Antonio

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Young Spanish guitar player and bit part in the short story "Poor Mercantile Jack" from The Uncommercial Traveller (1861) by Charles Dickens. They were originally serialized in Dickins' own journal All the Year Round in 1860.

'Well!' says Mr. Superintendent, laying his hand on the shoulder of the swarthy youth, 'and who's this?'

'Antonio, sir.'

'And what does HE do here?'

'Come to give us a bit of music. No harm in that, I suppose?'

'A young foreign sailor?'

'Yes. He's a Spaniard. You're a Spaniard, ain't you, Antonio?'

'Me Spanish.'

'And he don't know a word you say, not he; not if you was to talk to him till doomsday.' (Triumphantly, as if it redounded to the credit of the house.)

'Will he play something?'

'Oh, yes, if you like. Play something, Antonio. YOU ain't ashamed to play something; are you?'

The cracked guitar raises the feeblest ghost of a tune, and three of the women keep time to it with their heads, and the fourth with the child. If Antonio has brought any money in with him, I am afraid he will never take it out, and it even strikes me that his jacket and guitar may be in a bad way. But, the look of the young man and the tinkling of the instrument so change the place in a moment to a leaf out of Don Quixote, that I wonder where his mule is stabled, until he leaves off.

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