Answer- The author had been a bit confused when he got to see the boys who had been selling wild strawberries, were polishing shoes. On questioning Nicola acquainted him about their multifarious assays to earn pennies. At this tender age they were in the fight for survival .In the post war situation work had been scarce but they proved to skillful and competent enough to earn the needs. Nicola’s hopeful glance at the author shows their zeal and dedication for work.
We do many things, sir," Nicola answered seriously. by this we understand that the boys do multiple jobs to save their sister like shoes hining, selling strawberries,selling newspapers , providing information to tourist etc they did a lot of hard work