|Chapter Title||ANTOINE'S DYING GIFT TO VICTOR.|
|Newspaper Title||Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||The Blind Fiddler. A Tale for Children|
THE BLIND FIDDLER.
A TALK FOE CHILDREN.
[Translated from the French by Dieudonnee
antoine's dying gift to victor.
Victor came back again in the evening, and as he went upstairs he met a priest
coming down, and recognised him as the i priest of theparish. At the sight of him a sad ] thought struck the boy's mind, and affected him ; with fear and grief. Saluting the priest re
spectfully, the boy asked him tremblingly if i
he had come on'Mr. Antoine's account I
"Yes, my friend," was the answer; " pray j for him, he is very ilk" j
At theBe words Victor Btarted, and quickly advanced towards the old man's room, who, since he had kept his bed, had left his door unlocked. The boy entered, and, when once his eyes had caught the dying face, he threw himself on his knees sobbing, and cried ont—
" M. Antoine, my good M. Antoine!"
" Yes, my child, said the old man with a weak voice; "we must part. But God does me the power to let me die without great suf fering, and I hope for his mercy in another life. Let that console yon. Victor."
" No. no," said Victor, as he watered with his tears the hands of hiB old friend; " you will not die. I shall pot be so unfortunate as
"Calm yourself, mv dear child," said Antoine. "I have lived a long time, a very long time, and death does not frighten me j for, thank heaven, I have never injured any one. May it be the same with you, Victor; and, if by some misfortune you one day think of leaving the road which honest men follow, stay your steps, my son, and think of the poor blind man who has gone above to pray to God there for you."
"I shall never forget the good advice that you have given me; I love you too much to forget it." replied Victor, whose sobs were choking him.
" Come and embrace me, my friend," said Antoine, making an effort to rise and clasp the child in his arms. "Now, Victor, listen to what I have got to say to you. Take this key, and go and get mc a bag which you will find at the bottom of my little cupboard under the music."
The little boy obeyed, and the blind man took the bag in his hand.
" There are in this," he said, " fifteen hun dred francs in cold, which I give you, Victor, because it will help to establish you well. The day that I die—the very same day—do
you hear! you must take it to your masters \ and ask them to put it into a Savings Bank. Then you must tell them all; so that, as I shall not yet be buried, they can come to Madame Dubois and ask for all the informa
tion that they want. Madame Dubois knows that I have given you the money, and she will show them my will, which I made yes terday before her.
" Keep vonr money, keep your money," interrupted Victor, whose tears had re doubled. " My God ! are you gomg to die so
" If I live you may return it, my child," said Antoine; " but I wish you to take it away to day. I command you to do so, Victor," continued lie in a severe tone, putting the bag into Victor's hands.
" I do not want to thwart you," said Victor; " but I hope to return it.
" I aiso want you to take my violin. Give it to me, my violin."
Victor brought it to him. Antoine took it with lively emotion, and, putting it in front
of him, he moved his feeble lingers over the ? cords, and they resounded sweetly.
" Fare thee well," said he," thou who hast fed me during sixty years; I do not leave thee with ingratitude, I thank thee."
And saying this, the blind man pressed the instrument to his lips, and two tears flowed from his eyes. Then, giving his violin to Victor, he Baid, with a slight sigh, " I beg you never to part witli it."
This conversation exhausted the little I strength that was left to Antoine, and be could only address, in a voice difficult to hear, a few words of consolation to his young friend; after which be wished the bov
good-bye," saying that it was very late, ana making him promise to return the next morning.
Victor, a little reassnred by the hope that he would be able to see him once more in a
few hours, consented to return again to the | shop; but he did not leave until he had cm braced Antoine over and over again. Antoine bad strength to return bis friend's caresses, and press him to his hear;; then he put his
two hands on the child's head. -" Go and sleep, Victor," he said ; "go and sleep with the blessing that the poor blind man gives you."
The nert day until 12 o'clock it was im possible for Victor to esoapo from the shop.
He had not closed his eyes all night, but had . counted the minutes from impatience to
know in what state he should find the old ' man. At last he was sent out on an errand. He flew rather than run to take some cakes to the Hue de Richelieu, and, when he
arrived in front of Antoine's house, the ! perspiration ran down his-face, and he was obliged to stop a few moments in the alley to take breath before going upstairs. Arrived at the fifth floor, he did not find the key in the door as usual. He remained ou the landing, pale and trembling, until Madame Dubois, who had heard him running up four stairs at a time, came and took him into her room. Antoine had died at six o'clock that morning. Victor, after having heard this
fatal news, remained long incapable of-re- j turning to his master's; but, nevertheless, ; he did not omit to question the good woman about tho last hours of one whom they had both loved. He begged ber to let him see
the body of tho blind man once more. To i
this she would not consent, but told the boy j that he could come next day and follow the ! bier, which would leave at teno'clock.