Phil the Fiddler - Horatio Alger, Jr. - Страница 1 из 156


PHIL, THE FIDDLER
By Horatio Alger, Jr.
PREFACE
Among the most interesting and picturesque classes of street children in
New York are the young Italian musicians, who wander about our streets
with harps, violins, or tambourines, playing wherever they can secure
an audience. They become Americanized less easily than children of other
nationalities, and both in dress and outward appearance retain their
foreign look, while few, even after several years' residence, acquire
even a passable knowledge of the English language.
In undertaking, therefore, to describe this phase of street life, I
found, at the outset, unusual difficulty on account of my inadequate
information. But I was fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of
two prominent Italian gentlemen, long resident in New York--Mr. A. E.
Cerqua, superintendent of the Italian school at the Five Points, and
through his introduction, of Mr. G. F. Secchi de Casale, editor of
the well-known Eco d'Italia--from whom I obtained full and trustworthy
information. A series of articles contributed by Mr. De Casale to
his paper, on the Italian street children, in whom he has long felt a
patriotic and sympathetic interest, I have found of great service, and I
freely acknowledge that, but for the information thus acquired, I should
have been unable to write the present volume.
My readers will learn with surprise, probably, of the hard life led by
these children, and the inhuman treatment which they receive from the
speculators who buy them from their parents in Italy. It is not without


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