A Voice from the Newsboys
Published in 1860
When night came on, and that ever present question returned to trouble us, ''Where shall we sleep ?" I resolved to carry out a plan of which I had been thinking for some time, and accordingly found my way, withWillie, to the "Newsboys' Lodging-House." Opening the door, I walked up to the desk, and inquired of the gentleman who seemed to preside, "Is this the place for boys to sleep who haven't got any father or motlier?" Mr. Tracy (for that was the name of the gentleman whom I addressed), answered "Yes." Then I told him that we had neither father nor mother, and asked whether we might sleep there. I think that if he had looked hard at my face he could have seen that I was telling a lie, for I felt my guilty cheeks burn with shame! But he only inquired where we had been sleeping lately, and then gave us the permission which we wanted, on condition of our paying six cents apiece for the privilege, according to the rules of the establishment. . . .
After sitting by the fire for a few minutes, answering all the questions that were put to us, we passed quietly into tlie bed-room. Our minds were so much occupied with wonderings and speculations about our new home, that we did not examine things about us very closely. We could not but see, however, that the accommodations assigned to each of us for the night consisted of a nice little bed with warm comforters and clean sheets ; and glad enough were we to end our day's work in such a rest as was now promised us.
At half-past six, the next morning we were roused by the voice of the assistant, crying ''Up, boys, up I" We started up, rather bewildered at finding ourselves in so unusual a place. Looking around more leisurely than we were able to do the previous evening, we saw that we were in a large bedroom about sixty by forty, holding at that time about forty boys ; it was in the upper story of the Sun Building, and looked neat and commodious, while good ventilation was afforded by an ample supply of windows.
After dressing, Willie and I went into the room where we had applied for admittance the evening before; it was not quite as large as the sleeping room, yet it was capable of accommodating one hundred boys comfortably as a school and sitting room, with considerable space for play-room at that.