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Messenger No. 48   By: (1848-1912)

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[Frontispiece: Jet brought the cane down on his head with full force.]




Author of "Telegraph Tom's Venture," "Messenger No. 48", "Toby Tyler," "The Boy Captain," "Silent Peter," etc., etc.



Copyright, 1899


The Saalfield Publishing Company



I Jet II Trouble III The Kidnappers IV An Engagement V Baffled VI The Battle VII A Bold Attempt VIII An Arrest IX The Detective X One Prisoner XI Close Quarters XII The Encounter XIII The Snare XIV A Capture XV Assistance XVI On the Trail XVII An Old Friend XVIII Jail Life XIX The Dinner XX A Recognition XXI The Adirondacks XXII The Small Guide XXIII The Visit XXIV A Stern Chase XXV Jim XXVI Success XXVII Reconnoitering XXVIII The Struggle XXIX Bob XXX A Failure XXXI An Attack XXXII Harvey & Co.




"What's your name?"

"Jethro Lewis."

"How old are you?"

"I don't know."

"Judging from the size I shouldn't say you were over ten."

"My size 's against me, that's a fact; but I can run a good deal faster than some fellers twice as big."

The manager of the District Messenger Station did not attempt to conceal a smile as the boy spoke thus earnestly, and continued the examination by asking:

"Where do you live?"

"Down on East Tenth Street."

"Mother and father alive?"

"Both dead. I'm boardin' with Mammy Showers."

"As a rule we do not employ boys who have no parents."

"Why not? Can't they shinney 'round, jest as well as other fellers?"

"There is no question about that, but we prefer to have some one to look out for them."

"So would I, but there's no use kickin' when a feller can't have all them luxuries," Jet said gravely. "It ain't so awful nice to hustle for yourself with a chance of bein' fired outer the house if the board ain't paid right up to the minute."

"How have you been earning a living?"

"Most any way that come handy. Sometimes I sell papers, an' then agin I black boots. I did think one spell of goin' into the theayter biz, but I couldn't git the right kind of a job. I can dance a good many of them perfessionals way out of sight, but the managers won't hire a performer what ain't got good clothes."

Jet spoke in a business like tone which evidently pleased the manager, for the latter said, after a short pause:

"I will give you a trial, and "

"You couldn't do better," Jet interrupted gravely, "for if I can't hump myself ahead of that fat chump over there I don't want a cent," and he pointed to a very fleshy boy who was half asleep on a bench which extended across the rear of the room.

"Here is a cap," the manager continued. "Your number is forty eight. We'll find a coat which will answer until another is made, and you are to go to work at once. Can you read?"

"Why cert."

"Then study this book of distances so you may know how much to charge for service, and set on that bench until it is your turn to go out."

Jet took the articles and was about to turn away from the desk when a very important question came into his mind.

"How much money are you goin' to give me a week?"

"Four dollars is the regular price for beginners; but there are good chances to advance if you attend to business."

This was evidently satisfactory to new number forty eight, for he did as directed, and was soon busily engaged studying the tariff of prices, seated beside the fat boy who was now slumbering calmly.

For a short time Jet thought more about financial matters than of his lesson. Mammy Showers charged him a dollar and a half per week for a small room hardly larger than a cupboard, and two meals each day. He would now, providing he did not indulge in too many luxuries while traveling around the city, be able to save two dollars and a half every seven days, and it seemed very much as if he had fairly started on the highway to fortune... Continue reading book >>

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