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City Crimes or Life in New York and Boston   By: (1823-)

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First Page:

CITY CRIMES;

OR

LIFE IN NEW YORK AND BOSTON. A VOLUME FOR EVERYBODY: BEING A MIRROR OF FASHION, A PICTURE OF POVERTY, AND A STARTLING REVELATION OF THE SECRET CRIMES OF GREAT CITIES

{First published 1849}

[Illustration: Title page of City Crimes , 1849 edition. Reproduced with the permission of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.]

CHAPTER I

A Young Gentleman of Wealth and Fashion a noble resolve the flatterers the Midnight Encounter an Adventure the Courtezan Temptation triumphant how the Night was passed.

'What a happy dog I ought to be!' exclaimed Frank Sydney, as he reposed his slippered feet upon the fender, and sipped his third glass of old Madeira, one winter's evening in the year 18 , in the great city of New York.

Frank might well say so; for in addition to being as handsome a fellow as one would be likely to meet in a day's walk, he possessed an ample fortune, left him by a deceased uncle. He was an orphan; and at the age of twenty one, found himself surrounded by all the advantages of wealth, and at the same time, was perfect master of his own actions. Occupying elegant apartments at a fashionable hotel, he was free from any of those petty cares and vexations which might have annoyed him, and he kept an establishment of his own; while at the same time he was enabled to maintain, in his rooms, a private table for the entertainment of himself and friends, who frequently repaired thither, to partake of his hospitality and champagne suppers. With such advantages of fortune and position, no wonder he exclaimed, as at the beginning of our tale 'What a happy dog I ought to be!'

Pursuing the current of his thought Frank half audibly continued

'Yes, I have everything to make me truly happy health, youth, good looks and wealth; and yet it seems to me that I should derive a more substantial satisfaction from my riches were I to apply them to the good of mankind. To benefit one's fellow creatures is the noblest and most exalted of enjoyments far superior to the gratification of sense. The grateful blessings of the poor widow or orphan, relieved by my bounty, are greater music to my soul, than the insincere plaudits of my professed friends, who gather around my hearth to feast upon my hospitality, and yet who, were I to lose my wealth, and become poor, would soon cut my acquaintance, and sting me by their ingratitude. To night I shall have a numerous party of these friends to sup with me, and this supper shall be the last one to which I shall ever invite them. Yes! My wealth shall be employed for a nobler object than to pamper these false and hollow hearted parasites. From this night, I devote my time, my energies and my affluence to the relief of deserving poverty and the welfare of all who need my aid with whom I may come in contact. I will go in person to the squalid abodes of the poor I will seek them out in the dark alleys and obscure lanes of this mighty metropolis I will, in the holy mission of charity, venture into the vilest dens of sin and iniquity, fearing no danger, and shrinking not from the duty which I have assumed. Thus shall my wealth be a blessing to my fellow creatures, and not merely a means of ministering to my own selfishness.'

Noble resolve! All honor to thy good and generous heart, Frank Sydney! Thou hast the true patent of nature's nobility, which elevates and ennobles thee, more than a thousand vain titles or empty honors! Thou wilt keep thy word, and become the poor man's friend the liberal and enlightened philanthropist the advocate of deserving poverty, and foe to the oppressor, who sets his heel upon the neck of his brother man.

The friends who were to sup with him, arrived, and they all sat down to a sumptuous entertainment... Continue reading book >>




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