THE LITTLE SOLDIER.
All night long he slept like a dead man. At eight o'clock they came to wake him, and at half-past, and a quarter of an hour later, but it was no use; and at last they decided to leave him in peace.
The clocks were striking twelve when John awoke. He sprang out of bed and, scarcely waiting to dress himself, hastened to ask if any one had been to inquire for him.
"There came a lovely princess," replied the landlady, "in a coach of gold. She left you this bouquet, and a message to say that she would pass this way to-morrow morning at eight o'clock."
The little soldier cursed his sleep, but tried to console himself by looking at his bouquet, which was of immortelles.
"It is the flower of remembrance," thought he, forgetting that it is also the flower of the dead.
When the night came he slept with one eye open and jumped up twenty times an hour. When the birds began to sing he could lie still no longer, and climbed out of his window into the branches of one of the great lime-trees that stood before the door. There he sat, dreamily gazing at his bouquet till he ended by going fast asleep.
Once asleep, nothing was able to wake him; neither the brightness of the sun, nor the songs of the birds, nor the noise of Ludovine's golden coach, nor the cries of the landlady, who sought him in every place she could think of.
As the clock struck twelve he woke, and his heart sank as he came down out of his tree and saw them laying the table for dinner.
"Did the princess come?" he asked.
"Yes, indeed, she did. She left this flowered-colored scarf fo*~you; said she would pass by to-morrow at seven o'clock, but it would be the last time."
"I must have been bewitched," thought the little soldier. Then he took the scarf, which had a strange kind of scent, and tied it round his left arm, thinking all the while that the best way to keep awake was not to go to bed at all. So he paid his bill and bought a horse with the money that remained, and when the evening came he mounted his horse and stood in front of the inn door, determined to stay there all night.
Every now and then he stooped to smell the sweet