TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA About the Author A.J. Cronin (1896-1974) was a doctor by profession. He practiced medicine in Wales and in London. It was while recovering from a breakdown in health that he wrote his first novel ‘Hatter’s Castle’. Cronin gave up practicing medicine and took to writing as a career. He wrote a number of novels and short stories. Among his best-known novels are ‘TheCitadel’, ‘The Key of the Kingdom’, and ‘The Spanish Gardener’. About the Story The title of this story is similar to that of one of the early plays of Shakespeare. The story gives an account of the hard life chosen by two young boys so that they could pay for the treatment of their sister afflicted with tuberculosis. According to the author, the boys’ sacrifice, their sincerity and perseverance to their cause, was worth appreciating as they promise extensive hope for the human society. Summary of the story The narrator had come to visit Verona, a city in Italy. While driving through the foothills of the Alps, he came across two brothers, Nicola, aged 13 and Jacopo aged 12. They were selling wild strawberries. Next day, the author saw the two boys doing brisk shoe polishing work. On asking them how they had changed their profession, they told him that they did different things like selling newspapers, fruits, polishing shoes, delivering messages, etc. When they told him that they acted as tourist guides too, he asked them to take him through the town and show him Juliet’s tomb. One cold midnight, the author found that the two boys were sitting on the pavement, deadly tired, and waiting for the last bus to come in which they could sell the newspapers. Next day, the author asked Nicola how they spent the money. He smiled uncomfortably and said that they had some plans, but did not tell him what those plans were. When the writer offered to help them Jacopo asked him to drop them at Poleta by his car. The next afternoon, they reached a village located on a hill. The two boys got down from the car. The writer followed them out of curiosity and learned from a nurse about their sister. She told him that their father was a famous singer who died in the war. A bomb destroyed their house. The children who once lived a comfortable life were left alone on the road. Their sister Lucia was a good singer but she was suffering from tuberculosis and her brothers were working day and night to treat her.
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