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Irish Ned The Winnipeg Newsy   By: (1872-1943)

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First Page:

[Illustration: IRISH NED]




THE REV. SAMUEL FEA, M.A., Ph.D. Rector of St. Peter's, Winnipeg


Copyright, Canada, 1910, by SAMUEL FEA.


My Mother





"Free Press! T'bune! Telegram! Papers, sir? Three for a nickel! Press, T'bune and Telegr r r ra m m m m!"

It was a hot afternoon in August, at the corner of Portage Avenue and Main Street, the busiest thoroughfare in the busy city of Winnipeg, now at its busiest and noisiest; but above the noise and din of traffic rose shrill and clear the persistent cry of "Press, T'bune and Telegram!"

The speaker, or rather the shrieker, was a boy not more than nine years old, and was at the first glance just an ordinary boy, except that he was small for his apparent age. His clothes were patched in places, and his boots were worn considerably, and the uppers were just beginning to gape at the crack across the top; but the clothes were neat and clean, and his boots were brushed. His hair was of the straw coloured variety, with a tendency to red, but it was not tousled or unkempt, but neatly combed; while his little cap was not on straight but pushed back carelessly, just showing a pair of clear but dark blue Irish eyes and a broad, low forehead.

His neatness compelled a second glance, and the second look at him proved interesting. The boy's face was bright, cheerful and attractive, for with all the innocence written upon it there was also the knowledge of good and evil, together with the shrewdness born of an early experience. But this shrewdness showed that his innocence was his choice of the good and rejection of the evil, and not merely because he had been kept from contact with the evil. This was Irish Ned, the Winnipeg newsy.

The prince of newsboys was little Irish Ned, small in body, but great in mind, the acknowledged leader of the select circle in which he moved; always bright, winning, punctual and strictly businesslike, he was admired by all who knew and watched on the street for his little dimpled smile. Of course it must be admitted that at times there did come, now and then, a bit of a scrimmage, but Ned was "quite fit" for his size and weight any day; and after all, "sure it was only a bit of fun," as he was known to say, "an' a body must have a bit of a fight sometimes." Besides, being an Irish boy, he dearly loved a "shindy," and Winnipeg's wide streets provided ample room in which to dodge a too powerful enemy. But for all his teasing the big boys never bullied Ned, for all of them loved his bright, intelligent face and manly ways.

In the evening, after his papers were sold, Ned used to wend his way to the schoolroom of the church which was known to him and his chums as "Peter's Church." There he spent many a happy hour with the Gymnasium Club, tumbling on the bars, swinging the clubs, performing feats wonderful in the eyes of the "greenies," and successfully wrestling with boys twice his size. Many a prize did he carry off, and many a "newsy" envied him the night he won the gold button for being, as he styled it, "the best kid in the whole bunch." As a Boy Scout, he would sit for hours and listen to the wonderful stories related by the Scoutmaster, or play the grand game of Kim, or join an expedition of endurance or skill or discovery, on which the painstaking Scoutmaster used to take and train his boys. A proud boy indeed was Ned when with his troop he marched with the Veterans and Military to St. John's on "Decoration Day" to place a wreath on the graves of the Canadian heroes who gave their lives for Queen and Country in the Rebellion of '85. His chest would expand, his head would be lifted high, and his step assume a manly stride, as the band of "The L.B.D.'s," in which one of his chums was playing, would strike up "The Maple Leaf Forever," or "Pork, Beans and Hard tack, Hard tack, Tra la la la!"

But the greatest day of all the year to Ned was the Sixth of July... Continue reading book >>

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