Imagini ale paginilor
[ocr errors]

ing up, and hastily drawing the torn sleeve of his old jacket across his eyes.

Yes, it's me, Johnny. I heard what them big fellers said. But niver mind about 'em. Just come along o' me; I'm a goin' round my beat. I say, Johnny, wouldn't yer like to go into the paper bus

ss, too? I'll set yer up, an' show yer how. An' if yer do, why I know a splendid place to live, an' yer wouldn't never have to go back to the Pints no more."

“I think, Peter, the papers is just the thing for me. Tomorrow's New Year's Day, an' I kind o' thought I'd like to get started a little different from last year."

So, as they walk up toward Broadway, let me tell you about Johnny's life.

He was born in the Five Points, of a wretched, drunken father, and a good but ignorant mother. While she lived, he went to school a little. He had learned how to read a little, and could with difficulty write his own name. His father had been killed in a bar-room fight three years before, and his mother, after that time, supported herself and Johnny-very meagrely to be sure-by going out to work by the day when she could get employment.

Although Mrs. Lane was very poor and worked very hard, she was almost always cheerful, and even happy: But if ever she grew weary and worn, she used to ask Johnny to take down the Bible and read some of Christ's beautiful words to her; for she could not read herself. When he got through, she would say that she no longer felt tired : the words of the good Book were rest and refreshment to her body as well as her soul. Johnny's mother had been very careful to teach him that it was wrong to swear, or lie, or steal, as so many boys in that wretched part of the town were in the habit of doing; and she taught him, too, that the grandest rule for life is,Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you.”

After a while, Mrs. Lane died, and then Johnny, being left all alone, fell under evil influences.

But on this New Year's eve, he had been thinking of his dear dead mother, and how sorry she would be to know of all the wrong things he had done in the last year, and, sitting all alone on the old wooden steps, had resolved he would try to be a better boy. And he had bravely begun his fight for right against wrong by refusing to go with two boys who, he knew, were very bad companions for him.

After Johnny had gone about with Peter until the stock of papers was all sold, his friend took him to the Newsboys' Lodging-house in Park Place, of which you have all often heard, to spend the night. There he was given a bath—such a one as he had never had in his life—and a substantial supper, and then he went with Peter into the gymnasium, where they amused themselves till it was bedtime. He was allowed to sleep in one of the nice clean beds of which the dormitories are full, and he thought how much better it was than staying out of doors all night, under some old stoop or behind some old box, as he had done for a long while. For the first time, in many months, Johnny remembered the little prayer his mother taught him, and repeated it before he fell asleep.

The next day, Peter furnished him with a number of papers, and told him what to do. He worked hard all day, tiring his bare feet with running about, and making his throat ache with screaming the names of his papers.

He sold more than half of the entire lot, however, and was very proud and happy when he was tucked up in his little bed at night.

You must not suppose that Johnny “ got good,” as he used to say, all at once. He had a great many trials and struggles. When trade was dull, and he hardly sold any papers, he used to be sorely tempted to swear, and sometimes to lie and steal. But whenever the temptation was

strongest, he struggled against it with all his strength, like the brave little fellow he was.

One evening came his hardest temptation. It was a little thing, but it proved to be the most decisive moment of his young


Got the latest edition of the Post ?” asked a gentleman, coming up to Johnny about dusk, as he stood at the streetcorner crying out his wares.

“Yes, sir; here it is," replied Johnny, drawing out a journal from his armful. After the gentleman had gone a little distance, Johnny discovered that he had made a mistake and given a first edition instead of the last.

What should he do? Catch him, and change the paper,” said Conscience.

“Let it go. You'll never see the man again,” whispered Convenience.

The temptation was very strong, and Johnny had almost decided to let Convenience rule, when he seemed to hear his dear mother saying, “Do unto cthers, Johnny, as ye would they should do unto you ;” and, with one bound, he was flying up the street after his customer. The gentleman walked fast, and was far ahead of Johnny; but the boy was used to running, and after a race of half-a-mile, Johnny pulled the gentleman's sleeve to attract his attention, for he was too much out of breath to speak.

What is it?” the man asked kindly.

“ |--I made a m-mistake, an'ga-gave ye a fir-first edition !” gasped Johnny.

The gentleman unfolded the paper, looked at it, and said, So

you did. You are unusually honest, my lad. Here, take this for your trouble," offering a shilling to Johnny.

Johnny's face, like his hands, was begrimed, but that did not prevent the proud blood showing in his cheeks, as he threw back his curly head and said,


“I don't need to be paid for bein' honest, sir,” and ran down the street as hard as he could.

Johnny was very happy that night when he went to bed, and, in a fervent little prayer, thanked his heavenly Father, who had helped him to overcome temptation.

The next evening, the same gentleman came along, and bought another paper, which Johnny was very careful should be the right one. This time the gentleman asked him his name, and where he lived. And then nearly every night for weeks he bought his evening paper of Johnny, who used to look forward all day for the kindly words that always accompanied the pennies at night. He was always careful to save the best and driest newspaper for his nameless friend.

One evening the gentleman said,

“Don't you want to walk up the town a little way with me, Johnny?” And so the little ragged news-boy and the neatly-dressed gentleman walked on together, and were very sociable.

Johnny's friend, whose name was Grant, told him he wanted to get a good errand boy for his office in Broad Street, and, if he liked the place, he should have it. Johnny was more than delighted; he was almost speechless. They talked it over, and arranged that Mr. Grant should call for Johnny the next morning on his way to town.

Johnny succeeded well in his new place, performing his duties to the entire satisfaction of his employer. So well, indeed, did Mr. Grant like his protege, that he concluded to take him out of the office and educate him. So he bought the boy some new clothes, and sent him to school, where he is doing well, and has a promising future before him.

But Johnny always thinks that if he had remained a news-boy for ever, the day he rectified the mistake of the paper would be the happiest and proudest of his life;. for

he not only practised the Golden Rule, but in ruling his own spirit made himself mightier than he who taketh a city.

Remember the poor.
SUPPOSE every boy who owns a sled or

has seen a snow-storm has tried sliding
down some hill—“coasting” this is called
in places where snow is measured by feet
instead of inches. It is very good fun,
though sometimes, when the hill is high
and steep, and the steerer not very ex-
perienced in this kind of sport, there is

danger of the sled running off the hard, beaten snow-track, and the rider's tumbling head foremost down the hill. But, with care and practice, the sport can be enjoyed without fear of accidents, and the invigorating air and swift descent brighten the cheeks and eyes, and lighten the heart of the rider.

Not far from the home of a boy named Dick Wilton, there was a famous hill for coasting, known to the boys for miles around. After a snow-storm, they thronged there, the fortunate possessors of sleds bringing them, the rest coming expecting to ride with their companions down the hill, until, one sled following another, a smooth, beaten track was soon made over the packed snow, and down it they rushed, almost as fast as if they were travelling by steam.

Just opposite this hill, on the other side of the road, where the sleds were stopped, there was row of ugly, oldfashioned, rickety wooden cottages. They had seen their best days long ago. Little paint was left on the outside, and little glass in the windows, which were stuffed with old papers and rags to keep out some of the cold air. When a



« ÎnapoiContinuați »