Passing by the wall the seminarian shuddered

Popa Niță, with clenched fists, climbed the sidewalk and apostrophe, with the accent of the greatest indignation, those who laughed:

– It’s a shame, gentlemen! think about it! Christians!… Beautiful!… Great pity!

It is understood that the world, which had amused itself so well, did not find in its place the apostrophe of the moralist, and paid it with thick sarcasm. The pope could not find peace: he tapped his fingers nervously on the marble table of the table, muttering between his teeth all sorts of exclamations of indignation.

The coffee shop, who knows a lot, was ready to give all the details about that child. Unbelievable, but true… and the pope listened intently:

– She is a child of a good family – A widow of a mad boyar – In love with a country boy, a seminarian – Pregnant – Shame on the world – She is going to give birth at the estate – Dead by birth – The child is thrown away; he grows up with an old peasant woman who dies and he stays on the road – Here in the city he has been in trouble for about six months: he came to beg and, being damn kind, from toy to toy he ended up like this – A girl ill, fleeing from school abroad, badly ill there; later found by epitropi and returned to Bucharest; here he flees with one officer, from the officer he leaves with another. – A shoemaker wanted to give alms to the boy: he took him as an apprentice: I would! the thug doesn’t burn work – so bad! taught to ask, to smoke and to drink. The master once beat him as a parent; the rude has fled, and since then he has lived like this: he says naughty, masks,-17-and he also gets a piece of bread; he crawls from one to the other for alms, and sleeps God knows where his fatigue ends. ‘The whole city knows this history of memories; that’s why he calls him “Myth Boer”.

The pope, with his elbows on the table, clenching his temples in his fists, was left drowned in sweat, his eyes fixed on a fly that trembled on the white marble slab: he followed the insect to the edge of the table. What a calculation he would have made in his head as small as a poppy bean, it cannot be said: it is enough that he bites on the spot, unwinds his hind paws, stumbling on each other, smoothes his mustaches nicely with his front paws. , then suddenly he rises and perishes. The man, awake, got up from his chair and went out.

In vain searches… Can’t find baby. All the information of the night owls was wrong: at the fire station, it was not… in the post office, not… under the town hall shed like that: neither here nor there. Three, four hours of running after accurate news. In the square, the little boy knows for sure that Mitu Boerul has just entered with several officers and officials the cafe in the corner, where “the girls sing theater”.

The pope made an incredible sensation entering the place of the profane muses with his scary figure.

“Here’s the father!” cried the prosecutor in the tone of satisfaction with which a late guest is usually greeted. And one of the singers, who was sitting on the cashier’s lap, at the same table with the young magistrate, added: “Bless you, father father!”

Then began a roar, applause, trumpets, whistles, shouts: «Bravo, popa! Bis popa! ” – Infernal! a burning menagerie…

The colossal and spontaneous success did not affect our man at all: the noise at the bottom of this -18-the soul overwhelmed the merry storm outside. The pope moved resolutely to the middle of the room, looked everywhere and hurried away from the rain of laughter, mischievous jokes and boos…

He is not here either… But he cannot return to the host alone… As soon as possible… Forward!… Another little thing: maybe to Saint John, in the churchyard; sometimes the boy sleeps there, when the weather is good…

… He was really there…

Behind the altar, where a lantern from the cross throws its smoky rays, a small man rested crumpled, with his head on a grave without a name or a fence… Just now the priest noticed how much he had walked and sat down nicely to calm down. heart movements. He shyly reached for the boy’s head: then he felt distinctly at the point of his finger like a needle prick. As a child at war with the world, so early on, he seemed to have stopped at the altar, only to be able to sneak in under the sight of God, who, since he had pushed him to life, could not bear to throw them. at least once a search.

– God! the pope whispered in disgust; look at him, Lord; look at him too!

And grabbing the sleeping crotch tightly in his arms, he got up firmly and started. The boy, awakened by the shudder, muttered sleepily a curse and fell asleep again in the arms that hugged him so passionately.

On the dark streets of the city, the man carrying his treasure was lucky not to run into any obstacles: it was the hour when the lanterns could be turned off, when the villains had to sleep. He reached the host, woke up the visitor and the innkeeper, paid and left. The next day, before noon, they were at home in Dobreni.-19-

The priestess could not be satisfied with what the man had brought her from the fair. It is not difficult to bring such a child to a proper state. His whole body was only skinny and scarred from scratches and impurity. How many fiddles, how many corpses and ointments were needed to gradually lift, from the abandoned being, the shell in which they had wrapped it for so many years of misery!

The child gladly let himself do with him what they wanted. Harder to heal than blisters were the grips and habits… In the end, however, these too were to be defeated: the stories, the gentleness, a harsh word to the sisters, the devotion of the good people who had taken him to their warm breast, and especially a Prolonged illness has driven, if not completely, at least for the most part, both bad starts and habits. It is not possible for the skilled and patient gardener to straighten a fragile tree that has begun to grow crookedly.

When, having got rid of the vermin altogether, they clothed him in new clothes on a Sunday, – a man with laces of thread, white strings with a black silk cord and a hat with a tricolor ribbon, and the father said to him: – Wear them healthy , Myth; to grow up big, with mind and luck! the child put his hands in his pockets, looked seriously and long in the mirror and started laughing… and laugh! The woman and the man began to laugh at his laughter. But when the child turned to face them and met their eyes, the father took him in his arms, kissed him many times and started to cry… and cry!… And began the child and the woman.

They then went to church. The bribe in the new clothes made a sensation… Especially the women who caressed him more, because he was also a clean child.

He was so sick, Mitu was sick – dry cough, pain in his spoon, he didn’t eat anything and how many days did he put him to sleep… Cold?… Deochiu?… Tongue?…-20-

It was the dog’s disease… lying on the porch in the sun… barely crawling… Doctors, enchanted, for nothing: he trashed, exhausted seeing with his eyes!… Short search to be joy, and how much the man sees it shortening, thus grows his fierce imagination that today and tomorrow the happiness he found unexpectedly will end… Here now the light that had risen in his way without news sfâr is gone – the light was over.

The priest had fallen asleep about the day, dressed… The woman is still smart next to the sick man, who has been sleeping even better for a day. She put her hand on the child’s cheek – cold; He listened to his open mouth – nothing!

– School, Father! she screams in horror… Stop blowing!

The man jumped to his feet, took the boy in his arms and ran into the yard, shouting:

“Jump, people!” jump!

The sun appeared over the top of the hill… A lot of men, especially women, gathered. The priest had put the stiff child on the porch and knelt on his knees… A woman was holding the candle.

But he is not dead yet.

– I’m hungry!

Good doctor, the air of the Dobrenians! That being cleansed on the outside had to be preempted on the inside as well: that was his job and he took it very kindly on himself. The operation was painful and cruel; but it was necessary and fortunately he succeeded.

The boy, who had escaped completely, his fresh blood, began to brown his cheeks, as he had announced before, and to fill his eyes, gloomy and dark until now, with light and joy. It had been an extremely frightening struggle: life was now moving forward, bright and proud of such victory.

While the priestess Sultana hangs in the church from Dobreni a beautiful icon dedicated to the Mother of God -21-because she had given him what she had asked for, there was some movement in the downtown cafe in her hometown: she had followed Mitu Boerul.

His disappearance could not be ignored: it was a real damage to so many lovers of jokes. It is not known what it was: he had run away? He had died? The truth had finally been found. A note published in the local newspaper showed that at the time of the fair, a country priest, who had been walking drunk at Café-Chantant at night, had asked from boy to boy about the boy… The priest must have taken him.

The prosecutor took matters into his own hands and, “with an intelligence and a zeal that do him true honor,” he discovered that the “victim of the kidnapping” was at Popa Niță in Dobrenii-de-plaiu. Then the young magistrate, accompanied by the police, went to the appropriate local investigation.

Outraged that he wants to take her boy, the priest made an eloquent defense of his cause…

A child haunted by hunger; in the prey of shameful and murderous beginnings even for a ripe man; fornicated at the urging of the mocking world, insatiable with parties… Escaped from such a stepmother’s fate, returned from such a lost path – from death to life… He slept on the bare earth, sick and drunk, with his body fried from head to toe, scallops with a heart mad with wickedness… What would this child have done without shelter or mercy, when the storm and the frost had begun? “He would have died on a pile of garbage, like a stray stray dog.” And to say that he could have faced so much fierce storm! – What would have happened?… Crazy Hospital… Dungeon… Ocna!

The speaker’s speech had won over almost all the assistants… There was a benevolent impression on everyone’s faces. However, the prosecutor answered briefly: