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Ben the Luggage Boy--By Horatio Alger

Ben the Luggage Boy--By Horatio Alger

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Ben, the Luggage Boy;, by Horatio AlgerThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: Ben, the Luggage Boy;or, Among the WharvesAuthor: Horatio AlgerRelease Date: March 21, 2009 [EBook #28381]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BEN, THE LUGGAGE BOY; ***Produced by Taavi Kalju, Woodie4, Joseph Cooper and theOnline Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net(This file was produced from images generously madeavailable by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)Transcriber's notes:Captions have been added to the illustration markersfor the convenience of some readers. These have beenindicated by an asterisk.A list of some of the author's other books has been moved from the frontpapers to the end of the book.[Illustration: Front cover]*[Illustration: Title page:RAGGED DICK SERIES BY HORATIO ALGER JR.BEN THE LUGGAGE BOY]BEN, THE LUGGAGE BOY;OR,AMONG THE WHARVES.BYHORATIO ALGER, JR.,AUTHOR OF "RAGGED DICK," "FAME AND FORTUNE," "MARK, THE MATCH
BOY," "ROUGH AND READY," "CAMPAIGN SERIES,""LUCK AND PLUCK SERIES," ETC.THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO.,PHILADELPHIA,CHICAGO, TORONTO.TOANNIE,THIS VOLUME IS DEDICATEDIn Tender Remembrance,BY HER_AFFECTIONATE BROTHER_ PREFACE.In presenting "Ben, the Luggage Boy," to the public, as the fifth of theRagged Dick Series, the author desires to say that it is in allessential points a true history; the particulars of the story havingbeen communicated to him, by Ben himself, nearly two years since. Inparticular, the circumstances attending the boy's running away fromhome, and adopting the life of a street boy, are in strict accordancewith Ben's own statement. While some of the street incidents areborrowed from the writer's own observation, those who are reallyfamiliar with the different phases which street life assumes in NewYork, will readily recognize their fidelity. The chapter entitled "TheRoom under the Wharf" will recall to many readers of the daily journalsa paragraph which made its appearance within two years. The writercannot close without expressing anew his thanks for the large share offavor which has been accorded to the volumes of the present series, andtakes this opportunity of saying that, in their preparation, inventionhas played but a subordinate part. For his delineations of character andchoice of incidents, he has been mainly indebted to his own observation,aided by valuable communications and suggestions from those who havebeen brought into familiar acquaintance with the class whose mode oflife he has sought to describe.NEW YORK, April 5, 1876.BEN, THE LUGGAGE BOY;OR,AMONG THE WHARVES.
CHAPTER I.INTRODUCES BEN, THE LUGGAGE BOY."How much yer made this mornin', Ben?""Nary red," answered Ben, composedly."Had yer breakfast?""Only an apple. That's all I've eaten since yesterday. It's most timefor the train to be in from Philadelphy. I'm layin' round for a job."The first speaker was a short, freckled-faced boy, whose box strapped tohis back identified him at once as a street boot-black. His hair wasred, his fingers defaced by stains of blacking, and his clothingconstructed on the most approved system of ventilation. He appeared tobe about twelve years old.The boy whom he addressed as Ben was taller, and looked older. He wasprobably not far from sixteen. His face and hands, though browned byexposure to wind and weather, were several shades cleaner than those ofhis companion. His face, too, was of a less common type. It was easy tosee that, if he had been well dressed, he might readily have been takenfor a gentleman's son. But in his present attire there was little chanceof this mistake being made. His pants, marked by a green stripe, smallaround the waist and very broad at the hips, had evidently once belongedto a Bowery swell; for the Bowery has its swells as well as Broadway,its more aristocratic neighbor. The vest had been discarded as aneedless luxury, its place being partially supplied by a shirt of thickred flannel. This was covered by a frock-coat, which might once havebelonged to a member of the Fat Men's Association, being aldermanic inits proportions. Now it was fallen from its high estate, its nap andoriginal gloss had long departed, and it was frayed and torn in manyplaces. But among the street-boys dress is not much regarded, and Bennever thought of apologizing for the defects of his wardrobe. We shalllearn in time what were his faults and what his virtues, for I canassure my readers that street boys do have virtues sometimes, and whenthey are thoroughly convinced that a questioner feels an interest inthem will drop the "chaff" in which they commonly indulge, and talkseriously and feelingly of their faults and hardships. Some do this fora purpose, no doubt, and the verdant stranger is liable to be taken inby assumed virtue, and waste sympathy on those who do not deserve it.But there are also many boys who have good tendencies and aspirations,and only need to be encouraged and placed under right influences todevelop into worthy and respectable men.The conversation recorded above took place at the foot of CortlandtStreet, opposite the ferry wharf. It was nearly time for the train, andthere was the usual scene of confusion. Express wagons, hacks, boys,laborers, were gathering, presenting a confusing medley to the eye ofone unaccustomed to the spectacle.Ben was a luggage boy, his occupation being to wait at the piers for thearrival of steamboats, or at the railway stations, on the chance ofgetting a carpet-bag or valise to carry. His business was a precariousone. Sometimes he was lucky, sometimes unlucky. When he was flush, hetreated himself to a "square meal," and finished up the day at TonyPastor's, or the Old Bowery, where from his seat in the pit he indulged

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