Peeping through the same crevice of the curtain where, only a little

while before, the urchin of elephantine appetite had peeped, the

butcher beheld the inner door, not closed, as the child had seen it,

but ajar, and almost wide open. However it might have happened, it was

the fact. Through the passage-way there was a dark vista into the

lighter but still obscure interior of the parlor. It appeared to the

butcher that he could pretty clearly discern what seemed to be the

stalwart legs, clad in black pantaloons, of a man sitting in a large

oaken chair, the back of which concealed all the remainder of his

figure. This contemptuous tranquillity on the part of an occupant of


the house, in response to the butcher's indefatigable efforts to

attract notice, so piqued the man of flesh that he determined to


"So," thought he, "there sits Old Maid Pyncheon's bloody brother, while

I've been giving myself all this trouble! Why, if a hog hadn't more

manners, I'd stick him! I call it demeaning a man's business to trade

with such people; and from this time forth, if they want a sausage or

an ounce of liver, they shall run after the cart for it!"

He tossed the titbit angrily into his cart, and drove off in a pet.

Not a great while afterwards there was a sound of music turning the

corner and approaching down the street, with several intervals of

silence, and then a renewed and nearer outbreak of brisk melody. A mob

of children was seen moving onward, or stopping, in unison with the

sound, which appeared to proceed from the centre of the throng; so that

they were loosely bound together by slender strains of harmony, and

drawn along captive; with ever and anon an accession of some little

fellow in an apron and straw-hat, capering forth from door or gateway.

Arriving under the shadow of the Pyncheon Elm, it proved to be the

Italian boy, who, with his monkey and show of puppets, had once before

played his hurdy-gurdy beneath the arched window. The pleasant face of

Phoebe--and doubtless, too, the liberal recompense which she had flung

him--still dwelt in his remembrance. His expressive features kindled

up, as he recognized the spot where this trifling incident of his

erratic life had chanced. He entered the neglected yard (now wilder

than ever, with its growth of hog-weed and burdock), stationed himself

on the doorstep of the main entrance, and, opening his show-box, began

to play. Each individual of the automatic community forthwith set to

work, according to his or her proper vocation: the monkey, taking off

his Highland bonnet, bowed and scraped to the by-standers most

obsequiously, with ever an observant eye to pick up a stray cent; and

the young foreigner himself, as he turned the crank of his machine,

glanced upward to the arched window, expectant of a presence that would

make his music the livelier and sweeter. The throng of children stood

near; some on the sidewalk; some within the yard; two or three

establishing themselves on the very door-step; and one squatting on the

threshold. Meanwhile, the locust kept singing in the great old

Pyncheon Elm.