« AnteriorContinuar »
with great politeness, and asked Frank to have the kindness to relate his own story and that of his companion.
He did so, in a brief and simple manner, 'and the Donna frequently dashed away the tears from her eyes during the recital. When he had finished, she said to her husband, in Portuguese, “Every word of this recital is true, I am sure. Trust to my woman's instinct, this is a noble boy."
She then inquired if they had ever been in Charleston, South Carolina. They had not.
“I once spent some months there, and received the greatest possible kindness and hospitality from entire strangers, and I am anxious to return it, in some degree, to your countrymen.” Then, turning to her husband, she said, in Portuguese, “ We must try and do all we can to make these boys comfortable while they remain
Would it not be well to ask them to stay with us. They can have their meals served in their own rooms." “ Just as you say,
dearest." “Well, then, propose it to them.”
I really do not know how to invite them, the younger one in particular, unless I do it as I would to any gentleman."
“ That would not answer. You can inquire if they would like to remain with us, or would prefer going to a hotel.”
The Donna did so, and Frank replied, with many thanks for their politeness, that of course he left it for them to decide.
Well, then, stay with us,” said the Don, cordially.
There is something wonderfully pleasing in the earnest truthfulness of a well-bred boy. Frank might have invented a falsehood, but he could not at once have assumed the manners and conversation of a gentleman. These were the corroborative testimony, the strong circumstantial evidence, to his statement.
Brandon, who did not understand French, was astonished when he found that they were invited to make their home in that elegant mansion. He saw that Frank was everywhere received and treated as he really deserved to be, under whatever disguise he might appear. He could not but feel his own inferiority, and resolutely determined that he would endeavour to cultivate those qualities which would render him worthy of love and respect.
The next morning, at breakfast, the Donna seemed not quite at ease.
Her treatment of the young sailors was such as would have satisfied almost any person in the world. She had fulfilled that law of Christian benevolence to which a reward is promised, -"I was a stranger and ye
took me in,” &c. Yet she was not satisfied with her. self. She said to her husband, “ No doubt we shall even now be called romantic, and perhaps imprudent, for taking these unfortunate ones into our house ; but you know it is immaterial to us what people say. We are rich, and have no relations to share our wealth with us.
I am not satisfied with our reception of that amiable boy. It seems quite uncivil not to invite our guests to our own table."
They would look very droll at your table ; it is quite impossible," said he.
"No, not impossible," replied his wife, “ for we can easily furnish them with suitable apparel, and then, I am sure it would do no harm to any
I should like to have that contemptible Mr. Mudge, who treated them so cruelly, see Frank walking with me dressed as he has been accustomed to be. As for the other lad I do not know what he is, as he cannot speak French. He is by no means equal, however, to his companion.”
“Do as you like, my dear,” said the Don. "I believe you will be happier for having discharged the debt of obligation to these Americans, which you incurred long since to some of their fellowcountrymen."
Don Francesco then handed her his purse, saying, “ I hardly know in what way you can propose to them to purchase better clothing, but I leave that to your womanly ingenuity."
This, to the Donna, was rather a difficult task. She requested a servant to call the young gentlemen into the drawing-room; and, in a very delicate manner, asked to be allowed to be their banker, until they could draw upon friends at home.
Joe's pride was really or apparently aroused, and he said, “ He could not think of receiving pecuniary obligation”; but Frank gratefully accepted the offer, knowing that his father would remit the money at a future period. He advised Joe not to pain his kind hostess by a refusal.
The truth was, Joseph had no idea of not accepting it, but he thought, very erroneously, that it would be more polite to make a great ado about it. The
purse was accepted, and the contents divided equally between them.
They soon started off to purchase an entire new suit of clothes, and make such other additions to their wardrobe as were needed.
They were so successful that they returned before dinner, with the outer man completely renovated.
It was amusing to see the difference of character exhibited in their dress. The Aashy style of Joe betrayed his lurking fondness for finery. He had even purchased a large brooch of colored glass, which, to say the least, looked like an emerald, and was a very conspicuous ornament. His coat was green, his vest yellow and red, and his pantaloons blue; so that there was no want