“He ought to be punished,” cried one, angrily.
“Severely,” exclaimed several others.
“Another child run over,” said one man to the constable on guard.
“But who is this boy who has ventured all alone into the street, blind as he is?” asked another.
These words struck Madelaine to the heart. She threw down her bread and rushed into the crowd, which opened before her, and let her see the blind Raphael carried by two men, pale as a corse, his right arm hanging down, and the broken bone showing through the skin.
“Oh, Raphael! my Raphael!” cried Madelaine in agony.
At this well-known voice, a ray of pleasure brightened the face of the boy; he stretched out his left arm to draw her towards him, and hiding his face in her bosom, he said, sobbing, “Mother is dying, and Jacot—and I—dying of grief.”
“But,” said Madelaine, “how have you come here? How were you run over?”
“Mother was so unhappy, and never ceased crying about you; she would have come to look for you but she was too weak. Since yesterday, Jacot has had no seed; we gave him a few crumbs, but he does not sing, and mother said he sits quite still upon his perch, and that he will die. In my grief I came out to search for you, and to beg some seed for Jacot. I walked along by the houses for some time very well, but when I was crossing a street, a carriage came past at full gallop, threw me down, and the wheel went over my arm.”
Madelaine shuddered as she looked at the arm, and said, “poor Raphael! you are in great pain.”
“Yes,” he replied, “but if you will only come home, and if Jacot does not die, then I can bear the pain.”
“His arm must be set without delay,” said one of the spectators, “it is swelling.”
“The boy must be taken to the hospital,” observed another.
“No, oh no!” cried Raphael in agony, and holding his sister firmly, “I will stay with Madelaine, with my mother, and Jacot.”
“Compose yourself,” said Madelaine, “I will stay with you.”
“That cannot be,” interrupted the jailor, “you have not yet been examined, but your brother will not remain long here.” Saying these words, he tried to disengage Madelaine from her brother. Raphael screamed, and tried with all his strength to hold her.
There was a murmur among the crowd; threatening words were spoken against the police. At this moment a gentleman came forward, and addressing Raphael in a kind voice, said, “Do not torment yourself, my child, you are only going to the hospital to have your arm set. If you do not like to remain there, you can return home. In a few hours your sister will be at liberty, and then she can remain with you; and I will go immediately to your mother and tell her all that has happened.”
“But my bird?” said Raphael.
“I will take him a large bag of canary-seed,” replied this good man.
Raphael’s heart was relieved of a great burden; his features became calm, and in a voice of deep feeling, he said, “A thousand thanks, dear, good gentleman.”