“I felt like a guilty thing, standing there, sharing in the happiness to which I had not been invited; and at last I stole down the stairs, and into the street. I need not say that all this had vastly increased my interest in the pretty singer. This picture of poverty associated with genius, and abundant love shining over all, was very touching.
“The next day I set a detective agency to work to find out all they could about the girl and her family. One of their men called upon me that evening, with a report. He had visited the place and made inquiries of the neighbors, of the shop-keepers, the police, etc., and this is what he had found out:
“There was no person in the building of the name of ‘Carson,’ but in the garret I had described a man resided named ‘Carl Jansen,’ a Swede by birth, a blacksmith by trade, and a very honest, worthy man and good workman, but excessively poor. He had lived for some years in New York; he had a large family of children; his wife took in washing, and thus helped to fill the many greedy little mouths; the oldest girl was named Christina; she was seventeen years of age; she had attended the public schools, and of late years had worked at embroidery, her earnings going into the common stock. She was a good, amiable girl, and highly spoken of by every one who knew her. She had attended Sunday school, and there it had been discovered that she possessed a remarkably fine voice, and she had been placed in the choir; and, after a time, at the suggestion of some of the teachers, her mother had taken her to the manager of the variety hall, who was so pleased with her singing that he gave her a chance to appear on the boards of his theater. She had made her debut last night, and the whole tenement-house, and, in fact, the whole alley and neighboring streets, were talking that morning of her great success; and, strange to say, they all rejoiced in the brightening fortunes of the poor family.
“‘Then,’ I said to myself, ’Carlson was merely a stage name, probably suggested by the manager of the variety show.’
“I determined to find out more about the pretty Christina.”
MAX’S STORY CONTINUED—THE JOURNEYMAN PRINTER