“Oh, yes; I should so love to go, but I couldn’t leave my mother.”
“I will send somebody to take care of your mother for the evening, and here is a crown with which you may go and get food and medicine. Here is also one of my tickets. Come to-night; that will admit you to a seat near me.”
Overcome with joy, the child could scarcely express his gratitude to the gracious being who seemed to him like an angel from heaven. As he went out again into the crowded street, he seemed to tread on air. He bought some fruit and other little delicacies to tempt his mother’s appetite, and while spreading out the feast of good things before her astonished gaze, with tears in his eyes, he told her of the kindness of the beautiful lady.
An hour later, tingling with expectation, Pierre set out for the concert. How like fairyland it all seemed! The color, the dazzling lights, the flashing gems and glistening silks of the richly dressed ladies bewildered him. Ah! could it be possible that the great artist who had been so kind to him would sing his little song before this brilliant audience? At length she came on the stage, bowing right and left in answer to the enthusiastic welcome which greeted her appearance.
A pause of expectancy followed. The boy held his breath and gazed spellbound at the radiant vision on whom all eyes were riveted. The orchestra struck the first notes of a plaintive melody, and the glorious voice of the great singer filled the vast hall, as the words of the sad little song of the child composer floated on the air. It was so simple, so touching, so full of exquisite pathos, that many were in tears before it was finished.
And little Pierre? There he sat, scarcely daring to move or breathe, fearing that the flowers, the lights, the music, should vanish, and he should wake up to find it all a dream. He was aroused from his trance by the tremendous burst of applause that rang through the house as the last note trembled away into silence. He started up. It was no dream. The greatest singer in Europe had sung his little song before a fashionable London audience. Almost dazed with happiness, he never knew how he reached his poor home; and when he related the incidents of the evening, his mother’s delight nearly equaled his own. Nor was this the end.
Next day they were startled by a visit from Madame M—–. After gently greeting the sick woman, while her hand played with Pierre’s golden curls, she said: “Your little boy, Madame, has brought you a fortune. I was offered this morning, by the best publisher in London, 300 pounds for his little song; and after he has realized a certain amount from the sale, little Pierre here is to share the profits. Madame, thank God that your son has a gift from heaven.” The grateful tears of the invalid and her visitor mingled, while the child knelt by his mother’s bedside and prayed God to bless the kind lady who, in their time of sorrow and great need, had been to them as a savior.