Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 List of Illustrations
 A dog of Flanders: A story...
 Back Cover

Group Title: A dog of Flanders : a Christmas story
Title: A dog of Flanders
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00081996/00001
 Material Information
Title: A dog of Flanders a Christmas story
Physical Description: 170 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Ouida, 1839-1908
Barnes, Hiram P ( Hiram Putnam ) ( Illustrator )
Cassino, Samuel Edson, 1856-1937 ( Publisher )
Norwood Press ( Printer )
Berwick & Smith ( Printer )
Publisher: Samuel E. Cassino
Place of Publication: Boston
Manufacturer: Norwood Press ; Berwick & Smith
Publication Date: c1893
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Dogs -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Orphans -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children -- Death -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Loyalty -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Poverty -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Intergenerational relations -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christmas -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Accidents -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- Flanders (Belgium)   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1893
Genre: novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Statement of Responsibility: by Louisa De la Ramé (Ouida) ; illustrated by Hiram P. Barnes.
General Note: Frontispiece printed in colors.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00081996
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002235214
notis - ALH5657
oclc - 36036196

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Title Page
        Page 5
        Page 6
    List of Illustrations
        Page 7
        Page 8
    A dog of Flanders: A story of Noel
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
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    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

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Berwick & Smith, Boston, U.S.A.


Alois was often with Nello and Pa-
trasche (Frontispiece) 76
Nello's Home ..... .. .
Jehan Daas .. .. 17
Nello and His Grandfather find Pa-
trasche . .29
Patrasche desires to Work 35
Nello sells Milk ....... 41
A Flanders Landscape. . 47
The Cathedral .. .... 53
Nello disappears in the Church 59
" Drew the Dog gently out into the Air" 65
"Saw Him draw with Chalk on the
Stones" .. .... 69
Little Alois . . 77
The Old Red Mill .. . 87
" You do not love Me . 93


Nello at Work on His Picture 103
"They found dropped in the Road a
Pretty Little Puppet" .. 15
Nello and Patrasche ... .121
A Wreath of Immortelles .... 129
"Sat by the Fireless Hearth" 133
Patrasche paused . .143
Sped over the Snow .. .153
The Descent from the Cross . 161
" I have seen them at Last" .. 165



NELLO and Patrasche were left all
alone in the world.
They were friends in a friendship
closer than brotherhood. Nello was
a little Ardennois; Patrasche was a
big Fleming. They were both of the
same age by length of years, yet one
was still young, and the other was
already old. They had dwelt to-
gether almost all their days: both
were orphaned and destitute, and
owed their lives to the same hand.
It had been the beginning of the tie


between them, their first bond of
sympathy; and it had strengthened
day by day, and had grown with their
growth, firm and indissoluble, until
they loved one another very greatly.
Their home was a little hut on the
edge of a little village a Flemish
village a league from Antwerp, set
amidst flat breadths of pasture and
corn-lands, with long lines of poplars
and of alders bending in the breeze
on the edge of the great canal which
ran through it. It had about a score
of houses and homesteads, with shut-
ters of bright green or sky-blue, and
roofs rose-red or black and white, and
walls whitewashed until they shone
in the sun like snow. In the centre
of the village stood a windmill,


placed on a little moss-grown slope:
it was a landmark to all the level
country round. It had once been
painted scarlet, sails and all, but
that had been in its infancy, half a
century or more earlier, when it had
ground wheat for the soldiers of Na-
poleon; and it was now a ruddy
brown, tanned by wind and weather.
It went queerly, by fits and starts, as
though rheumatic and stiff in the
joints from age, but it served the
whole neighborhood, which would
have thought it almost as impious to
carry grain elsewhere as to attend any
other religious service than the mass
that was performed at the altar of the
little old gray church, with its conical
steeple, which stood opposite to it, and


whose single bell rang morning, noon,
and night with that strange, subdued,
hollow sadness which every bell that
hangs in the Low Countries seems to
gain as an integral part of its melody.
Within sound of the little melan-
choly clock, almost from their birth
upward, they had dwelt together,
Nello and Patrasche, in the little hut
on the edge of the village, with the
cathedral spire of Antwerp rising in
the north-east, beyond the great green
plain of seeding grass and spreading
corn that stretched away from them
like a tideless, changeless sea. It
was the hut of a very old man, of a
very poor man-of old Jehan Daas,
who in his time had been a soldier, and
who remembered the wars that had


trampled the country as oxen tread
'down the furrows, and who had
brought from his service nothing ex-
cept a wound, which had made him
a cripple.
When old Jehan Daas had reached
his full eighty, his daughter had died
in the Ardennes, hard by Stavelot,
and had left him in legacy her two-
year old son. The old man could ill
contrive to support himself, but he
took up the additional burden uncom-
plainingly,- and it soon became wel-
come and precious to him. Little
Nello -which was but a pet diminu-
tive for Nicolas-throve with him,
and the old man and the little child
lived in the poor little hut contentedly.
It was a very humble little mud-


hut indeed, but it was clean and white
as a sea-shell, and stood in a small
plot of garden-ground that yielded
beans and herbs and pumpkins.
They were very poor, terribly poor -
many a day they had nothing at all to
eat. They never by any chance had
enough: to have had enough to eat
would have been to have reached para-
dise at once. But the old man was
very gentle and good to the boy, and
the boy was a beautiful, innocent,
truthful, tender-natured creature; and
they were happy on a crust and a few
leaves of cabbage, and asked no more
of earth or heaven; save indeed that
Patrasche should be always with
them, since without Patrasche, where
would they have been ?


For Patrasche was their alpha and
omega; their treasury and granary;
their store of gold and wand of wealth;
their bread-winner and minister; their
only friend and comforter. Patrasche
dead or gone from them, they must
have laid themselves down and died
likewise. Patrasche was body, brains,
hands, head, and feet to both of them:
Patrasche was their very life, their
very soul. For Jehan Daas was old
and a cripple, and Nello was but a
child; and. Patrasche was their dog.
A dog of Flanders-yellow of hide,
large of head and limb, with wolf-like
ears that stood erect, and legs bowed
and feet widened in the muscular de-
velopment wrought in his breed by
many 'generations of hard service.


Patrasche came of a race which had
toiled hard and cruelly from sire to
son in Flanders many a century-
slaves of slaves, dogs of the people,
beasts of the shafts and the harness,
creatures that lived straining their
sinews in the gall of the cart, and
died breaking their hearts on the
flints of the streets.
Patrasche had been born of parents
who had labored hard all their days
over the sharp-set stones of the va-
rious cities and the long, shadowless,
weary roads of the two Flanders
and of Brabant. He had been born
to no other heritage than those of
pain and of toil. He had been fed on
curses and baptized with blows. Why
not ? It was a Christian country, and


Patrasche was but a dog. Before he
was fully grown he had known the
bitter gall of the cart and the collar.
Before he had entered his thirteenth
month he had become the property of
a hardware dealer, who was accus-
tomed to wander over the land north
and south, from the blue sea to the
green mountains. They sold him
for a small price because he was so
This man was a drunkard and a
brute. The life of Patrasche was a life
of hell. To deal the tortures of hell on
the animal creation is a way which
the Christians have of showing their
belief in it. His purchaser was a
sullen, ill-living, brutal Brabantois,
who heaped his cart full with pots


and pans and flagons and buckets and
other wares of crockery and brass and
tin, and left Patrasche to draw the
load as best he might, whilst he him-
self lounged idly by the side in fat
and sluggish ease, smoking his black
pipe and stopping at every wine-shop
or caf6 on the road.
Happily for Patrasche- or unhap-
pily-he was very strong: he came
of an iron race, long born and bred
to such cruel travail, so that he did
not die, but managed to drag on a
wretched existence under the brutal
burdens, the scarifying lashes, the
hunger, the thirst, the blows, the
curses, and the exhaustion which
are the only wages with which the
Flemings repay the most patient


and laborious of all their four-footed
victims. One day, after two years
of this long and deadly agony,
Patrasche was going on as usual
along one of the straight, dusty, un-
lovely roads that lead to the city
of Rubens. It was full midsummer,
and very warm. His cart was very
heavy, piled high with goods in metal
and in earthenware. His owner saun-
tered on without noticing him other-
wise than by the crack of the whip
as it curled round his quivering
loins. The Brabantois had paused to
drink beer himself at every wayside
house,-but he had forbidden Patrasche
to stop moment fora draught from the
canal. Going along thus, in the full
sun, on a scorching highway, having


eaten nothing for twenty-four hours,
and, which was far worse to him,
not having tasted water for nearly
twelve, being blind with dust, sore
with blows, and stupefied with the
merciless weight which dragged
upon his loins, Patrasche, for once,
staggered and foamed a little at the
mouth, and fell.
He fell in the middle of the white,
dusty road, in the full glare of the
sun: he was sick unto death, and
motionless. His master gave him
the only medicine in his pharmacy,-
kicks and oaths and blows with a
cudgel of oak, which had been often
the only food and drink, the only
wage and reward, ever offered to him.
But Patrasche was beyond the reach


of any torture, or of any curses. Pa-
trasche lay, dead to all appearances,
down in the white powder of the
summer dust. After a while, finding
it useless to assail his ribs with pun-
ishment and his ears with maledic-
tions, the Brabantois--deeming life
gone in him, or going so nearly that
his carcass was forever useless, unless
indeed some one should strip it of the
skin for gloves -cursed him fiercely
in farewell, struck off the leather
bands of the harness, kicked his
body heavily aside into the grass,
and, groaning and muttering in sav-
age wrath, pushed the cart lazily
along the road up hill, and left the
dying dog there for the ants to
sting and for the crows to pick.


It was the last day before Kermesse,
away at Louvain, and the Brabantois
was in haste to reach the fair and get
a good place for his truck of brass
wares. He was in fierce wrath, be-
cause Patrasche had been a strong
and much-enduring animal, and be-
cause he himself had now the hard
task of pushing his charette all the
way to Louvain. But to stay to
look after Patrasche never entered his
thoughts: the beast was dying and
useless, and he would steal, to replace
him, the first large dog that he found
wandering alone out of sight of its
master. Patrasche had cost him
nothing, or next to nothing; and for
two long, cruel years he had made him
toil ceaselessly in his service from


sunrise to sunset, through summer
and winter, in fair weather and foul.
He had got a fair use and a good
profit out of Patrasche; being human,
he was wise, and left the dog to draw
his last breath alone in the ditch, and
have his bloodshot eyes plucked out as
they might be by the birds, whilst he
himself went on his way to beg and to
steal, to eat and to drink, to dance
and to sing, in the mirth at Louvain.
A dying dog, a dog of the cart -
why should he waste hours over its
agonies at peril of losing a handful of
copper coins, at peril of a shout of
Patrasche lay there, flung in the
grass-green ditch. It was a busy
road that day, and hundreds of people,


on foot and on mules, in wagons or
in carts, went by, tramping quickly
and joyously on to Louvain. Some
saw him; most did not even look: all
passed on. A dead dog more or
less-it was nothing in Brabant: it
would be nothing anywhere in the
After a time, amongst the holi-
day-makers, there came a little old
man who was bent and lame and very
feeble. He was in no guise for feast-
ing: he was very poorly and miserably
clad, and he dragged his silent way
slowly through the dust amongst the
pleasure-seekers. He looked at Pa-
trasche, paused, wondered, turned
aside, then kneeled down in the rank
grass and weeds of the ditch, and


surveyed the dog with kindly eyes of
pity. There was with him a little
rosy, fair-haired, dark-eyed child of a
few years old, who pattered in amidst
the bushes that were for him breast-
high, and stood gazing with a pretty
seriousness upon the poor great, quiet
Thus it was that these two first
met,-the little Nello and the big
The upshot of that day was, that
old Jehan Daas, with much laborious
effort, drew the sufferer homeward to
his own little hut, which was a stone's
throw off amidst the fields, and there
tended him with so much care that
the sickness, which had been a brain-
seizure, brought on by heat and thirst


and exhaustion, with time and shade
and rest passed away, and health
and strength returned, and Patrasche
staggered up again upon his four stout,
tawny legs.
Now for many weeks he had been
useless, powerless, sore, near to death ;
but all this time he had heard no
rough word, had felt no harsh touch,
but only the pitying murmurs of the
little child's voice and the soothing
caress of the old man's hand.
In his sickness they too had grown
to care for him, this lonely old man
and the little happy child. He had
a corner of the hut, with a heap of
dry grass for his bed; and they had
learned to listen eagerly for his
breathing in the dark night, to tell


them that he lived; and when he first
was well enough to essay a loud, hol-
low, broken bay, they laughed aloud,
and almost wept together for joy at
such a sign of his sure restoration;
and little Nello, in delighted glee,
hung round his rugged neck with
chains of marguerites, and kissed him
with fresh and ruddy lips.
So, then, when Patrasche arose
himself again, strong, big, gaunt, pow-
erful, his great wistful eyes had a
gentle astonishment in them that
there were no curses to rouse him,
and no blows to drive him; and his
heart awakened to a mighty love,
which never wavered once in its
fidelity whilst life abode with him.
But Patrasche, being a dog, was


grateful. Patrasche lay pondering
long with grave, tender, musing brown
eyes, watching the movements of his
Now, the old soldier, Jehan Daas,
could do nothing for his living but
limp about a little with a small cart,
with which he carried daily the milk-
cans of those happier neighbors who
owned cattle away into the town of
Antwerp. The villagers gave him
the employment a little out of charity
-more because it suited them well
to send their milk into the town by so
honest a carrier, and bide at home
themselves to look after their gar-
dens, their cows, their poultry, or their
little fields. But it was becoming
hard work for the old man. He was


eighty-three, and Antwerp was a good
league off, or more.
Patrasche watched the milk-cans
come and go that one day when he
had got well and was lying in the sun
with the wreath of marguerites round
his tawny neck.
The next morning Patrasche, be-
fore the old man had touched the cart,
arose and walked to it, and placed him-
self betwixt its handles, and testified
as plainly as dumb show could do his
desire and his ability to work in return
for the bread of charity that he had
Jehan Daas resisted long, for the
old man was one of those who thought
it a foul shame to bind dogs to labor
for which nature never formed them.


But Patrasche would not be gainsaid :
finding they did not harness him, he
tried to draw the cart onward with
his teeth.
At length Jehan Daas gave way,
vanquished by the persistence and
the gratitude of this creature whom
he had succored. He fashioned his
cart so that Patrasche could run in it,
and this he did every morning of his
life thenceforward.
When the winter came Jehan Daas
thanked the blessed fortune that had
brought him to the dying dog in the
ditch that fair-day of Louvain; for he
was very old, and he grew feebler
with each year, and he would ill have
known how to pull his load of milk-
cans over the snows and through the


deep ruts in the mud if it had not
been for the strength and the indus-
try of the animal he had befriended.
As for Patrasche, it seemed heaven
to him. After the frightful burdens
that his old master had compelled him
to strain under, at the call of the
whip at every step, it seemed nothing
to him but amusement to step out
with this little light green cart, with
its bright brass cans; by the side of
the gentle old man who always paid
him with a tender caress and with a
kindly word. Besides, his work was
over by three or four in the day, and
after that time he was free to do as he
would, -to stretch himself, to sleep
in the sun, to wander in the fields, to
romp with the young child, or to play


with his fellow-dogs. Patrasche was
very happy.
Fortunately for his peace, his for-
mer owner was killed in a drunken
brawl at the kermesse of Mechlin,
and so sought not after him nor dis-
turbed him in his new and well-loved
A few years later old Jehan Daas,
who had always been a cripple, be-
came so paralyzed with rheumatism
that it was impossible for him to go
out with the cart any more. Then
little Nello, being now grown to his
sixth year of age, and knowing the
town well from having accompanied
his grandfather so many times, took
his place beside the cart, and sold
the milk and received the coins in


exchange, and brought them back to
their respective owners with a pretty
grace and seriousness which charmed
all who beheld him.
The little Ardennois was a beau-
tiful child, with dark, grave, tender
eyes, and a lovely bloom upon his
face, and fair locks that clustered
to his throat; and many an artist
sketched the group as it went by him
-'the green cart with the brass flag-
ons of Teniers and Mieris and Van
Tal, and the great tawny-colored,
massive dog, with his belled harness
that chimed cheerily as he went, and
the small figure that ran beside him,
which had little white feet in great
wooden shoes, and a soft, grave, in-
nocent, happy face like the little fair
children of Rubens.


Nello and Patrasche did the work
so well and so joyfully together,that
Jehan Daas himself, when the sum-
mer came and he was better again,.
had no need to stir out, but could sit
in the doorway in the sun and see
them go forth through the garden
wicket, and then doze and dream and
pray a little, and then awake again as
the clock tolled three, and watch for
their return. And on their return
Patrasche would shake himself free-
of his harness with a bay of glee, and
Nello would recount with pride the
doings of the day; and they would
all go in together to their meal of rye-
bread and milk or soup, and wouldsee
the shadows lengthen over the great
plain, and see the twilight veil the fair


cathedral spire; and then lie down
together to sleep peacefully while the
old man said a prayer.
So the days and the years went on,
and the lives of Nello and Patrasche
were happy, innocent, and healthful.
In the spring and summer especially
were they glad. Flanders is not a
lovely land, and around the burgh of
Rubens it is perhaps least lovely of
all. Corn and colza, pasture and
plough, succeed each other on the
characterless plain in wearying repe-
tition, and save by some gaunt gray
tower, with its peal of pathetic bells,
or some figure coming athwart the
fields, made picturesque by a gleaner's
bundle or a woodman's fagot, there is
no change, no variety, no beauty, any-


where; and he who has dwelt upon
the mountains or amidst the forests
feels oppressedas by imprisonment
with the tedium and the endlessness
of that vast and dreary level. But it
is green and very fertile, and it has
wide horizons that have a certain
charm of their own in their dulness
and monotony; and amongst the
rushes by the water-side the flowers
grow, and the trees rise tall and fresh
where the barges glide with their
great hulks black against the sun, and
their little green barrels and vari-col-
ored flags gay against the leaves.
Anyway, there is greenery and
breadth of space enough to be as good
as beauty to a child and a dog; and
these two asked no better, when their


work was done, than to lie buried in
the lush grasses on the side of the
canal, and watch the cumbrous ves-
sels drifting by and bringing the
crisp salt smell of the sea amongst
the blossoming scents of the coun-
try summer.
True, in the winter it was harder,
and they had to rise in the darkness
and the bitter cold, and they had sel-
dom as much as they could have eaten
any day, and the hut was scarce bet-
ter than a shed when the nights were
cold, although it looked so pretty in
warm weather, buried in a great
kindly clambering vine, that never
bore fruit, indeed, but which covered
it with luxuriant green tracery all
through the months of blossom and


harvest. In winter the winds found
many holes in the walls of the poor
little hut, and the vine was black and
leafless, and the bare lands looked
very bleak and drear without, and
sometimes within the floor was
flooded and then frozen.. In winter
it was hard, and the snow numbed
the little white limbs of Nello, and
the icicles cut the brave, untiring
feet of Patrasche.
But even then they were never
heard to lament, either of them. The
child's wooden shoes and the dog's
four legs would trot manfully together
over the frozen fields to the chime of
the bells on the harness; and then
sometimes, in the streets of Antwerp,
some housewife would bring them a


bowl of soup and a handful of bread,
or some kindly trader would throw
some billets of fuel into the little
cart as it went homeward, or some
woman in their own village would bid
them keep some share of the milk
they carried.for their own food; and
then they would run over the white
lands, through the early darkness,
bright and happy, and burst with a
shout of joy into their home.
So, on the whole, it was well with
them, very well; and Patrasche, meet-
ing on the highway or in the public
streets the many dogs who toiled
from daybreak into night-fall, paid
only with blows and curses, and
loosened from the shafts with a kick
to starve and freeze as best they


might,--Patrasche in his heart was
very grateful to his fate, and thought it
the fairest and the kindliest the world
could hold. Though he was often
very hungry indeed when he lay down
at night; though he had to work in
the heats of summer noons and
the rasping chills of winter dawns;
though his feet were often tender
with wounds from the sharp edges of
the jagged pavement ; though he had
to perform tasks beyond his strength
and against his nature,-yet he was
grateful and content : he did his duty
with each day, and the eyes that he
loved smiled down on him. It was
sufficient for Patrasche.
There was only one thing which
caused Patrasche any uneasiness in


his life, and it was this. Antwerp,
as all the world knows, is full at
every turn of old piles of stones, dark
and ancient and majestic, standing
in crooked courts, jammed against
gate-ways and taverns, rising by the
water's edge, with bells ringing above
them in the air, and ever and again
out of their arched doors a swell
of music pealing. There they re-
main, the grand old sanctuaries of the
past, shut in amidst the squalor, the
hurry, the crowds, the unloveliness,
and the commerce of the modern
world, and all day long the clouds
drift and the birds circle and the
winds sigh around them, and beneath
the earth at their feet there sleeps-


And the greatness of the mighty
Master still rests upon Antwerp, and
wherever we turn in its narrow streets
his glory lies therein, so that all mean
things are thereby transfigured; and
as we pace slowly through the wind-
ing ways, and by the edge of the
stagnant water, and through the
noisome courts, his spirit abides with
us, and the heroic beauty of his vis-
ions is about us, and the stones that
once felt his footsteps and bore his
shadow seem to arise and speak of
him with living voices. For the city
which is the tomb of Rubens still
lives to us through him, and him
It is so quiet there by that great
white sepulchre so quiet, save only


when the organ peals and the choir
cries aloud Salve Regina or the Kyrie
Eleison. Sure no artist ever had a
greater gravestone than that pure
marble sanctuary gives to him in the
heart of his birthplace in the chancel
of St. Jacques.
Without Rubens, what were Ant-
werp? A dirty, dusky, bustling mart
which no man would ever care to
look upon save the traders who do
business on its wharves. With Ru-
bens, to the whole world of men it
is a sacred name, a sacred soil, a
Bethlehem where a god of Art saw
light, a Golgotha where a god of Art
lies dead.
O nations! closely should you
treasure your great men, for by them


alone will the future know of you.
Flanders in her generations has been
wise. In his life she glorified this
greatest of her sons, and in his death
she magnifies his name. But her
wisdom is very rare.
Now the trouble of Patrasche was
this. Into these great, sad piles of
stones, that reared their melancholy
majesty above the crowded roofs, the
child Nello would many and many
a time enter, and disappear through
their dark, arched portals, whilst Pa-
trasche, left without upon the pave-
ment, would wearily and vainly pon-
der on what could be the charm
which thus allured from him his
inseparable and beloved companion.
Once or twice he did essay to see


for himself, clattering up the steps
with his milk-cart, behind him;
but thereon he had been always
sent back again summarily by a tall
custodian in black clothes and silver
chains of office; and fearful of bring-
ing his little master into trouble, he
desisted, and remained couched pa-
tiently before the churches until such
time as the boy reappeared. It was
not the fact of his going into them
which disturbed Patrasche: he knew
that people went to church: all the
village went to the small, tumble-
down, gray pile opposite the red wind-
mill. What troubled him was that
little Nello always looked strangely
when he came out, always very flushed
or very pale; and whenever he re-


turned home after such visitations,
would sit silent and dreaming, not
caring to play, but gazing out at the
evening skies beyond the line of
the canal, very subdued, and almost
What was it? wondered Patrasche.
He thought it could not be good or
natural for the little lad to be so
grave, and in his dumb fashion he
tried all he could to keep Nello by
him in the sunny fields or in the busy
market-place. But to the churches
Nello would go: most often of all
would he go to the great cathedral;
and Patrasche, left without on the
stones by the iron fragments of
Quentin Matsys' gate, would stretch
himself and yawn and sigh, and even


* howl now and then, all in vain, until
the doors closed, and the child per-
force came forth again, and winding
his arms about the dog's neck would
kiss him on his broad, tawny-colored
forehead, and murmur always the
same words, "If I could only see
them, Patrasche !-if I could only
see them!"
What were they? pondered Pa-
trasche, looking up with large, wist-
ful, sympathetic eyes.
One day, when the custodian was
out of the way and the doors left ajar,
he got in for a moment after his lit-
tle friend, and saw. "They" were
two great covered pictures on either
side of the choir.
Nello was kneeling, rapt as in an


ecstasy, before the altar-picture of the
Assumption, and when he noticed Pa-
trasche, and rose and drew the dog
gently out into the air, his face was
wet with tears, and he looked up at
the veiled places as he passed them,
and murmured to his companion, "It
is so terrible not to see them, Pa-
trasche, just because one is poor and
cannot pay! He never meant that
the poor should not see them when
he painted them, I am sure. He
would have had us see them any
day, every day: that I am sure.
And they keep them shrouded
there shrouded in the dark, the
beautiful things and they never
feel the light, and no eyes look
on. them, unless rich people


come and pay. If I could only
see them, I would be content to
But he could not see them, and
Patrasche could not help him, for to
gain the silver piece that the church
exacts as the price for looking on the
glories of the Elevation of the Cross
and the Descent from the Cross was a
thing as utterly beyond the powers
of either of them as it would have
been to scale the heights of the
cathedral spire. They had never so
much as a sou to spare: if they
cleared enough to get a little wood
for the stove, a little broth for the
pot, it was the utmost they could do.
And yet the heart of the child was
set in sore and endless longing upon


beholding the greatness of the two
veiled Rubens.
The whole soul of the little Arden-
nois thrilled and stirred with an
absorbing passion for Art. Going
on his ways through the old city in
the early days before the sun or the
people had risen, Nello, who looked
only a little peasant-boy, with a great
dog drawing milk to sell from door to
door, was in a heaven of dreams
whereof Rubens was the god. Nello,
cold and hungry, with stockingless
feet, in wooden, shoes, and the winter
winds blowing amongst his curls and
lifting his poor, thin garments, was in
a rapture of meditation, wherein all
that he saw was the beautiful, fair
face of the Mary of the Assumption,


with the waves of golden hair
lying upon her shoulders, and the
light of an eternal sun shining down
upon her brow. Nello, reared in pov-
erty, and buffeted by fortune, and
untaught in letters, and unheeded by
men, had the compensation or the
curse which is called Genius.
No one knew it. He as little as
any. No one knew it. Only indeed
Patrasche, who, being with him al-
ways, saw him draw with chalk
upon the stones any and every thing
that .grew or breathed; heard him on
his little bed of hay murmur all man-
ner of timid, pathetic prayers to the
spirit of the great Master; watched
his gaze darken and his face radiate
at the evening glow of sunset, or the


rosy rising of the dawn; and felt
many and many a time the tears of
a strange, nameless pain and joy,
mingled together, fall hotly from the
bright young eyes upon his own
wrinkled, yellow forehead.
I should go to my grave quite
content if I thought, Nello, that
when thou growest a man thou
couldst own this hut and the little
plot of ground, and labor for thyself,
and be called Baas by thy neighbors,"
said the old man Jehan many an hour
from his bed. For to own a bit of
soil, and to be called Baas- master
- by the hamlet round, is to have
achieved the highest ideal of a Flem-
ish peasant; and the old soldier, who
had wandered over all the earth in


his youth, and had brought nothing
back, deemed in his old age that to
live and die on one spot in contented
humility was the fairest fate he could
desire for his darling. But Nello
said nothing.
The same leaven was working in
him that in other times begat Ru-
bens and Jordaens and the Van Eycks,
and all their wondrous tribe, and in
times more recent begat in the
green country of the Ardennes,
where the Meuse washes the old
walls of Dijon, the great artist of
the Patroclus, whose genius is too
near us for us aright to measure
its divinity.
Nello dreamed of other things in
the future than of tilling the little


rood of earth, and living under the
wattle roof, and being called Baas by
neighbors a little poorer or a little
less poor than himself. The cathe-
dral spire, where it rose beyond the
fields in the ruddy evening skies, or
in the dim, gray, misty mornings,
said other things to him than this.
But these he told only to Patrasche,
whispering, childlike, his fancies in
the dog's ear when they went to-
gether at their work through the
fogs of the daybreak, or lay together
at their rest amongst the rustling
rushes by the water's side.
For such dreams are not easily
shaped into speech to awake the
slow sympathies of human auditors;
and they would only have sorely


perplexed and troubled the poor old
man, bedridden in his corner, who,
for his part, whenever he had trod-
den the streets of Antwerp, had
thought the daub of blue and red
that they called a Madonna, on the
walls of the wine-shop where he
drank his sou's worth of black beer,
quite as good as any of the famous
altar-pieces for which the stranger
folk travelled far and wide into Flan-
ders from every land on which the
good sun shone.
There was only one other beside
Patrasche to whom Nello could talk
at all of his daring fantasies. This
other was little Alois, who lived at
the old red mill on the grassy mound,
and whose father, the miller, was the


best-to-do husbandman in all the vil-
lage. Little Alois was only a pretty
baby with soft, round, rosy features,
made lovely by those sweet dark eyes
that the Spanish rule has left in so
many a Flemish face, in testimony of
the Alvan dominion, as Spanish art
has left broadsown throughout the
country majestic palaces and stately
courts, gilded house-fronts and sculp-
tured lintels histories in blazonry
and poems in stone.
Little Alois was often with Nello
and Patrasche. They played in the
fields; they ran in the snow; they
gathered the daisies and bilberries;
they went up to the old gray church
together, and they often sat together
by the broad wood-fire in the mill-


house. Little Alois, indeed, was the
richest child in the hamlet. She had
neither brother nor sister; her blue
serge dress had never a hole in it; at
kermesse she had as many gilded
nuts and Agni Dei in sugar as her
hands could hold; and when she went
up for her first communion her flaxen
curls were covered with a cap of rich-
est Mechlin lace, which had been her
mother's and her grandmother's be-
fore it came to her. Men spoke
already, though she had but twelve
years, of the good wife she would be
for their sons to woo and win; but
she herself was a little gay, simple
child, in nowise conscious of her
heritage, and she loved no play-
fellows so well as Jehan Daas' grand-
son and his dog.


One day her father, Baas Cogez, a
good man, but somewhat stern, came
on a pretty group in the long meadow
behind the mill, where the aftermath
had that day been cut. It was his
little daughter sitting amidst the
hay, with the great tawny head of
Patrasche on her lap, and many
wreaths of poppies and blue corn-
flowers round them both : on a clean,
smooth slab of pine wood the boy
Nello drew their likeness with a stick
of charcoal.
The miller stood and looked at the
portrait with tears in his eyes, it was
so strangely like, and he loved his
only child closely and well. Then
he roughly chid the little girl for
idling there whilst her mother needed


her within, and sent her indoors
crying and afraid: then, turning,
he snatched the wood from Nello's
hands. "Dost do much of such
folly ?" he asked, but there was a
tremble in his voice.
Nello colored and hung his head.
' I draw everything I see," he mur-
The miller was silent: then he
stretched his hand out with a franc
in it.. "It is folly as I say, and evil
waste of time; nevertheless, it is
like Alois, and will please the house-
mother. Take this silver bit for it
and leave it for me."
The color died out of the face of
the young Ardennois : he lifted his
head and put his hands behind his


back. "Keep your money and the
portrait both, Baas Cogez," he said
simply. You have been often good
to me." Then he called Patrasche
to him, and walked away across the
I could have seen them with that
franc," he murmured to Patrasche,
"but I could not sell her picture--
not even for them."
Baas Cogez went into his mill-
house sore troubled in his mind.
"That lad must not be so much
with Alois," he said to his wife that
night. "Trouble may come of it
hereafter: he is fifteen now, and she
is twelve; and the boy is comely of
face and form."
And he is a good lad, and a loyal,"


said the housewife, feasting her eyes
on the piece of pine wood where it
was throned above the chimney with
a cuckoo clock in oak and a Calvary
in wax.
Yea, I do not gainsay that," said
the miller, draining his pewter flagon.
Then, if what you think of were
ever to come to pass," said the wife,
hesitatingly, "would it matter so
much? She will have enough for
both, and one cannot be better than
You are a woman, and therefore a
fool," said the miller harshly, striking
his pipe on the table. "The lad is
naught but a beggar, and, with these
painter's fancies, worse than a beggar.
Have a care that they are not to-


gether in the future, or I will send
the child to the surer keeping of the
nuns of the Sacred Heart."
The poor mother was terrified, and
promised humbly to do his will. Not
that she could bring herself alto-
gether to separate the child from her
favorite playmate, nor did the miller
even desire that extreme of cruelty
to a young lad who was guilty of
nothing except poverty. But there
were many ways in which little Alois
was kept away from her chosen com-
panion; and Nello being a boy proud
and quiet and sensitive, was quickly
wounded, and ceased to turn his
own steps and those of Patrasche,
as he had been used to do with
every moment of leisure, to the old


red mill upon the slope. What his
offence was he did not know: he
supposed he had in some manner
angered Baas Cogez by taking the
portrait of Alois in the meadow; and
when the child, who loved him, would
run to him and nestle her hand in
his, he would smile at her very sadly,
and say with a tender concern for
her before himself, Nay, Alois, do
not anger your father. He thinks
that I make you idle, dear, and he is
not pleased that you should be with
me. He is a good man, and loves
you well: we will not anger him,
But it was with a sad heart that he
said it, and the earth did not look
so bright to him as it had used to do


when he went out at sunrise under
the poplars down the straight roads
with Patrasche. The old red mill
had been a landmark to him, and he
had been used to pause by it, going
and coming, for a cheery greeting
with its people, as her little flaxen
head rose above the low mill-wicket,
and her little rosy hands had held
out a bone or a crust to Patrasche.
Now the dog looked wistfully at a
closed door, and the boy went on
without pausing, with a pang at his
heart, and the child sat within, with
tears dropping slowly on the knitting
to which she was set, on her little
stool by the stove ; and Baas Cogez,
working among his sacks and his
mill-gear, would harden his will


and say to himself, It is best so.
The lad is all but a beggar, and full
of idle, dreaming fooleries. Who
knows what mischief might not come
of it in the future? So he was wise in
his generation, and would not have
the door unbarred, except upon rare
and formal occasions, which seemed
to have neither warmth nor mirth in
them to the two children, who had
been accustomed so long to a daily
gleeful, careless, happy interchange
of greeting, speech, and pastime, with
no other watcher of their sports
or auditor of their fancies than Pa-
trasche, sagely shaking the brazen
bells of his collar, and responding
with all a dog's swift sympathies to
their every change of mood.


All this while the little panel of
pine wood remained over the chim-
ney in the mill-kitchen, with the
cuckoo clock and the waxen Calvary;
and sometimes it seemed to Nello a
little hard that whilst his gift was
accepted he himself should be denied.
But he did not complain: it was
his habit to be quiet: old Jehan Daas
had said ever to him, "We are poor:
we must take what God sends the
ill with the good : the poor cannot
To which the boy had always
listened in silence, being reverent of
his old grandfather; but nevertheless
a certain vague, sweet hope, such as
beguiles the children of genius, had
whispered in his heart, Yet the poor


do choose sometimes choose to be
great, so that men cannot say them
nay." And he thought so still in his
innocence; and one day, when the
little Alois, finding him by chance
alone amongst the corn-fields by the
canal, ran to him and held him close,
and sobbed piteously because the mor-
row would be her saint's day, and
for the first time in all her life her
parents had failed to bid him to the
little supper and romp in the great
barns with which her feast-day was
always celebrated, Nello had kissed
her and murmured to her in firm
faith, It shall be different one day,
Alois. One day that little bit of
pine wood that your father has of
mine shall be worth its weight in


silver; and he will not shut the door
against me then. Only love me al-
ways, dear little Alois, only love me
always, and I will be great."
And if I do not love you ? the
pretty child asked, pouting a little
through her tears, and moved by the
instinctive coquetries of her sex.
Nello's eyes left her face and
wandered to the distance, where
in the red and gold of the Flem-
ish night the cathedral spire rose.
There was a smile on his face so
sweet and yet so sad that little Alois
was awed by it. "I will be great
still," he said under his breath-
"great still, or die, Alois."
"You do not love me," said the
little spoilt child, pushing him away;


but the boy shook his head and
smiled, and went on his way through
the tall yellow corn, seeing as in a
vision some day in a fair .future
when he should come into that old
familiar land and ask Alois of her
people, and be not refused or denied,
but received in honor, whilst the vil-
lage folk should throng to look upon
him and say in one another's ears,
"Dost see him? He is a king
among men, for he is a great artist,
and the world speaks his name; and
yet he was only our poor little Nello,
who was a beggar, as one may say,
and only got his bread by the help of
his dog." And he thought how he
would fold his grandsire in furs and
purples, and portray him as the old


man is portrayed in the Family in
the chapel of St. Jacques; and of
how he would hang the throat of
Patrasche with a collar of gold, and
place him on his right hand, and say
to the people, "This was once my
only friend;" and of how he would
build himself a great white marble
palace, and make to himself luxuriant
gardens of pleasure on the slope
looking outward to where the cathe-
dral spire rose, and not dwell in it
himself, but summon to it, as to a
home, all men young and poor and
friendless, but of the will to do mighty
things; and of how he would say to
them always, if they sought to bless
his name, "Nay, do not thank me-
thank Rubens. Without him, what


should I have been?" And these
dreams, beautiful, impossible, inno-
cent, free of all selfishness, full of
heroical worship, were so closely
about him as he went that he was
happy happy even on this sad anni-
versary of Alois' saint's day, when he
and Patrasche went home by them-
selves to the little dark hut and the
meal of black bread, whilst in the
mill-house all the children of the vil-
lage sang and laughed, and ate the
big round cakes of Dijon, and the
almond gingerbread of Brabant, and
danced in the great barn to the light
of the stars and the music of flute
and fiddle.
"Never mind, Patrasche," he said,
with his arms round the dog's neck


as they both sat in the door of the
hut, where the sounds of the mirth
at the mill came down to them on
the night air-"never mind. It
shall all be changed by and by."
He believed in the future: Pa-
trasche, of more experience and of
more philosophy, thought that the
loss of the mill supper in the present
was ill compensated by dreams of
milk and honey in some vague here-
after. And Patrasche growled when-
ever he passed by Baas Cogez.
"This is Alois' name-day, is it
not ?" said the old man Daas that
night from the corner where he
was stretched upon his bed of sack-
The boy gave a gesture of assent:

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