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Whilst the tongue of the confectioner expressed, in such fashion, the morning reflections of its owner, the man's eye rested scrutinisingly upon the boy. Seppi, it should be observed, had a very agreeable and prepossessing exterior; and so the idea suggested itself to the mind of the selfish, avaricious pastrycook, whose own assistant had run away from him only the day before, whether he would not perhaps do well to take the Savoyard lad into his service instead. “ Such a creature,” thought he, “must needs be glad to earn a living, and feel grateful for all and everything one may give him. Besides, he has a good-looking, likely face; and that he is quick on his legs there can be no doubt.”
Therefore, no sooner said than done. The confectioner proceeded to open the door, and forthwith greeted the slumbering Seppi with a gentle kick. “Well, my idle fellow," said he, “do you intend to sleep it out here the whole of this fine day?”
Seppi, half awake and half asleep, jumped up and answered, “ Yes, sir, I'll sweep your chimney directly.”
“Do what? — Sweep the chimney!” returned the confectioner: “no, no, it's not the time for that yet. Come, get up and rouse yourself."
Seppi rubbed his eyes; but oh, how grey and misty did the city look by morning! “Yes, sir; what am I to do then ?” he asked.
“Come with me, you shall hear that directly,” answered the man, as kindly as possible. Seppi followed him into the shop, and the savoury smell of the warm pastry attracted the famished lad irresistibly. “ Listen to me, my lad," quoth the pastrycook, when they had reached the little parlour.
“ I am inclined to do you a great service." Seppi at this pricked up his ears, for he expected nothing less than that the baker was going to make him a present of a few of his nice tarts for breakfast. “You shall stay with me, carry out pastry, help me to serve the customers, and make yourself generally useful to me; in short, I will take you entirely into my service, and provide for you. Now, only think of that, you poor, deserted fellow! and look what I am doing for you; for I am going to give you food and clothing, whilst now you are in hourly risk of being starved to death !”.
What more desirable thing could have befallen our poor hungry Savoyard ? Yet, when the pastrycook spoke of “ starving,” the thought of poor Marie instantly made his affectionate heart shrink within itself. He wept bitterly, and faltered out, amidst his sobs : “ Alas! sir, I have a sister, poor dear Marie, who came with me to Paris : I lost her yesterday evening, and—Oh heavens !-- she was very, very hungry, and had not a morsel of bread. I must, indeed, first of all, go and try to find her.”
The brow of the confectioner gradually darkened with frowns. “Foolish boy,” said he, in a tone of vexation ; “what! do you pretend to look for your sister in Paris ?—in a city which contains a whole million of inhabitants, and whose width and length embraces so many miles? Why, you may search your whole life long, and yet not find her again. Besides, she may have fallen, in the dark, into the river, or have been run over by some carriage ; nay, we do n't know what may have happened to her. If it be the will of God that you should find her again, that will come to pass without your having occasion to stir a step in it. It is nothing new in Paris