As the little old man finished the melody he stood still more upright. Then straightening his old shoulders and pulling his hat firmly on his head, he stooped and kissed the old lady and walked with a firm tread to the door.
"I shall make them take notice tonight!" he cried. "I shall return with success!"
So again he went down the long flights of stairs and down the street until he came to a good corner where traffic was heavy.
There, with the mood upon him which had fired him in the attic, he played again the wild melody.
A few people hesitated as they passed, but only one stopped. This was an old woman, bent and wrinkled, who helped herself along with a cane. She stopped and looked him squarely in the eye and the little old man felt he should recognize her, but he could not remember where he had seen her before, nor was he sure that he had ever looked upon her until now.
At any rate, the faint memory inspired him and, raising his violin, he played a beautiful lullaby.
Before he had finished the old woman leaned over and dropped something into his little tin cup.
It sounded as loud as a silver dollar would have sounded.
"The dear old generous soul!" the old man thought as he continued playing.
He played for hours, but the old woman was the only one who stopped. "I will at least have enough to get Cynthia some warm food!" he said, thinking of what the old lady had dropped into his tin cup.
But when he looked, what was his dismay to see only a large iron ring!
Again he climbed the stairs to the attic but he felt too weary to say a thing and his sister knew that he had met with disappointment. He tossed the iron ring to her lap and went over to the bed and threw himself upon it.
"This is the end!" he said, and told her about the iron ring.