Part 1 out of 3
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The Adventures of a Boy Reporter
by Harry Steele Morrison, 1900
LIVING IN THE COUNTRY-- LIFE AT SCHOOL-- THE HUT CLUB IS FORMED-- THE COMING
OF THE CIRCUS
ARCHIE LONGS FOR A CHANGE IN SURROUNDINGS-- A TRIP TO NEW YORK WITH UNCLE
ARCHIE DETERMINES TO GO TO THE CITY TO WORK-- LEAVING HOME AT NIGHT
WORKING ON A FARM TO EARN SOME MONEY-- CRUEL TREATMENT
THE NIGHT AMONG THE RUINS-- THE CAMP-FIRE OF THE TRAMPS
STEALING A RIDE-- KICKED OUT BY THE BRAKEMAN
ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK-- A NIGHT IN A LODGING-HOUSE
LOOKING FOR WORK-- WASHING DISHES IN A BOWERY RESTAURANT
IN THE STREET AGAIN-- THE POLICE STATION-- VISITS THE NEWSPAPER OFFICE, AND
IS KINDLY RECEIVED BY THE EDITOR
LIVING IN COMFORT AGAIN-- FEATURED AS "THE BOY REPORTER"
A DAY AND A NIGHT IN CONEY ISLAND-- RAIDING A GAMBLING DEN
A SUCCESSFUL REPORTER-- THE EDITOR DECIDES TO SEND HIM AS CORRESPONDENT TO
THE PHILIPPINES-- LEAVING NEW YORK-- IN CHICAGO
SAN FRANCISCO-- THE TRANSPORT GONE-- WORKING HIS WAY TO HONOLULU BY PEELING
VEGETABLES ON A PACIFIC LINER-- THE CAPITAL OF HAWAII
THE VOYAGE ON THE TRANSPORT-- A STORM AT SEA-- ARRIVAL IN MANILA
ARCHIE STARTS OUT ON AN EXPLORING TOUR, AND HAS SOME STRANGE ADVENTURES
AMONG THE NATIVES-- SEIZED BY THE REBELS
A PLEASANT CAPTOR-- BRAVE BILL HICKSON ALLOWS ARCHIE TO ESCAPE-- FIRST
GLIMPSE OF AGUINALDO
ARRIVAL OF THE AMERICAN TROOPS-- ARCHIE THE HERO OF THE REGIMENT
THE MARCH AFTER THE REBELS-- THE FIRST BATTLE-- ARCHIE WOUNDED
RETURN TO MANILA-- IN THE HOSPITAL-- CONGRATULATED BY ALL-- WRITING TO THE
PAPER OF HIS EXPERIENCES
AROUND THE ISLAND ON A WAR-SHIP-- BOMBARDING A FILIPINO TOWN
CONTINUING THE CRUISE-- ANOTHER VILLAGE CAPTURED-- THE ADMIRAL ARCHIE'S
FRIEND-- A GREAT BATTLE AND AN UNEXPECTED VICTORY-- LONGING TO BE HOME AGAIN
RETURN TO HEADQUARTERS-- A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR, WITH PERMISSION TO RETURN
TO NEW YORK-- BILL HICKSON GOES, TOO
HONG KONG-- A HAPPY TIME IN TOKIO-- HONOLULU AGAIN-- ARRIVAL IN SAN
FRANCISCO, AND A GREAT RECEPTION BY THE PRESS-- ARCHIE AND BILL ARRIVE IN
NEW YORK, AND ARE THE HEROES OF THE HOUR
DOING "SPECIAL" WORK UPON THE EVENING PAPER-- INTERVIEWS WITH FAMOUS MEN--
CALLS UPON OLD FRIENDS
PRIVATE SECRETARY TO A MILLIONAIRE-- STUDYING AT EVENING SCHOOL-- LIVING
AMID ELEGANT SURROUNDINGS
DECIDES TO VISIT HOME-- A GREAT RECEPTION IN THE TOWN-- A PUBLIC CHARACTER
NOW-- DINNER TO THE HUT CLUB-- DEMONSTRATION AT THE TOWN HALL-- A TELEGRAM
FROM HIS EMPLOYER LEAVING FOR EUROPE
THE ADVENTURES OF A BOY REPORTER.
LIVING IN THE COUNTRY-- LIFE AT SCHOOL-- THE HUT CLUB IS FORMED-- THE
COMING OF THE CIRCUS.
"YES," said Mrs. Dunn to her neighbour, Mrs. Sullivan, "we are
expecting great things of Archie, and yet we sometimes hardly know
what to think of the boy. He has the most remarkable ideas of things,
and there seems to be absolutely no limit to his ambition. He has long
since determined that he will some day be President, and he expects to
enter politics the day he is twenty-one."
"Is that so, indeed," said Mrs. Sullivan. "Well, we can never tell
what is going to come of our boys. As I says to Dannie to-day, says I,
'Dannie, you must do your best to be somebody and make something of
yourself, for you and Jack bees all that I has to depend upon now.'
But Dannie pays no attention to my entreaties, and somehow it seems to
me that since Mr. Sullivan died the boys are gettin' worse and worse.
It's beyond me to control them, anyhow."
"Oh, take heart, Mrs. Sullivan," said Mrs. Dunn, "our boys will all
turn out well in the end, and all we can do is to bring them up in the
best way we know, and trust to them to take care of themselves after
they leave home. Now Dannie is certainly an industrious lad. I hear
him pounding nails all day long in the back yard, and he made a good
job of shingling the woodshed the other day. He seems made to be a
"Yes, I think so myself," said the Widow Sullivan. "The whole lot of
them is out by the railroad now, building a hut. They've organised a
'Hut Club' to-day, and never a lick of work have I had out of them
boys since mornin'. They've always got something going on, and when I
want a bit of water from the well, or a little wood from the shed,
they're never around."
"Yes, but boys will be boys, Mrs. Sullivan, and we'd better keep them
contented at home as long as we can. They'll be leaving us soon
enough. It seems that no boys are content to stay in town any longer;
they're all anxious to be off to the city."
"That's true, that's true, Mrs. Dunn," said Mrs. Sullivan. "I must be
going now. I'm much obliged for the rain-water, and whenever you want
a bit of milk call over the fence, and I'll bring it to you with
pleasure. It's a good neighbour you are, Mrs. Dunn."
And Mrs. Sullivan went slowly around the house and out at the front
gate, while good Mrs. Dunn returned to her ironing, a few clothes
having to be ready for Sunday.
While these mothers were discussing their boys, the youngsters
themselves were busy behind the barn, building a hut down near the
railway track. There were six of them altogether, the three extra
ones, besides Archie Dunn and the Sullivan boys, having come from
across the railway to play for the day. Two hours before they had
solemnly organised themselves into the "Hut Club," each boy walking
three times around the block blindfolded, and swearing upon his return
to be true to all the rules and regulations of the organisation, which
had been written with chalk on the side of the barn. The regulations
were numerous, but the most important one was that no East Side boys
were to be allowed within the club-room when it was built, and that
the club's policy should be one of warfare against the East Siders on
every occasion when they met. This fight against the East Side was,
indeed, responsible for the organisation of the club. It was felt
necessary to have some head to their forces, and some means of holding
together. So the club was organised, and now the next thing on the
programme was the erection of a hut to serve as a club-house. Archie
Dunn, who had been elected president, volunteered to get three boards
and a hammer if the other boys would each get two boards and some
nails. This proposition was agreed to, and when the boys returned from
their foraging expeditions it was found that there were more than
enough boards to build the hut, so the work began at once. Holes were
dug in the ground, and some posts planted as supports for the
structure, and then the boards were hastily nailed together from post
to post. In three hours the hut was practically completed, and it
remained only to lay a floor until they could hold their first meeting
in the new club-house. The floor itself was down by noon, and the club
then served a memorable dinner to mark the completion of the
A hole was dug in the ground outside the door, and a furnace made. A
skillet was brought from Archie's house, together with some dishes and
a coffee-pot, and Dan Sullivan brought some more dishes, and six eggs
from his nests under the barn. The boys were obliged to make several
trips to and from the houses, but finally nearly everything was ready,
and the eggs were carefully cooked by Archie, who was really a good
housekeeper, from long experience in the kitchen with his mother. Some
potatoes were fried in the grease remaining in the skillet after the
eggs were cooked, and then the feast began. The eggs may have been
rather black with grease, and the potatoes were certainly not done,
but the boys all pronounced it the finest meal of their lives,
notwithstanding the bitter coffee, and the dirty bread, which had been
allowed to fall into the gutter beside the railway track. They were
eating in their own house, and they had cooked in the open air, "just
like tramps," Harry Rafe said, and it was little wonder that they
enjoyed the novel experience.
The only trouble came when the meal was finished. No one wanted to
wash the dishes, and, finally, it was decided to return them to their
respective kitchens just as they were, and to let them be washed with
the rest of the dinner dishes at home. And this decision came near
putting an end to Hut Club dinners, for both Mrs. Dunn and the Widow
Sullivan were determined not to wash any more dirty dishes from the
When the meal was over, the boys lounged about the hut, and Dan
Sullivan brought a lot of things from his sister's playhouse with
which to furnish it more suitably. Archie Dunn brought a lot of hay
from the loft in his mother's barn, and when a piece of old carpet was
spread upon it it made an acceptable couch. A piece of old carpet was
laid in front of the hut, too, where the boys could sit and watch the
trains switching back and forth on the railway, and the tramps who
were heating coffee in cans over by the cattle-pen.
Finally, some cattle arrived in the pen to be loaded into cars for the
city, and the boys had just decided to go and watch the men loading
them, when an engine came up the side-track with the most beautiful
car they had ever seen, behind it. The car was painted in all colours
of the rainbow, and in giant letters was printed the magic name of
"The World's Greatest Show."
The boys lost no time in getting down from the cattle-pen fence, and
the car had barely stopped when they were aboard. "Hooray," shouted
Charlie Huffman, "we'll all get jobs of passin' bills." And it was
with this end in view that they sought the advertising manager in the
car, who promised to give them all jobs when the circus came in two
weeks. The boys deluged him with questions of every sort. "Will there
be any elephants?" "Is there goin' to be a parade?" and "Will there be
any trapeze performances?" The poor man was finally obliged to lock
the door to keep them out, and the boys stood about the car until
nearly six o'clock, admiring the paintings, and speculating as to
whether they would be able to work their way into the circus or not,
when it finally came. Their speculations were interrupted by the
appearance on the scene of the Widow Sullivan with a good-sized maple
switch, which she used to good effect in getting the two Sullivans and
Archie Dunn home for supper. For Mrs. Dunn had given Mrs. Sullivan
instructions before she started, so that when Archie complained that
he had been whipped by "that woman next door," he received no sympathy
And when he went to bed at nine o'clock, he could hardly sleep for
thinking of the wonderful things which had happened this day. The
coming circus and the great Hut Club kept him awake until far after
ten, so that he got up too late for Sunday school the next morning,
and was punished accordingly.
The next week was a hard one at school, and the boys had but little
time to devote to the club. But after four o'clock in the afternoon
they sometimes got together and did various things which improved
their club-house. Some very fair chairs were constructed from empty
soap boxes, and various contrivances were put together to guard
against the intrusion of any East Siders or tramps while they were
away at school. There was no padlock used, and any one coming up to
the hut would imagine it a simple thing to enter-- until he tried. But
the boys had fixed a secret cord which, when pulled, shifted the bar
inside, and every boy was sworn not to betray the existence of the
The day set for the circus came nearer and nearer, and the boys began
to be anxious for fear the schools would not close, so that they could
attend. But the superintendent finally announced that they would; so
early on the eventful day the entire club was on the grounds, waiting
to get some work to do. Archie Dunn got the first job, being selected
to carry water for the elephant because he was stronger than any of
the others. But the rest were given something to do, and when the day
was over they had all seen the circus, and went to bed happy, to dream
of the great trip to be taken by the Hut Club on the next Saturday.
ARCHIE LONGS FOR A CHANGE IN SURROUNDINGS-- A TRIP TO NEW YORK WITH UNCLE
THE Hut Club went out on a picnic the next Saturday, and had a jolly
time. They camped upon an island in the middle of a shallow stream,
and while there made coffee and cooked their dinner, having brought
most of the necessary apparatus from the Hut. They fished a little,
and hunted for turtles in the water, and altogether had a good time,
if nothing exciting did occur. It was after nine o'clock at night when
they reached town again, footsore and weary, and Archie Dunn had
hardly entered the house before he was on the dining-room lounge,
half-asleep. His mother seemed to be out, and as he lay there he
wondered how long it would be before she came back. Archie truly loved
his mother, but of late he had often thought that he would like to
leave home and go to the famous city, where he felt sure he could get
something to do. But he disliked the idea of leaving his mother.
"I'm getting to be a big boy, now," he often said to himself, "and
it's time that I began to look out for myself. I'm nearly seventeen,
and I think I ought to be earning some money. This thing of belonging
to Hut Clubs and spending my time in going to picnics and to circuses
ought to stop. It's all right for boys, but I'm getting to be a man,
All these thoughts were flying through his mind when his mother came
in. "Oh, Archie," she exclaimed, "I've been so worried about you. I've
just been over to Mrs. Sullivan's to see if Dannie had come home, and
whether he had seen you. Wherever have you been?"
"We didn't think it would take so long to walk home," said Archie,
jumping up from the sofa, "but we were awfully tired, and we didn't
come very fast. I'm so sorry you were worried.
"And I'm as hungry as a bear, mother. Can't you find me something to
"Yes, dear," said Mrs. Dunn, softly, "and when you've finished your
supper I have something for you. I won't give it to you now for fear
you won't be able to eat, but as soon as you have finished your meal,
you shall have it."
So Archie was obliged to eat his baked beans and brown bread and drink
his milk without knowing what was in store for him, and he hurried as
fast as he could, so that he could learn. When he had finished he went
into the sitting-room, and found his mother sitting with a letter
spread open upon her lap. "Uncle Henry has written me asking if you
cannot go with him to New York on Monday, for a couple of days. He is
obliged to go down there on business, and says he will be glad to take
you along and show you something of the wonderful city, for he knows
you won't be any trouble to him. Now I hardly know what to say,
Archie. If I can feel that you are behaving yourself properly, and are
doing your best to be as little trouble as possible, I am willing that
you shall go."
"Oh, mother," cried Archie, "I'll promise anything. Only let me go
this once, and I'll promise to stay at home all the rest of the
"All right, then," said Mrs. Dunn. "You shall go on the first train
Monday morning, and Uncle Henry will join you at Heddens Corner. Run
along to bed now."
Archie went up-stairs almost dumb with delight Was it really true that
he was to see the great city at last? He had heard some of the boys at
school telling what their fathers saw there, but he had never even
hoped that he would see it for himself so soon. Of course he had
determined to see it all some day, but that was to be far in the
future. The lad could hardly sleep for the joy of it all, and when he
did finally lose consciousness, it was only to dream of streets of
gold, and great buildings reaching to the skies.
Sunday passed slowly by. At Sunday school, Archie told the boys that
be was going to New York on the morrow, and from that moment he was
the hero of the class. The boys looked at him with wondering
admiration, and seemed scarcely able to realise that one of their
number was to go so far from home. The city was in reality little more
than a hundred miles, but to their boyish minds this distance seemed
Early on Monday morning Archie was at the depot waiting for the train.
His mother was there to see him off, and there were tears in her eyes
at the thought of parting with her only child, if only for a day or
two. And Archie was radiant with delight at the glorious prospect
ahead of him. He walked nervously up and down the platform, and wished
frequently that it were not so early in the morning, so that some of
the boys might be there to see him off. Finally, the great hissing
locomotive drew up, with its long train of coaches, and Archie was
soon aboard, hurrying off to Heddens Corner and the city. In a few
minutes Uncle Henry was with him, a tall, fine-looking man, with an
air of business. Uncle Henry kept the general store at the Corner, and
was an important person in the neighbourhood. He was of some
importance in the city, too, for his name was known in politics, and
his custom was always desired at the wholesale stores. So Archie was
going to see the city under good auspices, if his uncle would only
have time to take him about with him.
After a couple of hours, during which Archie kept his face glued to
the window-pane, watching the flying landscape, the great train pulled
through a long, dark tunnel, and finally entered an immense shed,
covered with glass where it came to a final stop. Crowds left the
coaches, and passed out of the station, where they were swallowed up
in the great rush of traffic. Some drove away in cabs and carriages.
Some entered the street-cars, and some went up a stairway and entered
what seemed to Archie a railway train in the air.
Uncle Henry told Archie to follow him carefully, and they, too, were
soon flying away from the neighbourhood of the terminal, past hotels,
stores, and dwellings, until they finally left the trolley-car, and
passed through a cross street into a long, quiet thoroughfare which
looked old enough to have been there for a hundred years. The houses
were built far back from the street, with pillars in front, and into
one of these quaint old dwellings went Archie and his uncle.
"I always stop down-town," explained Uncle Henry, "because I am near
to the great wholesale establishments. It is central to the retail
stores, too, and to many of the places of interest."
When they were settled in their room, Uncle Henry explained that he
would have to be away most of this first day, but that to-morrow he
would take Archie out and show him the sights. So Archie expected to
remain indoors all day; but when his uncle had left the house he
decided that he couldn't possibly remain in this close room when so
many wonderful things were taking place outside. So he decided to walk
up and down the street, anyhow, and when he went out he felt like a
prisoner just escaped from a cell. But the noise was terrible, and
there were a great many wagons and trucks passing through the street.
The greatest crowd seemed to be on that cross street about two blocks
away, so Archie decided to go there, and see if there was anything new
on that street.
He saw many wonderful things. There were cars running along without
any apparent motive power, there were thousands and thousands of
people in the streets, and the stores looked so handsome and
interesting that he simply couldn't resist going into one or two of
them, just to see what they were like. And when he had finished with
one or two he could think of no reason why he shouldn't go on up the
street, where he was sure he would find a great many more interesting
things to see. So on and on he went, until at last he was tired and
hungry, and then, for the first time, he was a little frightened,
because he thought of all he had read about people losing their way in
the city, and not being able to find their relatives again. But he was
a brave boy, so he determined to make an effort to find his way back
without appealing to a policeman. And after a time he was successful,
and entered the queer old house in the ancient street at just three
o'clock in the afternoon. His uncle was there waiting for him, and was
nearly beside himself with apprehension.
"I was about to send out a general alarm for you, at the police
station," he said. "How did you happen to go away?"
"Oh, I was so very tired of staying in the house," said Archie, "and I
felt sure that I could find my way back without getting lost at all.
And to-morrow I'm sure I can get along all right, Uncle Henry, so you
needn't bother with me at all, unless you want to."
And it so happened that Mr. Kirk was very busy the next day, and would
have found it quite impossible to show Archie about. So it was
fortunate that he was able to go everywhere alone, or he would have
had to return home without seeing anything at all of the city.
As it was, he went here, there, and everywhere, and saw a great deal
of the city, the people, and the way in which they lived. The entire
place had a strange fascination for him, and all the time he was
thinking how glad he would be to live where he could see all this rush
of business, this varied life, every day. And he fully determined to
return some day and get something to do, so that he might work himself
up, and come to own one of the handsome houses on the avenues, or
drive one of the elegant carriages on the boulevard. And he observed
every boy who passed him, and talked with several of them, trying to
find out whether positions were easy to secure, and whether they paid
much when they were secured.
So when they took the four o'clock train for home, and arrived at
Archie's house in time for supper, he told more about the city boys
and their work than about the tall buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, or
the Central Park. He talked so much, in fact, about the delights of
the city boy, and the money he earned, that after he had gone to bed
Mrs. Dunn took her brother aside and talked with him concerning
Archie's future. And between them they definitely decided that Archie
must not go to the city to work.
ARCHIE DETERMINES TO GO TO THE CITY TO WORK-- LEAVING HOME AT NIGHT.
ARCHIE DUNN was not more ambitious than many other boys of his age,
but he possessed one quality which is not developed in every boy,
determination. Once Archie decided upon doing a thing, once he had
made up his mind that it was truly a good thing to do, nothing could
keep him from putting his plans into action, and making an effort, at
least, to accomplish his ends. Most boys of seventeen have not decided
what they want to become when they are men, and, until his visit to
the city, Archie was equally at sea concerning his future. He knew, of
course, that he wanted to be rich and famous, but when he tried to
think up some suitable profession which would bring him these
possessions, he was never able to decide.
The two days in the city with Uncle Henry had opened to his boyish
mind a new world, and when he returned to the humble home surrounded
by gardens, he felt that he would never be satisfied to live and work
in this small town. There was now no question in his mind but what the
city was the place for any one who wished to become either rich or
famous. It would certainly be impossible for him to make a name for
himself in this village, while in the city he would have every
opportunity for improving himself, and advancing himself in every way.
He wondered, indeed, that he had never thought of going to New York
before, and was disgusted with himself when he thought of the time he
had wasted here at home.
But there was no use in thinking of the past. The thing to do now was
to get to the city as quickly as possible, for to Archie every day
seemed precious, and each delay kept him further from the consummation
of his hopes. It never occurred to the boy that his mother might have
objections to his leaving home. She had always been very ambitious for
his future, and he supposed that she would be delighted at the idea of
having her boy in the great city, where he would have innumerable
chances for improving himself. So when they sat on the front porch,
one evening, and he told her of his plan, he was surprised to hear his
mother pleading with him to remain at home. "Archie," she said, "I am
almost sure you will come to some bad end in the city. You really must
not go, for my sake, if for no other reason."
"But, mother, I can't remain here in town always. I must go out into
the world some time to earn a living and make a place for myself, and
I think the sooner I go the better, don't you?"
"Yes, Archie, but you're so young, and you've had no experience. You
have no idea of the things there are in great cities to drag young men
down. I don't think I could stand it to have you so far away from home
and in such danger."
"Well, mother," said Archie, "there isn't much use in arguing about
it. I have reached a point where I don't think I can be any longer
satisfied at home. I have been here seventeen years, and I think I can
remain here that much longer without improving myself. In the city I
am sure I can make rapid progress, and in a year or two you can come
there and live with me."
Archie got up from the porch and went down the street, while poor Mrs.
Dunn ran over next door to see her neighbour, Mrs. Sullivan. When she
had entered the disorderly kitchen, and seated herself on one of the
home-made chairs, the anxious mother burst into tears. "I don't know
what to think of Archie, Mrs. Sullivan," she said. "He is determined,
now, to go to New York, and I know that if he goes I will never be
able to see him again. I am nigh distracted with worrying over it. I
have talked with him, but he seems determined, and I know I can never
hold out against his entreaties and arguments."
"Sure, now, Mrs. Dunn," said the Widow Sullivan, "don't yez be a
worryin' about 'im at all. That Archie is a smart boy, he is, and if
he goes to New York he'll come out all right, never fear, I only wish
my Dannie had as much get-up about him as your boy."
"Yes, yes, Archie is very ambitious for his age," said Mrs. Dunn, "but
I sometimes wish he were less so. I know I could keep him at home
longer if he wasn't so anxious to be at work. I don't believe I can
let him go, Mrs. Sullivan, not yet. I want him to stay in school
another year, and then I'll think about it."
"Well, ye're wise, Mrs. Dunn, ye're a wise woman," said the Widow
Sullivan. "Since yer husband died ye've been a good mother to the lad,
and have brought 'im up well. And now, how is yer chickens, Mrs. Dunn?
Have ye got that cochin hen a 'settin'' yit?"
And the two women began to discuss their various fowls, and the
conversation was so interesting that Mrs. Dunn remained late, and
found Archie in bed when she went home. "Ah, well, poor boy, I'll have
to tell him of my decision in the morning. He'll be terribly
disappointed, and I hate to do it I'm afraid it's selfishness that
makes me want to keep him with me. I almost wish he would take things
into his own hands, and start for the city himself. I would be rid
then of the responsibility of sending him, and the question would be
settled for me. Boys sometimes know best how to settle their own
Mrs. Dunn kneaded the bread before retiring, for to-morrow was
Saturday, and, therefore, baking-day, and then she went into her
little room off the kitchen, and prayed earnestly for her boy before
sleeping. She prayed that she might be helped in advising him, and
that he might always do what was best for himself and for his mother.
The next day was Saturday, and in the morning the Hut Club met, as
usual, and prepared to have an open-air dinner for this day. The
furnace, which had been knocked down during the week by the East
Siders, was rebuilt, and the skillet and other utensils were brought
from the nearest kitchens. Archie went to the grocery around the
corner and bought five cents' worth of cakes, and then the six boys
sat down in a circle and prepared to devour their home-made feast. But
before they began Archie stood up. "I want to say that this will
probably be my farewell dinner with the club," he said, in a low tone,
"and I hope that you will appoint another president in my place."
The boys were horror-struck, but Archie refused to explain where and
when he was going. Finally, they refused to appoint another president,
all agreeing that Archie should hold that office for ever, wherever he
was. And the meal was eaten in silence, for the announcement had
thrown a sort of chill over the proceedings. When they had finished,
Archie silently shook hands with each of the boys, who were dumb with
amazement, gathered up his skillet and coffee-pot, and went home
through the gate to the chicken-lot.
"I wonder what he's goin' to do," they all said, as in one breath, and
as there was seldom much fun in the club when Archie was absent, they
all went home in a few minutes, or down-town to watch the farmers, who
were in town to do their weekly buying.
When Archie reached home he went up-stairs to his little room, and
began to lay out a few things which he wanted to take with him, for he
had determined to start for New York this very night. Then he tied the
things up in a small bundle, and sat down to write a note to his
mother. When he had finished it, he pinned it up at the head of his
cot, and this is what it said:
"MY DARLING MOTHER:-- Please don't worry about me, I'm bound to
come through all right, and if anything happens to me, I promise
that I will write to you immediately and let you know. I have the
ten dollars which I have saved, and if I don't get work at once I
will write to you for some more. Now, I am not doing this thing for
the sake of adventure, but because I am sure it is the best thing
for me, and I don't want you to worry at all. I shall write to you
often and let you know just what I'm doing, so don't worry, but be
a brave mother. I'm not going off this way as a sneak, but because
I want to avoid a 'scene.'
And at three o'clock the next morning Archie Dunn got out of bed,
shouldered his bundle, and started off for the great city, which
seemed to be drawing him like a magnet.
WORKING ON A FARM TO EARN SOME MONEY-- CRUEL TREATMENT.
WHEN daylight came, Archie was far out of the town walking quickly
along the southern road. He figured that he had walked nearly six
miles in the two hours since he had let himself out of the back door
at home, and, as he looked ahead, he planned that he would walk at
least thirty miles every day. Of course, he had never done much
walking before, or he would have known better than to have expected to
accomplish so much in twelve hours, but he felt fresh and full of
strength this morning, and nothing seemed too hard to accomplish. As
yet he had not regretted his departure from home. The excitement of it
all, and the adventurous side of his exploit, had kept him interested,
and made him feel that he was a real hero. But he was not so foolish
as to imagine that there would not be times when he would regret
having set out for New York. He was too old and too sensible for his
age to allow his ambition to run away with him entirely, and he fully
expected to meet with many great discouragements. "But I'm sure of one
thing," he said to himself, as he walked along, "I never will return
home until I have something to show for the trip. I won't have the
club boys and the neighbours saying that Archie Dunn had to come home
discouraged. If I return without accomplishing anything, I will be
held up to the whole town as a boy who made a fool of himself by not
taking his friends' advice, and I never will be made an example of if
I can help it." And Archie walked faster as he thought of the
possibility of failure.
When seven o'clock came he was passing through the county-seat, but
though there were many interesting things to look at in the town,
Archie determined not to stop. He was afraid he might meet some one he
knew, who would be sure to ask him where he was going with his bundle,
and what he was doing out so early. And anyhow he was very hungry, and
decided to get out of the town and to the farmhouses as soon as
possible. "I can work for my meal at a farmhouse," he said to himself,
"but in the town they'll take me for a regular tramp."
So poor Archie walked quickly through the town, still keeping to the
southern road, and saying to himself, as he passed every milestone,
"So much nearer New York." About a mile out in the country he came to
a large farmhouse, and he determined to enter and ask for a meal. He
had hard work to muster up enough courage to go in and ask for
anything, but finally he knocked timidly at the kitchen door, and was
frightened by a large dog which came barking around the corner. It
seemed to him that the animal would surely bite, but a large fat woman
opened the door just in time to let him in. "Hurry in, boy," she said,
"fer there's no tellin' what Tige might do ef he once gets a hold of
ye." So Archie stepped into the large kitchen, with its rafters
overhead, and its dining-table in the corner. "Sit down, boy," said
the woman. "I reckon you's thet new lad thet's come ter work over at
Mullins's, ain't ye?"
"No'm," said Archie, "I don't work anywhere. I'm on my way to New
York, where I expect to find a position, and I thought perhaps you'd
allow me to do a little work here this morning to earn my breakfast."
Good Mrs. Lane, for that was the woman's name, was horrified to think
that any one was alive and without breakfast at eight o'clock in the
morning. "Goodness me!" said she. "Why, you must be half-famished fer
want of food, ain't ye?" And she bustled about the kitchen, putting
the kettle on to boil, and stirring up the fire. "You'll have some
nice ham and eggs, my boy, and then I have somethin' in mind fer you.
I reckon yer ain't in no hurry ter get ter the city, be ye? Well, even
if ye do be in a hurry, I reckon you'll be glad of the chance to earn
four dollars. I ain't goin' to ask ye no questions about how ye come
to be walkin' to New York, because I never wuz no hand ter meddle in
other folkses affairs, but ye look to be a likely lad, and a strong
un, and ez my sister's husband, what lives two miles down the pike,
needs a boy to drive a plough fer a week, I b'lieve ye'll suit 'im
first-rate. So ez soon ez ye have finished yer vittles, I'll walk down
there with ye, and we'll see the old man."
Archie hardly knew whether to be delighted with the prospect or not.
Of course four dollars would be nice to have, but he was anxious to
get to the city as soon as possible, and every day counted. But
perhaps it would be wrong, he thought, to throw away such a good
chance to earn some money, and he had decided to accept any offer the
farmer made him, long before he finished his breakfast. When he got up
from the straight-backed chair, he felt that he had never eaten a
better meal in his life, and when Mrs. Lane started off down the road,
he gladly followed her. A week on such a farm as this would be no
unpleasant experience. Such food was not to be had every day, he knew,
and he of course would have precious little that was good to eat when
he reached the city.
They soon covered the two miles, Mrs. Lane getting along very fast for
such a large woman, and at last they stood before Hiram Tinch, who
owned the farm. Archie was made to describe his intentions, and was
thoroughly examined by Mr. Tinch. He told the farmer that he knew
nothing about farm work, but Mr. Tinch said he would soon teach him,
and it was settled that Archie was to remain on the farm a week. Mrs.
Lane went inside the house to see her sister, who looked sick with too
much work, and the farmer told Archie that he might as well start in,
as there was no object in waiting. So the boy donned a pair of "blue
jean" trousers, and was taken into a field, where a one-horse plough
was standing. Archie knew how to hitch a horse, so he went to the
stable and secured his steed, and then harnessed him to the plough.
The farmer didn't see fit to give him any instructions about
ploughing, and the poor boy hardly knew what to do, but rather than
ask he started off, and tried to guide the animal in the right
direction, as far as he knew it. Of course the horse went wrong, and
the plough refused to stay in the earth, and altogether the attempt
was a miserable failure. The farmer leaned against the fence, picking
his teeth with a pin, but when he saw the horse going crooked, and the
plough bounding along over the earth, his face grew livid with anger.
For a minute he seemed unable to speak, but strode toward Archie with
a fierce look in his eyes. Then he found his tongue, and opened such a
tirade of vile words that the poor boy shrank from him in terror. He
was in mortal fear lest the man should lay hands on him and commit
some crime, so intense was his rage, but Hiram Tinch seemed to know
how far to go, and after five minutes of cursing and swearing he took
the plough in his own hands, and guided it through the earth. "Now
take it," he growled at Archie, when he had gone a furrow's length,
"and see ef ye can do better this time. Remember, not a bite of dinner
do ye get until this field is ploughed."
Poor Archie was weak from fright, but there was nothing to do but to
obey. He looked at the vast field before him, and made up his mind
that he would get nothing to eat until night, anyhow, for it was
already nearly noon. He felt very much like bursting into tears, but
he was too proud to give way to his feelings. But he couldn't help
wishing that he were at home, playing with the members of the Hut
Club. "Those boys are much better off than I am," he said, over and
over, "though they have made no effort to improve themselves." After a
time, however, his ambition returned, and as he looked ahead into the
future, and remembered the wonderful things he was going to
accomplish, he felt more like working.
He finished the field at five o'clock in the afternoon, and was almost
fainting from hunger and from the hard work. The ploughing was fairly
well done, but Hiram Tinch could see no merit in the work. He swore at
Archie again, and gave him a supper of mush and milk. Mrs. Tinch sat
by, and Archie could see that she did not approve of his treatment.
The poor woman seemed afraid to speak, almost, but it was plain that
she had a good heart. So when Archie heard a noise in his garret room
that night, he was not surprised to see Mrs. Tinch at the window,
placing some doughnuts and sandwiches there for him to eat.
THE NIGHT AMONG THE RUINS-- THE CAMP-FIRE OF THE TRAMPS.
IT seemed to Archie that he had just fallen asleep when old Hiram
Tinch was shaking him awake. "Git up out o' here now, ye lazy beggar,
and git to the field and finish that there ploughin'," he growled, and
the frightened lad awakened from a horrible nightmare, only to find a
worse experience awaiting him in the light of day. He hastily drew on
his trousers, and didn't wait to don either shoes or stockings, for if
he was to spend the day ploughing in a field, he knew he would be more
comfortable in his bare feet. When he reached the kitchen, he found
that Farmer Tinch had already eaten his breakfast, though it was not
daylight. Archie was glad that he was out of the way, and good Mrs.
Tinch was glad of it, too, for she was able to give the boy a good
breakfast, and some good advice with it. "Don't you pay no attention
to what my man says, laddie. He's a powerful man to swear and carry
on, but I don't think he'll have the meanness to strike you. Ef he
does, ye must come to me, and I'll see thet he doesn't do it no more."
Archie was grateful for this spirit of friendliness, but in his heart
he thought that cruel words were often more painful than lashes, and
he heartily wished that his week was over.
All this day he spent on the farm, without once going into the road.
Farmer Tinch had warned him that if he saw him making for the road at
any time, he could go and never come back, and he would forfeit what
money he had already earned. So Archie ploughed the field from
daylight till dark, with a half hour at noon for a hurried dinner. He
was glad when darkness came, and after another supper of mush and milk
he was thankful to have a corn-husk bed to sleep on, and was soon in a
stupor which was so sound as to be almost like death.
Again the next morning he was awakened at daylight, and he was made to
work even harder than on the second day. He had by this time become
somewhat used to the labour, however, and stood it better. He was more
successful in his work, too, and Farmer Tinch had less opportunity for
cursing him. But at night he seemed more tired, even, than before, and
he longed for his home again. He thought of the cosy bed he would now
be enjoying if he had only taken his mother's advice, and he felt
almost like getting up in the night and stealing away on the road to
the north. But, always a sensible lad, Archie realised that this
discouragement could not last, and he lost himself in sleep, looking
forward three days, when his week should be up, and he would be on his
way to the city, with four dollars more to add to his slender store.
The three days passed slowly, but at length the Saturday night came,
and he prepared to be off. But good Mrs. Tinch entreated him to remain
with them over Sunday, and, as Archie wasn't sure that it would be
quite right for him to travel on Sunday, he decided to do so. So the
next day he brushed his only suit of clothes, and drove with his late
employer to church, where Farmer Tinch sat in a front seat and passed
the bread and wine at communion. Archie's heart rose to his throat as
he saw this paragon so devout in church. He felt like rising in his
seat and denouncing him before all the people as a tyrant and a
hard-hearted wretch. But he kept quiet, though he found it impossible
to partake of the communion under such circumstances.
The Tinches had brought their dinner with them, and at noon they all
sat on one of the grassy mounds in the churchyard, to take some
refreshment before the afternoon service began. When they had
finished, Archie wandered off, and came to a crowd of boys who were
romping behind the church. When they saw him approach, they all
stopped their noise, and looked at him wonderingly. Evidently they
were not used to seeing strange boys. The silence was soon broken,
however, by one of the boys calling out, "Why, fellers, thet's the
chap what's been workin' fer Hiram Tinch." This announcement was
enough to make Archie an even greater object of interest than before,
for the boys seemed to think that any person who could work for Farmer
Tinch, and come out of the ordeal none the worse for wear, must be
something wonderful. Archie was soon on good terms with them all,
however, and told them of his plan of going to New York. The boys were
all attention, and soon he was the hero of the occasion. When the bell
rung for the afternoon service he was still telling them of the things
he was going to do, and none of them wanted to go into the church.
Archie persuaded them to enter, however, but he was not surprised to
meet them all along the road when he left Tinch's early Monday
It was almost time to go to bed when they reached the farmhouse that
night, so Archie went at once to his attic, being anxious to start
fresh on his journey the next day. He was now determined to push on as
rapidly as possible, hoping to reach the city within three or four
days. He was somewhat afraid that he wouldn't be able to do this, but
he was going to try, anyhow.
At daylight Monday morning he was on the way, and when the various
boys he met the day before said good-bye to him and wished him good
luck, he felt that his stay at Tinch's had not been without benefits
of some sort. He had made some boy friends, and he was four dollars
richer, Archie was sensible enough, too, to realise that his
experience would be a valuable one to him in the future. He knew now
what hard work was, at any rate.
The morning walk was delightful. The September weather was perfect,
and all along the road were fruit-trees laden with every sort of good
thing to eat a boy could wish for. And as the trees were on the public
thoroughfare, Archie did net hesitate to help himself freely as he
went along, so that he didn't require any meal at noon.
As night drew near, however, he began to wonder what he would do for a
bed, and the question became more important with every hour. He had
come to no towns since morning, and knew that he couldn't expect to
reach one of any size until the next day, anyhow. There were
farmhouses, of course, but after his experience of the past week the
lad felt that he would rather remain outdoors all night than risk
being thrown in with another Hiram Tinch. He didn't know enough of
farmers to know that few of them resemble Mr. Tinch in nature, and he
did what he thought was best in keeping away from farmhouses after
It was five o'clock in the evening, and Archie was beginning to feel
very tired and hungry, when he came to the ruins of an old colonial
mansion, which lay far back from the road, surrounded by trees, and
almost hid with shrubbery. "How interesting," he thought to himself.
"It looks just like the pictures of old ruins we see in geographies. I
think I must go up and see what they look like at close range." And,
fired with a spirit of adventure, and making believe that he was an
explorer in an ancient country, the boy made his way through the trees
and shrubbery. The ruins looked more and more interesting as he
advanced. This had evidently been a magnificent estate at one time.
There were massive pillars which had once supported a stately portico
at the front of the house, and above all there rose a massive chimney,
which seemed to be exceedingly well preserved. As Archie came nearer,
he was surprised to notice a thin column of smoke rising from the top
of the chimney, and for a moment he stood still with fright. What
could this mean? Who could be building a fire in the midst of these
ruins. It was almost like what one reads about in books, he thought.
For some time he could not decide what to do, whether he had better
keep on, or whether the wisest policy would be to get back to the road
as quickly as possible. Finally, his curiosity and thirst for
adventure persuaded him to go on, and he continued to push his way
through the shrubbery until he stood before the ruins. He then climbed
a flight of steps, and stood in what had once been the main entrance
to this massive palace. Before him he saw a scene which was almost
weird in its unusualness. A fire of pine-knots was blazing in the
ruins of the great fireplace, and seated in a semicircle around the
fire were several men of picturesque appearance, whose faces looked up
angrily when they were disturbed.
STEALING A RIDE-- KICKED OUT BY THE BRAKEMAN.
ARCHIE was dumbfounded. Never before had he been among such a motley
crowd, and his first impulse was to turn and run. But on second
thought he decided that it would be best to put on a bold face and
walk up to the men. This he did, and when he reached the fire the men
jumped up and asked him who he was. In a few words he told them his
simple story, and they all laughed and sat down again about the fire,
making a place for him. "You're one of us, then, laddie," said the
leader of the gang. "We're all soldiers of fortune, all dependent upon
the generous public for our livelihood. But we're not goin' to the
city. There's nothin' there for us, and our advice to you is for you
to steer clear of the place, too. Them police takes ye and throws ye
into jail as quick as a wink, and there's no chance of gettin'
anythink to eat at basement doors, neither. They're all on to us,
there, laddie, and ye'd better stick to the country."
This bit of advice was endorsed by the entire company, and it was in
vain that Archie tried to make them understand that he was no ordinary
tramp, walking about the country in search of an easy time. He tried
to tell them that he was going to the city to work, not to beg; but
the leader, a big, dirty fellow, weighing two hundred pounds or over,
said, "Never mind, laddie, we knows you've run away from home to get
away from the folks, and we appreciates yer position. If yer a mind to
stand by us, we'll stand by you, and see thet ye comes to no harm."
On thinking things over, Archie decided that it was perhaps the wisest
thing for him to appear to sympathise with the tramps, and make
himself agreeable while with them. He had undoubtedly run into a gang
of the worst sort of vagabonds, and there was no way of getting away
from there without arousing their suspicions. So he partook of their
slender meal, and joined in the general laughter when the leader,
"Fattie Foy," made some crude attempt at punning. The meal was one to
be remembered. The coffee had been heated in an empty tomato can over
the fire, and from its taste was evidently a combination of various
collections made from the farmhouses round about. Besides the coffee
there was a various collection of sandwiches and bread and butter, and
two pieces of cake. One man had succeeded in striking a good house,
and came back laden with pickles and crackers and cheese, which were
probably the remains of some picnic basket. Another fellow had brought
some pieces of cold bacon, and these were warmed on sticks over the
fire until they looked really appetising. From some barn had come a
half-dozen fresh eggs, and these were quickly boiled in a can of hot
water, and made a very fair showing on the slab of granite which
served as a table.
When everything was ready the provisions were equally divided among
the crowd, and every one shared alike. It made no difference how much
more one man collected than another, it was always shared with the
entire crowd. Poor Archie found it almost impossible to eat, but the
men insisted that he take something, so he did manage to swallow a few
sips of coffee and eat a slice of bread and butter. But as he looked
about him at the dirty hands and faces, and the filthy garments of the
tramps, he determined not to eat again while with them.
When the meal was over the two tin cans were washed at a spring of
water, and as it was now quite dark, they all sat close to the fire,
in order to see. Some one produced a pack of dirty cards, and they
began a game of some kind. Archie was asked to join, but he told them
he didn't know anything about card-playing. The poor lad was beginning
to wish he had never left home, and felt more miserable than at any
other period of the journey. He walked over to a corner of the ruins
where the light from the fire did not penetrate, and, once there, he
sat down and sobbed bitterly for a time. When he had finished crying
it seemed impossible for him to sleep. The scene about the fire
fascinated him. The men were seated in every sort of picturesque
attitude, and as the flickering light fell upon their dark faces it
wasn't hard for the poor lad to imagine that he had fallen among a
crowd of brigands. He watched them as they played until he could see
no longer, and then he fell into a sound sleep.
When Archie woke it was still dark, but the moon was shining brightly
overhead, making everything as light as day. He rubbed his eyes and
sat up, and it was some time before he could realise where he was.
Then, as he saw the tramps lying about the ground, he remembered his
adventures of the night before, and, horrified that he had allowed
himself to sleep, he hastily jumped up, and determined to get away
from the ruins as quickly as possible. The tramps were all sleeping
soundly, and the only noises to be heard were the sound of their
breathing and the blood-curdling hoot of some owl perched on the
pillars of the old portico. The boy picked his way carefully between
the bodies of the sleeping men, and in a minute stood once more on the
grand flight of steps outside. He was trembling for fear some tramp
would awake and prevent his going, and when a bat brushed him in its
flight he almost screamed with terror. Far out beyond the trees and
the shrubby he could see the road glistening in the moonlight, and he
made his way as rapidly as possible out of the grounds, and was once
more on his way to the city.
It was lonesome work, walking along a country road at night, and
Archie remembered with longing his cosy bed at home. The feeling of
homesickness kept growing within him, despite his efforts to down it,
and when at last the glorious autumn sun rose over the eastern horizon
he was miserable with longing for mother and for home. But he was too
proud to even think of turning back. He must reach the city at all
hazards, homesick or not.
Archie did not think of breakfast this morning. His experience of the
night before seemed to have taken away his appetite entirely, and his
only thought was to walk as fast as possible, so that he could reach
the city soon. About nine o'clock he entered the outskirts of a busy
town, and while there he observed that the railroad going to the city
passed through the place. All at once a new idea occurred to him. He
had so often heard men and boys tell of how they had stolen a ride
from one town to another. Why shouldn't he be able to get a ride on a
freight train to the city. Would it be wrong? Archie thought not,
since so many men did it. And anyhow it didn't seem a wicked thing to
cheat the railroad. He had heard people say that the company ought to
be cheated whenever possible, since it cheated so many others. So,
from being so tired and so anxious to reach New York, Archie decided
to try and steal a ride. He entered the yards, where a train was being
made up for the south, and there he saw a cattle-car with an open
door. He immediately jumped inside and shut the door, squeezing
himself into the farthest corner, hoping that he wouldn't be
discovered. He soon found that he wasn't alone, for a couple of tramps
were in the opposite corner, and they whispered to him not to make any
noise. "The brakie," they said, "will soon be 'round, and if he finds
ye he'll put us all in jail."
Poor Archie grew pale at the thought of being put in jail, and huddled
himself closer in the corner. After a time the train started, and the
tramps, he noticed, climbed up into some sort of compartment under the
roof of the car, where they wouldn't be observed, leaving Archie alone
down-stairs. Things went smoothly for a time. The train went flying
along, and Archie counted every mile which brought him nearer to the
city. Finally the train pulled up at a crossing, and a brakeman came
along and threw open the door of the car. He was not long in
discovering the cowering figure in the corner, and his wrath was
dreadful to look upon. "So, ye cussed vagabond," he growled, "ye
thought ye'd steal a ride, did ye? Get out o' this now. Quick, out
with ye." Archie could have fainted, and, as it was, he almost fell
out of the car, propelled by the brakeman's boot. For awhile he stood
dazed beside the track, and finally moved on. "I'll keep a 'stiff
upper lip,'" he said, "whatever happens." But this was by far the most
discouraging adventure yet.
ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK-- A NIGHT IN A LODGING-HOUSE.
ON and on for the rest of the day walked Archie. His feet were sore,
he was weak from hunger, and he was made miserable with being
homesick. People who met him on the road turned around to look at the
slender lad with the pale face and the weary step, but he kept walking
on, stopping for nothing, and noticing no one. At noon he picked some
apples in an orchard, and these appeased his hunger. When evening drew
near, however, he felt that he could go without food no longer, so he
didn't hesitate to stop at a house and ask for food. "I know mother
would give a boy food if one should come to our door," he said to
himself, "so I do not think it wrong for me to ask for food here." He
was fortunate enough to strike a pleasant housewife, who took him in
and made him sit down at the kitchen table, which she covered with
good things to eat. There was cold roast beef, some fried potatoes and
a glass of good fresh milk. And then she gave him some apple pie, so
that when he had finished Archie felt better than for many a day.
While he ate he told the good woman why he was going to New York, and
her sympathy was enlisted at once. "Why, you poor lad," she exclaimed,
"just to think of your being in the city all alone. And what will your
Archie couldn't imagine what his mother did think. He had remembered
her every minute during the last few days, and was anxious to write
her, so he decided to ask the woman for some paper and a pencil. These
were gladly given him, and he sat down and told his mother that he was
almost to New York and that he had been having a splendid time. He was
careful not to say anything about his experience with Farmer Tinch, or
the night he spent with the tramps. He knew these things would only
make her unhappy, and it was just as well that she should think
everything was smooth sailing for him. His letter was filled with his
enthusiasm and his hope for the morrow, so that when good Mrs. Dunn
received it she was overjoyed, and hurried over to show it to the
Widow Sullivan, who enjoyed it thoroughly and said "I told you so."
Poor Mrs. Dunn had been having a very miserable time of it. She was
hardly surprised that morning when she awoke and found Archie gone,
but she was naturally much worried for fear some accident would happen
to him before he reached New York. Once there, she felt that she
needn't worry much about him, for, strange to say, Mrs. Dunn had a
firm belief in the ability of city policemen to take care of every
one, and she knew that Archie would not be allowed to suffer for want
of food and a place to sleep. And when she received this letter,
saying that Archie was nearly to New York, and had even been so
successful as to earn some money, she felt more comfortable than for
some time, Of course she supposed that he would be home before long.
She was positive that he wouldn't be able to get any work in the city,
and knew that as soon as his money gave out he would return. "It's all
for the best," she said to Mrs. Sullivan. "The habit of running away
from home was born in the boy. His father left home when he was no
older than Archie, and no harm ever came to him. So I'm not going to
worry, Mrs. Sullivan." And then Mrs. Dunn would go back to her home,
and at sight of Archie's old hat or some of his football
paraphernalia, would burst into tears.
The good woman who gave Archie his supper refused to let him start out
again on the road that night. She told him that he must remain with
them, for they had an extra bed up over the kitchen which was never
needed, and that he might just as well sleep there as not. So for the
first time in nearly a week Archie slept comfortably, and, as he heard
the familiar sounds in the kitchen below him in the morning, it was
hard for him to make up his mind that he was not at home, and that it
was not his mother who was grinding the coffee in the kitchen below.
He heard the ham frying in the skillet, and the rattle of the dishes
as his hostess set the table, and then he dressed himself and hastened
downstairs, feeling ready for a good day's walking.
When he had eaten his breakfast he started out again. The woman told
him that it was only about fifteen miles to New York, and that after
he had walked about six of them he could take a trolley-car and ride
the remainder of the distance for five cents. So he thanked her for
her kindness, and promised to let her know how he succeeded in the
city, for the woman was much interested in his future. He felt almost
sorry to leave the home-like place, but the prospect of reaching the
city this very day was enough to make him anxious to be off. He
covered the six miles to the trolley-car before eleven o'clock in the
morning, and then in an hour and a quarter more the trolley landed him
in lower New York.
His sensations as he was whirled along the smooth pavements, past
beautiful buildings and handsome residences, may be better imagined
than described. After looking forward to this day for so long, he was
almost overcome at the realisation of his hopes, and took the utmost
delight in everything about him. When the car stopped at the terminus
of the line, he got out and walked up the busiest street in the
neighbourhood. He hardly knew what to do first, but continued walking
until he came to the New York end of the great Brooklyn Bridge. Then
he couldn't resist the desire to walk across the bridge, and he
started out upon the journey. Up the steps he walked, and soon he had
climbed as far as the middle of the magnificent structure. There he
stood for some time, looking out over Governor's Island, nestled like
a green egg in a nest of red buildings, and past Staten Island to the
open sea beyond It was all grander, more beautiful than anything he
had ever seen before, and he felt glad that he had come. Then in
another direction he saw the never-ending succession of buildings,
some tall, some low ones, but all inhabited with swarms of people.
"There are three million people in this great city," he said to
himself, "and over them in New Jersey, in those cities I see, there
are a million more, and I am one of four million." The thought was too
much for the boy, and he continued his walk across the bridge. Once
across, he came back again, for Brooklyn was a strange place to him.
In New York City he felt more at home, for he had at least spent two
days within its limits.
Once back in the busy streets, he decided to look about for a cheap
place to stay for the night. It was the middle of the afternoon now,
and he felt that he ought to make some preparation. He knew better
than to apply at the police station for lodging, for he knew they
would probably turn him over to the famous Gerry Society, which would
send him back home before a day had passed, and then where would his
He remembered the place where he had stayed with Uncle Henry, but he
knew that this would be too high-priced for his pocketbook, so he
started up the Bowery, where he expected to find some very cheap
places. He didn't like the looks of the people he met in the street,
but his experiences on the way to New York had taught him not to be
too particular about a little dirt. So when he came to a rickety
building with a sign up, "Beds, ten and fifteen cents," he immediately
went up the dark, filthy stairway, and found himself in a large room
at the top which served as the "hotel" office. There were rows of
chairs in front of the windows and along the walls, and in the chairs
were the queerest-looking lot of men he had ever seen. He didn't pay
any attention to them, though, but went up to the seedy individual
behind the desk, and asked him if he could get a bed for the night.
"Sure, Mike," the man replied, and Archie signed his name in a dirty
book with torn pages. He paid the man ten cents, and asked if he could
leave his bundle while he went outside. "Sure, Mike," was again his
answer, and the man took his little bundle of necessities and threw
them on the floor behind the counter. When Archie had gone out, a fat
man with a baby face came up and whispered to the clerk. "Anything in
the bloke?" he inquired. "Nit," said the clerk, "don't yer see his
baggage? Does it look like there's anything in it?" And the mysterious
conversation closed, to be continued later in the evening.
LOOKING FOR WORK-- WASHING DISHES IN A BOWERY RESTAURANT.
AFTER a couple of hours spent in going about the streets, Archie went
into a place where he bought some coffee and rolls for his supper. He
paid only five cents for three sweet rolls and a large cup of coffee
which was not at all bad to taste, and he returned to the
lodging-house on the Bowery feeling better than he had expected to
feel when he started out from the homestead where he spent the
previous night, If he could get a good meal for five or ten cents, and
could sleep for ten cents more, he would have enough to keep him going
for some time.
The Bowery at night presented a wonderful appearance to Archie's mind.
The brilliantly lighted shops, the cheap theatres with their bands of
musicians on the sidewalk in front of the entrance, were all
attractive to his boyish eyes, but he was wise enough to pass them all
by, and to make his way as quickly as possible to the cheap
lodging-house. The street was jammed with persons of every
description. He was surprised particularly at the number of Chinamen
he met, for he didn't know that a block or two away was the centre of
the Chinese population of New York, where the Celestials have their
theatre, their hotels, their great stores, and their joss-house. There
were many Italians in the street, too, and Polish Jews, to say nothing
of Frenchmen and Germans. Then there was the typical Bowery "tough,"
who swaggered up and down, looking for trouble, which he usually finds
before an evening passes. Archie was not afraid in this cosmopolitan
crowd. No one seemed to notice him, and, anyhow, there were a great
many policemen about, who seemed to keep a sharp lookout all the time.
And as Archie shared his mother's faith in the city policeman, he felt
In the lodging-house everything looked very much as before. The chairs
were still occupied with filthy-looking men, who smoked and spat and
talked in undertones among themselves. The boy paid no attention to
any of them, but, walking up to the seedy individual behind the
counter, asked him if he could go to bed now. The man answered,
"Certainly," and sent a fellow with Archie to show him his bed. It was
in a long, narrow room, which was poorly lighted with a few gas-jets
here and there, and which was filled with about thirty beds, all
narrow, and all dirty. One of these was pointed out to Archie, and
then the man left him. The poor lad felt more homesick than ever, and
had it not been that he had a glorious to-morrow to look forward to,
he would have been very miserable indeed. As it was, he undressed and
got between the chilly sheets, when he remembered that he hadn't
looked after his little roll of bills for a long time, and that some
of them might be missing. He crawled out of bed again, and felt inside
the lining of his coat for the purse. He had sewed it there for
safe-keeping until he reached the city, for he had some little change
in his pocket, which he knew would last him for several days.
The poor boy's hand felt nothing but a cut in the lining, where the
roll of bills had been, and all at once he realised that the money
must have been stolen from him. And he at once thought of the night in
the ruins, when he fell asleep among the tramps, and there was no
doubt in his mind but that they had taken his money from him. This was
a terrible blow. Here he was, with just a few cents in his pocket, and
no one to whom he could appeal for aid. It was the worst predicament
Archie had ever been in, and he hardly knew what to do. He sat on the
side of his dirty little bed for awhile, and then he snuggled under
the covers and was soon asleep again. For a boy who has been walking
all day seldom stays awake from worry.
But when he awoke in the morning, it was to realise the fact that he
must get some money this very day or go to the police station. The few
cents he had remaining were only enough to buy some coffee and bread
for breakfast, and the poor lad didn't know where his next meal would
come from. As he went out, the clerk in the filthy office of the
lodging-house told him that he needn't come back any more.
"Why did you tell him that?" asked the fat man with a sly face.
"Because I went through his clothes last night when he was asleep, and
he had only six cents in his pocket. We don't want no starvin' brats
around here, to bring the Gerry Society down upon us."
It was well that Archie didn't know his pockets had been searched
while he was asleep, or his faith in human nature would have been more
shaken than ever before. He had not suspected that the men in this
lodging-house might be dishonest.
"They are poor," he said to himself when he saw them first, "but they
may be good men for all that."
After a slender meal, Archie found a library where he looked over the
advertising columns of the morning papers, trying to find some
position open which he thought he might fill. There were several
advertisements calling for office boys, and all these he made note of,
and then as he looked down the page he noticed that a boy was wanted
in a restaurant to wash dishes. He decided that if he didn't succeed
in getting a place as office boy, he might get the restaurant place.
He knew that in a restaurant he would be likely at least to get enough
For two hours he called at addresses of men who wanted office boys,
but at every place he was turned away. "We have already hired one,"
some of them said, and others told him that they never took any boys
in the office who were living away from home. Some asked him for
recommendations, and when he had none, they looked at him and told him
"good morning." It was all terribly discouraging, and with every
minute Archie was wishing more and more that he were back home again.
Somehow the city seemed different now from what it had been when Uncle
Henry was with him. Everything was less bright, and the things he had
been delighted with before were less interesting now.
Finally, he entered a large, handsome suite of rooms, in one of the
great sky-scrapers, and was shown into a very elegant private office.
There he found an old gentleman seated in a great easy chair, looking
over papers, and keeping one eye upon a buzzing instrument at his side
which seemed to be spitting out long strips of paper, like a magician
in a side-show. The man looked up as he entered, and cleared his
throat. "Ahem," he said, "you look as if you were from the country. I
wonder, now, if you have came to the city to seek your fortune."
Archie was embarrassed. "Yes, sir, I suppose you might put it that
way," he replied.
"Well," continued the old gentleman, "my advice to you is to go back
where you came from as quickly as you can. Not one boy in a thousand
will gain either fame or fortune in New York, and you stand a
wonderful chance of sinking lower every year. And even if you do
succeed, you will miss many beautiful things in your life which may
come to you in the country. You can have a pleasant home there, and
live an easy, natural life, while here it will be years before you can
expect to accomplish much, and you will spend your life in a nervous
strain. Think well, young man, before choosing the great city as your
sphere of usefulness."
"I've made up my mind, sir," said Archie. "I have quite decided to
remain in the city."
"Very well," said the old gentleman, "I hope you may never regret it.
But we have already hired an office boy. Good morning."
Archie walked out, more discouraged than ever. Perhaps, after all, a
country life was not to be so much despised. This man ought to know
what he was talking about. But once outside, in the Broadway crowd,
Archie forgot everything about the country, and was lost in the
delight of being one of four million.
He now decided to accept the place in the restaurant, if it were not
taken, and, fortunately for him, it was not. So he rolled up his
sleeves, and began to wash dishes as if he had done nothing else in
all his life before.
IN THE STREET AGAIN-- THE POLICE STATION-- VISITS THE NEWSPAPER OFFICE,
AND IS KINDLY RECEIVED BY THE EDITOR.
ALL day long Archie washed dishes, and before night came he decided
that he had never before had such discouraging work. The restaurant
was a popular one, and there were very many dishes to be washed, to
say nothing of the pots and pans which were always dirty. Archie no
sooner finished one sink full of dishes than another large pile was
waiting to be put through the same operation, and there was no time at
all for looking about him. There was hardly time for eating, even, and
at noon he was only able to snatch a few mouthfuls. The work was not
interesting, and it was a new sort of labour to Archie, so that
altogether he did not get on as well as he might have wished. The cook
was constantly nagging him, and telling him to hurry up, and the poor
lad tried his best to please him. But somehow everything went wrong,
and he was hardly surprised when the proprietor came in at six o'clock
with a new man for the place. "Come around in the morning," he said to
Archie, "and I'll pay your day's wages."
So the boy was in the street once more, with no money, and no place to
sleep. He wasn't hungry, that was one thing, for he had been allowed
to eat a good meal before leaving the restaurant. But where was he to
sleep, and what was he to do on the morrow, when he would surely be
hungry? His experience at looking for work had not been encouraging,
and he began to have serious doubts as to whether he would ever get a
place. Certainly he would starve if he waited around New York long
without anything to do.
It was quite dark at seven o'clock, and Archie walked over to the
brilliantly lighted street which ran north and south through the city.
He had never failed to find something interesting to look at there,
and he felt now that he would like to see the bright side of city
life, even if he couldn't enjoy it himself. So all the evening he
walked up and down the street, watching the well-dressed crowds
hurrying into the theatres and the other almost innumerable places of
amusement. He stared in open-mouthed amazement at some of the costumes
of the women he saw alighting from carriages. Never before had he seen
anything half so beautiful, and if any one had told him that there
were such dresses he would have told them he didn't believe it. Some
of them, he thought, must cost hundreds of dollars, and the jewels
worn with them many hundreds more. How interesting, how new, it all
was to him! Once he thought of the little home in the village, and at
first wished that his mother might be there to enjoy the sights with
him. "But I wouldn't want her to see me," he thought, "not while I am
so miserable, and feeling so discouraged." For Archie was beginning to
wonder if he hadn't made a mistake in leaving home, whether he had not
been overconfident and hot-headed. But he decided to try it a few days
more, that is, if he could manage to live for that length of time in
At twelve o'clock he was walking up and down the street, which was
still bright with millions of lights, though the crowds had gone home
from the theatres, and the restaurants were beginning to be less
popular. He was still wondering how he was going to find a place to
sleep, when he was accosted by a policeman, and taken into a doorway.
"I've been watching you," said the officer, "and I want to know why
you are walking up and down the street at this time of night."
Archie could have cried from fright, but he remembered that he was
under suspicion, so decided to tell the policeman his whole story, and
perhaps he could help him out in some way. So he described his
experiences during the day, and was surprised at the interest shown by
the officer in the recital. When he had finished he was told that he
would be taken to the police station. "You needn't be afraid, my lad,"
said the policeman. "I'll see that the Gerry Society doesn't get you
and send you home, that is, if you think you want to try it here a few
days longer. You can sleep at the station to-night, and the next
morning you can try it again." So to the station they went, and Archie
was, naturally, a little frightened when he saw, for the first time,
the cells, and the terribly severe appearance of all his surroundings.
But he was given a good bed in which to sleep, and he passed a
delightful night, dreaming of the wonderful adventures which befell
him in the city.
He was not awakened until eight o'clock, and then he found the good
policeman waiting to take him out to breakfast, He expressed surprise
that he should be so kind to him.
"I always thought that officers were cross and unpleasant," he said,
"but you're not that kind, anyhow."
"Well," laughed the officer, "we have to be cross very often, though
we're sometimes sorry to be so. But I've taken a fancy to you, my lad.
I like to see a boy who does things. When a boy of seventeen is
willing to come to New York alone, and make his own way, without
friends or influence of any kind, it shows a proper spirit, and he
ought to succeed. I know you'll get along if you only persevere. I'd
advise you to keep on trying."
"Oh, I'm going to, now," said Archie. "I was very homesick and
discouraged last night, but since I've met you I seem to have received
a new impetus, and I'm ready to make a new beginning."
So Archie and the policeman parted friends.
"Come around to the station to-night if you want a bed, and you shall
be cared for," said the officer, as he turned around the corner into
the busy street, where he was lost in the crowd.
Archie walked down the street, hardly knowing what to do first. He
didn't feel like answering any more advertisements in the newspapers,
and he decided to go into a few stores and ask for work. He was about
to do this when he saw before him the magnificent building of the New
York Enterprise. It was a truly beautiful structure, rising fifteen
stories above the ground, and surmounted with an artistic tower, which
could be seen from almost any part of the city. The home of the city's
greatest daily, it looked as if it were always welcoming strangers to
the metropolis, and Archie felt an irresistible impulse to enter.
Everything connected with a newspaper had for him the greatest
fascination, and he knew he would enjoy seeing through this wonderful
building, which was almost wholly occupied by the departments of the
Enterprise. So he entered the door, and passed from one floor to
another, finally arriving at the highest floor of all, where were
located the editorial rooms of the Evening Enterprise. All at once a
new plan entered Archie's fertile brain. Why shouldn't he be able to
get something to do on a newspaper? It had always been his greatest
ambition to become a reporter, and here, although he didn't think the
editor would take him in that capacity, he thought he might get some
sort of work. in which he could work himself up.
There upon the door were the magic words: "Editor of the Evening
enterprise. No Admittance." Archie opened the door and entered. He
knew it would be useless to send in his name. It was best to see the
editor at once, and without ceremony. He was seated before a large
desk, which was littered with papers of every description, and he was
a very pleasant person in appearance. Archie stood hesitating near the
door, and remained there a minute or two before the editor looked up.
"Well, my boy, what is it?"
Archie took courage.
"I-- I want to be a reporter, sir, and I thought it would do no harm
to ask you for such a position, anyhow."
The distinguished journalist wheeled about in his chair.
"What!" he exclaimed, "you want to be a reporter. Why, my dear boy,
how old are you?"
"I'll be eighteen my next birthday," said Archie, "and, sir, I've had
some experiences in the last two weeks, which make me feel as if I
were about five years older than I really am. I've been through some
very trying experiences, sir."
The editor was interested at once. "Tell me what your experiences have
been," he said, and Archie began, and told him his whole story; how he
had left home to win fame and fortune, and how he had worked on the
farm for a week with Farmer Tinch; how he had been robbed the night he
stayed with the tramps in the ancient ruins, and how he had finally
reached the city. Then he told him of the night in the lodging-house,
of his dish-washing experience in the restaurant, and how he had been
taken from the street by a policeman the night before, and allowed to
sleep in the station-house. When he had finished the editor had a
broad grin upon his face.
"By Jove!" he exclaimed, "this is certainly rich stuff. There's a good
story in it, I'll be bound."
Then, speaking to Archie, he said:
"Just wait here a minute, my boy, and I'll see if we can't put some
money in your way."
He pressed a button at the side of his desk, and when a boy appeared,
he told him to bring "Mr. Jones, please, or one of the other
reporters. And tell Jones to bring an artist with him."
The reporter and the artist soon stood before the editor, who told
them, with great glee, that he had a leading feature for the next
evening edition of the Enterprise. "Just talk to this boy, Jones, and
see if you can't make two good columns on the front page and two for
the inside from his story. I think it's great, myself. And you Cash,"
he said, turning to the artist, "you make a good sketch of the boy."
Archie could hardly believe his eyes and ears. Just to think that he
was being interviewed, and that his picture was to be in the paper. It
seemed almost too good to be true.
When the reporter had finished with him, he was taken down-stairs to
the cashier's office and given thirty dollars in bills. "This will pay
you for the interview," said the editor, "and give you enough to fix
up with. Now, to-morrow, you come in again, and I think I can give you
Oh, how happy Archie was! He went out into the street, and seemed to
fairly walk on air. Then he heard the newsboys crying, "Extra paper,
read about the Enterprise's Boy Reporter." And when Archie saw the
paper, there on the front page was his picture, together with the
story of his "startling adventures."
LIVING IN COMFORT AGAIN-- FEATURED AS "THE BOY REPORTER."
ARCHIE often speaks of the day when he visited the newspaper office
for the first time as the happiest day in all his life. The change
from despair and homesickness to the joy of being appreciated by some
one was so rapid that it made his head fairly swim with the
exhilaration of success. With thirty dollars in his pocket, and the
knowledge that he would have steady employment of the kind he desired
on the morrow, he walked up the Bowery feeling like a prince. He
entered the lodging-house where he had left his bundle of clothing,
and so surprised the clerk by his new appearance that he was invited
to remain there for another night. The shrewd man guessed that some
good fortune must have befallen Archie, or he wouldn't be so happy.
But the one night of misery which he had spent in the squalid hotel
was enough for Archie, and he walked hastily up-town with his bundle,
keeping a sharp lookout for a pleasant place where he might get a
room. In his previous wanderings he had seen several nice houses with
rooms to rent, but now that he wanted a room he found it difficult to
find any of these neighbourhoods. He was anxious to get settled as
quickly as possible, for he wanted to get everything done to-day, so
that to-morrow he could have time to do anything required of him by
the editor of the Enterprise. He must get a new suit of clothes, be
must get his hair cut, and last, but not least, he must write home to
mother and tell her of his great good fortune.
Finally, in his wanderings, Archie came to a beautiful square which
was surrounded on every side by business houses and tenements. But the
square itself and the houses on it were very quaint and very handsome,
so that it seemed to be a very oasis in the desert. The green trees,
just a little tinged with the brown and gold of autumn, reminded
Archie of the front yard at home, and he decided to get a room in one
of the houses here if he could possibly do so.
It so happened that there was a hall bedroom empty in one of the
best-looking places, and Archie at once engaged it. The price was more
reasonable than he had hoped for, even, and this made him happy, for
as yet he had no idea how much his earnings would be, and he was
anxious to be able to save something to send home, if he possibly
could. The room was nicely furnished, and looked out upon the
fountain, with the green trees, so that it was highly satisfactory in
every respect. It didn't take Archie long to undo his bundle, and it
was a pitiful display that greeted him when it was opened. The little
comb and brush, a piece of soap, a Testament given him last Christmas
by the teacher at Sunday school, a suit of underwear, and a couple of
handkerchiefs. The whole lot of things hardly filled a corner in one
of the bureau drawers, and Archie realised that he must buy a great
many things within a week or two.
But before going out to do any shopping, he sat down and wrote a long
letter home, describing his success of the morning, and telling his
mother of the editor's promise to give him regular employment. He
enclosed a copy of the paper with his picture and the story of his
adventures, and it made him very happy to think of his mother's
feelings when she read it all. Then, when he had finished, he went out
to a post-office, and bought a money-order for ten dollars, which he
also enclosed. "I know I can spare it," he said to himself, "and it
will gratify her so much." Then, when the letter with its contents was
safely mailed, he bought himself a new suit of clothing, and renovated
himself in many ways, so that when he returned to his room in the
square it was nearly dark, and he looked a different boy entirely.
Before going to bed, he determined to see his policeman friend, and
tell him of his good fortune. "He is probably expecting me to sleep in
the station," Archie thought, "and it will be a great surprise to
him." But when he met the good man, he found that he had already heard
of his success.
"I bought the Enterprise, and could hardly believe my eyes," said he,
"but I always thought you would find some one to appreciate your
pluck. I'm mighty glad for you, my lad, and you must always let me
know how you are getting along." This Archie promised to do, and
returned to his lodging to sleep.
The next morning he was on hand at the Enterprise office before the
editor himself was down. The place was quite as fascinating as it had
been on the preceding day, and he found something new to look at every
minute. The reporters at their desks, several of whom introduced
themselves and congratulated Archie on his perseverance, were a source
of great interest to him, and the copy-boys, running here and there
with special copy for the first edition, gave an air of hustling
activity to the place that was very attractive to this new reporter.
When the editor came he had already thought of something for Archie to
do. "Now you've been introduced to the public," he said, "and we want
to feature you for a few days. Every one will be interested in knowing
what you are doing, and what is going to become of you. You must write
us an article for the paper to-day, telling about your experiences
since yesterday, about getting a new suit, and about hunting for a
room. And you can tell about your policeman friend, too."
This was surprising. Archie couldn't imagine why any one should be
interested in knowing about his daily life, but he sat down and
succeeded in writing a very interesting two columns about it. He was
much surprised that he should be able to write so easily and so well.
Of course he knew that composition and rhetoric had been his two
strongest studies at school, but he had never realised before that he
had any great talent for writing. When he had finished this article,
the editor looked it over, and said, "That's great. You're all right,
my boy. We'll make a great journalist of you yet," and of course this
made Archie very happy. "Wait until this story is set up," said Mr.
Jennings, the editor, "and I'll see what you can do in the way of
When the proofs came, in a very short time, he hardly knew what to do
with them. But in reading them he discovered several mistakes, which
he lost no time in correcting, and Mr. Jennings said that he had done
very well indeed. "Now you can spend the day in doing what you please.
I would suggest that you go about New York and have as many strange
experiences as possible, so that to-morrow you can write them up for
us. And it will pay you, by the way, to go out to Coney Island, which
is a different place from any you have seen before. You are sure to
see some unusual things, and in the morning you can bring me in two
columns about it."
Before leaving, Archie was asked if he needed any money. "You mustn't
hesitate to ask for it, because you can have it as well to-day as on
Saturday." But as he had left several dollars of the thirty he had
received the day before, Archie didn't draw any more, and he thought
it most remarkable that the editor should have so much money to pay
He had no difficulty in getting a trolley-car to Coney Island, and,
after an hour's riding through Brooklyn streets, he found himself in
the most unique and most delightful place imaginable, It was a
queer-looking town, with great wheels in the air, high towers, with
elevators and innumerable merry-go-rounds, and other sources of
amusement. The noise was something terrific. Hand-organs,
street-pianos, and German bands were all playing at the same time,
while people hurried about from one place to another, enjoying the
hundreds of games and riding the various scenic railways and
carrousels. Archie stood mute with delight at it all, but before five
minutes had passed he had shot the chutes, and had ridden over a
steeplechase which took him through dark caverns, where dragons glared
at him and where electrical sparks were constantly flying through the
air. It was all so new, so different from anything he had seen before,
that he was simply lost in admiration. He was standing near a theatre,
when a short, dark man touched him on the arm, and said, "Come this
way, young man, and I'll teach you the best game of all."
A DAY AND A NIGHT IN CONEY ISLAND-- RAIDING A GAMBLING DEN.
ARCHIE was at first too much surprised to answer the man at all, but
in a few moments he remembered that he was now a reporter, and that it
was his duty to see all that he could, and have all the new
experiences possible. So he decided to follow the man, and find out
what "the best thing of all" in Coney Island was like. He was taken
through several narrow alleyways, and finally he found himself in
front of a tumble-down structure, built out directly over the water.
It was very modest in appearance, and everything seemed quiet about
the place. The shades were carefully drawn, and the dark man had to
knock three times before the door was opened and they were permitted
to enter. Inside, Archie found himself in a handsomely furnished
apartment which differed greatly in appearance from the exterior of
the building. There was a rich velvet carpet, mahogany furniture, and
a great many small tables standing about the room. The place was
filled with men, mostly well-dressed, who were playing various games.
Some were dealing cards, others were twirling wheels with numbers on
them, and some were playing games with chips. It didn't take Archie
long to realise that he had been steered into a gambling den of the
worst kind, and he was immediately on the alert for future
developments. He watched every movement of his new friend, and noticed
that he found it necessary to speak to several of those present in a
low undertone. This didn't worry Archie, because he knew that he was
in no danger except of losing money, and he felt that he could afford
to lose some money, since he was sure to earn more by writing about
the experience for the newspaper.
So he carefully observed all that was going on, making mental notes of
the peculiarities of the place and the people. When at last the dark
man came up and inquired if he wouldn't like a chance to earn some
money easily, he very readily answered yes, and the man was overjoyed
to find so willing a victim. Then, of course, Archie was introduced to
the mysteries of the famous roulette wheel, of which he had read so
much. Archie was interested in everything, and didn't mind losing four
dollars in learning so much that was new. He succeeded in getting away
when he had lost this sum, though the man assured him that he couldn't
help winning back all he had lost, and much more, too, if he would but
remain awhile longer. Archie was firm, however, and passed out into
the narrow alleyways again, feeling that he had learned a great deal
through a very small expenditure of money. He gradually found his way
back into the crowded Surf Avenue, where there were hundreds of
things, evidently, which he had not yet seen. The crowds, too, seemed
greater even than before, and there seemed to be thousands of people
arriving every hour from New York and Brooklyn, over the various
street-car and railway lines, and by the excursion boats landing at
the great iron pier. The noise was still deafening, and every one
seemed to be having a splendid time in every way. "Surely," said
Archie to himself, "no one can feel blue or despondent in such a place
as this, where every one is full of fun, and apparently determined to
have a good time while here." And he felt that he would like to remain
longer, but he knew he should go back again to the city, so that he
might see the editor, and tell him something about what he had seen
So again he rode over the great Brooklyn bridge, and stopped on the
other side at the handsome building of the Enterprise. It made Archie
very happy to feel that he was now a reporter on such a great paper,
and he found it hard to realise that so much good fortune had come to
him in such a short time. He met reporters in the various hallways,
and all of them spoke to him pleasantly, so that he began to feel that
he had never been thrown with such pleasant men before.
He had no difficulty in seeing the editor this time, and found him a
ready listener to the story of his Coney Island experiences. He
insisted on Archie's describing all the men he had seen in the
gambling den, and then asked him if he could identify them, if
necessary, and also if he would be able to find the place again.
Archie gave good descriptions of most of the men, and said that he
could take any one to the place at any time. The editor lost himself
in thought for a few minutes, and at the end of that time he rang for
a copy-boy. "Ring for a messenger boy," he said, "and when he arrives
come for a note which I want him to take to Mr. Pultzer's house."
Archie stared with amazement at Mr. Jennings, and waited for further
information. He wondered what was going to be done. He knew that Mr.
Pultzer owned the newspaper, and he knew that it must be something
important that Mr. Jennings wanted to write him about. He wasn't long
left in the dark, and he felt very proud that Mr. Jennings should have
confidence enough in him to tell him about his plans. "I think you
have discovered something which will prove very important to the paper
and the public," he said to Archie. "We have suspected for a long time
that gambling dens have been flourishing in Coney Island, but up to
now we have not been able to locate any of them. Now that you have
found one, we hope to arouse public opinion to the danger there is in
such places, and we hope to inspire a reform movement which will be
strong enough to wipe them out entirely. I will hear from Mr. Pultzer
in a short time, and then I want you to go down to the Island with
some plain-clothes detectives and two other reporters. And I don't
mind telling you now that there will be a good sum in it for you if
you succeed in arresting any of the leaders of this gang. You can be
excused for an hour now, if there's anything you want to do."
Full of enthusiasm over the coming adventure and his part in it,
Archie hurried out to a quick-lunch counter and bought himself a light
meal, for he feared that he would have to remain at Coney Island
through the evening. Then, when he had finished, he returned to the
newspaper office, where he spent some time in getting acquainted with
some of the reporters who were working on the Morning Enterprise. He
found them all very pleasant to meet, and he learned a great many
helpful things from their conversation. The older men were able to
give him many pointers concerning things that he should, and should
not, do. While he was in the office of the Morning Enterprise Mr.
Jennings came in, and, taking him along into the private room of the
managing editor, introduced him to Mr. Van Bunting, who was the
editorial head of the morning edition. Then Mr. Jennings told of the
new scheme, and Mr. Van Bunting entered into it so thoroughly that
before an hour three detectives, two reporters, and Archie were on
their way to the Island.
Once arrived in the resort, which was as noisy and bright as in the
afternoon, they all made a bee-line for the gambling den, headed by
Archie, who surprised the others with his certainty and confidence as
to which was the right direction. In a very few minutes they all stood
in front of the dilapidated structure built out over tide-water, and
Archie heard one of the detectives say that the place looked "mighty
suspicious like." He gave three knocks just as the dark man had done
in the afternoon, and in a few minutes the door was cautiously opened
and a head made its appearance. The detectives lost no time in pushing
their way in, amid great confusion and cries of fear, and it seemed
only a few seconds until all the inmates were huddled in a corner,
covered with pistols, and wailing in fear, when they weren't cursing
through anger. Then they were all arrested and taken to the police
station, where they were all refused bail, and placed in cells
overnight. Then the reporters returned to the office of the
Enterprise, where Archie was told by Mr. Van Bunting to write the
story of his experience for the morning paper. This was his first work
for the morning edition, and he took great pains to make his
descriptions as complete as possible, and the details as accurate as
he knew how to make them. And his hard work was rewarded by words of
praise from the managing editor when he turned the copy in for
Tired from his hard day's work, Archie then went up-town to the quiet
square in which he had his home, and he was glad to get to bed. He had
been nervous and excited all day, and found it difficult to sleep, but
finally the tired eyelids lay quietly over the tired eyes, and Archie
was dreaming of the cool and pleasant arbour of grapes at home, and of
how the Hut Club was holding a special meeting there to devise ways
and means of welcoming home their distinguished fellow member, Mr.
Archie Dunn, who had achieved such great success in the city.
Notwithstanding his tired feeling, Archie was up early the next
morning, and out at the corner to buy an Enterprise. He hastily turned
the pages, trying to find the story of his Coney Island adventures,
but he looked in vain. It wasn't visible anywhere. He was about to
think that it had not been thought worth while printing when he
noticed on the front page, in large letters, "The Boy Reporter's Great
Discovery," and then followed the complete account, just as he had
written it. This was the best thing yet. Just to think that his story
had been considered important enough to print upon the front page! He
could hardly believe it. Surely he had made great strides, and Archie
began to realise that it is not experience that is most needed in
journalism, but something to write about. "I have simply been
fortunate in finding some interesting things," he said, to himself,
and then, after a light breakfast in a quaint Italian restaurant
around the corner, he hurried down-town to the office of the
Archie was beginning to feel, by now, that he had worked for a long
time upon the paper, and as he had become acquainted with almost every
one connected with it, this wasn't a strange feeling for him to have.
And it was evident, too, that the editors intended to keep him busy
for some time to come, and Archie realised that he was in newspaper
work to stay, for a time, at least. And he was overjoyed at the
prospect, for he found the whole business as fascinating and as
interesting as he had expected it would be.
Mr. Jennings, of the evening edition, was at the office when Archie
arrived, and sent for him to come in. "Here is fifty dollars," he
said, "for your work of yesterday, and you will have more coming to
you if these men are convicted. I want to congratulate you on what you
have done so far. Come in this afternoon, and I think Mr. Van Bunting
will have a new plan for you."
A SUCCESSFUL REPORTER-- THE EDITOR DECIDES TO SEND HIM AS CORRESPONDENT
TO THE PHILIPPINES-- LEAVING NEW YORK-- IN CHICAGO.
AT three o'clock in the afternoon Archie was seated in Mr. Van
Bunting's office, together with Mr. Jennings and several of the chief
members of the editorial staffs of both editions of the paper. The
editors had spread out before them, on the large table, several maps,
and most of them were busily engaged in making notes on little paper
pads. All the time, however, an excited conversation was being carried
on, for some editors wanted Archie to proceed to the Philippines one
way, and some thought that the better plan would be for him to go by
some other route. But the important fact with Archie was that he was
really going to be sent to the Philippines as a war correspondent, and
that he was going to start very shortly. He had called on Mr. Van
Bunting early in the afternoon, and had then learned for the first
time what the new plan was to be. When the managing editor asked him
how he would like to go to the Philippines, Archie could scarcely
reply, so delighted was he with the brilliant prospect before him. He
managed to stammer out a few words, though, in spite of his surprise.
"I always thought war correspondents were selected from the most
experienced men in journalism," he said, but Mr. Van Bunting only
laughed. "That's what we have already done, my boy," he said, "and so
far none of our distinguished correspondents have sent us a thing
worth printing that we didn't already know. You see they can't send
any more to us in the way of news than we can get from the War
Department in Washington, and most of these men are too old fogy to
send us anything out of the ordinary line of war correspondence. Now,
what we want is for you to go over there and have some adventures, and
write us something which will be different from what we have had
before from the Philippines. We are sending you, because you have had
no experience at such work, and will be sure to send us something
unusual, and that is what we want. If you can only do as well in the
tropics as you have done here in New York, we shall be more than
satisfied with your work. I am sorry that I won't have time to give
you very complete instructions, but perhaps it will be as well. And
now some of the men are waiting outside to come in and talk this
matter over, so we'll have them in now."
And Archie found himself in the midst of an editorial conference,
during which many things were discussed. The meeting lasted more than
two hours, and finally it was decided that Archie should travel from
New York to San Francisco, and go from there to Manila on the army
transport which was to sail on the twenty-fifth of the month. This
meant that he would have to leave the city in two days' time, and
Archie announced himself as quite willing to do this, as he had few
preparations to make. The editors gave him many instructions about how
he was to address his correspondence, and how he should proceed in the
event of finding it necessary to send despatches by cable. And at the
end of the conference he felt that he knew all that he would need to
know, so that he could start off without fear of not being able to
fulfil his mission. As far as Archie could understand it, his chief
instructions as to duty were to the effect that he must have as many
experiences as possible of as many different kinds, and that he must
write about them in a perfectly natural way, just as if he were
writing a letter to the folks at home. And he thought, of course, that
this would be very easy to do.
Mr. Van Bunting gave him a letter of credit for six hundred dollars,
which amount, he said, would probably be sufficient to pay his
expenses while he was in the Philippines, and he also gave him a
cheque for three hundred dollars, which was intended to pay the
expense of getting to Manila. "Of course," said Mr. Van Bunting, "you
can spend as much or as little of this as you please, and if you need
more, and we find that the venture is paying us, why, we will send it
on demand." Archie was so overcome with the knowledge that he
possessed nine hundred dollars, that he could hardly thank the editor
enough, and he made up his mind that he would spend as little as
possible of the sum, and bring back part of it to Mr. Van Bunting upon
his return. He couldn't imagine how it would be possible for him to
spend so much money, and he felt that, after some of his experiences
since he left home, he ought to be able to economise in many ways
where other reporters wouldn't know how to save at all.
When the two days were up Archie had made all his preparation, and was
ready to leave New York for Manila. He had sent a long letter home to
his mother, telling her of his great good fortune, and enclosing a
cheque for a hundred dollars, which she was to spend while he was
gone. He told her that he would send her more money from time to time,
and felt very proud as he mailed the letter. He told her, too, that if
at any time she didn't hear from him on time, she could write to Mr.
Van Bunting, and he would let her know of his whereabouts. This was
something which Mr. Van Bunting had very thoughtfully advised him to
do. "Your mother is sure to worry if the mails are overdue," he had
said, "and if she writes to me, I will always be able to tell her of
your whereabouts, for we can hear of you through our other
correspondents, if not from your own despatches." So Archie felt that
his mother shouldn't worry, since he was such a fortunate boy in so
The night before leaving he took a long farewell walk up Broadway.
Everything was bright with light, and there was, as usual, a great
crowd of pleasure-seekers on the sidewalks. It was all as fascinating
as ever to Archie, and he felt sorry that he was to leave it so soon.
New York had begun to grow on him, as it grows on any one living there
for any length of time, who is in a position to appreciate the city's
attractions. He felt that he would almost rather be on Broadway than
in the Philippines, but of course he forgot this feeling when he
remembered the confidence which Mr. Van Bunting had reposed in him by
sending him upon such an important mission. So, after he had passed
all the bright theatres and restaurants, he turned down a quiet side
street and returned to his lodging, so that he might have a good
night's rest before starting on his long journey.
At seven in the morning he was up again, and at nine o'clock he was
bidding farewell to his many friends in the editorial rooms of the
Evening Enterprise. Every one congratulated him upon his great good
luck in getting such a chance to distinguish himself, and when they
had done telling him that he had a great future before him, Archie
felt happier than ever before in all his life.
The train left the Grand Central Station at one o'clock, and Mr.
Jennings went with him to the station to see him well started upon the
journey. "You may be sure we are all much interested in you, Archie,"
he said, as the train was leaving, "and we shall look forward
anxiously to your safe return." These words made Archie very glad, for
it cheered him to know that at least one of the editors liked him for
himself as well as for what he could do.
The Southwestern Limited seemed to fairly fly along the banks of the
beautiful Hudson, and everything was so delightful that Archie could
scarcely believe that only a week or two before he had been walking
along country roads, anxious to reach New York, that he might become
an office boy. Every thing in this train was as perfect as modern
ingenuity could make it, and there was no lack of interesting things
to be examined, when Archie tired of the landscape. Then, when the
train had been two hours out of New York, he discovered that the
famous president of this great railway system was aboard, and,
mustering up his courage, he determined to introduce himself. He had
long been anxious to see this famous after-dinner orator and
statesman, and here was a chance which might not come soon again. So
he went back to the drawing-room, and found the great man to be quite
as pleasant as he was interesting, and Archie was asked to seat
himself and tell something about his experiences since leaving home.
Everything he said was listened to with great interest, and this
distinguished wit seemed to find many of the adventures very funny
indeed. "You have certainly had some wonderful experiences," he said,
when Archie had finished, "and I can appreciate your anxiety to leave
school. I had that desire myself when I was a boy of about fifteen,
but my father succeeded in making me change my opinion on the subject,
and without much argument, unless you can call an ox-team and a stony
pasture an argument. I had been asking to stay at home from school for
a long time. I said that I was too old to be sitting there with a lot
of girls and some younger boys, and that I wanted to work. Finally, my
father said that I could stay at home if I cared to, and that he would
let me work on the farm for a time. I was overjoyed, of course, at the
prospect of staying out of school.
"The next morning I was awakened at four o'clock, and had to swallow
my breakfast in a hurry, because I was late, my father said. Then he
took me out to the barn and ordered me to hitch up the ox-team, and