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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Erie Train Boy - Chapter 1. On The Erie Road
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The Erie Train Boy - Chapter 1. On The Erie Road Post by :Joshua_Ditty Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :2766

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The Erie Train Boy - Chapter 1. On The Erie Road


"Papers, magazines, all the popular novels! Can't I sell you something this morning?"

Joshua Bascom turned as the train boy addressed him, and revealed an honest, sunburned face, lighted up with pleasurable excitement, for he was a farmer's son and was making his first visit to the city of New York.

"I ain't much on story readin'," he said, "I tried to read a story book once, but I couldn't seem to get interested in it."

"What was the name of it?" asked Fred, the train boy, smiling.

"It was the 'Pilgrim's Progress,' or some such name. It had pictures into it. Aunt Nancy give it to dad for a birthday present once."

"I have heard of it."

"It was a mighty queer book. I couldn't make head nor tail on't."

"All books are not like that."

"I don't feel like readin'. It's a nuff sight more interestin' lookin' out of the winder at the sights.

"I'm going to York to spend a week," added Joshua, with an air of importance.

"That's where I live," said the train boy.

"Do you? Then you might tell me where to put up. I've got ten dollars. I reckon that ought to keep me a week."

Fred smiled.

"That is more than enough to keep me," he said, "but it costs a stranger considerable to go around. But I shall have to go my rounds."

It was a train on the Erie road, and the car had just passed Middletown. Joshua was sitting by the window, and the seat beside him was vacant. The train boy had scarcely left the car when a stylishly dressed young man, who had been sitting behind, came forward and accosted Joshua.

"Is this seat engaged?" he asked.

"Not as I know of," answered the young farmer.

"Then with your permission I will take it," said the stranger.

"Why of course; I hain't no objection. He's dreadful polite!" thought Joshua.

"You are from the country, I presume?" said the newcomer as he sank into the seat.

"Yes, I be. I live up Elmira way--town of Barton. Was you ever in Barton?"

"I have passed through it. I suppose you are engaged in agricultural pursuits?"


"You are a farmer, I take it."

"Yes; I work on dad's farm. He owns a hundred and seventy-five acres, and me and a hired man help him to carry it on. I tell you we have to work."

"Just so! And now you are taking a vacation?"

"Yes. I've come to see the sights of York."

"I think you will enjoy your visit. Ahem! the mayor of New York is my uncle."

"You don't say?" ejaculated Joshua, awestruck.

"Yes! My name is Ferdinand Morris."

"Glad to know you, Mr. Morris. My name is Joshua Bascom."

"Indeed! An aunt of mine married a Bascom. Perhaps we are related."

Joshua was quite elated at the thought that he might in some way be related to the mayor of New York without knowing it, and he resolved to expatiate on that subject when he went back to Barton. He decided that his new acquaintance must be rich, for he was dressed in showy style and had a violet in his buttonhole.

"Be you in business, Mr Morris?" he asked.

"Well, ahem! I am afraid that I am rather an idler. My father left me a quarter of a million, and so I don't feel the need of working."

"Quarter of a million!" ejaculated Joshua. "Why, that's two hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

"Just so," said Morris, smiling.

"That's an awful pile of money! Why, dad's been workin' all his life, and he isn't wuth more'n three thousand dollars at the outside."

"I am afraid three thousand dollars wouldn't last me a very long time," said Morris, with an amused smile.

"Gosh! Where can anybody get such a pile of money? That's what beats me!"

"Business, my young friend, business! Why I've made that amount of money in one day."

"You don't say!"

"Yes, by speculating in Wall Street."

"You must be smart!"

"My teachers didn't seem to think so. But life in the city is very different from life in the country."

"I wish I could make some money."

"A man must have money to make money. If now you had a little money----"

"I've got ten dollars to pay my expenses."

"Is that all?"

"No; I've got fifteen dollars to buy a shawl and dress for marm, and some shirts for dad. He thought he'd like some boughten shirts. The last marm made for him didn't fit very well."

"You must take good care of your money, Mr. Bascom. I regret to say that we have a great many pickpockets in New York."

"So I've heerd. That's what Jim Duffy told me. He went to York last spring. But I guess Jim was keerless or he wouldn't have been robbed. It would take a smart pickpocket to rob me."

"Then you keep your money in a safe place?"

"Yes, I keep my wallet in my breeches pocket;" and Joshua slapped the right leg of his trousers in a well satisfied way.

"You are right! I see you are a man of the world. You are a sharp one."

Joshua laughed gleefully. He felt pleased at the compliment.

"Yes," he chuckled, "I ain't easy taken in, I tell you, ef I was born in the woods."

"It is easy to see that. You can take care of yourself."

"So I can."

"That comes of being a Bascom. I am glad to know that we are related. You must call on me in New York."

"Where do you live?"

"At the Fifth Avenue Hotel. Just ask for Ferdinand Morris. They all know me there."

"Is that a good place to stop?"

"Yes, if you've got money enough. I pay five dollars a day for my board, and some extras carry it up to fifty dollars a week."

"Gosh all hemlock!" ejaculated Joshua, "I don't want to pay no more'n five dollars a week."

"You can perhaps find a cheap boarding-house for that sum--with plain board, of course."

"That's what I'm used to. I'm willin' to get along without pie."

"You like pie, then?"

"We ginerally have it on the table at every meal, but I can wait till I get home."

"I will see what I can do for you. In fact, all you've got to do is to buy a morning paper, and pick out a boarding-house where the price will suit you. You must come and dine with me some day at the Fifth Avenue Hotel."

"Thank you! You're awful kind, but I'm afraid I ain't dressed up enough for such a stylish place."

"Well, perhaps not, but I might lend you a suit to go to the table in. We are about the same build."

"If you've got an extra suit----"

"An extra suit? Mr. Bascom, I have at least twenty extra suits."

"Gee-whillikens! What do you want with so many clothes?"

"I never wear the same suit two days in succession. But I must bid you good morning, Mr. Bascom. I have a friend in the next car."

Morris rose, and Joshua, feeling much flattered with his polite attentions, resumed his glances out of the window.

"Apples, oranges, bananas!" called the train boy, entering the car with a basket of fruit.

"How much do you charge?" asked Joshua. "I feel kind of hungry, and I haven't ate an orange for an age. Last time I bought one was at the grocery up to hum."

"The large oranges are five cents apiece," said Fred. "I can give you two small ones for the same price."

"I'll take two small ones. It seems a great deal of money, but I'm traveling and that makes a difference."

"Here are two good ones!" said Fred, picking out a couple.

"All right! I'll take 'em!"

Joshua Bascom thrust his hand into his pocket, and then a wild spasm contracted his features. He explored it with growing excitement, and a sickly pallor overspread his face.

"What's the matter?" asked Fred.

"I've been robbed. My wallet's gone!" groaned Joshua in a husky voice.

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