OLE THE TOWER-KEEPER 665
point they split—one spoke of stinginess, the other of vanity, and the blacking became the black cause of enmity between them, and at last they parted.""
But what he demanded from the dean he also demanded from the world—namely, patent blacking—and he got nothing but grease. Accordingly he at last drew back from all men, and became a hermit ; but the church tower is the only place in a great city where hermitage, office, and bread can be found together. So he betook himself up thither, and smoked his pipe on his solitary rounds. He looked upward and downward, and had his own thoughts, and told in his way of what he saw and did not see, of what he read in books and in himself. I often lent him books, good books ; and you may know a man by the company he keeps. He loved neither the English governess-novels, nor the French ones, which he called a mixture of empty wind and raisin-stalks : he wanted biographies and descriptions of the wonders of the world. I visited him at least once a year, generally directly after New Year's Day, and then he always spoke of this and that which the change of the year had put into his head.
I will tell the story of two of these visits, and will give his own words if I can do so.
Among the books which I had lately lent Ole, was one about cobble-stones, which had greatly rejoiced and occupied him.
' Yes, they 're rare old fellows, those cobble-stones !' he said ; ' and to think that we should pass them without noticing them ! I have often done that myself in the fields and on the beach, where they lie in great numbers. And over the street pavement, those fragments of the oldest remains of antiquity, one walks without ever thinking about them. I have done the very thing myself. But now I look respectfully at every paving-stone. Many thanks for the book ! It has filled me with thought, has pushed old thoughts and habits aside, and has made me long to read more on the subject. The romance of the earth is, after all, the most wonderful of all romances. It 's