The scene was Dean Street, Soho, and this story opens on a snowy winter night in the January of 1888. The modern improvements of Shaftesbury Avenue were as yet unmade, and the foreign district of London had still to be opened up. A cold north wind was blowing on the few pedestrians whom necessity, or some urgent obligation, had compelled to tramp the pavements laden with snow. A few cabs and carriages crawled along the difficult roadway to the Royalty Theatre, deposited their occupants and crawled back again. Nello Corsini, a slim, handsome young Italian, poorly clad, carrying a violin-case in one hand, wandered down the narrow street, leading with his other a slender girl of about eighteen, his sister, Anita. She was dressed as shabbily as he was. The snow was lying thickly on the streets and roads, but it had ceased to fall a couple of hours ago. The two itinerant musicians had crept out at once, as soon as the weather showed signs of mending, from their poor lodging
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