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“But perhaps you would be very glad,” he resumed, “if suddenly one of those good fairies you read of could change the domiuo-box into a beautiful geranium in a beautiful blue-and-white flower-pot, and that you could have the pleasure of putting it on your mamma's window
“ Indeed I would !” said I, half crying.?
“My dear boy, I believe you ; but good wishes don't mend bad actions—good actions mend bad actions.”
So saying, he shut the door and went out. I cannot tell you how puzzled I was to make out what my father meant by his aphorism. But I know that I played at dominoes no more that day. The next morning my father found me seated by myself 4 under a tree in the garden; he paused and looked at me with his grave bright eyes very steadily.
“My boy,” said he, “I am going to walk to — , a town about two miles off ; will you come? And, bythe-bye, fetch your domino-box; I should like to show it to a person there.” 6 I ran in for the box," and not a little proud of walking with my father on the high road, we set out.
“ Papa,” said I by the way, 8 " there are no fairies now.'
“ What then, my child ?”,
You read of, Dont tu lis les histoires.—2 Half crying, Les larmes aux yeux.—3 Aphorism, Aphorisme (phrase sentencieuse). - 4 See § 54, 1.-5 By-the-bye, Par la même occasion.—6 To a person there, A quelqu'un de cet endroit.--) I ran in for the box, Je courus à la maison chercher la boîte.—8 By the way, Chemin faisant._9 What then, my child ? Pourquoi cette question, mon enfant ?
“Why, how then can my domino-box be changed into a geranium and a blue-and-white flower-pot ?"
“My dear,” said my father, leaning his hand on my shoulder, “everybody who is in earnest to be good ? carries two fairies about with him—one here,” and he touched my forehead, “and one here,” and he touched my heart.
“I don't understand, papa.”
My father stopped at a nursery-gardener's, and, after looking over the flowers, paused before a large double geranium. “Ah, this is finer than that which your mamma was so fond of. What is the cost, sir ? "
“Only 7s. 6d.," said the gardener.
My father buttoned up his pocket. “I can't afford it to-day,” said he gently, and we walked out.
On entering the town, we stopped again at a china warehouse. Have you a flower-pot like that I bought some months ago ? Ah, here is one marked 3s. 6d. Yes, that is the price. Well, when 4 your mamma's birthday comes again, we must buy her another. That is some months to wait. And we can wait, Master Sisty. For truth that blooms all the year round is better than a poor geranium, and a word that is never broken is better than a piece of Delft.”
My head, which had dropped before, rose again ; but the rush of joy at my heart almost stifled me.
1 Why, how then can my domino-box be changed into, C’est que comment alors ma boîte à dominos peut-elle se changer en.2 Everybody who is in earnest to be good, Celui qui veut sérieusement devenir bon,—3 See § 41.–4 See $ 40.—5 The rush of joy at my heart almost stifled me, La joie qui vint affluer à mon coeur faillit m'étouffer
“I have called to pay your little bill,” said my father, entering the shop of one of those fancy stationers ? common in country towns, and who sell all kinds of pretty toys and nick-nacks.3
“ And by the way,”4 he added, as the smiling shopman looked over his books for the entry,” “I think my little boy here 6 can show you a much handsomer specimen of French workmanship than that workbox which you enticed Mrs. Caxton into rafiling for last winter. Show
dear.” I produced my treasure, and the shopman was liberal in his commendations. “It is always well, my boy, to know what a thing is worth, in case one wishes to part with it. If my young gentleman gets tired of his play. thing, what will you give him for it?"
Why, sir,” said the shopman, “I fear we could not afford to give more than eighteen shillings for it, unless the young gentleman took some of those pretty things in exchange.”.
"Eighteen shillings !” said my father; “ you would give that. Well, my boy, whenever you do grow tired of your box, you have my leave to sell it."
My father paid his bill, and went out. I lingered behind a few moments, and joined him at the end of the street.
1 See § 37.-? Fancy stationers, Marchands d'articles de fantaisie. —3 All kinds of pretty toys and nick-nacks, Toutes sortes de jouets et de jolis riens.—4 And by the way, A propos.-5 Looked over his books for the entry, Cherchait le compte dans ses livres.—6 My little boy here, Mon petit garçon que voici.—7 That work-box which you enticed Mrs. Caxton into raffling for last winter, Cette boîte à ouvrage qui fut mise en loterie l’hiver dernier et dont vous avez engagé Madame Caxton à prendre quelques billets.—8 Was liberal in his commendations, N'épargna pas ses éloges.
Papa, Papa !” I cried, clapping my hands, "we can buy the geranium-we can buy the flower-pot." And I pulled a handful of silver from my pocket.
“ Did I not say right ? ” said my father, passing his handkerchief over his eyes.
“ You have found the two fairies!”
Ah! how proud, how overjoyed I was, when, after placing vase and flower on the window-sill, I plucked my mother by the gown, and made her follow me to the spot.
“ It is his doing and his money!” said my father ; good actions have mended the bad." “ What !” cried my mother, when she had learned
" and your poor domino-box that you were so fond of! We will go back to-morrow and buy it back, if it costs us double.” 2 “ Shall we buy it back, Pisistratus ? ” asked my
father. “Oh no—10—no! it would spoil all,” I cried, burying my
face on my father's breast. “My wife,” said my father solemnly, “ this is my first lesson to our child—the sanctity and happiness of selfsacrifice; undo not what it should teach him to his dying hour.” 3 And that is the history of the broken flower-pot.
Sir E. BULWER LYTTON.
1 How proud, how overjoyed I was, Comme j'étais fier, comme j'étais transporté de joie.—2 If it costs us double, Důt-elle nous coûter le double.-_-3 Undo not what it should teach him to his dying hour, Ne détruisez pas les effets que cette leçon doit produire jusqu'à l'heure de sa mort.
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