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Ben, the Luggage Boy; or, Among the Wharves   By: (1832-1899)

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Transcriber's notes:

Captions have been added to the illustration markers for the convenience of some readers. These have been indicated by an asterisk.

A list of some of the author's other books has been moved from the front papers 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.

BY

HORATIO 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.

TO

ANNIE,

THIS VOLUME IS DEDICATED

In Tender Remembrance,

BY HER

AFFECTIONATE BROTHER

PREFACE.

In presenting "Ben, the Luggage Boy," to the public, as the fifth of the Ragged Dick Series, the author desires to say that it is in all essential points a true history; the particulars of the story having been communicated to him, by Ben himself, nearly two years since. In particular, the circumstances attending the boy's running away from home, and adopting the life of a street boy, are in strict accordance with Ben's own statement. While some of the street incidents are borrowed from the writer's own observation, those who are really familiar with the different phases which street life assumes in New York, will readily recognize their fidelity. The chapter entitled "The Room under the Wharf" will recall to many readers of the daily journals a paragraph which made its appearance within two years. The writer cannot close without expressing anew his thanks for the large share of favor which has been accorded to the volumes of the present series, and takes this opportunity of saying that, in their preparation, invention has played but a subordinate part. For his delineations of character and choice of incidents, he has been mainly indebted to his own observation, aided by valuable communications and suggestions from those who have been brought into familiar acquaintance with the class whose mode of life 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 time for 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 to his back identified him at once as a street boot black. His hair was red, his fingers defaced by stains of blacking, and his clothing constructed on the most approved system of ventilation. He appeared to be about twelve years old.

The boy whom he addressed as Ben was taller, and looked older. He was probably not far from sixteen. His face and hands, though browned by exposure to wind and weather, were several shades cleaner than those of his companion. His face, too, was of a less common type. It was easy to see that, if he had been well dressed, he might readily have been taken for a gentleman's son. But in his present attire there was little chance of this mistake being made. His pants, marked by a green stripe, small around the waist and very broad at the hips, had evidently once belonged to a Bowery swell; for the Bowery has its swells as well as Broadway, its more aristocratic neighbor. The vest had been discarded as a needless luxury, its place being partially supplied by a shirt of thick red flannel. This was covered by a frock coat, which might once have belonged to a member of the Fat Men's Association, being aldermanic in its proportions. Now it was fallen from its high estate, its nap and original gloss had long departed, and it was frayed and torn in many places... Continue reading book >>




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