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A Child's Love

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One beautiful afternoon in May, a ohild was wandering thoughtfully along the flowery banks of the Gênes, his back turned to the village and his grave eyes fixed vacantly upon the blue expanso of water, like a troubled soul vainly seeking couipanionship. He appeared to be about thirteen years of age, his face was pale and sorrowful, his eyebrows strongly niarked, while his dark eyes sparkled with a weird brillianoy which at times had an almost sinister expression. He retnained lost in thought for some time, his head resting upon his slim, nervous hand, listening to the murmur ing waves, as they broke at his feet, gazing sadly across to the distant horizon with unutterable longing. Suddenly the joyous laughter of childhood broke upon his musings ; a little girl carne running across the waving field and threw both arms enthusiastically about his neck. "Oh, you naughty, naughty Nicolo ; what are you doing here 'i I've been looking every where for you !" Uttering these half-ecolding words, shñ continued to overwhelm him with caresses, and laid a little basket filled with wild roses and eglantines at his feet, in token of her childish affection. The shadow of a sinile flitted across the boy's face as he looked into her laughing eyes ; he ran his fingers through her flossy culs, gave a sly, cautious look around, and whispered : " I ran away from my father, Gianetta ; he gave me leave to rest, so I eame to this lovely place - you know how I valuu my short liberty, and how I adore the murmuring of these wave ! Listen to their weird music I" " It is too bad of your father," sighed the child, " to torment you with those hateful exercises ; you will die ot overwerk ! ' Poor Nicolo,' so mother said to nie, ' is muoti too rtolicate ; his bowitciiea violin will be the death of him before long, and it will bn his father's fault !' And mother is right !" she added, looking anxiously at the young boy's worn face. " Do not fear for me, Gianetta," replied Nicolo ! " I shall not die yet ; I must grow np to be a man ! Look, how strong I am !" He drew himself up to his full height, his dark eyes flashed, and a smile of rare tenderness played around his ripe Ups. With his strong arm he lifted his little playmate and held her suspended over the water for sorne seconds. Sadness does not linger in the heart of a child ! Gianetta seeing him so gay, coramenced singing, pausing ever and anon for sonie bit of childish gossip. Nicolo listened, amused, at the artless prattle about her rlowers, her doves, her games, and her dolls, aud whenever -he sank into an unconscious fit of abstraetion, Gianetta quickly brought him to himself with a playful shake or tender kiss. The children remained on the strand until the stars came out one after another, smiling alike on the serious eyes of Nicolo and th drowsy ones of the pretty Giaaetta. Then, indeed, they turned their steps homeward, their arms wound around each other in the innocent, loving embrace of childhood. After a long walk, they turned down a narrow lane, at the end of which stood two humble cottages, overgrown with vines - one the home of Giauetta, the other of Nicolo. At the threshold of the former atood the mother of the little girl, anxioasly awaiting the return of the children, whom she tenderly embraced as they came running up to her ; then, wishing each other good-night, Nicolo crossed over to his home. On entering his dingy little room, he sighed deeply, raised the window to let in the mild night air, and opening a chest, drew froni it an old violin. Seating himself near the casement, through which the silvery moonlight flooded, he passed his fingers across the strings, and drew from them the most entrancing strains of mueic, dying away at times into wondrous melancholy, then swelliug into triumphant gladness. Scarcely had he commenced playing, when a large spidei crawled out of the shutter. " Welcóme !" cried the young musician, gayly ; and as it advanced, he laid his finger on the window stil, allowed the spider to make its way over it, and placed it in triumph upon his violin, where it remained, during the whole performance, as if enchanted by the wonderful magie of the musie. Nicolo continued practicing until his eye-lids closed in eleep, and. not until the sun shone into his eyes did he awake from his sound slumbers. He arose, and replaced his mute, atill sleeping conipanion carefully upon the vine leaves. Every time that he laid aside his violin, when inspiration or strength failed, he sank into his habitual inorbid revery. The absence of the Bpider increased this feeling of solitude, for he was attached to the creature with all the passion of a fervent and unhappy disposition. His father was a hard and relentlesB master - his dead motner he only dimly remembered as having smilled upon hini with inefi'able sweetness as she sung him to sleep with a gentle lullaby. But that was so long, long ago, and now he had no friends ; for the children of his own age avoided the dreamy, reserved lad. Only little Gianetta was good to him, coming often to his room and listening in silent admiration to the inspiring musio of his violin. But Gianetta deteeted his spider. " There is witohcraft in it !" she would say, with a dainty little shudder, and so the insect was never adniitted during her visits. When his fingers grew ■ stiff with exercise, Nicolo enlivened the , hours by telling fairy tales, romantic adl ventures and his own hopes for the fu1 ture to his delighted little companion , who would listen without daring to interrupt, her eyes gleaming with joy, as she pressed the feverish hands of the agitated narrator Sometimes Nicolo told her of Mozart, who was already famous at the tender ago of six. " Oh, Gianetta !" he would exclaini, " how sruall I aeera beside hira !" And hot tears chased down his attenuated cheeks. In vain the pitying Gianetta tried to console him - his was the jealousy common to genius ! One day the young musician.underthe direction of his father, had been perforining a series of monotonous exercises, so that his arms soemed paralyzed. Utterly worn out, he laid aside his violin, and leaned hia weary head against the window, when all of a sudden he heaid a sharp cry. It was the mother of Gianetta who called to him. Springing up with alacrity, he ran across to his playmate's home. He found the littlo girl lying on her bed, her fortn worn with a raging fever, her breüth coming hard and slow, and her bright eyes looking fixedly into space. On recognizing her friend, she looked at hitn with a supplicating glance, which Nicolo readily interpreted. With tears in his eyes, he ran swiftly for his discarded instrument, crying as he carne back: " My sweet little Gianetta, I will play a lullaby ; it will make you well again !" He sat down by her bedside, and forgetting his fatigue, played with all the fervor of his soul : his anguish, his hope, his [ove, seemed to breathe from the wondrous tones, and like the voices of the angels descending to earth, they eased with bheir sublime harmony the pains of the sick child, who, at first, had listened with wild, feverish eagerness, which gradually gave place to calm repose. The ness or her soul was depicted upon her ilushed cheeks, her little hands were clasped peacefully, as she murmured ;entle prayers for her faithful friend, who with tearful eyes and nervous hands was trying to soothe the anguish of his own breaking heart as well as the pains ;hat racked the form of his sweet little jiïanetta. When he had finished playng, she held out her thin, white hand : "Dear Nioolo," she said in a low, )roken voioe, " I am going to leave you. - hear sweet angels calling me. You cannot follow me; you must remain beïind ; but far from this place, you will lecome famous, all the world will speak 'our name - oh, then, do not forget your ittle Gianetta !" Her head sank back among the pillows, and almost without a truggle the sweet eyes closed forever ! Nicolo remained gazing abfiently upon ïer lovely face. Alas, for the first time t was deaf to his tears and supplications. Vild with grief, he wandered about all ay and the greater part of the night, without aim, without any thought save ;hat of his utter lonoliness. He visited he water-side where only a few days ago bey had beeïi so happy together; he ingered in every spot sacred to their ïutual pleasures, and when at a late ïour he returned to his room, he shudered at the awful stillness which reigned liere. He looked across to Gianetta's lome. The window was open ; he could ee the child lying asleep in her narrow ed, almost hidden by the profusión of wild flowers which she had so loved while upon earth. A priest was kneeling )y her side, his venerable head bowed nd his trembling lips murmuring prayrs for the repose of her soul. Nicolo irew himself upon his knees : "Farevell, farewell my joy, uiy love ! As j avo told me. I am eoinc far from this jlace, where everything recalls my cruel oss ; where I can find noither rest nor rorgetfulness, desorted as I am by every reature !" At these words he trembled - something oold touohed his hand. It was the spider !. " Poor insect !" he cried ; the only living thing left to me ! Come, , will play to you, for the last time, the irs which tnypoor Gianetta loved. I will play them as a requiem for her oul!" He took out his violin. The sweet, sad ;rains of inusic flooded the air, wanderng out to the little dead child, who eemed to smile at their message. Even ie flowers seemed to nod their halfDened corollas, and the kneeling priest jaused in his devotions to listen to the music's diviner power. On the morrow the red rays of the sun 'ell across a sleepiug child, still clasping lis beloved instrument, on the cords of which lay a dead spider' The hero of this little romance is Nielo Paganini.- From the Aldine for Sepmher.


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