“A quarter of an hour had scarcely passed as they were playing, when a poor old man, who had a fiddle, came into the yard.
“He had a very long white beard, and, being blind, was guided by a little dog, who went before him with a collar round his neck. To this a cord was fastened, which the poor blind man held in his hand.
“It was noticed with how much dexterity the little dog conducted him, and how he shook a bell, which, I forgot to say, hung underneath his collar, when he came near any one, as if he had designed to say by such an action, ‘Do not throw down or run against my master.’ Being come into the yard, he sat him down upon a stone, and, hearing several children talking round him, ‘My dear little gentlemen,’ said he, ’I will play you all the pretty tunes that I know, if you will give me leave.’ The children wished for nothing half so much. He put his violin in tune, and then thrummed over several jigs and other scraps of music, which, it was easy to conjecture, had been new in former times.
“Little Gratian saw that while he played his merriest airs, a tear would now and then roll down his cheeks, on which he stopped to ask him why he wept?
“‘Because,’ said the musician, ’I am very hungry. I have no one in the world that will give my dog or me a bit of of anything to eat. I wish I could but work, and get for both of us a morsel of something; but I have lost my strength and sight. Alas! I labored hard till I was old, and now I want bread.’
“The generous Gratian, hearing this, wept too. He did not say a word, but ran to fetch the cake which he had designed to eat himself. He brought it out with joy, and, as he ran along, began: ’Here, good old man, here is some cake for you.’
“‘Where?’ replied the poor musician, feeling with his hands; ’where is it? For I am blind, and cannot see you.’
“Gratian put the cake into his hand, when, laying down his fiddle on the ground, he wiped his eyes, and then began to eat. At every piece he put into his mouth, he gave his faithful little dog a bit, who came and ate out of his hand; and Gratian, standing by him, smiled with pleasure at the thought of having fed the poor old man when he was hungry.”
Percival. Oh, the good, good Gratian! Let me have your knife, father.
Mr. G. Here, Percival; but why my knife?
Percival. I will tell you. I have only nibbled here a little of my cake, so pleased I was in listening to you! So I will cut it smooth. There, see how well I have ordered it! These scraps, together with the currants, will be more than I shall want for breakfast; and the first poor man that I meet going home shall have the rest, even though he should not play upon the violin.
Charles Grant lived in a good house, and wore fine clothes, and had a great many pretty toys to play with; yet Charles was seldom happy or pleased; for he was never good. He did not mind what his mother said to him, and would not learn to read, though he was now seven years old.