch, the other with his leg bitten
by the furious dog, vowed, a little too late,
that they would never again meddle with what
was not their own.

The girls grew pale while listening to this
tragical story. As for myself, I was so fright-
ened when my master spoke of the terrible
dog, that I thought I felt him snapping at my
own little legs. I dashed across the room in a
panic of fear. My terror diverted the school-
girls, and helped to remove the painful im-
pression produced by Monsieur Antoine’s nar-
rative.




CHAPTER XIX.

SNOWDROP AS A NATURALIST AND PHILOSOPHER—A NOCTURNAL
EXCURSION—THE GLOW-WORMS—THE NECROPHORES—THE
ANT-LION—THE CARPENTER-BEE.

Oh, happy they who from their earliest youth
In nature find a source of pure delight ;
‘Tranquil and pure their souls shall ever keep,
‘Nor know the taint of envy, hate, or greed.

‘VER since that most agreeable even-
* ing when my good master had enter-
% tained his pupils with an account of
/ the ants and the aphides, I had felt a
A) keen desire to watch more closely the
habits and mode of life of the thousands of
creatures who, like myself, inhabited the gar-
den. And therefore I frequently took a walk,
at all hours of the day and night, and especially
at night, for I was anxious to ascertain the




212 THE OLD TERRACE-WALL.

cause of the numberless sounds which frequently
disturbed my slumbers. The sounds were most
frequent and most loud when the clear moon
shone in the blue depths of heaven. On one
of these warm bright nights I became a wit-
ness of the wonderful events I am about to
record,

At the bottom of the terrace, the great ivy-
bush which had sheltered the tin-case of red-
ants associated with Martha’s unlucky curiosity,
helped to sustain a fragment of ruined and
tottering wall. Well, this wall I found to be
occupied by a numerous and very various
population. Nests of birds on the top; at the
bottom, the secure retreats of the great rats
which devoured the fruit of our espaliers ; and
all over the surface, holes full of insects of
every genus. If, during the day-time, you ap-
proached the old wall, the most perfect silence
prevailed in the colony ; but no sooner did you
withdraw than each insect recommenced its
own peculiar sound. I was well assured I
should meet with much to interest me when I
directed my steps towards this locality ; but I
A STUDY IN NATURAL HISTORY, 213

confess I was not prepared for the marvellous
spectacle it was my good fortune to enjoy.

At first, as I glided along the terrace I saw
some little black worms, which appeared station-
ary in their respective niches, and each of whom
carried at the tip of its tail a kind of lighted
lantern. The light glowed all the more power-
fully that the rays of the moon were here inter-
rupted by the wall. I approached some of these
worms: they seemed not to perceive me, and
remained immovable. Continuing my route
stealthily and cautiously, I arrived at the foot of
the great ivy-bush. There I saw a crowd of
insects, not unlike beetles in form,* and streaked
with black and yellow, engaged in digging a
hole to receive the body of a dead field-mouse.
I remained a long time contemplating their in-
cessant industry : morning dawned before they
had finished their self-imposed task. I then
made a brief excursion in search of something
to eat; and having satisfied my hunger, re-
turned to my post of observation.

My little grave-diggers were no longer visible,

* These insects are called Necrophores, or Fissorial Hymenoptera,
214 GRAVE-DIGGING INSECTS.

but I could see the mould which they had
scattered about in every direction. When the
mouse was interred at a depth of about three
inches, they had thrown in a quantity of earth,
filled up the grave, and departed. I suppose
they went away to sleep, and to rest themselves
after their hard work. I thought, therefore,
that Providence had endowed them with a kind
of grave-digging instinct, so as to prevent the
carcasses of dead animals from filling the air
with putrid odours, which might be equally
dangerous to animals and men. I have since
learned that this work, while serving the public
good, was inspired by private interest; the
female necrophores labouring with the view of
securing an abundant supply of food for their
larvee, or young, which they deposit in the
trench or grave, and which will perpetuate the
race.

Thus it is that Providence, by a wonderful
economy of means, as I have heard Monsieur
Antoine remark, makes a single instinct or
tendency answer very different ends. But I
perceive I am becoming too great a philosopher;


“( REMAINED A LONG TIME CONTEMPLATING THEIR INGESSANT
INDUSTRY.”

THE ANT-LION’S TRAP. 217

and I proceed, therefore, with the narrative of
the interesting scenes which met my inquiring
gaze,

In a warm sandy avenue I fell in with a kind
of great winged ant, which was digging a funnel-
shaped hole in the sand. As soon as he had
finished his work he hid himself at the bottom
of his retreat, and remained immovable : I
understood that he was lying in wait for his
prey. At this moment a rash, unwary ant
pushed forward to the brink of the funnel: his
enemy threw up some sand, which blinded
him, threw him off his balance, and carried
him down headlong. Then he devoured the
poor wretch, and flung his skin outside the
lair.

Why cannot each animal be content, as we
rabbits are, with the grass of the field? This
is a question I often put, without being able to
obtain a reply.

On returning to my hutch I saw a bee of
unusual size flying about it. She introduced
herself into a small round hole, made in a frag-
ment of worm-eaten wood, and almost imme-
218 A SOLITARY BEE.

diately came forth again to seek the honied
treasures of the flowers. I took advantage of
her absence to climb the roof of my hutch, and
have a look at her dwelling-place. On apply-
ing my eye to the narrow orifice, I could dis-
cover only a long narrow gallery, like a finger,
closed at its further extremity. I had scarcely
finished my examination when the bee returned
to her nest. She buzzed loudly in my ear to
drive me away, and then re-entered. I after-
wards learned that this species of solitary bee
does not construct honey-combs, like those ot
her race who live together in hives under the
authority of a queen, but confines herself to
laying eggs in a number of separate little cells
well supplied with food. When the entire
gallery is filled—that is, in the space of about
a month—she disappears, and is seen no more.
A succession of rainy days now interrupted
my promenades, I kept myself snug and warm
in the straw of my hutch, buried up to my nose.
Everybody knows that my race abhor damp-
ness, and will not be astonished that I remained
“at home” until the fine weather returned.


CHAPTER XX.

THE VINE-TRELLIS AND THE FIELD-MICE—A CHANGE OF RESI-
DENCE-~THE SPIDERS—I REMOVE TO THE IRON-WORKS—THE
FRIENDS TO WHOM I DEDICATE MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.

When sunrise gilds the distant plain,
Or glow-worms shine ’mid herbage deep ;
‘When towards their stall the oxen crawl,
Or labour up the hill-side steep 5

I think, dear Leontine, of thee,
And murmur constantly thy name:
And still thy well-loved form I see,
And blessings on thy goodness frame.



HE rain ceased, and sunshine once more
visited the earth. The trellis-work
which ran up one side of M. Antoine’s
mansion sparkled with purple grapes,
which every night the field-mice unscrupu-
lously plundered. They arrived in a great
company ; and some kept watch, while others
gorged themselves with the delicacies belonging
220 THE AUGUST VACATION.

to my dear mistresses. I was indignant, and
wished I had been armed by Nature with suit-
able weapons to put these thieves to flight.

One clear, moonlight night, while the ma-
rauders were plundering the trellised vine, my
old enemy, the great black cat, made her appear-
ance on the scene. She saw in a moment what
was taking place, and, gliding stealthily through
the cabbages and gooseberry-bushes, strangled
several of the robbers in the twinkling of an
eye, and put to flight the remainder. Then I
understood how in this world even the wicked
may become useful, when they are engaged in
punishing others of an equally hateful dispo-
sition.

In the month of August the vacations began.
The school was once more empty; and once
more I was separated from my beloved Leon-
tine.

For four successive years I revolved in nearly
the same circle of joys and sorrows, gradually
enlarging my amount of knowledge ; never
missing any opportunity of examining stone,
plant, or animal; always inclined to admire
THE BOARDING-SCHOOL REMOVED. 221

the wonders of creation, always ready to profit
for myself by the lessons which I heard given
to our young pupils.

In the fifth year a change occurred in my
tranquil life, which would assuredly have proved
fatal to me, had not Leontine come to my suc-
cour.

The lease which my good mistresses had of
their house had expired. They could not get
it renewed, because the owner himself wished
to reside in it. It was necessary, therefore,
said my master, to transport elsewhere their
household gods; and in the very centre of the
town, far from the country, and without any
garden, was planted the new boarding-school.
At first I was installed in the cellar! I began
to lose my appetite. They removed me to the
attic. But there were neither trees nor flowers
in the attic; only the cats made their appear-
ance. My sole amusement—must I confess
it ?—was to watch the spiders weaving their
webs, I admired the skill with which they
traced the ground-work, like the wheel of a
carriage ; and I asked myself whence did they
222 SOMETHING ABOUT SPIDERS.

obtain the fine and delicate thread of which
they made such dexterous use. At the hour
of the music-lesson these insects suspended their
labours, and seemed to listen with delight to
the sweet sounds which floated up to our aérial
abode, Their industry, their taste for the most
beautiful of the arts, and, I may add, their
solitariness, would have reconciled me to the
spiders, notwithstanding their ugliness—and the
garden-spiders, with their various colours, are
far more pleasing than the common house-
spider—if I had not been a witness to their
cruelty and voracity. Each time that they
threw themselves upon an unfortunate fly
caught in their snares, I turned aside my head
with a shudder. In vain I was carried at
intervals down into the drawing-room. I was
forced to return to my dungeon under the roof,
and there my spirit again grew gloomy.

It is possible that a philosopher, with his
beloved books, may become reconciled to cap-
tivity; but a poor rabbit, whose only amuse-
ment is the country, perishes within four walls,
unless he thinks of nothing but growing fat.
SNOWDROP RELEASED. 223

My education forbade me from resorting to so
ridiculous a source of consolation.

It happened that my beloved Leontine re-
turned on a visit to her former mistresses. She
felt very melancholy on seeing their new abode.
She regretted the beautiful spot where she had.
received so many lessons of wisdom and virtue.
She asked if it were possible to train the young
mind at such a distance from the sweet scenes
of Nature; and suddenly she exclaimed, “ What
has become of Snowdrop in this dungeon ?”
When she learned that he was relegated to the
attic-story, she climbed the stairs, three at a
time, and burst in upon me, panting for breath.
She found me gloomy and despairing. I was
almost insensible to her caresses. Her appear-
ance recalled to me the happy past ; and the
memory did but make the present far more
bitter.

She easily obtained permission to carry me
into the country.

I quitted, not without regret, my venerated
master and my amiable mistresses, whom I had
known in their brighter and more prosperous
224 A HAPPY ENDING.

days. I foresaw that, in spite of their zeal,
their tenderness, and their excellent qualities,
they would be unable to maintain the prosperity
of their establishment in a locality where even
a rabbit grew sick unto death. In the country
I recovered my liveliness, strength, and courage.
I was allowed the fullest liberty, and I never
abused it.

This Autobiography I dedicate to all Young
Girls, in remembrance of my former companions.
You are children at seven years old; but J at
seven years old am weak, feeble, and aged, for
the life of rabbits is very brief. Act, I pray—
act up to the good advice which I have em-
bodied in these pages. Love your governesses ;
they fill the place of your mothers, and train
you in the path of virtue and religion. Love
plants, and insects, and birds, and all animals,
and every sweet sound and sight of Nature ;
for Nature, like the Bible, is a revelation of
God to man.
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y ORDS FOR THE WISE. With Six Plates. Extra
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7. NELSON AND SONS, LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK,
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Price TWO SHILLINGS Eacu.
Extra Footscap, CLoTH. CopiousLy ILLUSTRATED.

(Agee IN THE FOREST ; or, Pictures of Life and
Scenery in the Wilds of Canada, By Mrs. Trare, Author of
“The Canadian Crusoes.” &c. With Coloured Frontispiece and Vig-
nette, and Twenty-two Engravings.
ICTURES OF TRAVEL IN FAR-OFF LANDS. A
Companion to the Study of Geography.—CantTRAL AMERICA,
With Fifty Engravings,
ICTURES OF TRAVEL IN FAR-OFF LAND‘
Sour America. With Fifty Engravings.
OUND THE WORLD. A Story of Travel Compiled
from the Narrative of Ida Pfeiffer. By D. Murray Smrrn.
‘With Tinted Frontispiece and Vignette, and Thirty-Five Engravings.
UINED CITIES OF BIBLE LANDS. By the late
Rev. W. K. Twreprs. With ‘Tinted Frontispiece and Vignette,
and Sixty Engravings.
HE VALLEY OF THE NILE: Its Tombs, Temples,
and Monuments. By W. H. Davexrorr Apams. With Forty-
two Engravings.
OCTOR KANE, THE ARCTIC HERO. A Narrative
of his Adventures and Explorations in the Polar Regions. By
M.Joxes. With Coloured Frontispiece and Vignette, and Thirty-five
Engravings.
OME AMID THE SNOW;; or, Warm Hearts in Cold
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tispiece and Vignette, and Twenty-eight Engravings.
IFE AND TRAVEL IN TARTARY, THIBET, AND
CHINA. Being a Narrative of the Abbé Huc’s Travels in the
Far East. By M. Joxes. With Coloured Frontispiece and Vignette,
and Fifty Engravings.
INEVEH AND ITS STORY. By M. Joves. With
AN “Coloured Frontispiece and Vignette, and Fifty Engravings
Qtek ot Zon : What They Are, and Where Found, A
€o









Book of Zoology for Boys. By Carrarn Mayne Rei. With
loured Frontispiece and Vignette, and Nineteen Page-Engravings.



—
(LOWER STORIES AND THEIR LESSONS. A Book
for the Young. With Coloured Frontispiece and Vignette, and
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V ONDERS OF THE PLANT WORLD; or, Curiosities
of Vegetable Life. With Notices of Remarkable Plants, Trees,
and Flowers. With Eighty Engravings.

7. NELSON AND SONS, LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK.
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HE PLAYFELLOW, and Other Tales. With Six Tinted
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LESSONS FROM GREAT LIVES FOR YOUNG READERS,

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IM’S TROUBLES; or, Triedand True. By M. A, Pau,
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T. NELSON AND SONS, LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK.
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IHE CHILDREN ON THE PLAINS. A Story of
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IHINGS IN THE FOREST. By Many and EnizapetH
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HE STORY OF REUBEN INCH; or, The Power of
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HE STORY OF A PIN; or, The Changes and Chances
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Enstructive Series of Shilling IBooks.
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WONDERS OF CREATION. —Volcanoes and their Phenomena.
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WONDERS OF THE VEGETABLE WORLD.
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BY THE AUTHOR OF “HOPE ON,” ETO.
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M ARTHA’S HOME, AND HOW THE SUNSHINE
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ROTHER REGINALD'S GOLDEN SECRET. A
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HE FISHERMAN’S CHILDREN ; or, The Sunbeam
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LESSONS IN THE
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WALTER AT THE SEA-SIDE; or, Facts and Fancies
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SEFUL PLANTS: Plants Adapted for the Food of Man
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ings.



T. NELSON AND SONS, LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK.
ONE SHILLING SERIES OF
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FOR THE YOUNG.



HE FALL OF JERUSALEM; AND THE ROMAN
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BOOKS BY THE REV. JAMES SMITH:

AILY BIBLE READINGS FOR THE LORD'S
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EVERY-DAY MANUALS FOR THE CHRISTIAN HOUSEHOLD.
BY THE REV. JAMES SMITH.
In 18mo, Cloth, with Vignette Title and Illuminated Side, Price 9a.

1, THE BETTER LAND. 6. THE GREAT COMFORTER.
2 WELCOME TO JESUS. 7, IMPORTANT QUESTIONS.
3. OUR HEAVENLY FATHER; | 8. THE MORNING SACRI-
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Strength. 9 THE EVENING SAORI-
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BRANCE OF ME;” or,|10. WORDS OF COMFORT.
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DAILY MANNA FOR CHRISTIAN PILGRIMS. By Aroy Stow.
DAILY SELF-EXAMINATION. By the Rev. Dr. TWEEDIE.
WORDS IN SEASON. By the Rev. Dr. TWEEDIE,

THE CHAPLET OF FLOWERS.

GREEN PASTURES. By the Rev. James Smrrn.

STILL WATERS. By the Rev. James Sara.

PATHS OF PEACE. By the Rev. Dr. TWEEDIE.



Oe won



T. NELSON AND SONS, LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK.


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