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Young Verdi

"It was a fete day, and he

[Verdi] was helping as choir-boy at Mass in the little church of Le Roncole. The Mass was accompanied on the organ, which he heard for the first time. At the sound of this harmony, then so new to him, the child remained positively in ecstasy. Just at the moment when the priest asked him for the water -- 'Acqua!' -- Verdi was so completely absorbed that he did not hear him. The priest, therefore, repeated 'Acqua!' and Verdi remained deaf. At last a third demand remaining without result, this brutal man, to awake him from his torpor, gave the poor child such a push that he sent him rolling down the three steps of the altar. The fall was so violent that the child fainted, and had to be carried into the sacristy. When he came to himself, and was able to be taken to his parents, what does the reader supposed he did, instead of complaining and crying, as many others would have done in his place? He renewed a request he had already made to his father, and begged him to allow him to learn music."

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