Chapter 65790165

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Chapter NumberIV.-(Continued.)
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65790165
Full Date1888-01-28
Page Number22
Corrections0
Word Count2018
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)
Trove TitleFiddle-John's Family
article text

£hilircu'5 Column. FIDDLE-JOHN1!* FAMILY. (From St. Nicholas. ) Cbattee IV. — [Continued.) Although it was yet early in the morning all the city seemed to be awake and to be surging and roaring ont&ide of the windows like a etonn -beaten sea. Stage-coaches, car riages, and enormous drays laden with bales and barrels and boxes* were pouring in steady streams op and down the street ; people of all sorts and conditions were hurrying hither and thither ; snd oat in the Harboar. but a stone's throw distant, there was a forest of masts, and big and little steamboats rushed shrieking in ail directzDJU. It seemed like tempting Providence to venture ont into this wild turmoil, and Trals implored Axuubele not to risk it, when he perceived that the latter was bent upon some aoch dangerous expedition. Annibale, however, had seen great cities before, and gave no heed to his companion's fear, bnt tore hi«i«».lf away, promising to return before noon. With a painful fMrf'*- taoo. Trnls stood watching him from the window, following his lithe and dexterous motions as he wound himself through the crowd and dodged the hoge wheels and wagon-poles as they seemed on the point of knocking him down. When at last the Savo yard vani&hed around a street corner, and Truls was about to relapse into his sad medi tations, the kind-hearted servant girl caused a sensation by entering with Karen an-i a tray, apon which were three pieces of bread

and three enps of coffee. Truls then awoke his brother, who had slept soundly through the recent excitement, and the three had quite a pleasant meal, considering their forlorn condition. They eorered up Garibaldi with a blanket. He had hid a hard life of it on board the steamer, and had suffered much. Sow bis career vas finished. At least, so Alt md Truls snppoaed, oniil a very extraordinary thing happened. They had finished their breakfast some little time, when the door opeoed, and Anni bale entered with a little, emoky and ebri velled-np Italian. He was Annibale'e nncle ; his name was Giacomo Bianchi, and by trade be was a taxidermist. When he talked, he need bis arms, legc, eyes, and mouth, all mth eiiaal vigour. FiddJc-Jobn's children stood and gazed at him in undisguised wonder ; they had never in all- their lives seen anything ao lively. 'Ecco!' he cried, pointing excitedly fiat to the deid bear and then to Train ; ' the fit will be perfect. He is of the same height. and will do perfectly well. If he has any wjt, and nut too mnch of it, he can act the besr aa well as if he were borne one. I will prepare the ski . for yon, and stuff it just enough to fit hia figure. Then you can make as mocfa money as the eands of the ec*. I have % small band-organ at home, and a tambonrUe which hat vagabond Gregorio left me for a debt. You give me half of what you earn, and I will lend you all these things. Voa will become a rich uiao before you die. The bigger hoy can play the hand-organ, the little girl can strike the tambourine, and you yourself lead the bear and make him dance. Behold, my son, yonr fortune is made. Sea, I hare spoken 1' Giaoomo's dark eyes flashed with enthusiasm as he unfolded this inglorions scheme, and he flourished his stick so violently in the direc tion of Kares, and she grew frightened and began to cry. Her brothers, too, viewed the excitable little man with suspicion, and listened in no friendly spirit to his unintel ligible talk. To their guileless Norse minds bis gestures seemed at first to indicate in sanity, but after a while they concluded that, for some reason, he was angry at tbeir suiter. Having arrived at this decision, they clenched tbeir fists in their pockets and made them selves ready to pounce upon him the very moment he ventured to touch her. Bi- apparent wrath suddenly left him, however, and be came up to shake bands with

each of them, smilinK. sad nodding bis shaggv head with extreme affability. Still they couli

not quite conquer their distrust of him, and it required a. long and lively pantomime to induce them to accompany him to his own dwelling. At lsst they yielded, because they knew of nothing else to do. Garibaldi was wrapped carefully in a bag, and Giacomo and the boye, taking each a comer, carried him easily down the stairs and pot him into Oiacomo'a little two-wheeled bandcart. which stood before the door — a convenient means of transportiog goods, and one without which the average Italian seldom remains un provided when he sets himself up in trade. Then they started ont for the shop of Giacomo, who, as leader of the party, took charge of the cart and easily trundled it along through the streets. First, however, tbey went to Castle Garden to inquire for Fiddle-iTobn, but there wss no one there who knew anything about him. Another steamer had just come in with orer eleven hundred emigrants, and the officials were too busy to give heed to the questions of the strange looking boys who talked a ptrange-sonnding language All their attempts to get posses sion of the baggage were also unavailing; and with sad, heavy hearts tbey plodded along together with the Italians and Garibaldi, trinrlisg their way wearily tbrough a laby rinth of dirty streets, until tbey finally reached a little, ill smelling bird shop in Canal-street Here, too, there was a bedlam of noise, and the yonDg Norse boys remained standing in tbc mi.Idle of the floor, staring about them in helpless bewilderment. Two great bine and yellow tnacafi-s were shrieking overhead, an ancient and vise-tanking ci-CEatoo was ap parfnt'y EcnlJinc ifcem for their andignifird Ir-bavioor. itO--! uncoucteii paroquets, pigeons, and c&cary-birds were chirping, cooing, and scr*fHBiof io a coe'nwd ehvw which rooty

have racked the nerve» of a mommy. The larkiM of a number of dogs, whwb seemed to object to the limited area of their cages, added to the uproar; and it was a great relief to the whole juvenile company when Giacomo at last invited them to ascend to the Boor above, where he had his own peraonal °The bird store, according to Annibale's assertion, was a source of enormous revenue, Gut belonged to bis o ier nude, Matteo, who was a citizen of mnch weight and influence in the Italian colony. This great man, however, it was understood, had more important natters to attend to, and left the business in charge of bis humbler brother, Giacomo. A vagi impression e! these tacts AnnAale had managed to communicate to bis friends, in epiteof the linguistic difficulties under which be laboured; and the Horse boya, whoanrinE the two weeks on the steamship had learned the Italian names for many common things and ideas, were pleasantly surprised at the readiness with which they comprehended the mixture of signs, gestures, and words which constituted Annibale's medium of couunnni cation. Uncle Giacomo's rooms proved a much more agreeable place than the shop below. The noise of the birds penetrated the floor only as a subdued confusion of sounds, and did not interfere with conversation. On a little low table at the window there was a multitude of small, sharp took, and an array of bottles which emitted strong but not unpleasant odours. Some of tbem had feathers sticking through chair stoppers, and others were labelled ' Poison' in big red letters. Around about the walls there were rows of shelves.

upon which stood bright-coloured birds, perched upon twigs, as if on the point of taking flight, owb with big yellow eyes and a dignified sullenneBs.of expression, hawks with wings outspread, swooping down upon unseen, munupicioiis rabbin) ; and besides these im pressive groups and specimens, there were ittle pet dogs and birds, whose skins had been preserved by the taxidermisfs art for sorrowing owner*. AH these objects the boys and Karen found highly entertaining, and Uncle Giacomo, who was bent upon making a good impression, allowed them to take down anil examine ajiy ihing that struck their fancy. The work of skinning poor Garibaldi also served to occupy their minds, and tuns the forenoon passed rapidly until it was time to «t down to dinner. They did not ait down, however ; for their dinner consisted only of bread and milk, and that could be eaten just as well standing. In toe afternoon they were allowe 1 to fetch op some rabbits and gninea-pig« from the store, and when they had pUyed with them.for a Connie of boura. Uncle Gia como broogbt them a green parrot that could talk and scold in both English and Italian. Alf and Truls and Karen understood none of its talk ; bnt for all that it entertained tbem, and served for a time to keep tbeir minds from dwelling -m their misfortunes. They scarcely knew what was to becoome of tbem ; the world mmed so vast and so pitiless, and they themselves such a very small part of ic They thought with fintterings of hope and fear of their father, and determined never to abandon their search for him until they should find him. Their fate seemed strange, incompre hensible. But a few weeks before they were living happily in their quiet Norse home, in the little cottage under the mountain walL Now they were flung out, helpless and alone, into a huge whirlpool of foreign life : their mother, whom tbey bad loved more than any one else in the whole world, was dead, and their father was wandering about, no one knew where, rainly seeking them, perhaps, and not knowing whither to turn. Indeed, much can happen is two short weeks. If they had but known what vas to befall them before they left their happy home ! Oh if they had but known ! (To bt Continued.)

pamphlet entitled 'Qneensland railways steamship, and coaching lines,' which will be found almost invaluable to travellers. It is

made np cm tnls mouth, and contains the fullest information concerning the running of trains, steamers, and coaches in Queensland. The most satisfactory feature of the past few weeks is the steadily improving tone of feelinn with regard to tbc future ofthis dis trict, writes the Maekay Standard, which is on ail sides being expressed owing to the healthy outlook in the local uigar industry. The promise oi a fair crop exists, and that of itself under the circumstances, is consolatory ? but the real secret of the new sprang hope in every one's breast is the undoubted fact that sugar hzx risen in the world's markets. Every possible variety of reason has been assigned for the depression through which this district has been straggling for between three and four years, but the chief cause of the improved prospect is to be found only in the rise in the augur market, -which pres ents every probability of becoming a perman ent one for one or two years at any rate. The long predicted time, when people wonld no longer continue to produce sugar at a Iocs appears to have been reached, ^ad the time has come when the enormous modern demand for sngar, which has arisen out of the cheap ening of the product, has overtaken the ?apply, and the deficiency of the European crop has caused a scarcity in the world's great markets. Kuropean nations are begin ning to tire of supporting the supply of cheap sugar to England out of their own pocket*, and the gradual withdrawal of the bonnties will cause European planting to fall off in quantity. VVe do not anticipate that the price of sugar will ever in the future reach the high figure of a few years feince, but we fuUy believe that it will f itr some y*a' s rcmaiu at a figure which will allow growers a margin, and wnen sogar pays to grow, Maekay will always fiv«i»i),