ETCHING: PEDRO Edit
By S. L. Bacon Edit
Published Originally in Short Stories 1894
It was only a street gammy bom of the streets, of the smoke, the dust, the toil. He was an Italian boy, of perhaps sixteen years. He had the shelter of a broken boat on the wharf, and the possession of a hand-organ and the monkey. Flip.
He was slender and well-shapen, with hair fine, like corn-silk. He loved the monkey, and Flip loved him.
Thy organ played three squeaky tunes and the part of a fourth, and the pennies were few which it invoked.
But what did it matter to be hungry when one loved ?
Before one house, with a latticed window, there was a girl's face, and there Pedro went every day, for he loved her.
She gave Flip sweet cake ; she gave his master pennies.
Her face had the fine cutting of a cameo ; her eyes had the clearness of still water.
When the organ played, she smiled. Then Pedro was happy; he smiled back, and his teeth were like white shells in water.
At night he said : " Flip, we will have only bread and milk, the rest I will save for her; one day I will marry her."
When he looked at the stars, he said :
" They are not brighter than her eyes; when I am rich and can marry her, she shall have a dress made of sunbeams, and litle gold shoes. And you, Flip, you shall have a new cap."
It was early springtime; the air was fresh with new earth odors. Pedro's hair curled with the warmth. He came to her house. There was a carriage before the door. She was not at the window. In vain Flip climbed the lattice, in vain the organ played. Pedro stopped suddenly and stood motionless.
Through the open door she came, softly, steadily, happily. She did not see Pedro, nor Flip, nor the organ. Her eyes shone.
Her dress was gray, like a cloud. Her hand rested on the arm of a man. He was tall, with blonde whiskers.
The boy stood motionless, watching the carriage out of sight
He did not play any more tunes. He lifted his carefully hoarded pennies from their hiding-place, counting them with infinite care. Then he got up and brushed his sleeve across, his eyes. "You shall have a new cap, Flip," he said.