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“My squirrel was caught in these woods,” said Marie. “Does it not fret him to see them through his cage ?”.
“We will plant a tree for him," said Pierrot ; “I will plant this cone,
“You hold a wood in your hand, my little man," laughed Roach. “ This is a seed-castle, look-and holds, maybe, eighty young trees. wut us count them.”
“But, Monsieur," cried Marie, “these here are smaller than lupinseed. What a marvel! And does every cone that falls plant a wood ?"
“No, Marie ; out of the thousand cones that drop on the grass, it is a lucky little seed that takes root; but still there are enough to crowd the woods and lodge the squirrels."
“But, Monsieur, how many of these seeds would grow if we threw them in the grass ?”
“ Perhaps one, if Marie's little feet pressed it into the ground by chance."
“By chance 1-does God plant the forest by chance ?"
and make it rich for the lucky seed, just as the thousand poor men waste and wear to make one man rich and great. But come, I will plant a great forest from this one pine cone.
“ Thou could'st not,” said Marie, in hushed, affectionate tone The children gathered closer.
“ First, Marie, I must live for a hundred years. You must allow me that.”
Poor Marie would have allowed him to live for ever : she stole her arm shyly round his neck.”
“Come, then, I will begin to plant on Pierrot's bib.”
“Pierrot's chubby face gaped; he held out his bib, stupified with responsibility.”
“ Here we have eighty seeds; I counted them. Twenty, or onefourth of them will fail, and sixty will grow; and of these, twenty, or one-third, will die young."
“ Just as some babies die,” said Pierrot, an infant Plato. “Like our poor Jean," lisped another mournfully.
“ Just so; but these forty will grow up strong and lusty, like my big friend Antoine.”
Antoine stopped clattering his sabots, and was all attention—the simile gave perfect satisfaction to the whole audience.
“Well—we permit these forty trees, my friends, to grow till they begin to want room, then we take them up carefully and plant them on a lonely bare hill, where they get tall old trees in thirty years, and bear large cones themselves.”
Quelle merveille!" murmured the chorus. “We go out and gather all our cones.” “In one's bib,” suggested Pierrot, grave and wise beyond his years.
“We gather them in our bibs, and baskets, and carts; for how many cones have we, think you ?"
No answer, but an anxious stir among all the little sabots.
“Each of our trees has borne a hundred cones ; we have four thousand to bring in."
Four thousand had a very big sound; there was blank astonishment in every face ; all but Marie were distanced here.
" In each cone,” continued Roach, "are eighty seeds ; so that now we can cover our bare hill, for we have three hundred and twenty thousand seeds.”
Marie distanced. The most genuine wonder and most suprene ignorance around him.
“Of these," he continued, gazing towards the woods, "eighty thousand, or one-fourth, will fail, and two hundred and forty thousand will shoot up; but of these also, eighty thousand, or a third, will die, and a hundred and sixty thousand will grow to be planted on the hill, and in thirty years be tall old trees. The hill will be covered then, and I shall be only sixty years old-quite young! The cones fall on the long grass, and we go out with our carts. We shall have outgrown our bibs then. What have we now? We have sixteen million cones. We have one billion two hundred and eighty million seeds. We must buy up all the hills. Let us plant them. Three hundred and eighty millions, or one-fourth will
“Go on, Monsieur Roach,” whispered Marie ; "oh, you are puzzled at last.”
He flung her arm, that frail tendril, from about his neck, and leaped to his feet. He rushed to the shelf, tore down a book, poured over it with incoherent murmurs, as if his doom were written in it.
The children, cowering and spell-bound, huddle close together; the beggars crane into the window to see if he be a maniac ; they jibe at him in whispers. Monsieur Nichola has come, and Madam Petier stands at the door and cries
“Monsieur Roach! Monsieur Roach! what has happened ?-are you ill ?"
And he-his arms are trembling as in palsy ; every feature is moved with some wild happiness, as he crushes over leaf after leaf, muttering aloud.
“Monsieur Roach, what is this?—are you sick—are you mad ?”
He stepped forward, the glow of great gratitude on his face, great tears of joy streaming down his cheeks, and there, in the unseen presence of his merciful Creator, he cried out“God
IN MY DARKNESS-I THANK Him!”
There was that strong faith in his look, that force of gratitude in his voice, that no one dare discredit. With the summer radiance-with the far chimes—with the breeze and bird-music it had come--passed silently into his mind—the gift of God so long withheld. His memory was come back!
They gazed at him as men might, did a prophet stand there, but not knowing what God had done for him. It was the scene of an instant. He asked to be left alone, the children stole out one by one, the others whispered together and followed, he closed and locked the door.
Is there sorrow-is there sighing ?
Is there aught beyond the grave ? Oh! to know that we are dying
Hour by hour, yet none to save ! Dying! dying!-yet still hoping
Madly, vainly, as of old;
What is death?
Must I, mysteries revolving,
Ever thus in darkness wait Till the spirit is dissolving
May it not be then too late ? What is death? Oh! answer, answer;
If thou canst, the secret tell;
What is death ?
What is death? It is the ceasing
Of a death-like life within ; "Tis the fettered soul's releasing
From its sepulchre of sin; 'Tis the step from the uncertain
To the paths of perfect light;
This is death
What is death? The friend that closeth
Life's long book of misery. 'Tis the cradle where reposeth
New-born immortality ; 'Tis to fall asleep at even,
And to wake to instant day,
This is death-