PHIL, THE FIDDLER
BY HORATIO ALGER, JR.
Among the most interesting and picturesque classes of street
children in New York are the young Italian musicians, who wander
about our streets with harps, violins, or tambourines, playing
wherever they can secure an audience. They become Americanized
less easily than children of other nationalities, and both in
dress and outward appearance retain their foreign look, while
few, even after several years' residence, acquire even a passable
knowledge of the English language.
In undertaking, therefore, to describe this phase of street life,
I found, at the outset, unusual difficulty on account of my
inadequate information. But I was fortunate enough to make the
acquaintance of two prominent Italian gentlemen, long resident in
New York--Mr. A. E. Cerqua, superintendent of the Italian school
at the Five Points, and through his introduction, of Mr. G. F.
Secchi de Casale, editor of the well-known Eco d'Italia--from
whom I obtained full and trustworthy information. A series of
articles contributed by Mr. De Casale to his paper, on the
Italian street children, in whom he has long felt a patriotic
and sympathetic interest, I have found of great service, and I