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Paul the Peddler, or the Fortunes of a Young Street Merchant   By: (1832-1899)

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PAUL THE PEDDLER,

OR THE FORTUNES OF A YOUNG STREET MERCHANT

By Horatio Alger, Jr.

BIOGRAPHY AND BIBLIOGRAPHY

Horatio Alger, Jr., an author who lived among and for boys and himself remained a boy in heart and association till death, was born at Revere, Mass., January 13, 1834. He was the son of a clergyman, was graduated at Harvard College in 1852, and at its Divinity School in 1860 and was pastor of the Unitarian Church at Brewster, Mass., in 1862 66.

In the latter year he settled in New York and began drawing public attention to the condition and needs of street boys. He mingled with them, gained their confidence showed a personal concern in their affairs, and stimulated them to honest and useful living. With his first story he won the hearts of all red blooded boys everywhere, and of the seventy or more that followed over a million copies were sold during the author's lifetime.

In his later life he was in appearance a short, stout, bald headed man, with cordial manners and whimsical views of things that amused all who met him. He died at Natick, Mass., July 18, 1899.

Mr. Alger's stories are as popular now as when first published, because they treat of real live boys who were always up and about just like the boys found everywhere to day. They are pure in tone and inspiring in influence, and many reforms in the juvenile life of New York may be traced to them. Among the best known are:

Strong and Steady; Strive and Succeed; Try and Trust; Bound to Rise; Risen from the Ranks; Herbert Carter's Legacy; Brave and Bold; Jack's Ward; Shifting for Himself; Wait and Hope; Paul the Peddler; Phil the Fiddler; Slow and Sure; Julius the Street Boy; Tom the Bootblack; Struggling Upward, Facing the World; The Cash Boy; Making His Way; Tony the Tramp; Joe's Luck; Do and Dare; Only an Irish Boy; Sink or Swim; A Cousin's Conspiracy; Andy Gordon; Bob Burton; Harry Vane; Hector's Inheritance; Mark Mason's Triumph; Sam's Chance; The Telegraph Boy; The Young Adventurer; The Young Outlaw; The Young Salesman, and Luke Walton.

PAUL THE PEDDLER

CHAPTER I

PAUL THE PEDDLER

"Here's your prize packages! Only five cents! Money prize in every package! Walk up, gentlemen, and try your luck!"

The speaker, a boy of fourteen, stood in front of the shabby brick building, on Nassau street, which has served for many years as the New York post office. In front of him, as he stood with his back to the building, was a small basket, filled with ordinary letter envelopes, each labeled "Prize Package."

His attractive announcement, which, at that time, had also the merit of novelty for Paul had himself hit upon the idea, and manufactured the packages, as we shall hereafter explain drew around him a miscellaneous crowd, composed chiefly of boys.

"What's in the packages, Johnny?" asked a bootblack, with his box strapped to his back.

"Candy," answered Paul. "Buy one. Only five cents."

"There ain't much candy," answered the bootblack, with a disparaging glance.

"What if there isn't? There's a prize."

"How big a prize?"

"There's a ten cent stamp in some of 'em. All have got something in 'em."

Influenced by this representation, the bootblack drew out a five cent piece, and said:

"Pitch one over then. I guess I can stand it." An envelope was at once handed him.

"Open it, Johnny," said a newsboy at his side. Twenty curious eyes were fixed upon him as he opened the package. He drew out rather a scanty supply of candy, and then turning to Paul, with a look of indignation, said:

"Where's the prize? I don't see no prize. Give me back my five cents."

"Give it to me. I'll show you," said the young merchant.

He thrust in his finger, and drew out a square bit of paper, on which was written One Cent.

"There's your prize," he added, drawing a penny from his pocket.

"It ain't much of a prize," said the buyer. "Where's your ten cents?"

"I didn't say I put ten cents into every package," answered Paul.

"I'd burst up pretty quick if I did that. Who'll have another package? Only five cents!"

Curiosity and taste for speculation are as prevalent among children as with men, so this appeal produced its effect... Continue reading book >>




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