Part 2 out of 4
"I have no doubt the little rascals deserve all they get," said
the grocer, who would probably have found in the Italian padrone
a congenial spirit.
Mr. Pomeroy deigned no reply to this remark.
"Well, boys," he said, consulting his watch, "I must leave you.
Here are twenty-five cents for each of you. I have one piece of
advice for you. If your padrone beats you badly, run away from
him. I would if I were in your place."
"Addio, signore," said the two boys.
"I suppose that means 'good-by.' Well, good-by, and better luck."
PIETRO THE SPY
Though from motives of policy the grocer had permitted the boys
to warm themselves by his fire, he felt only the more incensed
against them on this account, and when Mr. Pomeroy had gone
determined to get rid of them.
"Haven't you got warm yet?" he asked. "I can't have you in my
way all day."
"We will go," said Phil. "Come, Giacomo."
He did not thank the grocer, knowing how grudgingly permission
had been given.
So they went out again into the chill air, but they had got
thoroughly warmed, and were better able to bear it.
"Where shall we go, Filippo?" asked the younger boy.
"We will go back to New York. It is not so cold there."
Giacomo unhesitatingly assented to whatever Phil proposed. He
was not self-reliant, like our hero, but always liked to have
someone to lean upon.
They made their way back to Fulton Ferry in a leisurely manner,
stopping here and there to play; but it was a bad day for
business. The cold was such that no one stopped to give them
anything, except that one young man dropped ten cents in Phil's
hand as he hurried by, on his way home.
At length they reached the ferry. The passengers were not so
many in number as usual. The cabin was so warm and comfortable
that they remained on board for two or three trips, playing each
time. In this way they obtained about thirty cents more. They
would have remained longer, but that one of the deck hands asked,
"How many times are you going across for two cents?" and this
made them think it prudent to go.
When six o'clock came Giacomo asked Phil, who acted as treasurer,
how much money they had
"Two dollars," answered Phil.
"That is only one dollar for each."
"Then we shall be beaten," said the little boy, with a sigh.
"I am afraid so."
"And get no supper."
"Yes," said Phil; "unless," he added, "we get some supper now."
"With this money?" asked Giacomo, startled at the boldness of
"Yes; we shall be beaten at any rate. It will be no worse for us
if we get some supper."
"Will you buy some bread?"
"No," said Phil, daringly. "I am going to buy some meat."
"What will the padrone say?"
"I shall not tell the padrone."
"Do you think he will find out?"
"No. Besides, we ought to have some supper after walking about
Evidently Phil had begun to think, and the essential injustice of
laboring without proper compensation had impressed his youthful
mind. Giacomo was more timid. He had not advanced as far as
Phil, nor was he as daring. But I have already said that he was
guided in a great measure by Phil, and so it proved in this case.
Phil, having made up his mind, set about carrying his plan into
execution. Only a block distant was a cheap restaurant, where
plates of meat were supplied to a poor class of customers at ten
cents per plate.
"Let us go in here," he said.
Giacomo followed, but not without trepidation. He knew that what
they were about to do would be a heinous crime in the eyes of the
padrone. Even Phil had never ventured upon such direct rebellion
before. But Mr. Pomeroy's suggestion that he should run away was
beginning to bear fruit in his mind. He had not come to that
yet, but he might. Why should he not earn money for his own
benefit, as well as for the padrone? True, he was bound to the
latter by a legal contract entered into by his father, but Phil,
without knowing much about law, had an indistinct idea that the
contract was a one-sided one, and was wholly for the advantage of
the other party. The tyrant is always in danger of losing his
hold upon the victim when the latter begins to think.
They entered the restaurant, and sat down at a table.
The tables were greasy. The floor was strewed with sawdust. The
waiters were dirty, and the entire establishment was neither neat
nor inviting. But it was democratic. No customers were sent
away because they were unfashionably attired. The only requisite
was money enough to defray their bills. Nevertheless Giacomo
felt a little in awe even of the dirty waiters. His frugal meals
were usually bought at the baker's shop, and eaten standing in
the street. Sitting down at a table, even though it was greasy,
seemed a degree of luxury to which he was not entitled. But Phil
more easily adapted himself to circumstances. He knew that he
had as much right there as any other customer.
Presently a waiter presented himself.
"Have you ordered?" he asked.
"Give me some roast beef," said Phil. "What will you have,
"The same as you, Filippo," said Giacomo, in Italian.
"What's that?" asked the waiter, thinking he had named some
"He will have some roast beef, too. Will you have some coffee,
"If you have it," answered the smaller boy.
So Phil gave the double order, and very soon the coffee and meat
were placed before them. I suspect that few of my readers would
have regarded these articles with any relish. One need not be
fastidious to find fault with the dark-hued beverage, which was
only a poor imitation of coffee, and the dark fragments of meat,
which might have been horseflesh so far as appearance went. But
to the two Italian boys it was indeed a feast. The coffee, which
was hot, warmed their stomachs, and seemed to them like nectar,
while the meat was as palatable as the epicure finds his choicest
dishes. While eating, even Giacomo forgot that he was engaged in
something unlawful, and his face was lighted up with rare
"It is good," said Phil, briefly, as he laid down his knife and
fork, after disposing of the last morsel upon his plate.
"I wish I could have such a supper every day," said Giacomo.
"I will when I am a man," said Phil.
"I don't think I shall ever be a man," said Giacomo, shaking his
"Why not?" asked Phil, regarding him with surprise.
"I do not think I shall live."
"What makes you think so, Giacomo?" said Phil, startled.
"I am not strong, Filippo," said the little boy, "I think I get
weaker every day. I long so much to go back to Italy. If I
could see my mother once more, I would be willing to die then."
"You must not think of such things, Giacomo," said Phil, who,
like most healthy boys, did not like to think of death. "You
will get strong when summer comes. The weather is bad now, of
"I don't think I shall, Filippo. Do you remember Matteo?"
"Yes, I remember him."
Matteo was a comrade who had died six months before. He was a
young boy, about the size and age of Giacomo.
"I dreamed of him last night, Filippo. He held out his hand to
"I think I am going to die, like him."
"Don't be foolish, Giacomo," said Phil. But, though he said
this, even he was startled by what Giacomo had told him. He was
ignorant, and the ignorant are prone to superstition; so he felt
uncomfortable, but did not like to acknowledge it.
"You must not think of this, Giacomo," he said. "You will be an
old man some day."
"That's for you, Filippo. It isn't for me," said the little boy.
"Come, let us go," said Phil, desirous of dropping the subject.
He went up to the desk, and paid for both, the sum of thirty
"Now, come," he said.
Giacomo followed him out, and they turned down the street,
feeling refreshed by the supper they had eaten. But
unfortunately they had been observed. As they left the
restaurant, they attracted the attention of Pietro, whom chance
had brought thither at an unfortunate time. His sinister face
lighted up with joy as he realized the discovery he had made.
But he wished to make sure that it was as he supposed. They
might have gone in only to play and sing.
He crossed the street, unobserved by Phil and Giacomo, and
entered the restaurant.
"Were my two brothers here?" he asked, assuming relationship.
"Two boys with fiddles?"
"Yes; they just went out."
"Did they get supper?"
"Yes; they had some roast beef and coffee."
"Thank you," said Pietro, and he left the restaurant with his
"I shall tell the padrone," he said to himself.
"They will feel the stick to-night."
Pietro had one of those mean and malignant natures that are best
pleased when they are instrumental in bringing others into
trouble. He looked forward to becoming a padrone himself some
time, and seemed admirably fitted by nature to exercise the
inhuman office. He lost no time, on his return, in making known
to his uncle what he had learned.
For the boys to appropriate to their own use money which had been
received for their services was, in the eyes of the padrone, a
crime of the darkest shade. In fact, if the example were
generally followed, it would have made a large diminution of his
income, though the boys might have been benefited. He listened
to Pietro with an ominous scowl, and decided to inflict condign
punishment upon the young offenders.
Meanwhile Phil and Giacomo resumed their wanderings. They no
longer hoped to make up the large difference between what they
had and the sum they were expected by the padrone to bring. As
the evening advanced the cold increased, and penetrated through
their thin clothing, chilling them through and through. Giacomo
felt it the most. By and by he began to sob with the cold and
"What is the matter, Giacomo?" asked Phil, anxiously.
"I feel so cold, Filippo--so cold and tired. I wish I could
The boys were in Printing House Square, near the spot where now
stands the Franklin statue.
"If you want to rest, Giacomo," said Phil, pityingly, "we will go
into French's Hotel a little while."
"I should like to."
They entered the hotel and sat down near the heater. The
grateful warmth diffused itself through their frames, and Giacomo
sank back in his seat with a sigh of relief.
"Do you feel better, Giacomo?" asked his comrade.
"Yes, Filippo; I wish I could stay here till it is time to go
"We will, then. We shall get no more money outside."
"Will beat us at any rate. It will be no worse for us. Besides
they may possibly ask us to play here."
"I can play no more to-night, Filippo, I am so tired."
Phil knew very little of sickness, or he might have seen that
Giacomo was going to be ill. Exposure, fatigue, and privation
had been too much for his strength. He had never been robust,
and he had been subjected to trials that would have proved hard
for one much stronger to bear.
When he had once determined to remain in the comfortable hotel,
Phil leaned back in his chair also, and decided to enjoy all the
comfort attainable. What though there was a beating in prospect?
He had before him two or three hours of rest and relief from the
outside cold. He was something of a philosopher, and chose not
to let future evil interfere with present good.
Near the two boys sat two young men--merchants from the interior
of New York State, who were making a business visit to the
"Well, Gardner," said the first, "where shall we go to-night?"
"Why need we go anywhere?"
"I thought you might like to go to some place of amusement."
"So I would if the weather were less inclement. The most
comfortable place is by the fire."
"You are right as to that, but the evening will be long and
"Oh, we can worry it through. Here, for instance, are two young
musicians," indicating the little fiddlers. "Suppose we get a
tune out of them?"
"Agreed. Here, boy, can you play on that fiddle?"
"Yes," said Phil.
"Well, give us a tune, then. Is that your brother?"
"No, he is my comrade."
"He can play, too."
"Will you play, Giacomo?"
The younger boy roused himself. The two stood up, and played two
or three tunes successfully. A group of loungers gathered around
them and listened approvingly. When they had finished Phil took
off his hat and went the rounds. Some gave, the two first
mentioned contributing most liberally. The whole sum collected
was about fifty cents.
Phil and Giacomo now resumed their seats. They felt now that
they were entitled to rest for the remainder of the evening,
since they had gained quite as much as they would have been
likely to earn in wandering about the streets. The group that
had gathered about them dispersed, and they ceased to be objects
of attention. Fatigue and the warmth of the room gradually
affected Giacomo until he leaned back and fell asleep.
"I won't take him till it's time to go back," thought Phil.
So Giacomo slept on, despite the noises in the street outside and
the confusion incident to every large hotel. As he sat asleep,
he attracted the attention of a stout gentleman who was passing,
leading by the hand a boy of ten.
"Is that your brother?" he asked in a low tone of Phil.
"No, signore; it is my comrade."
"So you go about together?"
"Yes, sir," answered Phil, bethinking himself to use English
instead of Italian.
"He seems tired."
"Yes; he is not so strong as I am."
"Do you play about the streets all day?"
"How would you like that, Henry?" asked his father to the boy at
"I should like to play about the streets all day," said Henry,
roguishly, misinterpreting the word "play."
"I think you would get tired of it. What is your name, my boy?"
"And what is the name of your friend?"
"Did you never go to school?"
Phil shook his head.
"Would you like to go?"
"You would like it better than wandering about the streets all
"Why do you not ask your father to send you to school?"
"My father is in Italy."
"And his father, also?"
"Si, signore," answered Phil, relapsing into Italian.
"What do you think of that, Henry?" asked the gentleman. "How
should you like to leave me, and go to some Italian city to roam
about all day, playing on the violin?"
"I think I would rather go to school."
"I think you would."
"Are you often out so late, Filippo? I think that is the name
you gave me."
Phil shrugged his shoulders
"Always," he answered.
"At what time do you go home?"
"It is too late for a boy of your age to sit up. Why do you not
go home sooner?"
"The padrone would beat me."
"Who is the padrone?"
"The man who brought me from Italy to America."
"Poor boys!" said the gentleman, compassionately. "Yours is a
hard life. I hope some time you will be in a better position."
Phil fixed his dark eyes upon the stranger, grateful for his
words of sympathy.
"Thank you," he said.
"Good-night," said the stranger, kindly.
An hour passed. The City Hall clock near by struck eleven. The
time had come for returning to their mercenary guardian. Phil
shook the sleeping form of Giacomo. The little boy stirred in
his sleep, and murmured, "Madre." He had been dreaming of his
mother and his far-off Italian home. He woke to the harsh
realities of life, four thousand miles away from that mother and
"Have I slept, Filippo?" he asked, rubbing his eyes, and looking
about him in momentary bewilderment.
"Yes, Giacomo. You have slept for two hours and more. It is
"Then we must go back."
"Yes; take your violin, and we will go."
They passed out into the cold street, which seemed yet colder by
contrast with the warm hotel they just left, and, crossing to the
sidewalk that skirts the park, walked up Centre street.
Giacomo was seized with a fit of trembling. His teeth chattered
with the cold. A fever was approaching, although neither he nor
his companion knew it.
"Are you cold, Giacomo?" asked Phil, noticing how he trembled.
"I am very cold. I feel sick, Filippo."
"You will feel better to-morrow," said Phil; but the thought of
the beating which his little comrade was sure to receive saddened
him more than the prospect of being treated in the same way
They kept on their way, past the Tombs with its gloomy entrance,
through the ill-lighted street, scarcely noticed by the policeman
whom they passed--for he was accustomed to see boys of their
class out late at night--until at last they reached the dwelling
of the padrone, who was waiting their arrival with the eagerness
of a brutal nature, impatient to inflict pain.
THE BOYS RECEPTION
Phil and Giacomo entered the lodging-house, wholly unconscious of
the threatening storm, The padrone scowled at them as they
entered but that was nothing unusual. Had he greeted them
kindly, they would have had reason to be surprised.
"Well," he said, harshly, "how much do you bring?"
The boys produced two dollars and a half which he pocketed.
"Is this all?" he asked.
"It was cold," said Phil, "and we could not get more."
The padrone listened with an ominous frown.
"Are you hungry?" he asked. "Do you want your supper?"
Phil was puzzled by his manner, for he expected to be deprived of
his supper on account of bringing less money than usual. Why
should the padrone ask him if he wanted his supper? Though he
was not hungry, he thought it best to answer in the affirmative.
"What would you like?" asked the padrone.
Again Phil was puzzled, for the suppers supplied by the padrone
never varied, always consisting of bread and cheese.
"Perhaps," continued the padrone, meeting no answer, "you would
like to have coffee and roast beef."
All was clear now. Phil understood that he had been seen going
in or out of the restaurant, though he could not tell by whom.
He knew well enough what to expect, but a chivalrous feeling of
friendship led him to try to shield his young companion, even at
the risk of a more severe punishment to be inflicted upon
"It was my fault," he said, manfully. "Giacomo would not have
gone in but for me."
"Wicked, ungrateful boy!" exclaimed the padrone, wrathfully.
"It was my money that you spent. You are a thief!"
Phil felt that this was a hard word, which he did not deserve.
The money was earned by himself, though claimed by the padrone.
But he did not venture to say this. It would have been
revolutionary. He thought it prudent to be silent.
"Why do you say nothing?" exclaimed the padrone, stamping his
foot. "Why did you spend my money?"
"I was hungry."
"So you must live like a nobleman! Our supper is not good enough
for you. How much did you spend?"
"No, signore, for both."
"Then you shall have each fifteen blows, one for each penny. I
will teach you to be a thief. Pietro, the stick! Now, strip!"
"Padrone," said Phil, generously, "let me have all the blows. It
was my fault; Giacomo only went because I asked him."
If the padrone had had a heart, this generous request would have
touched it; but he was not troubled in that way.
"He must be whipped, too," he said. "He should not have gone
"He is sick, padrone," persisted Phil. "Excuse him till he is
"Not a word more," roared the padrone, irritated at his
persistence. "If he is sick, it is because he has eaten too
much," he added, with a sneer. "Pietro, my stick!"
The two boys began to strip mechanically, knowing that there was
no appeal. Phil stood bare to the waist. The padrone seized the
stick and began to belabor him. Phil's brown face showed by its
contortions the pain he suffered, but he was too proud to cry
out. When the punishment was finished his back was streaked with
red, and looked maimed and bruised.
"Put on your shirt!" commanded the tyrant.
Phil drew it on over his bleeding back and resumed his place
among his comrades.
"Now!" said the padrone, beckoning to Giacomo.
The little boy approached shivering, not so much with cold as
with the fever that had already begun to prey upon him.
Phil turned pale and sick as he looked at the padrone preparing
to inflict punishment. He would gladly have left the room, but
he knew that it would not be permitted.
The first blow descended heavily upon the shrinking form of the
little victim. It was followed by a shriek of pain and terror.
"What are you howling at?" muttered the padrone, between his
teeth. "I will whip you the harder."
Giacomo would have been less able to bear the cruel punishment
than Phil if he had been well, but being sick, it was all the
more terrible to him. The second blow likewise was followed by a
shriek of anguish. Phil looked on with pale face, set teeth, and
blazing eyes, as he saw the barbarous punishment of his comrade.
He felt that he hated the padrone with a fierce hatred. Had his
strength been equal to the attempt, he would have flung himself
upon the padrone. As it was, he looked at his comrades, half
wishing that they would combine with him against their joint
oppressor. But there was no hope of that. Some congratulated
themselves that they were not in Giacomo's place; others looked
upon his punishment as a matter of course. There was no dream of
interference, save in the mind of Phil.
The punishment continued amid the groans and prayers for mercy of
the little sufferer. But at the eighth stroke his pain and
terror reached a climax, and nature succumbed. He sank on the
floor, fainting. The padrone thought at first it was a pretense,
and was about to repeat the strokes, when a look at the pallid,
colorless face of the little sufferer alarmed him. It did not
excite his compassion, but kindled the fear that the boy might be
dying, in which case the police might interfere and give him
trouble; therefore he desisted, but unwillingly.
"He is sick," said Phil, starting forward.
"He is no more sick than I am," scowled the padrone. "Pietro,
Pietro brought a glass of water, which the padrone threw in the
face of the fallen boy. The shock brought him partially to. He
opened his eyes, and looked around vacantly.
"What is the matter with you?" demanded the padrone, harshly.
"Where am I?" asked Giacomo, bewildered. But, as he asked this
question, his eyes met the dark look of his tyrant, and he
clasped his hands in terror.
"Do not beat me!" he pleaded. "I feel sick."
"He is only shamming," said Pietro, who was worthy to be the
servant and nephew of such a master. But the padrone thought it
would not be prudent to continue the punishment.
"Help him put on his clothes, Pietro," he said. "I will let you
off this time, little rascal, but take heed that you never again
steal a single cent of my money."
Giacomo was allowed to seek his uncomfortable bed. His back was
so sore with the beating he had received that he was compelled to
lie on his side. During the night the feverish symptoms
increased, and before morning he was very sick. The padrone was
forced to take some measures for his recovery, not from motives
of humanity, but because Giacomo's death would cut off a source
of daily revenue, and this, in the eyes of the mercenary padrone,
was an important consideration.
Phil went to bed in silence. Though he was suffering from the
brutal blows he had received, the thought of the punishment and
suffering of Giacomo affected him more deeply than his own. As I
have said, the two boys came from the same town in southern
Italy. They had known each other almost from infancy, and
something of a fraternal feeling had grown up between them. In
Phil's case, since he was the stronger, it was accompanied by the
feeling that he should be a protector to the younger boy, who, on
his side, looked up to Phil as stronger and wiser than himself.
Though only a boy of twelve, what had happened led Phil to think
seriously of his position and prospects. He did not know for how
long his services had been sold to the padrone by his father, but
he felt sure that the letter of the contract would be little
regarded as long as his services were found profitable.
What hope, then, had he of better treatment in the future? There
seemed no prospect except of continued oppression and long days
of hardship, unless--and here the suggestion of Mr. Pomeroy
occurred to him--unless he ran away. He had known of boys doing
this before. Some had been brought back, and, of course, were
punished severely for their temerity, but others had escaped, and
had never returned. What had become of them Phil did not know,
but he rightly concluded that they could not be any worse off
than in the service of the padrone. Thinking of all this, Phil
began to think it probable that he, too, would some day break his
bonds and run away. He did not fix upon any time. He had not
got as far as this. But circumstances, as we shall find in our
next chapter, hastened his determination, and this, though he
knew it not, was the last night he would sleep in the house of
Phil woke up the next morning feeling lame and sore. His back
bore traces of the flogging he had received the night before. As
his eyes opened, they rested upon twenty boys lying about him,
and also upon the dark, unsightly walls of the shabby room, and
the prospect before him served to depress even his hopeful
temperament. But he was not permitted to meditate long. Pietro
opened the door, and called out in harsh tones: "Get up, all of
you, or the padrone will be here with his stick!"
The invitation was heard and obeyed. The boys got up, yawning
and rubbing their eyes, having a wholesome dread of their tyrant
and his stick, which no tenderness of heart ever made him
reluctant to use. Their toilet did not require long to make.
The padrone was quite indifferent whether they were clean or not,
and offered them no facilities for washing.
When they were dressed they were supplied with a frugal
breakfast--a piece of bread and cheese each; their instruments
were given them, and they were started off for a long day of
Phil looked around for Giacomo, who had slept in a different
room, but he was not to be seen.
"Is Giacomo sick this morning, Pietro?" he asked of the
"He pretends to be sick, little drone!" said Pietro,
unfeelingly. "If I were the padrone, I would let him taste the
Phil felt that he would like to see the brutal speaker suffering
the punishment he wanted inflicted on him; but he knew Pietro's
power and malice too well to give utterance to the wish. A
longing came to him to see Giacomo before he went out. He might
have had a secret presentiment of what was coming.
"Signor Pietro," he said, "may I see Giacomo before I go out?"
This request would have been refused without doubt, but that
Pietro felt flattered at being addressed as signor, to which his
years did not yet entitle him. Phil knew this, and therefore
used the title.
"What do you want to see him for?" he asked, suspiciously.
"I want to ask him how he feels."
"Yes, you can go in. Tell him he must get up to-morrow. The
padrone will not let him spend his time in idleness."
So Phil, having already his fiddle under his arm, entered the
room where Giacomo lay. The other occupants of the room had
risen, and the little boy was lying on a hard pallet in the
corner. His eyes lighted up with joy as he saw Phil enter.
"I am glad it is you, Filippo," he said; "I thought it was the
padrone, come to make me get up."
"How do you feel this morning, Giacomo?"
"I do not feel well, Filippo. My back is sore, and I am so
His eyes were very bright with the fever that had now control,
and his cheeks were hot and flushed. Phil put his hand upon
"Your cheeks are very hot, Giacomo," he said. "You are going to
"I know it, Filippo," said the little boy. "I may be very sick."
"I hope not, Giacomo."
"Lean over, Filippo," said Giacomo. "I want to tell you
Phil leaned over until his ear was close to the mouth of his
"I think I am going to die, Filippo," whispered Giacomo.
Phil started in dismay.
"No, no, Giacomo," he said; "that is nonsense. You will live a
great many years."
"I think you will, Filippo. You are strong. But I have always
been weak, and lately I am tired all the time. I don't care to
live--very much. It is hard to live;" and the little boy sighed
as he spoke.
"You are too young to die, Giacomo. It is only because you are
sick that you think of it. You will soon be better."
"I do not think so, Filippo. I should like to live for one
"What is that?" asked Phil, gazing with strange wonder at the
patient, sad face of the little sufferer, who seemed so ready to
part with the life which, in spite of his privations and
hardships, seemed so bright to him.
"I should like to go back to my home in Italy, and see my mother
again before I die. She loved me."
The almost unconscious emphasis which he laid on the word "she"
showed that in his own mind he was comparing her with his father,
who had sold him into such cruel slavery.
"If you live, Giacomo, you will go back and see her some day."
"I shall never see her again, Filippo," said the little boy,
sadly. "If you ever go back to Italy-- when you are older--will
you go and see her, and tell her that--that I thought of her when
I was sick, and wanted to see her?"
"Yes, Giacomo," said Phil, affected by his little companion's
"Filippo!" called Pietro, in harsh tones.
"I must go," said Phil, starting to his feet.
"Kiss me before you go," said Giacomo.
Phil bent over and kissed the feverish lips of the little boy,
and then hurried out of the room. He never saw Giacomo again;
and this, though he knew it not, was his last farewell to his
So Phil commenced his wanderings. He was free in one way--he
could go where he pleased. The padrone did not care where he
picked up his money, as long as he brought home a satisfactory
amount. Phil turned to go up town, though he had no definite
destination in view. He missed Giacomo, who lately had wandered
about in his company, and felt lonely without him.
"Poor Giacomo!" he thought. "I hope he will be well soon."
"Avast there, boy!" someone called. "Just come to anchor, and
give us a tune."
Phil looked up and saw two sailors bearing down upon him (to use
a nautical phrase) with arms locked, and evidently with more
liquor aboard than they could carry steadily.
"Give us a tune, boy, and we'll pay you," said the second.
Phil had met such customers before, and knew what would please
them. He began playing some lively dancing tunes, with so much
effect that the sailors essayed to dance on the sidewalk, much to
the amusement of a group of boys who collected around them.
"Go it, bluejacket! Go it, boots!" exclaimed the boys,
designating them by certain prominent articles of dress.
The applause appeared to stimulate them to further efforts, and
they danced and jumped high in air, to the hilarious delight of
their juvenile spectators. After a time such a crowd collected
that the attention of a passing policeman was attracted.
"What's all this disturbance?" he demanded, in tones of
"We're stretching our legs a little, shipmate," said the first
"Then you'd better stretch them somewhere else than in the
"I thought this was a free country," hiccoughed the second.
"You'll find it isn't if I get hold of you," said the officer.
"Want to fight?" demanded the second sailor, belligerently.
"Boy, stop playing," said the policeman. "I don't want to arrest
these men unless I am obliged to do it."
Phil stopped playing, and this put a stop to the dance. Finding
there was no more to be seen, the crowd also dispersed. With
arms again interlocked, the sailors were about to resume their
walk, forgetting to "pay the piper." But Phil was not at all
bashful about presenting his claims. He took off his cap, and
going up to the jolly pair said, "I want some pennies."
Sailors are free with their money. Parsimony is not one of their
vices. Both thrust their hands into their pockets, and each drew
out a handful of scrip, which they put into Phil's hands, without
looking to see how much it might be.
"That's all right, boy, isn't it?" inquired the first.
"All right," answered Phil, wondering at their munificence. He
only anticipated a few pennies, and here looked to be as much as
he was generally able to secure in a day. As soon as he got a
good chance he counted it over, and found four half dollars,
three quarters, and four tens--in all, three dollars and fifteen
cents. At this rate, probably, the sailors' money would not last
long. However this was none of Phil's business. It was only
nine o'clock in the forenoon, and he had already secured enough
to purchase immunity from blows at night. Still there was one
thing unsatisfactory about it. All this money was to go into the
hands of the padrone. Phil himself would reap none of the
benefit, unless he bought his dinner, as he had purchased supper
the evening before. But for this he had been severely punished,
though he could not feel that he had done very wrong in spending
the money he himself earned. However, it would be at least three
hours before the question of dinner would come up.
He put the money into the pocket of his ragged vest, and walked
It was not so cold as the day before. The thermometer had risen
twenty-five degrees during the night--a great change, but not
unusual in our variable climate. Phil rather enjoyed this walk,
notwithstanding his back was a little lame.
He walked up the Bowery to the point where Third and Fourth
avenues converge into it. He kept on the left-hand side, and
walked up Fourth Avenue, passing the Cooper Institute and the
Bible House, and, a little further on, Stewart's magnificent
marble store. On the block just above stood a book and
periodical store, kept, as the sign indicated, by Richard
Burnton. Phil paused a moment to look in at the windows, which
were filled with a variety of attractive articles. Suddenly he
was conscious of his violin being forcibly snatched from under
his arm. He turned quickly, and thought he recognized Tim
Rafferty, to whom the reader was introduced in the third chapter
of this story.
PHIL FINDS A CAPITALIST
To account for Phil's unexpected loss, I must explain that Tim
Rafferty, whose ordinary place of business was in or near the
City Hall Park, had been sent uptown on an errand. He was making
his way back leisurely, when, just as he was passing Burnton's
bookstore, he saw Phil looking in at the window. He immediately
recognized him as the little Italian fiddler who had refused to
lend him his fiddle, as described in a previous chapter. In his
attempt he was frustrated by Paul Hoffman. His defeat incensed
him, and he determined, if he ever met Phil again, to "get even
with him," as he expressed it. It struck him that this was a
good opportunity to borrow his fiddle without leave.
When Phil discovered his loss, he determined to run after the
"Give me back my fiddle!" he cried.
But this Tim was in no hurry to do. As he had longer legs than
Phil, the chances were that he would escape. But some distance
ahead he saw one of the blue-coated guardians of the public
peace, or, in newsboy parlance, a cop, and saw that Phil could
easily prove theft against him, as it would be impossible to pass
himself off as a fiddler. He must get rid of the violin in some
way, and the sooner the better. He threw it into the middle of
the street, just as a heavy cart was coming along. The wheels of
the ponderous vehicle passed over the frail instrument, crushing
it utterly. Phil ran forward to rescue his instrument, but too
late. It was spoiled beyond recovery. Phil picked up the pieces
mechanically, and took them back with him, but he soon realized
that he might as well cast them away again. Meanwhile Tim,
satisfied with the mischief he had done, and feeling revenged for
his former mortification, walked up a side street, and escaped
Phil had come to one of those crises in human experience when it
is necessary to pause and decide what to do next. The fiddle was
not a valuable one--in fact, it was a shabby little
instrument--but it was Phil's stock in trade. Moreover, it
belonged to the padrone, and however innocent Phil might be as
regarded its destruction, his tyrannical master was sure to call
him to heavy account for it. He was certain to be severely
punished, more so than the evening before, and this was not a
pleasant prospect to look forward to. The padrone was sure not
to forgive an offense like this.
Thinking over these things, a bold suggestion came into Phil's
mind. Why need he go back at all? Why should he not take this
occasion for breaking his fetters, and starting out into life on
his own account? There was nothing alarming in that prospect.
He was not afraid but that he could earn his own living, and fare
better than he did at present, when out of his earnings and those
of his comrades the padrone was growing rich. Other boys had run
away, and though some had been brought back, others had managed
to keep out of the cruel clutches of their despotic master.
It did not take Phil long to come to a decision. He felt that he
should never have a better chance. He had three dollars in his
pocket thanks to the generosity of the sailors--and this would
last him some time. It would enable him to get out of the city,
which would be absolutely necessary, since, if he remained, the
padrone would send Pietro for him and get him back.
There was only one regret he had at leaving the padrone. It
would part him from his little comrade, Giacomo. Giacomo, at
least, would miss him. He wished the little boy could have gone
with him, but this, under present circumstances, was impossible.
By staying he would only incur a severe punishment, without being
able to help his comrade.
It was still but nine o'clock. He had plenty of time before him,
as he would not be missed by the padrone until he failed to make
his appearance at night. Having no further occasion to go
uptown, he decided to turn and walk down into the business
portion of the city. He accordingly made his way leisurely to
the City Hall Park, when he suddenly bethought himself of Paul
Hoffman, who had served as his friend on a former occasion.
Besides Giacomo, Paul was the only friend on whom he could rely
in the city. Paul was older and had more experience than he, and
could, no doubt, give him good advice as to his future plans.
He crossed the Park and Broadway, and kept along on the west side
of the street until he reached the necktie stand kept by Paul.
The young street merchant did not at first see him, being
occupied with a customer, to whom he finally succeeded in selling
two neckties; then looking up, he recognized the young fiddler.
"How are you, Phil?" he said, in a friendly manner. "Where have
you kept yourself? I have not seen you for a long time."
"I have been fiddling," said Phil.
"But I don't see your violin now. What has become of it?"
"It is broken--destroyed," said Phil.
"How did that happen?"
Phil described the manner in which his violin had been stolen.
"Do you know who stole it?"
"It was that boy who tried to take it once in the Park."
"When I stopped him?"
"I know him. It is Tim Rafferty. He is a mean boy; I will pay
him up for it."
"I do not care for it now," said Phil.
"But what will your padrone say when you come home without it?"
"He would beat me, but I will not go home."
"What will you do?"
"I will run away."
"Good for you, Phil! I like your spunk," said Paul, heartily.
"I wouldn't go back to the old villain if I were you. Where are
"Away from New York. If I stay here the padrone would catch me."
"How much did you earn with your fiddle when you had it?"
"Two dollars, if it was a good day."
"That is excellent. I'll tell you what, Phil, if you could stay
in the city, I would invite you to come and live with us. You
could pay your share of the expense, say three or four dollars a
week, and keep the rest of your money to buy clothes, and to
"I should like it," said Phil; "but if I stay in the city the
padrone would get hold of me."
"Has he any legal right to your services?" asked Paul.
Phil looked puzzled. He did not understand the question.
"I mean did your father sign any paper giving you to him?"
"Yes," said Phil, comprehending now.
"Then I suppose he could take you back. You think you must go
away from the city, then, Phil?"
"Where do you think of going?"
"I do not know."
"You might go to Jersey--to Newark, which is quite a large city,
only ten miles from here."
"I should like to go there."
"I don't think the padrone would send there to find you. But how
are you going to make your living--you have lost your fiddle?"
"I can sing."
"But you would make more money with your fiddle."
"Don't talk to me in Italian, Phil; I no understand it."
"You can speak English much better than most Italian boys."
"Some cannot speak at all. Some speak french, because we all
stayed in Paris sometime before we came to America."
"Oui, monsieur, un peu."
"Well, I can't. Those three words are all the French I know.
But, I say, Phil, you ought to have a fiddle."
"I should like to have one. I should make more money."
"How much would one cost?"
"I don't know."
"I'll tell you what I will do, Phil," said Paul, after a moment's
thought. "I know a pawnbroker's shop on Chatham Street where
there is a fiddle for sale. I don't think it will cost very
much; not more than five dollars. You must buy it."
"I have not five dollars," said Phil.
"Then I will lend you the money. You shall buy it, and when you
have earned money enough you shall come back to New York some day
and pay me."
"Thank you," said Phil, gratefully. "I will surely pay you."
"Of course you will, Phil," said Paul, confidently. "I can see
by your face that you are honest. I don't believe you would
cheat your friend."
"I would not cheat you, Signor Paul."
"I see, Phil, you are bound to make an Italian of me. You may
just call me Paul, and don't mind about the signor. Now I'll
tell you what I propose. I cannot leave my business for an hour
and a half. You can go where you please, but come back at that
time, and I will take you home to dinner with me. On the way
back I will stop with you at the Chatham Street store and ask the
price of the violin; then, if it doesn't cost too much, I will
"All right," said Phil.
"You must come back at twelve o'clock, Phil."
"I will come."
Phil strolled down to the Battery, feeling a little strange
without his violin. He was elated with the thought of his coming
freedom, and for the first time since he landed in America the
future looked bright to him.
THE TAMBOURINE GIRL
Arriving at Trinity Church, Phil turned into Wall Street, looking
about him in a desultory way, for he was at present out of
business. Men and boys were hurrying by in different directions,
to and from banks and insurance offices, while here and there a
lawyer or lawyer's clerk might be seen looking no less busy and
preoccupied. If Phil had had three thousand dollars instead of
three, he, too, might have been interested in the price of gold
and stocks; but his financial education had been neglected, and
he could not have guessed within twenty the day's quotations for
As he walked along his attention was suddenly drawn to a pair of
Italians, a man and a girl of twelve, the former turning a
hand-organ, the latter playing a tambourine. There was nothing
unusual in the group; but Phil's heart beat quick for in the girl
he thought he recognized a playmate from the same village in
which he was born and bred.
"Lucia!" he called, eagerly approaching the pair.
The girl turned quickly, and, seeing the young fiddler, let fall
her tambourine in surprise.
"Filippo!" she exclaimed, her eyes lighting up with the joy with
which we greet a friend's face in a strange land.
"Why did you drop your tambourine, scelerata?" demanded the man,
Lucia, a pretty, brown-faced girl, did not lose her joyful look
even at this rebuke. She stooped and picked up the tambourine,
and began to play mechanically, but continued to speak to
"How long are you in the city?" asked Phil, speaking, of course,
in his native language.
"Only two weeks," answered Lucia. "I am so glad to see you,
"When did you come from Italy?"
"I cannot tell. I think it is somewhere about two months."
"And did you see my mother before you came away?" asked Phil,
"Yes, Filippo, I saw her. She told me if I saw you to say that
she longed for her dear boy to return; that she thought of him
day and night."
"Did she say that, Lucia?"
"And is my mother well?" asked Phil, anxiously, for he had a
strong love for his mother.
"She is well, Filippo--she is not sick, but she is thin, and she
"I will go and see her some day," said Phil. "I wish I could see
"When will you go?"
"I don't know; when I am older."
"But where is your fiddle, Filippo?" asked Lucia. "Do you not
Filippo glanced at the organ-grinder, whom he did not dare to
take into his confidence. So he answered, evasively:
"Another boy took it. I shall get another this afternoon."
"Are you with the padrone?"
"Come, Lucia," said the man, roughly, ceasing to play, "we must
Lucia followed her companion obediently, reluctant to leave Phil,
with whom she desired to converse longer; but the latter saw that
her guardian did not wish the conversation to continue, and so
did not follow.
This unexpected meeting with Lucia gave him much to think of. It
carried back his thoughts to his humble, but still dear, Italian
home, and the mother from whom he had never met with anything but
kindness, and a longing to see both made him for the moment
almost sad. But he was naturally of a joyous temperament, and
hope soon returned.
"I will save money enough to go home," he said to himself. "It
will not take very much-- not more than fifty dollars. I can get
it soon if I do not have to pay money to the padrone."
As may be inferred, Phil did not expect to return home in style.
A first-class ticket on a Cunarder was far above his
expectations. He would be content to go by steerage all the way,
and that could probably be done for the sum he named. So his
sadness was but brief, and be soon became hopeful again.
He was aroused from his thoughts of home by a hand laid
familiarly on his shoulder. Turning, he saw a bootblack, whose
adventures have been chronicled in the volume called "Ragged
Dick." They had become acquainted some three months before, Dick
having acted as a protector to Phil against some rough boys of
his own class.
"Been buyin' stocks?" asked Dick.
"I don't know what they are," said Phil, innocently.
"You're a green one," said Dick. "I shall have to take you into
my bankin' house and give you some training in business."
"Have you got a bankin' house?" asked Phil, in surprise.
"In course I have. Don't you see it?" pointing to an
imposing-looking structure in front of which they were just
passing. "My clerks is all hard to work in there, while I go out
to take the air for the benefit of my constitushun."
Phil looked puzzled, not quite understanding Dick's chaffing, and
looked rather inquiringly at the blacking box, finding it a
little difficult to understand why a banker on so large a scale
should be blacking boots in the street.
"Shine your boots, sir?" said Dick to a gentleman just passing.
"Not now; I'm in a hurry."
"Blackin' boots is good exercise," continued Dick, answering the
doubt in Phil's face. "I do it for the benefit of my health,
thus combinin' profit with salubriousness."
"I can't understand such long words," said Phil. "I don't know
"I would talk to you in Italian," said Dick, "only it makes my
head ache. What's come of your fiddle? You haven't sold it, and
bought Erie shares, have you?"
"A boy stole it from me, and broke it."
"I'd like to lick him. Who was it?"
"I think his name was Tim Rafferty."
"I know him," said Dick. "I'll give him a lickin' next time I
"Can you?" asked Phil, doubtfully, for his enemy was as large as
"In course I can. My fists are like sledge-hammers. Jest feel
Dick straightened out his arm, and Phil felt of the muscle, which
was hard and firm.
"It's as tough as a ten-year-old chicken," said Dick. "It won't
be healthy for Tim to come round my way. What made him steal
your fiddle? He ain't goin' into the musical line, is he?"
"He was angry because I didn't want to lend it to him."
Just then Tim Rafferty himself turned the corner. There was a
lull in his business, and he was wandering along the street
eating an apple.
"There he is," said Phil, suddenly espying his enemy.
Dick looked up, and saw with satisfaction that Phil was right.
Tim had not yet espied either, nor did he till Dick addressed
"Are you round collectin' fiddles this mornin'?" he asked.
Tim looked up, and, seeing that his victim had found an able
champion, felt anxious to withdraw. He was about to turn back,
but Dick advanced with a determined air.
"Jest stop a minute, Tim Rafferty," said he. "I'm a-goin' to
intervoo you for the Herald. That's what they do with all the
big rascals nowadays."
"I'm in a hurry," said Tim.
"That's what the pickpocket said when the cop was gently
persuadin' him to go to the Tombs, but the cop didn't see it. I
want the pleasure of your society a minute or two. I hear you're
in the music business."
"No, I'm not," said Tim, shortly.
"What made you borrer this boy's fiddle, then?"
"I don't know anything about it," said Tim, in a fright.
"Some folks forgets easy," returned Dick. "I know a man what
went into Tiffany's and took up a watch to look at, and carried
it off, forgettin' to pay for it. That's what he told the judge
the next day, and the judge sent him to the island for a few
months to improve his memory. The air over to the island is very
good to improve the memory."
"You ought to know," said Tim, sullenly; "you've been there times
"Have I?" said Dick. "Maybe you saw me there. Was it the ninth
time you were there, or the tenth?"
"I never was there," said Tim.
"Maybe it was your twin brother." suggested Dick. "What made
you break my friend's fiddle? He wouldn't have minded it so
much, only it belonged to his grandfather, a noble count, who
made boots for a livin'."
"I don't believe he had a fiddle at all," said Tim.
"That's where your forgetfulness comes in," said Dick "Have you
forgot the lickin' I gave you last summer for stealin' my
"You didn't lick me," said Tim.
"Then I'll lick you harder next time," said Dick.
"You ain't able," said Tim, who, glancing over his shoulder, saw
the approach of a policeman, and felt secure.
"I will be soon," said Dick, who also observed the approach of
the policeman. "I'd do it now, only I've got to buy some gold
for a friend of mine. Just let me know when it's perfectly
convenient to take a lickin'."
Tim shuffled off, glad to get away unharmed, and Dick turned to
"I'll give him a lickin' the first time I catch him, when there
isn't a cop around," he said.
Phil left his friend at this point, for he saw by the clock on
Trinity spire that it was time to go back to join Paul Hoffman,
as he had agreed. I may here add that Phil's wrongs were
avenged that same evening, his friend, Dick, administered to Tim
the promised "lickin' " with such good effect that the latter
carried a black eye for a week afterwards.
PHIL'S NEW PLANS
As the clock struck twelve Phil reached the necktie stand of his
friend, Paul Hoffman.
"Just in time," said Paul. "Are you hungry?"
"That's right. You're going to dine with me; and I want you to
bring a good appetite with you."
"What will your mother say?" asked Phil, doubtfully.
"Wait and see. If you don't like what she says you can go off
without eating. Where have you been?"
"I went down to Wall Street."
"On business?" inquired Paul, with a smile.
"No," said Phil, seriously. "I saw Lucia."
"Who is she?"
"I forgot. You don't know Lucia. She lived in my home in Italy,
and I used to play with her. She told me of my mother."
"That's lucky, Phil. I hope your mother is well."
"She is not sick, but she is thin. She thinks of me," said Phil.
"Of course she does. You will go home and see her some day."
"I hope so."
"Of course you will," said Paul, confidently.
"I saw the boy who stole my fiddle," continued Phil.
"What did he say?"
"I was with a bootblack--the one they call 'Ragged Dick.' Do you
"Yes; I know Dick. He is a bully fellow, always joking."
"Dick wanted to lick him, but a policeman came, and he went
"Does Dick know that he stole your fiddle?"
"Then he will be sure to punish him. It will save me the
The walk was not long. Soon they were at Paul's door.
"I have brought company to dinner, mother," said Paul, entering
"I am glad to see you, Phil," said Mrs. Hoffman. "Why have you
not come before?"
"How is that, Phil? Will you stay now?" said Paul.
Mrs. Hoffman looked at Paul inquiringly.
"Phil was afraid he would not be welcome," he exclaimed.
"He is always welcome," said Mrs. Hoffman.
"Where is your fiddle?" asked Jimmy.
"A boy took it," said Phil, "and threw it into the street, and a
wagon went over it and broke it."
Jimmy was quite indignant for his friend, when the story had been
"It's lucky for Tim Rafferty that he is not here," said Paul, "or
he might suffer."
"If I was a big boy I'd lick him," said Jimmy, belligerently.
"I never saw you so warlike before, Jimmy," said Paul.
To Phil this sympathy seemed pleasant. He felt that he was in
the midst of friends, and friends were not so plentiful as not to
"What are you going to have for dinner, mother?" asked Paul.
"I am sorry, Paul, that I have no warm meat. I have some cold
roast beef, some hot potatoes, and an apple pudding."
"You needn't apologize, mother. That's good enough for anybody.
It's as good as Phil gets at his boarding house, I am sure. He
has got rather tired of it, and isn't going to stay."
"Are you going to leave the padrone?" asked Mrs. Hoffman, with
"Si, signora," said Phil.
"Will he let you go?"
"I shall run away," said Phil.
"You see, mother, Phil would be sure of a beating if he went home
without his fiddle. Now he doesn't like to be beaten, and the
padrone gives harder beatings than you do, mother."
"I presume so," said Mrs. Hoffman, smiling. "I do not think I am
"No, you spoil the rod and spare the child."
"Is Phil going to stay in the city?"
"No; the padrone would get hold of him if he did. He is going to
New Jersey to make his fortune."
"But he will need a fiddle."
"I am going to lend him money enough to buy one. I know a
pawnbroker who has one for sale. I think I can get it for three
or four dollars. When Phil gets it he is going around giving
concerts. How much can you make in a day, Phil?"
"Sometimes I make two dollars," answered Phil.
"That is excellent, especially when you are your own padrone.
You will be able to save up money. You will have to buy a
"Where will you sleep, Phil?" asked Jimmy, interested.
Phil shrugged his shoulders. He had not thought of that question
"I don't know," he said. "I can sleep anywhere."
"Of course he will stop at the first-class hotels, Jimmy," said
Paul, "like all men of distinction. I shouldn't wonder if he
married an heiress in six months, and went back to Italy on a
"He is too young to be married," said Jimmy, who, it will be
perceived, understood everything literally.
"I don't know but he is," said Paul, "but he isn't too old to be
hungry. So, mother, whenever dinner is ready we shall be."
"It is all ready except peeling the potatoes, Paul."
"We can do that ourselves. It is good exercise, and will sharpen
our appetites. You will have to eat fast or there won't be much
left. Jimmy is the most tremendous eater I ever saw, and won't
leave much for the rest of us, if we give him the chance."
"Now, Paul," expostulated Jimmy, feeling aggrieved at this
charge, "you know I don't eat as much as you do."
"Hear him talk, Phil. I don't eat more than enough to keep a fly
"It must be a pretty large fly, Paul," said Jimmy, slyly.
"Good joke, Jimmy. Mother, you must give Jimmy twelve potatoes
to-day instead of the ten he usually eats."
"Oh, Paul, how can you tell such stories?" exclaimed Jimmy,
shocked at such an extravagant assertion. Phil laughed, for
there was something ludicrous in the idea of Jimmy, who was a
slight boy of seven, making away with such a large quantity, and
the little boy began to see that it was a joke at his expense.
The dinner went off well. All had a good appetite, and did full
justice to Mrs. Hoffman's cookery. The pudding in particular was
pronounced a success. It was so flaky and well-seasoned, and the
sauce, flavored with lemon, was so good, that everyone except
Mrs. Hoffman took a second piece. For the first time since he
had left Italy, Phil felt the uncomfortable sensation of having
eaten too much. However, with the discomfort was the pleasant
recollection of a good dinner, and to the mind of the little
fiddler the future brightened, as it is very apt to do under such
circumstances, and he felt ready to go out and achieve his
"Why won't you stop with us to-night, Phil, and start on your
journey to-morrow?" asked Mrs. Hoffman. "I am sure Jimmy would
be glad of your company."
"Yes, Phil, stay," said Paul.
Phil hesitated. It was a tempting invitation, but, on the other
hand, if he remained in the city till the next day he might be in
danger from the padrone.
He expressed this fear.
"I am afraid the padrone would catch me," he said.
"No, he won't. You can go out with me and buy the fiddle now,
and then come back and play to mother and Jimmy. To-morrow
morning I will go with you to the Jersey City Ferry myself, and
if we meet the padrone, I'll give him a hint to be off."
Phil still hesitated, but finally yielded to the united request.
But it was now one o'clock, and Paul must be back to his
business. Phil took his cap and went with him to purchase the
fiddle, promising to come back directly.
They went into Chatham Street, and soon halted before a small
shop, in front of which were three gilt balls, indicating that it
was a pawnbroker's shop.
Entering, they found themselves in a small apartment, about
twelve feet front by twenty in depth, completely filled with
pawnable articles in great variety a large part, however,
consisting of clothing; for when the poor have occasion to raise
money at a pawnbroker's, they generally find little in their
possession to pawn except their clothing. Here was a shawls
pawned for a few shillings by a poor woman whose intemperate
husband threw the burden of supporting two young children upon
her. Next to it was a black coat belonging to a clerk, who had
been out of employment for three months, and now was out of money
also. Here was a child's dress, pawned by the mother in dire
necessity to save the child from starving. There was a plain
gold ring, snatched by a drunken husband from the finger of his
poor wife, not to buy food, but to gratify his insatiable craving
Over this scene of confusion presided a little old man with blear
eyes and wrinkled face, but with a sharp glance, fully alive to
his own interests. He was an Englishman born, but he had been
forty years in America. He will be remembered by those who have
read "Paul the Peddler." Though nearly as poverty-stricken in
appearance as his poorest customers, the old man was rich, if
reports were true. His business was a very profitable one,
allowing the most exorbitant rates of interest, and, being a
miser, he spent almost nothing on himself, so that his hoards had
increased to a considerable amount.
He looked up sharply, as Paul and Phil entered, and scanned them
closely with his ferret-like eyes.
THE FASHIONABLE PARTY
Eliakim Henderson, for this was the pawnbroker's name, did not
remember Paul, though on one occasion our hero had called upon
him. Nearly all his customers came to pawn articles, not to
purchase, and Eliakim naturally supposed that the two boys had
come on this errand. Before entering, Paul said to Phil, "Don't
say anything; leave me to manage."
As they entered, Phil espied a fiddle hanging up behind the
counter, and he saw at a glance that it was better than the one
he had been accustomed to play upon. But to his surprise, Paul
did not refer to it at first.
"What will you give me on this coat?" asked Paul, indicating the
one he had on.
He had no intention of selling it, but preferred to come to the
fiddle gradually, that the pawnbroker might not think that was
his main object, and so charge an extra price.
Eliakim scanned the garment critically. It was nearly new and in
excellent condition, and he coveted it.
"I will give you a dollar," said he, naming a price low enough to
"That is too little," said Paul, shaking his head.
"I might give you fifty cents more, but I should lose if you
didn't redeem it."
"I don't think you would. I paid ten dollars for it."
"But it is old."
"No, it isn't; I have only had it a few weeks."
"How much do you want on it?" asked Eliakim, scanning Paul
sharply, to see how much he seemed in want of money.
"I don't want any to-day. If I should want some next week, I
will come in."
"It will be older next week," said Eliakim, not wanting to lose
the bargain, for he hoped it would not be redeemed.
"Never mind; I can get along till then."
"Can I do no business with you this morning?" asked Eliakim,
"I don't know," said Paul, looking carelessly around. "My friend
here would like a fiddle, if he can get one cheap. What do you
ask for that one up there?"
Eliakim took down the fiddle with alacrity. He had had it on
hand for a year without securing a customer. It had originally
been pawned by a poor musician, for a dollar and a quarter, but
the unfortunate owner had never been able to redeem it. Among
his customers, the pawnbroker had not found one sufficiently
musical to take it off his hands. Here was a slight chance, and
he determined to effect a sale if he could.
"It is a splendid instrument," he said, enthusiastically,
brushing off the dust with a dirty cotton handkerchief. "I have
had many chances to sell it."
"Why didn't you sell it, then?" demanded Paul, who did not
believe a word of this.
"Because it was only pawned. I kept it for the owner."
"Oh, well; if you can't sell it, it doesn't matter."
"It is for sale now," said Eliakim, quickly. "He has not come
for it, and I shall keep it no longer. Just try it. See what a
sp-l-endid instrument it is!" said the pawnbroker, dwelling on
the adjective to give emphasis to it.
Paul tried it, but not knowing how to play, of course created
only discord. He did not offer it to Phil, because the young
Italian boy would have made it sound too well and so enhanced the
"It don't sound very well," said he, indifferently; "but I
suppose it will do to learn on. What do you want for it?"
"Five dollars," said Eliakim, studying the face of Paul, to
observe the effect of his announcement.
"Five dollars," repeated Paul. "Take it back, then, and wait
till A. T. Stewart wants one. I haven't got five dollars to
But the pawnbroker did not expect to get his first price. He
named it, in order to have a chance to fall.
"Stay," he said, as Paul made a motion to leave; "what will you
give me for it?"
"I'll give you a dollar and a half," said Paul, turning back.
"A dollar and a half!" exclaimed Eliakim, holding up both hands
in horror. "Do you want to ruin me?"
"No, I think you want to ruin me. I am willing to pay a fair
"You may have it for three dollars and a half."
"No doubt you'd be glad to get that. Come, Phil, we'll go."
"Stay; you may have it for three dollars, though I shall lose by
"So should I, if I paid you that price. I can wait till some
But Eliakim did not intend to let this chance slip. He had found
the fiddle rather unsalable, and feared if he lost his chance of
disposing of it, it might remain on his hands for a year more.
He was willing, therefore, to take less than the profit he
usually calculated upon in the sale of articles which remained
"You may have it for two dollars and a half," he said.
As far as Paul could judge, though he did not know much about the
price of violins, this was a reasonable price. But he knew that
Eliakim must have got it for considerably less, or he would not
so soon have come down to this sum. He did not hesitate,
therefore, to try to get it a little cheaper.
"I'll give you two dollars and a quarter," he said, "and not a
Eliakim tried hard to get ten cents more, but Paul saw that he
was sure of his purchase, and remained obdurate. So, after a
pretense of putting up the fiddle, the pawnbroker finally said,
"You may have it, but I tell you that I shall lose money."
"All right," said Paul; "hand it over."
"Where is the money?" asked Eliakim, cautiously.
Paul drew from his pocket a two-dollar bill and twenty-five cents
in currency, and received the fiddle. The pawnbroker scrutinized
the money closely, fearing that it might be bad; but finally,
making up his mind on that point, deposited it in his money
"Well, Phil, we may as well go," said Paul. "We've got through
The pawnbroker heard this, and a sudden suspicion entered his
mind that Paul had been too sharp for him.
"I might have got twenty-five cents more," he thought
regretfully; and this thought disturbed the complacency he felt
"Well, Phil, how do you like it?" asked Paul, as they emerged
into the street.
"Let me try it," said Phil, eagerly.
He struck up a tune, which he played through, his face expressing
the satisfaction he felt.
"Is it as good as your old one?"
"It is much better," said Phil. "I will pay you for it;" and he
drew out the money the sailors had given him in the morning.
"No, Phil," said his friend, "you may need that money. Keep it,
and pay me when you have more."
"But I shall be away."
"You will come to the city some day. When you do you will know
where to find me. Now go and play a tune to Jimmy. He is
waiting for you. If you remain in the streets, your old enemy,
Tim Rafferty, may want to borrow your fiddle again."
"You are very kind to me, Paolo," said Phil, raising his dark
eyes with a sudden impulse of gratitude.
"It's nothing, Phil," said Paul, modestly; "you would do the same
for me if I needed it."
"Yes, I would," said Phil; "but I am poor, and I cannot help
"You won't be poor always, Phil," said Paul, cheerfully, "nor I
either, I hope. I mean to be a merchant some time on a bigger
scale than now. As for you, you will be a great player, and give
concerts at the Academy of Music."
Phil laughed, but still seemed pleased at the prophecy.
"Well, Phil, I must bid you good-by for a little while, or my
clerks will be cheating me. I will see you at supper."
"Addio, Paolo," said Phil.
"Addio," said Paul, laughing. "Wouldn't I make a good Italian?"
Paul returned to his stand, and Phil took the direction of Mrs.
Hoffman's rooms. While on his way he heard the sound of a
hand-organ, and, looking across the way, saw, with some
uneasiness, his old enemy Pietro, playing to a crowd of boys.
"I hope he won't see me," said Phil to himself.
He was afraid Pietro would remember his old violin, and, seeing
the difference in the instrument he now had, inquire how he got
it. He might, if not satisfied on this point, take Phil home
with him, which would be fatal to his plans. He thought it
prudent, therefore, to turn down the next street, and get out of
sight as soon as possible. Fortunately for him Pietro had his
back turned, so that he did not observe him. Nothing would have
pleased him better than to get the little fiddler into trouble,
for, besides being naturally malicious, he felt that an
exhibition of zeal in his master's service would entitle him to
additional favors at the hands of the padrone, whom he hoped some
day to succeed.
"Oh, what a beautiful fiddle!" said Jimmy, in admiration, as
Phil reappeared. "Do you think I could play on it?"
Phil shook his head, smiling.
"Don't let Jimmy have it. He would only spoil it," said Mrs.
Hoffman. "I don't think he would succeed as well in music as in
"Will you play something?" asked Jimmy.
Phil willingly complied, and for half an hour held Jimmy
entranced with his playing. The little boy then undertook to
teach Phil how to draw, but at this Phil probably cut as poor a
figure as his instructor would have done at playing on the
So the afternoon wore away, happily for all three, and at five
Paul made his appearance. When supper was over Phil played
again, and this attracting the attention of the neighbors, Mrs.
Hoffman's rooms were gradually filled with visitors, who finally
requested Phil to play some dancing tunes. Finding him able to
do so, an impromptu dance was got up, and Mrs. Hoffman,
considerably to her surprise, found that she was giving a
dancing-party. Paul, that nothing might be left out, took a
companion with him and they soon reappeared with cake and ice
cream, which were passed around amid great hilarity; and it was
not until midnight that the last visitor went out, and the sound
of music and laughter was hushed.
"You are getting fashionable in your old age, mother," said Paul,
gayly. "I think I shall send an account of your party to the
"I believe it is usual to describe the dresses of the ladies,"
said Mrs. Hoffman, smiling.
"Oh, yes, I won't forget that. Just give me a piece of paper
and see how I will do it."
Paul, whose education, I repeat here, was considerably above that
of most boys in his position, sat down and hastily wrote the
following description, which was read to the great amusement of
"Mrs. Hoffman, mother of the well-known artist, Jimmy Hoffman,
Esq., gave a fashionable party last evening. Her spacious and
elegant apartments were crowded with finely dressed gentlemen and
ladies from the lower part of the city. Signor Filippo, the
great Italian musician, furnished the music. Mrs. Hoffman
appeared in a costly calico dress, and had a valuable gold ring
on one of her fingers. Her son, the artist, was richly dressed
in a gray suit, purchased a year since. Miss Bridget Flaherty,
of Mott Street, was the belle of the occasion, and danced with
such grace and energy that the floor came near giving away
beneath her fairy tread. [Miss Flaherty, by the way, weighed one
hundred and eighty pounds.] Mr. Mike Donovan, newspaper
merchant, handed round refreshments with his usual graceful and
elegant deportment. Miss Matilda Wiggins appeared in a
magnificent print dress, imported from Paris by A. T. Stewart,