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by [?]

Lolo went hopping home as fast as his little crutch could carry him, and went quickly upstairs to his mother.

“Oh, mamma!” he said. “See the money a gentleman gave me, and all because dear Moufflou did his pretty tricks so nicely. Now you can have your coffee every morning, and Tasso can have his new suit for Sunday.” Then he told his mother about the gentleman, and that he had promised to take Moufflou to see him the next day.

So when the morning came, Moufflou was washed as white as snow, and his pretty curls were tied up with blue ribbon, and they both trotted off. Moufflou was so proud of his curls and his ribbon that he hardly liked to put his feet on the ground at all. They were shown to the little boy’s room, where he lay on the sofa very pale and unhappy. A bright little look came into his eyes when he saw the dog, and he laughed when Moufflou did his tricks. How he clapped his hands when he saw him make a wheelbarrow, and he tossed them both handfuls of cakes and candies! Neither the boy nor the dog ever had quite enough to eat, so they nibbled the little cakes with their sharp, white teeth, and were very glad.

When Lolo got up to go, the little boy began to cry, and said, “Oh, I want the dog. Let me have the dog!”

“Oh, indeed I can’t,” said Lolo, “he is my own Moufflou, and I cannot let you have him.”

The little boy was so unhappy and cried so bitterly that Lolo was very sorry to see him, and he went quickly down the stairs with Moufflou. The gentleman gave him more money this time, and he was so excited and so glad that he went very fast all the way home, swinging himself over the stones on his little crutch. But when he opened the door, there was his mother crying as if her heart would break, and all the children were crying in a corner, and even Tasso was home from his work, looking very unhappy.

“Oh! what is the matter?” cried Lolo. But no one answered him, and Moufflon, seeing them all so sad, sat down and threw up his nose in the air and howled a long, sad howl. By and by one of the children told Lolo that at last Tasso had been chosen to be a soldier, and that he must soon go away to the war. The poor mother said, crying, that she did not know what would become of her little children through the long, cold winter.

Lolo showed her his money, but she was too unhappy even to care for that, and so by and by he went to his bed with Moufflou. The dog had always slept at Lolo’s feet, but this night he crept close up by the side of his little master, and licked his hand now and then to show that he was sorry.

The next morning Lolo and Moufflon went with Tasso to the gardens where he worked, and all the way along the bright river and among the green trees they talked together of what they should do when Tasso had gone. Tasso said that if they could only get some money he would not have to go away to the wars, but he shook his head sadly and knew that no one would lend it to them. At noon Lolo went home with Moufflon to his dinner. When they had finished (it was only bean soup and soon eaten), the mother told Lolo that his aunt wanted him to go and see her that afternoon, and take care of the children while she went out. So Lolo put on his hat, called Moufflou, and was limping toward the door, when his mother said:–

“No, don’t take the dog to-day, your aunt doesn’t like him; leave him here with me.”