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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesJoe's Luck; Or, Always Wide Awake - Chapter 12. Joe Finds A Job
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Joe's Luck; Or, Always Wide Awake - Chapter 12. Joe Finds A Job Post by :gwynaedd Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :2426

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Joe's Luck; Or, Always Wide Awake - Chapter 12. Joe Finds A Job


Joe knew nothing about the streets or their names. Chance brought him to Clay Street, between what is now Montgomery and Kearny Streets. Outside of a low wooden building, which appeared to be a restaurant, was a load of wood.

"I wonder if I couldn't get the chance to saw and split that wood?" thought Joe.

It would not do to be bashful. So he went in.

A stout man in an apron was waiting on the guests. Joe concluded that this must be the proprietor.

"Sit down, boy," said he, "if you want some dinner."

"I've had my dinner," said Joe. "Don't you want that wood outside sawed and split?"


"Let me do it."

"Go ahead."

There was a saw and saw-horse outside. The work was not new to Joe, and he went at it vigorously. No bargain had been made, but Joe knew so little of what would be considered a fair price that in this first instance he chose to leave it to his employer.

As he was at work Folsom and his friend passed by.

"Have you found a job already?" said Folsom.

"Yes, sir."

"You have kept your promise, Joe. You said you would take the first job that offered."

"Yes, Mr. Folsom; I meant what I said."

"Come round to the Leidesdorff House this evening and tell me how you made out."

"Thank you, sir, I will."

"That seems a smart boy," said Carter.

"Yes, he is. Help him along if you have a chance."

"I will. I like his pluck."

"He has no false pride. He is ready to do anything."

"Everybody is here. You know Jim Graves, who used to have his shingle up as a lawyer on Nassau Street?"

"Yes. Is he here?"

"He has been here three months. What do you think he is doing?"

"I couldn't guess."

"I don't think you could. He has turned drayman." Charles Folsom gazed at his friend in wonder.

"Turned drayman!" he exclaimed. "Is he reduced to that?"

"Reduced to that! My dear fellow, you don't understand the use of language. Graves is earning fifteen dollars a day at his business, and I don't believe he made that in New York in a month."

"Well, it is a strange state of society. Does he mean to be a drayman all his life?"

"Of course not. A year hence he may be a capitalist, or a lawyer again. Meanwhile he is saving money."

"He is a sensible man, after all; but, you see, Carter, it takes time to adjust my ideas to things here. The first surprise was your rough appearance."

"There is one advantage my rough life has brought me," said Carter. "It has improved my health. I was given to dyspepsia when I lived in New York. Now I really believe I could digest a tenpenny nail, or--an eating-house mince pie, which is more difficult."

"You have steep hills in San Francisco."

"Yes, it is something of a climb to the top of Clay Street Hill. When you get to the top you get a fine view, though."

Now the hill may be ascended in cars drawn up the steeply graded sides by an endless rope running just below the surface. No such arrangement had been thought of then. Folsom gave out when he had completed half the ascent.

"I'll be satisfied with the prospect from here," he said.

Meanwhile Joe kept steadily at his task.

"It will take me three hours and a half, possibly four," he said to himself, after a survey of the pile. "I wonder what pay I shall receive."

While thus employed many persons passed him.

One among them paused and accosted him.

"So you have found work already?" he said.

Looking up, Joe recognized Harry Hogan, the man who had swindled him. He didn't feel inclined to be very social with this man.

"Yes," said he coldly.

"Rather strange work for a first-class passenger."

He envied Joe because he had traveled first-class, while he had thought himself fortunate, with the help his dishonesty gave him, in being able to come by steerage.

"It is very suitable employment for a boy who has no money," said Joe.

"How much are you going to be paid for the job?" asked Hogan, with sudden interest, for ten dollars constituted his only remaining funds.

If his theft on shipboard had not been detected he would have been better provided.

"I don't know," said Joe shortly.

"You didn't make any bargain, then?"


"What are you going to do next?" inquired Hogan.

"I don't know," said Joe.

Hogan finally moved off.

"I hate that boy," he soliloquized. "He puts on airs for a country boy. So he's getting too proud to talk to me, is he? We'll see, Mr. Joseph Mason."

Joe kept on till his task was completed, put on his coat and went into the restaurant.

It was the supper-hour.

"I've finished the job," said Joe, in a businesslike tone.

The German took a look at Joe's work.

"You did it up good," he said. "How much you want?"

"I don't know. What would be a fair price?"

"I will give you some supper and five dollars."

Joe could hardly believe his ears. Five dollars and a supper for four hours' work! Surely he had come to the Land of Gold in very truth.

"Will dat do?"

"Oh, yes," said Joe. "I didn't expect so much."

"You shouldn't tell me dat. It isn't business."

Joe pocketed the gold piece which he received with a thrill of exultation. He had never received so much in value for a week's work before. Just then a man paid two dollars for a very plain supper.

"That makes my pay seven dollars," said Joe to himself. "If I can get steady work, I can get rich very quick," he thought.

There was one thing, however, that Joe did not take into account. If his earnings were likely to be large, his expenses would be large, too. So he might receive a good deal of money and not lay up a cent.

"Shall you have any more work to do?" asked Joe.

"Not shoost now," answered the German. "You can look round in a week. Maybe I have some then."

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CHAPTER XI. JOE ARRIVES IN SAN FRANCISCOAt the isthmus they exchanged steamers, crossing the narrow neck of land on the backs of mules. To-day the journey is more rapidly and comfortably made in a railroad-car. Of the voyage on the Pacific nothing need be said. The weather was fair, and it was uneventful. It was a beautiful morning in early September when they came in sight of the Golden Gate, and, entering the more placid waters of San Francisco Bay, moored at a short distance from the town. "What do you think of it, Joe?" asked Charles Folsom.