|Chapter Title||LITTLE VICTOR TAKES JEROME'S PLACE.|
|Newspaper Title||Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||The Blind Fiddler. A Tale for Children|
THE BLIND FIDDLER.
A TALE FOB CHILDREN.
(Translated from the French by Dieddonnee
LITTLE VICTOR TAKES JEROME'S PLACE.
' The blind man hastened into his room and shut the door. He ran trembling towards the drawer in which he kept ms money, finding it broken open and completely empty, ne was no longer left in any doubt 'as to nis own misfortune and Jerome s guilt, and he sat downv being not able to contain tears any longer.. He did not weep for the .money which he had been robbca of, but because of the crime of the boy whom he had loved as his son and of the frightful future that awaited him.
The grief of the poor old man was so great as to make him forget that he had had nothing to eat since the morning, so he did not touch the bread and meat that Madame
Dubois had left on the table for his supper, as she did every day. He remained plunged
in the saddest reflections until he at last fell asleep in his armchair, and his first thought .on waking was a sad one.
Three days passed, during which Victor 'went eveiy day to the square without finding -the blind man.. Victor soon began to fear that something had happened to his new friend, so oh the fourth day, having an hour to spare, he decided to go to the old man's house. It was hot yet dark and the street door was still open. Victor went up the five 'flights of stairs, and knocked' gently at the
door which the old.man had pointed out as being his.
"It is Victor," said the bov, " who wants to know if you are not well ?
Antoine, who bad passed three days and nights all alone abandoned to his grief, was pleased to hear the'child's voice, and opened the door to him immediately.
" No, no, mv little friend, I am not ill," he said, snaking hands,; " but my nephew has
gone on a journey and I have no one to take me to my place.'1
" But now do you manage about your meals when you are all alone here ?'
"That good woman whom you saw here, Madame Dubois, has taken care of me since my brother's death. She earns her living by
doing the housekeeping for people, and she does ours."
" Can't she take you then?" "No."
" And will it he long before your nephew returns?"
"I think so," said Antoine, forcing back
" Then you will not go to your place in the square again," said the little pastry cook in a grieved tone.
'Yes I shall," replied the blind man,
" otherwise I should die of hunger, for I have. no resoufce'but my violin.' Madame Dubois is going to find me a little boy to take my nephew's place, and she says that for six sous a day he will take me and fetch me home again in the evening."
" Six sous a day!" said Victor repeating it to himself.
" I do not expect to find a boy in whom I could put any confidence who would do it for less," said Antoine; and he stifled a sigh as he thought of the confidence he had put in Jerome.
" Six sous a day!" repeated Victor. ,rSix sous a day!—" Listen, he continued. " an idea has just Btruck me; I will come ana fetch you, and that will not cost yon anything. There are two of us at the shop to carry out the things; but as I am the youngest and newest of the appren tices I do it the oftenest. 1 shall find ten minutes every morning and evening to fetch you and bring you back again. The only thing I cannot tell you is at what hour I shall come, as I often work at the bake house, but you may lest assured that I shall come every day."
"Thank you, thank you, my dear child," said the old man, for he preferred this boy to all others. - " But I fear that will not please your master."
"Bah! what does it matter to him whether I lose a little time with you or lose it in any other way ? They know that 1 often amuse myself on the road,"
" And how do you amuse yourself ?" asked Antoine, who began to take a lively interest in the little pastry cook.
"Oh! at all sorts of things. I look at the shops; I listen to the musicians; I stop at the Dook stalls to see the prints, aud what is
written under them."
" You can read then?"
" Certainly. While my poor father and mother were alive I went to school, aud learned to read and write and do sums ; but since their death, and since I have been at M. Moreau's, I have no opportunity to do more than to earn as well as I can tne bread he gives me. I can't say that M. Moreau does me an injustice, for without him I should be forced to beg."
" Like me," said Antoine, Bmiiing sadly.
"Ob, I did not say that to train you," replied Victor; " you have not good sight, and can't do anything but play music. But with me it is different; I must work.
The more the child spoke the more Antoine liked him, and had not even the courage to refuse his offer, and was obliged to agree that Victor should come and fetch him on the morrow.