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himself renewed the vow which he had already sworn on that sacred image.
Many of the hours of his long and tedious voyage were beguiled in attempting to teach Giacco the tricks that were to make their fortune, or in endeavouring to learn a little English from the sailors. It would be difficult to say which became the greater favourite with the crew, the monkey or his master. The one proved himself the most comical and teachable of monkeys; the other the best-tempered and obliging of boys. Many a calm evening during the voyage did merry peals of laughter echo round the ship at the droll antics of the little animal, while Antonio stood by, his sparkling eyes and sunny smile shewing his enjoyment of the scene.
At length the vessel reached the port of London, and Antonio went on shore. He found himself in that busy world a stranger, and alone; and the perfect contrast of that crowded scene with all that he had yet known in life, might well be supposed to appal so young a creature. But, strong in the noble object to which he had dedicated himself, nothing could daunt the spirit of this intrepid boy; and he went forth without loss of time to the work which he had set himself to do.
Great success attended him for some time; his own brilliant countenance and animated manner attracting as many halfpence into his rusty, high-crowned Italian hat, as the tricks and grimaces of his droll companion. They wandered together early and late, and visited every part of London and its neighbourhood, returning at night to the cheap and lowly lodging where they dwelt. In this wretched place, Antonio was only too frequently the companion of the miserable and the wicked ; but the one great purpose of his life saved him from the contamination of their society. Labour and self-denial, such as he practised, could have no fellowship with the idleness, and the habits of vicious intemperance, by which he was surrounded. In the midst of a crowd, he lived alone, pouring forth all the warmth of his affections upon his monkey, who was dear to him as the last relic of his own beloved Italy, as the source of his daily gains, and for his own singularly docile and attaching character. Giacco shared the straw on which his master rested at night; and more than half the food which this noble boy allowed himself by day was bestowed on his dumb favourite.
The little savings which Antonio week by
week accumulated, he carefully hid between the outside and the lining of his jacket, which, tightly rolled up, formed his pillow by night. His treasure was thus securely kept from depredation.
But all was not sunshine in the path of the poor Italian boy. Difficulties and misfortunes awaited him, to try his constancy and put his courage to the proof. These will be related as we pursue the thread of his adventures.
As the long days of summer drew on, Antonio resolved on leaving London, and visiting other parts of England. He had grown sick and weary with his long confinement in a crowded city; and his spirit rejoiced within him when he found himself again under the open blue of heaven, and breathing the pure air of the country, filled with the scent of hay and flowers. These things reconciled him to walking further for fewer gains than he had done in London; and his sweet disposition made him constantly willing to amuse the cottage children in the villages through which he passed, regardless of any return. Sometimes their mothers' hearts would melt at the sight of the beautiful boy, so far, far away from his own home and his own mother, in a land of strangers; and the cup of milk, or slice of bread, offered with a glistening eye, was received with a bright smile of gratitude, which gladdened the good woman's heart who bestowed it, and made her involuntarily exclaim, “ God bless thee, poor child !"
In the course of his rambles, Antonio heard of a great fair about to be held in a town at some distance, and thither he immediately directed his steps. He did not reach the place until the middle of the day, when he found the streets filled with the motley crowd usual on such occasions. He was immediately surrounded by a circle of children, over whose heads peeped the faces of many who did not consider themselves either too old or too wise to laugh at the gambols of a monkey. Wherever he and Giacco went, they attracted general attention ; but at last their little audience was broken up and dispersed by a disturbance in the crowd at some little distance, caused by the plunging and rearing of a restive horse in a gig. As the people backed and went forward again like the waves of the sea, a loud scream was heard; and Giacco, jumping to his accustomed place on his master's arm, they too followed to the scene of action, By this time, the horse, held by two powerful men at the head, was being slowly led away, and
the crowd pressed round the person who had been knocked down. When Antonio had accomplished edging himself within the circle, so that he could see what was going on, he discovered that it was a poor little fellow-countryman of his own, who, while carrying a large tray of images about the fair, had been knocked down by the shaft of the gig. He was now sitting on the ground, covered with dirt, and apparently not hearing, or not understanding, all that was saying around him. ." He's not hurt.”
“No; he's only frightened."
“Well, it's not as bad as it might have been.”
“ Come now, my lad, get up, and go about your business.” · He sat gazing in silent despair at the fragments of Napoleons, Wellingtons, Venuses, and vases strewed all around; but at the first word spoken to him in Italian by Antonio, he burst into an agony of grief. The kind-hearted boy raised him up, and tried to comfort him, encouraged by the bystanders with—“Ay, ay, that's a good lad; try to get him up; you will understand one another's foreign lingo.” But the poor little image-boy refused to be comforted.