The first building he entered was the art gallery, and the first picture that caught his eye held him spellbound. He sat before it all the evening with fascinated eyes, devouring every detail and oblivious to the curious interest he was attracting; for the huge canvas represented the Knights of the Round Table, and he had at last found friends.
All the way back he thought about the picture; it was not until he reached his room that the former loneliness returned.
But even then it was not for long. A pair of yellow eyes peered around the window-sill, and a plaintive “meow” begged for admittance. It was plainly Providence that guided that thin and ill-treated kitten to Sandy’s window. The welcome it received must have completely restored its shaken faith in human nature. Tired as he was, Sandy went out and bought some milk. He wanted to establish a firm friendship; for if he was to stay in this lonely city, he must have something to love, if only a prodigal kitten of doubtful pedigree.
During the long, hot days that followed Sandy worked faithfully at the depot. The regular hours and confinement seemed doubly irksome after the bohemian life on the road.
The Exposition was his salvation. No sacrifice seemed too great to enable him to get beyond that magic gate. For the “Knights of the Round Table” was but the beginning of miles and miles of wonderful pictures. He even bought a catalogue, and, prompted by a natural curiosity for anything that interested him, learned the names of the artists he liked best, and the bits of biography attached to each. He would recite these to the yellow kitten when he got back to his little hot-box of a room.
One night the art gallery was closed, and he went into another big building where a crowd of people were seated. At one end of it was a great pipe-organ, and after a while some one began to play. With his cap tightly grasped in both hands, he tiptoed down the center aisle and stood breathlessly drinking in the wonderful tones that seemed to be coming from his own heart.
“Get out of the way, boy,” said an usher. “You are blocking the aisle.”
A queer-appearing lady who looked like a man touched his elbow.
“Here’s a seat,” she said in a deep voice.
“Thank you, sir,” said Sandy, absently. He scarcely knew whether he was sitting or standing. He only wanted to be let alone, so that he could listen to those strange, beautiful sounds that made a shiver of joy go down his back. Art had had her day; it was Music’s turn.
When the last number had been played, he turned to the queer lady:
“Do they do it every night?”
She smiled at his enthusiasm: “Wednesdays and Saturdays.”
“Say,” said Sandy, confidentially, “if you come first do you save me a seat, and I’ll do the same by you.”
From that time on he decided to be a musician, and he lived on two scanty meals a day in order to attend the concerts.