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BALDY HIGGS THREATENING SAM CARLETON.
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
A STORY OF
THE STREET ARABS OF NEW YORK.
By JAMES OTIS,
"JENNY WREN'S BOARDING-HOUSE," "TOBY TYLER," "MR. STUBBS'
BROTHER," RAISING THE PEARL," ETC.
ILLUSTRATED BY W. P. HOOPER.
ESTES AND LAURIAT,
BY ESTES AND LAURIAT.
JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE, U S.A.
THE ORGANIZATION . . .
RECRUITING . . .
GAINING THEIR RIGHTS" ...
THE VISITING COMMITTEE . .
THE UNION'S VICTIM . .
APPARENT IRREGULARITIES . .
OPEN INSUBORDINATION . ..
. . 24
. . 34
. . 58
. . 70
. . 81
SAM'S SISTER .
N . .
NT . .
. . 120
. . 134
THE AVENGERS .
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
BALDY HIGGS THREATENING SAM CARLETON . Frontispiece.
BALDY HIGGS ADDRESSING HIS FELLOW BOOT-BLACKS 13
DENNY READING THE DOCUMENT .. ...... 17
THE STRIKERS INTERFERING WITH SAM CARLETON . 39
JIPPY AND THE BOSS SHINER .. . .. 50
JIPPY AT .S4M CARLETON'S . ... .. 61
THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE STRIKERS AND THE BOOT-BLACKS 73
JET BLAKE ............. ..... 91
THE BOSS SHINER . .. . 105
JIPPY RESENTS HIS ILL-TREATMENT ... ....... 117
JET TENDING SIM BROWN'S STAND .. ..... 129
THE BOYS CALLING AT MRS. CARLETON'S ...... 143
THE STRIKERS WATCHING THEIR OFFICERS . .. .153
THE TWO OFFICERS ENJOYING THEMSELVES ... ... 169
THE BOSS SHINER PUNISHING HIS ASSISTANT . .. .181
THE STRIKERS TAKING BALDY TO SAM CARLETON'S ... .189
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
IT was the time when enterprising boys in the boot-
blackening business should have been reaping a rich
harvest of pennies and nickels, such as would make a
good showing on the credit side of the Profit and Loss
A foggy morning, with light sprinklings of rain now
and then ; not sufficiently stormy to prevent pedestrians
from venturing out, but with just enough moisture in
the air to destroy the most brilliant polish ever put
upon a piece of leather.
At noon the sun appeared from behind the clouds;
the sidewalks were quickly dried, and every inanimate
thing, save the boots and shoes which had been carry-
ing their owners through the mud, looked bright and
On this particular afternoon many gentlemen who
remained down town because of business or pleasure,
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
searched in vain for a boot-black, and not a few won-
dered why this branch of trade, which was usually over-
done, should be nearly at a standstill when it ought to
have been the niost flourishing.
Two or three young Italians, in small velveteen jack-
ets and wide trousers of the same material, were driven
nearly frantic by the .many demands for their services;
but even while working in such haste that the perspira-
tion from their faces frequently destroyed the hastily
applied polish, each and every one made the most se-
vere mental efforts to solve the problem of why their
old enemies, the American boot-blacks, had so suddenly
gone out of business.
The policemen stationed in the vicinity of City Hall
Square may not have been troubled because of the mud
on their boots; but they certainly were surprised at
seeing a large crowd of boys, each with a boot-black's
outfit slung over his shoulder, gathered at the lower
end of the park, engaged in noisy discussion.
As audience they had fifteen or twenty loungers who
listened attentively to all that was said, and applauded
vigorously at every reasonable opportunity.
It was an open-air meeting to which the general
public were not invited; but no attempt had been made
to prevent the curiously inclined from attending, there-
fore one could readily learn the following facts: -
Baldy Higgs, a small, freckled faced boy with closely
cropped hair, was the master-spirit of the gathering.
It is but a simple act of justice to say that his origi-
nal name was Archibald, although so many years had
rn n [
' I = O ,
BALDY HIGGS ADDRESSING HIS FELLOW BOOT-BLACKS.
THE ORGANIZE TION.
elapsed since his friends used the first two syllables,
he would have hardly recognized it as belonging to
That he had called his brother laborers together very
much to the detriment of their legitimate business, was
made apparent by his opening remarks.
With a park bench for a platform, and hat pushed
back on his head that the dilapidated visor might not
obstruct his vision, he said in a loud and somewhat
Fellers, we're 'sembled here here to to "
Begin over agin, Baldy, you did n't get that right,"
Skinney Jones said in a hoarse whisper, as his comrade
stammered and grew so red in the face it was difficult
to distinguish the usually prominent freckles.
That's what the man over in Harmony Hall said,"
Master Higgs replied, while his audience showed evi-
dent signs of impatience for the remainder of the
"Then he was all wrong. Start once more, an' go
it strong, same's you did to me a little while ago."
Thus encouraged, Baldy pushed his cap nearly a
quarter of an inch further back, and began to speak
very rapidly, as if afraid of giving the thoughts time to
escape from his memory.
Fellers, Skinney an' me asked you to come over
here so's we could all have our rights, an' this is what
oughter be done. Everybody with any style about 'em
is joinin' a Union to get bigger pay, an' keep other
people away. Now us boot-blacks want ten cents for
a shine, an' no Italians! "
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
You've struck it for sure, Baldy I We've got no
use for them Italians, 'cause if they stay round here
we '11 have to give first-class shines for a nickel; an' that
don't pay," one of the audience cried; and Master Higgs
appeared delighted at this mark of approval.
If we act like other folks," he continued, "we can
chum together an' put prices way up. What'll the men
do if they can't get their boots blacked less'n ten cents ?
Won't they have to pay it?"
The Italians will shine all they can find for a nickel
a pair! Jippy Simpson cried excitedly.
That's it! that's jest it! Baldy shouted. "If every
feller here 'grees not to take less'n ten cents, an' to
knock the head offer every Italian he*sees, we can run
the whole town. Mike Cassady, up in Harmony Hall
last night, said it was these foreigners what was making'
all the trouble, an' a Italian is a foreigner. What busi-
ness have they got to come round shinin'? Now if we
water have a soft snap, start a Union; let the fellers
here join, an' it won't be a day before we '11 have every
'spectable boot-black in town with us.'
But what '11 we do then? one of the party asked
Get ten cents for every shine, an' lick Italians. If
any feller works for less, fire him right outer the Union,
an' thump his head if he tries to do any work. Skinney
an' me have fixed up a paper like they did at Harmony
Hall last night, an' them as signs it b'longs to the
Then Master Higgs drew a large sheet of soiled brown
paper from his pocket,
and, with a show of
dignity befitting a suc-
cessful public speaker,
handed it to Denny
Drake, who was stand-
ing nearest him, saying
as he did so,-
"Read it right out,
an' all hands '11 know
what it says."
It was a hard matter
for Denny to do this;
but by dint of perse-
verance he succeeded,
Baldy and Skinney wait-
ing patiently until the
task was finished.
Fortunately the origi-
nal document has been
preserved, therefore it is
possible to reproduce
DENNY READING THE DOCUMENT.
THE BOYS' REVOLT
THE BOOT-BLACK'S LABER UNiON
EVERY FELLER WHAT JiNES MUST PAY 5 CENTS A WEEK.
NO EYETALiANS ALOUD.
NO FELLER CAN SHiN BOOTS FOR LESSN o1 CENTS.
CLEANiN MUD COUNTS SAMES A SHiN.
EVERY FELLER MUST LiCK A EYETALiAN WHEN HE CAN
THERE GOT TO BE A BOSS SHiNER VOTED FOR EVERY
4 WEEKS & HE HAS 2 LOOK OUt SOS 2 SEE
THE THiNG IS WORKED RiTE.
THE BOSS WALKER iS THE FELLER WHAT SNOOPS ROUND
GETTiN MONEY 2 KEEP THE THiNG GOiN & HUNTiN
FOR BOYS WHAT SHiNS FOR LESSN o1 CENTS HE
GETS VOTED FOUR WEEKS & HE HAS TO
LAY FOR EYETALiNS SOS 2 TELL
THE OTHER FELLERS WHERE
2 KETCH EM.
NO FELLER CAN SHiN BOOTS FOR A MAN WHAT HAS
HAD A EYETALiN DO iT FOR HiM OR WHAT
HAS PADE 5 CENTS FOR A SHiN.
NO FELLER KAN BY BLACKiN OFFER A MAN WHAT SELLS
EVERY 'ONE WHAT BLONGS 2 THiS UNiON MUST
DRIVE AWAY EVERY I WHAT DON'T.
ALL FELLERS HAVE 2 CROSS THEIR THROTS THAT
THEY'LL STiCK 2 THiS REGLASHUNS.
The greatest confusion prevailed when Denny fin-
ished reading the rules, and it was some time before
any one could succeed in making himself heard, save by
his nearest neighbor; but after five minutes of frantic
shrieking Jippy Simpson gained the ear of the projector
of the scheme, and asked anxiously,-
What's goin' to be done with the five cents every
fellow pays once a week ? "
That's to take care of the Union," Baldy replied, as
he clambered once more upon the bench, that all might
hear. If any feller is sick, the others look out for him
so 's he'll have a good time."
But s'posen nobody gets sick? "
Well, some of it has to go for the Boss Shiner an'
the Boss Walker. You see them two fellers will have
all they can do running' round getting' other folks to put
in money, an' watching' so's they can tell when the rules
are broke. They must keep jumpin' pretty near the
whole time, an' of course the Union has to look out for
Jippy and several others appeared surprised at this;
but after a moment's silence some one suggested:
"We can't do much work if we've got to lay for
"That's it! That's jest it!" Baldy cried excitedly,
dancing with delight that the audience should have led
the subject up to this point. "Now, here's the way
we'll fix things. This afternoon the fellers must work
the best they know how, so's to earn money enough to
pay for joinin'. Termorrer we won't do any shinin'.
We'll go on a strike same's other Unions do, an' loaf
'till every one in town 'grees that nobody but us can
black his boots. It won't take more'n three days to
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
clean out the Italians, an' then we'll have all we can do
at ten cents."
But if we don't earn any money for three days how 'er
we goin' to get something' to eat ?"
We '11 send the Boss Shiner an' the Boss Walker to
the other Unions for money, like folks do when they go
on a strike. It'll be lots of fun ; the papers will tell all
about it, an' the perlicemen will have to march 'round
same's they did last summer."
When Master Higgs first began to unfold his plan,
some among the audience were disposed to look upon'it
with disfavor; but now the matter presented a different
If they could remain idle three days, and during that
time be supported by other Unions, a strike would be
the jolliest thing possible. To whip Italians was sport
rather than labor, and hardly a dissenting voice was
There yet remained the shadow of a doubt in Jippy
Simpson's mind, however; he felt almost ashamed it
should be so, for he asked in a timid, apologetic tone:
Is it sure you can collect as much money as we
We 'll get it easy enough if you vote for the right
ones to be the Boss Shiner an' Walker. Now, me an'
Skinney have been talking' this thing over since last
night, an' know jest how it oughter be done. If you
want us to take the job, we'll do it, an' in four weeks
somebody else can be put in to run the concern."
During a few moments it looked very much as if the
projector of the scheme had been unwise in making this
Every member of the audience knew that Baldy Higgs
and Skinney Jones were the most indolent boys in the
business; both were in debt, and yet none so ready to
cease work upon the slightest provocation as they.
It was quite natural that those who were requested to
join the Union should ask themselves how two fellows
who had been unable to manage their own affairs suc-
cessfully, could conduct an association with any hope of
accomplishing the purpose of the undertaking.
Fortunately, so far as the ambition of Baldy and Skin-
ney was concerned, Jippy Simpson was the only boy
who thought it particularly necessary to consider the
capabilities of those who proposed to conduct the strike.
The majority of the party had in mind nothing save
the injury done them by the Italians, and the anticipated
triumph of obliging the public to sue for the privilege of
having their boots blackened.
Therefore, after the first surprise at learning that
Messrs. Higgs and Jones were candidates for the only
offices to be created, had in a measure passed away,
nearly every one believed it would be a simple act of
justice to give them authority to manage the affairs.
They had conceived the idea, professed to know
exactly how it ought to be carried into effect, and; con-
sequently, should be elected.
The more careless boys looked upon the proposed
strike as the jolliest kind of a lark, which could not be
prolonged more than three or four days, because of the
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
public's necessities, and to them it was a matter of little
moment who were the managers.
Baldy watched the countenances of his audience very
closely after making the proposal, and it was not neces-
sary to study long before he understood the matter was
"Them what want to join must come up now an'
pay their five cents," he said, assuming that he had
been elected Boss Shiner, and speaking authoritatively.
"Afterwards they can sign their names an' work 'till
night. Termorrer morning' we'll all meet here an' go for
Every boy present wrote his name or made some pri-
vate mark upon the sheet of soiled paper with a new
pencil Baldy had purchased for that especial purpose,
and the great strike was thus fully inaugurated.
The majority of the signers paid the first week's dues
at once; but there were a few who did not have the
necessary amount of money, and Master Higgs was
careful to impress upon the minds of these delinquents
that they must earn and give him five cents before dark,
or would be classed with the objectionable Italians.
When all had thus become members of the Union, or
were accepted as such conditionally upon a prompt pay-
ment of dues, Baldy considered it necessary to address
them once more; and, after placing the precious docu-
ment in the inside pocket of his dilapidated coat, he said
as he stepped again upon the bench,-
Now the thing has been started right, an' if we stick
together we can run the whole town. I '11 go round get-
THE ORGANIZE YION. 23
tin' other fellers to join, an' Skinney will snoop over to
Brooklyn to tell the boot-blacks there what we've done,
an' bring back the money they 're willing' to give. Jest
remember that all we 've got to do termorrer is to go for
the Italians; an' if anybody gets hurt, the Union is bound
to see him through. This meeting' now shets up 'till
after dark, when it 'll be open to find out if every feller
has paid what he owes."
Strange as it may seem, the business of the city went
on after the adjournment much the same as before the
meeting was called to order, and the police reserves were
not required to patrol the streets, greatly to the disap-
pointment of Master Higgs.
IF Baldy Higgs was indolent while conducting his
legitimate business, he could not be accused of idling
when establishing the Union on what he intended
should be a firm foundation.
Perhaps the thought that every new recruit would
add another to the number who were pledged to con-
tribute a certain amount each week toward the support
of himself and Skinney, caused him to be unusually
active, or he may have been suddenly imbued with the
idea that it was his duty to labor for the benefit of
His zeal was very great, no matter from what cause,
and before sunset he had obtained the signatures and
dues from six boys who did not attend the first
He also very nearly whipped a small Italian,-the
inopportune arrival of a policeman alone preventing
him from disabling one of the enemy.
It was time to call the second meeting to order,
when Baldy met Sam Carleton, a brother boot-black
whom he was very anxious should become a member,
because of his industry and general good character.
Sam was coming up Vesey Street at a rapid pace,
closely hugging a small flower-pot in which grew a
tiny rose-bush, and did not appear inclined to spend
much time in conversation, even though so exalted a
personage as the Boss Shiner requested his attention.
Have you gone to farmin' all of a sudden? Baldy
asked, in a particularly friendly tone, as he halted in
front of Sam.
"I've been working' down to the markets, an' trade
was so good that I bought this flower for Alice. She's
wanted one ever since she was sick; but I could n't
get it before."
Then, having explained as much as he thought
necessary, Sam would have pushed on past this
acquaintance, for whom he had no very high regard;
but Baldy was not so easily thwarted in his purpose.
"Don't be in such a hurry. I've got something big
to talk about."
I know what it is. Jip Simpson told me the whole
story a little while ago."
But I water give you a chance to join before it's
too late. I'm sure you 'll come in if the thing's ex-
plained right. Jip means well but don't know how to
talk up a Union."
"It won't do any good to tell me, Baldy, 'cause I
can't afford to belong; but if you water chin, walk up
the street. I promised Alice I'd come home by dark,
an' she's looking' for me now."
This was hardly the reception Master Higgs
expected to meet with; but the thought of the five
THE BOYS' REVOLT
cents which each member must pay caused him to
labor very earnestly in enlisting recruits, and he walked
on with Sam, explaining what it was proposed to
accomplish by means of a Union.
"In the first place, Baldy, the Italian fellers have
jest as much right to black boots as you an' me," Sam
said, when the Boss Shiner was forced, from lack of
breath, to cease talking for an instant. "Then, agin,
I'd rather give a shine for five cents than not earn
any money at all; an' I could n't knock off work three
days, no matter how much might be made afterwards.
Mother's getting' only a little now, 'cause she has to
take care of Alice, an' they need every cent I can
"But the Union'll see to you while we're loafin',"
Baldy said, as he displayed a handful of nickels and
pennies. "We've got a pile of money now, an'
Skinney's out getting' more."
How many fellers have joined ?"
Thirty-one so far, an' we'll have twice that crowd
"Then you've got a dollar an' fifty-five cents?"
"It'll come pretty near that: some of the signers
ain't paid yet; but they must, or leave."
"I reckon one or two are fixed like me. I know
Jet Blake has to have money right away, 'cause he
owes for his board."
"Well, s'posen he does? He'll get twice as much
for a shine after the strike is over."
'But the Union will have to help him, 'less he's
willing' to go without anything to eat for three or four
days. You an' Skinney are goin' to draw money to
pay for your livin'; an' how much of that dollar an'
fifty-five cents would be coming' to me? I've got to
make pretty nigh a dollar a day, an' I don't reckon
the fellers will be willing' to give me that, after you've
taken what you want. S'posen the strike is n't over
in a week?"
There's no danger of that," Baldy replied confi-
dently.; and, realizing he could not enlist Sam by soft
words, resolved to try threats. "Do you know if you
don't join, all the fellers are bound to drive you
There is n't one who would do such a thing when
I tell them my sister is sick an' I 'm earnin' the money
for her," Sam replied stoutly; but for the first time
he began to think it possible the Union could work
They're bound to if you ain't one of us. All the
fellers are to do for three days is jump on them as
don't b'long to the 'sociation. You see, Sam, we've
got to, if we water get our rights."
"Go to work like a man, Baldy, an' nobody will
steal your rights away. I can't join, 'cause I must
earn money for Alice; an' if any feller tries to stop
me, he 'd better take care of himself."
Stick it out that way if you can, Sam Carleton,
an' see where you 'll fetch up!" Master Higgs cried
angrily as he came to a halt, and his companion
continued on alone. If you get a single job termorrer
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
it'll be 'cause you're stronger'n the whole crowd
Then, after shaking his fist menacingly, the Boss
Shiner hurried off in the direction of City Hall park
to meet those who were bent on bettering the condition
of their fellow boot-blacks according to Baldy Higgs's
and Skinney Jones's views.
He found every member of the newly formed Union
at the rendezvous awaiting his coming, and the business
of the evening was begun without delay.
The most important portion of the work was to col-
lect the remainder of the dues; and this was done quickly,
for each delinquent had taken especial care to provide
himself with the necessary amount.
Two more boys were allowed to sign the brown
paper, after which the presiding officer announced that
the association had thirty-three members, and a cash
capital of pne dollar and sixty-five cents, less a dime
advanced the Boss Walker for expenses to Brooklyn.
Did Skinney spend all that money jest to go over
there?" Jippy Simpson asked anxiously; but before
Baldy could reply, the second officer was seen coming
at full speed toward the park, -
How'd you make out ?" Master Higgs cried while
the tardy member was yet some distance away; and
Skinney shouted triumphantly, -
I got some money, an' termorrer I'll have more.
The fellers over there are pretty nigh wild about what
we're doin', an' I reckon most all of 'em will want to
By the time ne had ceased speaking, Skinney was in
the midst of his brother members, panting severely, like
one who had run a long distance.
How much did they give you ? Baldy asked eagerly;
for upon the amount collected from sympathizing fellow
laborers the duration of the strike depended.
Well, you see I did n't get so very much this time,
'cause the fellers was n't posted on what we was doin',
or else they'd had a lot saved up; but you'll see it
come rollin' in termorrer."
Let's know what you collected," Jippy cried as he
forced his way through the crowd; and Skinney drew
from his pocket two pennies, which he held high above
his head, that they might readily be seen.
Have you been all the afternoon chasing' two cents ? "
Denny Blake asked in surprise.
I '11 get lots in the morning. "
How much did you spend goin' over? "
"Well; you see I did n't have any dinner, so I bought
four cakes for a cent apiece, an' two on the bridge
made six. But you wait 'till the money piles up in the
There was a painful pause for nearly a moment, and
then Jippy cried, in his shrillest tones, -
I go in for savin' them two pennies, so's to have 'em
framed. They cost three cents apiece, besides what
Skinney might have earned if he'd hung' round here
givin' nickel shines."
A burst of laughter followed this remark, and Baldy
understood it might be fatal for the Union if the mem-
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
bers lost confidence in the officers; therefore he took
Jippy aside, and said sternly,-
You must n't make yourself too smart, Jip Simpson,
or you '11 get inter trouble. Skinney did all right; an'
if some fellers don't try to be funny, we '11 have as much
money as we want."
Jippy was silenced by the implied threat; but the
others were disposed to be merry over the result of the
Boss Walker's mission, and the presiding officer realized
that some immediate move must be made if he would
retain his authority.
Leaping on a bench, he cried, as he waved his arms
vigorously, to command attention,-
Fellers, don't go to thinking' that everything ain't
straight jest 'cause Skinney only brought back two
cents. They are enough to show we'll get more, an'
he says he'll have plenty in the morning Of course we
did n't reckon the money was goin' to pile up the very
first thing. Folks must know what we're doin' before
they give much, an' the strike hain't really begun yet.
Wait 'till the newspapers tell about it, an' then we'll
have all the cash we can lug."
The members of the Union, with the possible excep-
tion of Jip Simpson, appeared to understand the force
of Baldy's argument, and Denny tried to change the
subject under discussion, by asking, -
"What's the first thing we're goin' to do in the
morning ? "
"That's it! That's jest it! Baldy exclaimed, as he
bestowed a smile of approval upon Denny. If we git
to fighting' over two cents, the strike won't 'mount to noth-
in'. Mike Cassady said up to Harmony Hall last night,
that in union there was strength, pervidin' everybody
did what the officers said. The first thing for all hands
to watch after, is the Italians. Every one of 'em must be
drove off; an' if you can smash their boxes, so much the
better. Then we've got to 'tend to Sam Carleton.
I wanted him to join; but he wouldn't, an' said the
whole crowd could n't stop him from working. "
"Well, he has. to snoop 'round mighty lively, 'cause
nis sister's sick, Jet Blake said. He could n't go on
a strike if he wanted to, else Alice would n't have the
things the doctor says she needs."
"What's the reason she would n't?" Baldy asked
quickly. "Ain't that what Unions are for? Mike Cas-
sady says they're like mothers to yer, pervidin' you pay
up sharp. I told Sam we 'd take care of Alice; but he
did n't say a word. He wants to hang 'round an' shine
for five cents; an' he 's got to be drove off if we're going'
to make this thing work.
Then what '11 his sister do ? Jet asked.
"She '11 be all right, 'cause he won't stick out more'n
one day, an' then he'll join. We've got to show we
mean business, an' Sam Carleton's the feller to begin
on. Me an' Sim Brown, an' Jake Albeck will take care
of him while the rest thump Italians."
Are we goin' to do that all day? "
We '11 keep it up 'till noon, an' then meet here to see
if anymore wants to join. Now skin out of this, 'cause
the perlice will be watching' us if they know we're on a
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
By this remark Master Higgs intended to adjourn the
meeting; but Jet Blake had a question to ask which was
of very great importance to himself, and he at once took
the floor by calling, -
What's the matter now? "
Didn't you say this Union was goin' to take care of
all hands ? "
Of course I did; but it can't 'till we've got more
"I'd like to know how I'm goin' to wait for that?
I owe Mother Biddle for two weeks' board, an' now she
won't let me come into the house nights, unless I plank
down fifteen cents every time."
"What's that got to do with the Union?" Baldy
asked as he clutched tightly the cash in his pocket.
Well, if it's goin' to be a mother to me, I 'd like to
have ten cents. I only could give two nickel shines this
afternoon, 'cause I had to talk to other fellers 'bout joinin',
an' I've got five cents left."
Do you expectt to pay in a nickel an' draw out a dime
the very first thing?" Baldy asked in a scornful tone.
" You can't earn any more money for three days, so you
could 't pay it back ; an' it ain't likely the other fellers
would agree to throw away cash like that."
What'll I do ? Jet cried mournfully. If I had n't
been helping' start this thing I could 'a earned enough to
pay Mother Biddle."
"We ain't got nothing' to do with that," Baldy replied
loftily; when the money begins to come in, we '11 whack
up; but 'less you're sick, you 've got to wait."
I reckon I will be sick if I have to wait three days
with nothing to eat," poor Jet said, as he turned discon-
solately away; and Master Higgs beckoned to his brother
officer, as he called to the others, -
Don't forget to watch for Italians in the morning. "
"Where are you fellers going? Jip Simpson asked
as Baldy and Skinney started toward Chatham Street.
Up to Conner's lodgin' house."
"What?" Jippy screamed. Are you goin' to pay
fifteen cents apiece for a place to sleep? "
Of course we are. Do you expectt us to snoop 'round
with the rest of the gang when any quantity of news-
paper men will want to find us before morning ? How
would it look for the Boss Shiner an' Walker of a Union
to be sleeping' in a cart, or over to the Home? Mike
Cassady says the officers has got to put on style 'cordin'
to their positions, an' me an' Skinney will fix that part
of it all right."
Jippy was too much astonished to make any reply.
He began to understand there might possibly be a
social gulf between a Boss Shiner and an humble
member of the association, and murmured to himself as
he walked slowly toward the Bowery, -
I never thought I 'd be chippin' in to give Bald
Higgs an' Skin Jones a chance to swell! But I have
done it, an' now I s'pose I 've got to hang on while the
GAINING THEIR RIGHTS."
THE strikers were out of doors earlier on the morning
after the Union was founded than ever before.
It was hardly daylight when the more zealous met
at City Hall park; and by the time the sun showed his
round face above the housetops, every member of the
association, save the two officers, was present, ready to
battle for his rights.
There was no unusual excitement apparent in that
section of the city, as some fancied would be the case.
The bulletin-boards at the newspaper offices had no
flaring head-lines concerning the great strike, and the
solitary policeman in the park did not even appear
to think it worth his while to learn the cause of the
The strikers were disappointed because the city still
retained its customary early-morning tranquillity; but
Jake Albeck soothed them somewhat by saying sagely:
"Wait 'till this thing is found out, an' then see how
wild the town will git. I reckon there 'll be more 'n a
hundred policemen right in this very spot before ter-
morrer morning. "
Do you s'pose they 'll 'rest any of us?" Jippy
Simpson asked tremblingly.
GAINING THEIR RIGHTS."
Of course not. They would n't dare to take a whole
'sociation. You see it's different now from what it was
when we were only boot-blacks; we've got the right to
parade, and all that kind of thing, jest the same as other
This put at rest the fears which had arisen in Jippy's
mind during the night, and took away a goodly portion
of the sting caused by the thought that he had contrib-
uted money to enable Baldy and Skinney to "swell."
The officers did not arrive at the rendezvous until
nearly an hour after the members were assembled.
Jet Blake, who went supperless to his bed in a wagon,
*and had not as yet broken his fast, explained the cause
of the delay by saying:-
They're trying' to eat all the funds. I reckon they've
ordered a high old spread up at some toney saloon, an'
are gittin' away with it."
Possibly the others of the party believed the officers
were living rather extravagantly on money belonging to
the Union ; but no one gave words to the thought, for,
now that the strike had really begun, all realized it was not
the time to find fault with those whom they had elected.
Messrs. Higgs and Jones entered the park with a
great display of dignity.
They had had an opportunity to reflect upon the
importance of their positions, and began to understand
that it would not be fitting their station to be familiar
with those beneath them in the social scale.
Have you been looking' 'round for Italians? Baldy
asked, much as if surprised that the boys should be idle.
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
We was waiting' for all hands, so's to commence fair,"
Denny Drake replied.
Then don't stop here any longer," and Baldy spoke
quite sharply. Sim and Jake are goin' with me to take
care of Sam Carleton; an' Skinney will hustle 'round for
more money. Now, git to work; an' this afternoon we'll
have another meeting. "
The strikers obeyed silently, because they were too
much astonished to speak.
Could it be possible that this boy, using such an
authoritative tone, was the same Baldy Higgs who had
humbly presented himself the day previous as a candi-
date for office? Then he had pleaded, but now he com-
manded; and the change in his demeanor was not
Perhaps Master Higgs would have been wiser had he
not presumed quite so much upon his position ; but that
was strictly an affair of his own, and no one, save mem-
bers of the Union, have any right to criticise.
As soon as the greater portion of the association had
started off Italian hunting, Baldy gave Skinney whis-
pered instructions, and then beckoned for Sim and Jake
to follow in search of Sam.
It was not necessary for them to spend much time in
All knew the boy whom they proposed to discipline
would be found in the vicinity of the Vesey Street mar-
kets; and there he was seen ten minutes later, industri-
ously engaged blackening boots.
A stranger would almost have fancied he was working
GAINING TiREIR "RIGHTS."
harmoniously with an Italian, for one of that objection-
able class was standing close beside him.
There he is Baldy exclaimed vindictively, much as
if Sam was a personal enemy; an' I '11 bet he won't get
more'n a nickel for the shine. Now, what we water do
is sneak up when he 's through. I'll grab his box an'
run, an' of course he'll foller. You fellers must give it
to him hot while he's chasing' me; an' we'll git him
behind some store where all hands can pound him.
Don't say anything to the Italian; for after we 're through
with Sam it 'll be time enough to 'tend to him."
An easy matter was it for the young gentlemen who
were intent on gaining their rights, to steal very closely
to Sam before he became aware of their presence. It
was as if he had not believed Baldy would carry into
execution the threats made on the night previous, and,
therefore, was not on guard against an unfriendly visit.
He paid no attention to anything which was taking
place in the vicinity, save as it concerned him in a busi-
ness way; and the Boss Shiner had every opportunity
for beginning the lesson which was to drive this particu-
lar boot-black into the sheltering arms of the association.
To wrest Sam's box from him, after he had finished
his job and stood waiting for another, was a very simple
task; and Baldy started at full speed toward a narrow
alley which he believed would afford a sufficient degree
of privacy to permit of their disciplining this enemy to
the Union without interference.
As a matter of course, Sam followed his property; for
he was not a boy who would tamely submit to a wrong,
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
however many might have inflicted it, and Sim and Jake
had ample opportunity to carry out the orders given by
Each dealt him several severe blows from behind; but
he heeded them not in his anxiety to recover the prop-
erty, and followed into the trap which had been set.
Once in the alley, which was deserted by all save the
members of the association and their intended victim,
Baldy made a bold stand, swinging the box in front of
him viciously, but not quickly enough to save himself
from a stinging blow which Sam succeeded in delivering
fairly on his nose.
This was the only effective resistance which the victim
was able to make; for in another instant Sim and Jake
seized his arms from behind, throwing him heavily to
the ground, and during several moments Baldy pounded
him without mercy, as revenge for the injury he himself
Hold him down !" the Boss Shiner cried vindictively.
"We'll show him whether he can get along without the
Union or not; and then he added to the prostrate boy,
"When you've had enough of this an' say you '11 join,
we'll let you up."
Sam made no reply.
He had struggled manfully as long as there was a
possibility of defending himself, but when his enemies
pinned him to the earth, where he could move neither
hand nor foot, he took his punishment in silence, giving
no sign of pain, even when Baldy showered blow after
blow on his unprotected face.
THE STRIKERS INTERFERING WITH SAM CARLETON.
THIE STRIKERS INTERFERING WITH SAM CARLETON.
GAINING THEIR "RIGHTS."
If it had been the purpose of Master Higgs to wring
some cry from Sam, he was disappointed; and, after beat-
ing the boy until his arms and fists ached, he stopped,
saying to his companions: -
Hold him still, I '11 smash his box, and if this don't
make him sick of not goin' in with the others for his
rights, we 'll serve him the same way every time he shows
his nose around here."
Baldy waited long enough to give Sam a chance to
declare himself beaten into the Union; and since not so
much as a sigh came from the compressed lips, he pro-
ceeded to pound the box upon the cobble-stones until it
was broken into fragments.
Then, throwing the brushes and blacking far down the
alley, said as he prepared to retreat:-
"He knows where to come when he gits ready to
join, so let him up, an' we '11 look for the Italians."
Sim and Jake sprang to their feet, at the same mo-
ment they released their hold of their victim, and followed
Baldy at full speed toward the street; but Sam made
no effort to pursue them.
Halting at the corner long enough to look back, the
three exponents of labor rights saw the beaten boy
lying motionless as they had left him, and their faces
grew as pale as his.
Come on, don't loaf 'round here," Baldy said quickly,
his red and swollen nose standing out prominently from
his otherwise colorless face. Let's git up town before
the cops have a chance to ketch us," and he set the
example by running in the direction of Broadway,
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
not slackening his pace until on the Post-office
S'pose you killed him ? Jake asked, in a tremulous
whisper, when the three came to a halt at what they be-
lieved to be a safe distance from the scene of the crime.
He laid awful still, jest like he was dead," Sim added
in a tone of fear; but the Boss Shiner did his best not
to appear alarmed.
You could n't kill a feller jest with your fists," he
said, in a voice which was far from firm. He's had a
good poundin', that's all; an' I reckon this '11 make the
others what did n't join, wish they had. Sam 'll be
around with a nickel before termorrer morning ; an' if
he acts sorry for what he's done, perhaps we '11 git a new
box for him. Mike Cassady says you've got to show
people what you 're made of before they'll know how
much good a Union does. Now let's find some
To act upon this suggestion was simple; but to carry
it into execution was quite a different matter.
The other members of the association had evidently
been as energetic as the presiding officer, for from the
Post-office to the Battery not an Italian could be found.
They had been driven from their accustomed places for
the time being; but that some of them were yet upon
the face of the earth seemed probable, and Baldy led
his force up one street and down another in unsuccess-
Now you see what a Union can do," Master Higgs
said triumphantly, when, at noon, the committee on
GAINING THEIR. "RIGHTS."
punishment turned their steps toward City Hall park.
"I reckori the folks have begun to find out what we
mean, an' would n't wonder if we'd have a whole crowd
'round termorrer coaxin' us to go to work agin."
It surely did seem as if the strike promised to be suc-
cessful, and the three members were in the very best of
spirits as they joined their brother workmen who had
already assembled to take part in the noonday meeting.
"What's up? What's the matter now?" Baldy
asked sharply as he saw half-a-dozen of the party hold-
ing a crying boy to prevent his escape.
We caught Jet Blake down by Fulton Ferry shinin'
for a nickel, an' brought him along to see what's goin'
to be done about it."
Baldy looked severe, despite his swollen nose, as he
said sternly: -
"Did n't you hear me tell that nobody could work
to-day ? "
"S'posen I did ?" Jet replied angrily. Did n't you
hear me say I had n't nothing' to eat, 'cause I'd given my
money to your blamed old Union? "
And so you shined for five cents when we was all
on a strike ? "
When I joined I did n't 'gree to go without eatin',
did I? You an' Skin Jones had a bang-up breakfast
with our money, after you'd been swellin' all night in a
regular bed, an' I did n't dare go home."
"What's that got to do with the Union?" Baldy
cried. "You oughter had cash enough to lay off on
when the strike begun."
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
"I'll bet I had more'n you did. Nobody saw you
give five cents; an' I don't believe you had a penny,
till after the fellers paid up."
Baldy's red nose actually shone with anger at this
daring and disrespectful remark. Fortunately the dig-
nity of his position prevented him from answering a
boy who could so far forget himself as to make any
insinuations against the Boss Shiner, and, turning to
Jet's captors, he asked :-
Did you see him working' for a nickel? "
"We waited till the man paid, an' then yanked him
right along. Here's the money to prove it."
Baldy took the five-cent piece, looked at it scrutin-
izingly for a moment, and then put it in his pocket, --
an act which called forth another burst of anger from
the unfortunate prisoner.
"You'll be stealin', Bald Higgs, if you keep. that,
cause it's mine. Of course I shined for a nickel; I
ain't had anything to eat since yesterday morning an'
wasn't goin' to starve if I knocked the whole Union
We'll show you what's done to fellers that work
when there's a strike," Master Higgs said with a frown,
as he rubbed his nose gently. "Did you git his box?"
"Here it is," one of the boys replied as he pro-
duced poor Jet's stock in trade.
"Smash it all to pieces, an' throw the brushes in
the street." Then, turning to the prisoner, while the
others executed his orders, he said, "You're fired out;
your name'll be scratched from the paper, an' if we
GAINING THEIR "RIGHTS."
ever ketch you shinin' boots agin, we'll thump the
head offer your shoulders. Now git, for this place
won't be healthy much longer."
"Give me my nickel, so's I can have something to
eat," Jet pleaded, understanding by this time how
useless it was to offer resistance.
"You earned that while you was on a strike, an' it
b'longs to the Union. Don't loaf 'round here, or
somebody will git hurt."
Jet glanced from one to another for signs of sym-
pathy; but all, save Jippy Simpson, who did not raise
his eyes, looked at him unrelentingly.
His box had been splintered into many pieces; his
brushes were scattered far and wide; and, hungry,
homeless, almost an outcast, he walked slowly away,
trying to check the tears which cleansed, in tiny stripes,
the dirt from his face.
The Boss Shiner, having thus administered impartial
justice, was about to ask his subordinates to report the
result of their labors, when Skinney made his appear-
ance, looking flushed but happy.
"I guess you fellers won't kick now 'bout spending'
six cents!" he exclaimed as he made his way to the
side of his brother officer. "I've been to Brooklyn
agin, an' this time got fourteen cents. Some of the
Italians what you've been poundin' come over; an' the
fellers are jest about crazy. More'n a hundred of
'em will be here to-night to join; an' they're goin' to
start the same kind of a strike if we git through all
46 THE BOYS' REVOLT.
"What did I tell yer?" Baldy cried triumphantly.
"We've only got to stick together if we want to fix
things to suit us! Termorrer we'll scoop in them as
lives at Jersey City. Mike Cassady says it's better
to loaf for nothing than to work for half price; an' jest
see how we're gittin' along when we've laid still only
The cheering news brought by Skinney drove from
the minds of nearly all present any regrets they might
have had because of the summary dismissal of Jet,
and confiscation of his money.
The strike had been in progress not more than
six hours, and yet it already seemed as if the members
of Labor Union No. I were masters of the situation.
THE VISITING COMMITTEE.
AFTER the excitement consequent upon the agreeable
and, in some respects, startling news brought by
Skinney had in a measure died away, Baldy called
upon his followers for an account of their proceedings
during the forenoon.
Denny Drake answered for those with whom he
had been laboring, and his report was most satisfac-
tory to the presiding officer.
"We caught two Italians down on Church Street,
an' smashed their boxes. Then we blacked the biggest
feller's eyes, an' tore pretty near the whole coat offer
the little one. If a perliceman hadn't come up jest
when we was givin' 'em fits, they would n't have wanted
to walk very far after we got through with 'em. That
duffer what hangs 'round Barclay Street come mighty
nigh getting' the best of us; but we sneaked behind
when he thought all hands had gone away, an' piled
him inter the gutter before he knowed what happened.
We broke the box over his head; an' he looked like
he'd been under a street-sweeper, when he went up
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
The spokesman of the second party also reported
having whipped three Italians severely, blackened the
eyes of two, and destroyed five boxes.
They had been stationed in the vicinity of the
Jersey City Ferry, hence their good fortune in finding
so many victims.
The third squad patrolled Broadway and Fulton
Street, and had not been so lucky as the others, owing
to unwarranted interference from the officers.
Two broken boxes and one partially whipped Italian
was all they could report as the result of the fore-
"If we go on this way, we'll drive every feller
what don't belong to the Union outer town," Baldy
said approvingly; "an' I ain't sure but we can charge
fifteen cents for shines, when there's mud on the boots,
or when the leather is new. By the time folks see
what we can do, they'll be ready to give anything we
ask. Now, every feller must pitch in this afternoon,
for we've got the Italians scared, an' we'll keep 'em so."
What's to stop 'em from goin' up town an' shinin' ?"
one of the members asked, and the presiding officer
replied sadly, but with a bright gleam of hope apparent
in his tone:-
Nothin' now; but after we git this part of the city
cleaned out, we'll start in up there. When our strike
is over, me an' Skinney 'll snoop 'round abovee Canal
Street till every decent feller on the island has his
rights. As Mike Cassady says, 'We '11 make the rich
boot-blacks wish they was poor.' "
THE VISITING COMMITTEE
See here," Skinney said earnestly, "there 's one thing
that's got to be 'tended to, if we water drive the Italians
away, though I don't know what can be done. When I
was coming' up past the place where we buy our brushes,
I saw two yaller fellers looking' at a set. Now, if shop-
keepers are goin' to sell them all they want, it'll be so
much the harder for us."
You can't stop folks from buyin' things if they've got
the money," Jippy said, with just a tinge of scorn per-
ceptible in his voice.
Oh, we can't ? and now Master Higgs grew sar-
castic. D' yer s'pose I 've been chasing' up meeting's with-
out known' how to git our rights? We'll keep that
brush-man from selling' stuff to the Italians, or we 'll
make him mighty sick. Why, that's one of the easiest
things for a Union to fix."
Well, I'd like to know how you're goin' to do it,"
Jippy said, growing a trifle more humble as he began to
learn the Boss Shiner was perfectly well informed as to
his own and others' duties.
"It'll be done jest as soon as me an' Skinney git
dinner. I 'point Sim Brown an' Jake Albeck to make
a committee of three, an' go with me to see that man.
I '11 do the talking ; so all they 're for is to back me up.
We '11 tell him if he sells brushes to Italians, he can't
have our trade any longer, an' you 'll see how quick he'll
git down on his knees."
But if we 're on a strike, an' ain't shinin' any more,
our trade don't 'mount to much. Every brush we throw
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
away makes it so much
he 'd rather have things
the better for him, an' perhaps
the way they are now."
JIPPY AND THE BOSS SHINER.
Don't try to be smart, Jip Simpson," Baldy cried
angrily. "You think you 're up to pretty nigh everything;
but before I've been running' this Union very long, I'11
prove you don't know nothing' at all, an' fix the brush-
THE VISITING COMMITTEE.
Jippy was not.disposed to have any altercation then,
lest he should find himself dismissed as Jet Blake had
been, and walked leisurely down toward Nassau Street,
after explaining to those nearest that he was going for
something to eat.
You come back here this afternoon an' chase Ital-
ians! Baldy called after him sharply, and Jippy replied
only by nodding his head,- a manner of answering which
caused Master Higgs's anger to increase.
That feller's growing' too smart," he said savagely;
"an' if we don't pull him down a little he'll be running'
the whole thing. Come, Skinney, let's git dinner, an
then you'd better go over to Jersey City, while me an'
Sim an' Jake 'tend to the brush-man."
Several members of the association looked wistfully
after the two officers as they adjourned from the open-air
lodge-room to the nearest restaurant; but no one ventured
to make any remark, lest the displeasure of the chief
should be incurred.
Jippy Simpson walked slowly on, without any definite
idea of where he was going.
He felt badly because of the way in which Jet Blake
had been treated, and angry that he should have done
his share toward raising the two most indolent boot-
blacks to positions where they could exert so much
Not that he had any idea of leaving the Union.
It numbered so many now, one could well understand
what injury it might inflict; and he did not dare to defy
it, but felt thoroughly provoked because of not having
opposed the scheme.
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
It was while he was in this frame of mind, paying but
little attention to his surroundings, that by the merest
chance he saw Jet Blake standing in a door-way, looking
as if he was the most miserable boy in the city.
Jet recognized his friend at the same moment he him-
self was discovered, and his first impulse was to run, for
he felt certain the members of the Union would seek to
punish him further.
When Jippy called to him in a kindly tone, he ven-
tured to wait until it was possible to learn whether
Master Simpson was a friend or foe.
Have n't you gone to work yet? Jippy asked,
although he knew the question to be a foolish one; and
Jet replied mournfully:-
How can I, without any box or brushes ? I'd sell
newspapers, an' take the chance of bein' drove away from
all the best places, if I had any money to buy a stock;
but I ain't got a cent, an' am pretty nigh starved. Of
course Bald Higgs an' Skin Jones can afford to have
a swell dinner so long as somebody else pays for it."
Twenty-four hours previous, Jippy would have given
his opinion of those boys in the most forcible manner;
but now he did not think it safe to make any disparag-
ing remarks, even to one of their victims, for fear it
should be repeated and work him some injury.
He sympathized heartily with poor Jet, however, and
was inclined to aid him, if it could be done secretly.
I 'm sorry for you, old man," he said consolingly,
" an' I 'd lend yer my box; but they'd be sure to smash
it, an' drive me out of the business. If you'll hurry
THE VISITING COMMITTEE.
down to my house before any of the fellers can see you,
mother'11 have dinner ready; an' something' good'11 turn
up in a day or two."
I don't water git yer in any trouble, Jip; but if you
only know'd how hungry I am, you would n't wonder I
jump at the offer."
Come on quick, then, an' try not to feel so awful blue;
'cause things are bound to be different pretty soon."
How can I help feeling' bad ?" Jet asked piteously, as
he ran along by his friend's side. I owe Mother Biddle;
an' there ain't a single thing I can do to earn money,
'cept lay 'round for a chance to carry baggage, which
you know don't 'mount to much. I s'pose if I showed
my nose up by the post-office them fellers would give me
It was very little Jippy could say to console his friend.
He repeated again and again that "something would
turn up," which, as he well knew, was an unsatisfactory
way to dispose of the matter; but had the pleasure of
seeing the ex-striker eat a hearty dinner, and then left
him in order to carry out the instructions given by
On arriving at City Hall park, Jippy found nearly all
the members of the association ready to renew the
Messrs. Higgs and Jones had not returned from their
dinner; but as the orders for the afternoon's work had
been given, there was no reason why the boys should
remain idle, and they set about the task at once.
Their labor was not so exciting during the ensuing
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
hours, because enemies were less plentiful. Little time
had been necessary to spread the news; and such of the
Italian boot-blacks as ventured on the forbidden territory
were careful to take to their heels whenever a party of
strikers came within hailing distance.
To show how difficult it was for the members of the
Union to make very rapid strides toward striking the
general public with terror, it is only necessary to say that
with from twenty-five to thirty of them patrolling the
streets from two o'clock until sunset, only one box was
broken, and the owner of this received but little injury.
Jippy was no longer an ardent worker in the cause.
He went with the others, feeling forced to do so, but
was not eager to inflict any punishment. Therefore
when Joe Dowd, a newsboy of his acquaintance, called
excitedly for him to come across the street, after the use-
less search had been continued nearly two hours, he
gladly accepted the invitation, excusing himself to his
companions by promising to meet them at the usual ren-
dezvous as soon as his business with Master Dowd should
Well, you fellers are running' things pretty high in
your strike, ain't yer?" Joe said, when his friend
What do you mean ?" Jippy asked. Is it 'cause
we're chain' Italians away ? "
No, that part of it is straight enough ; but when you
turn to an 'most kill a decent feller like Sam Carleton,
what's been working' hisself 'bout to pieces since his
sister was sick, then I think yer Union oughter be.torn
THE VISITING COMMITTEE.
I did n't know anything of that! Jippy exclaimed in
surprise. Baldy said he 'd serve him out, but has n't
told us if he did it."
Well, he'd better be careful if he don't water git
inter trouble. I saw Sam crawlin' along the street this
forenoon, looking' like he was goin' to die; an' of course I
asked what ailed him. His cheek is cut way across,
both his eyes are swelled up, an' you'd think he 'd been
gittin' ready for a dime museum."
Was it Baldy what did it all ? Jippy asked.
Him an' two other fellers; an' I 'd like to serve 'em
the same way. Sam 's been working' awful hard; but
now his mother says it'll be a week before he can go out
doors agin; an' I don't know how they'll git along."
Did you go home with him ?"
"Of course. He could n't hardly see where to walk.
They needed every cent he earned; an' you fellers have
stopped him from working' jest 'cause you want ten cents
for a shine. Seems to me you oughter think of other
folks' rights when you 're trying' to git your own."
"I did n't have anything to do with poundin' him,"
But you helped git up the Union."
I wish Bald Higgs an' Skin Jones had tumbled offer
the bridge before they started this thing! Say, do you
s'pose if I should carry Sam fifteen cents, -that's all
the money I've got, it would do him any good ? "
"Of course, 'cause I don't reckon he has any on
hand. If you're goin' there, I '11 chip in eight cents, an'
you can tell him we 'll try to raise some more as soon as
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
I see the rest of the fellers what have n't any bosses over
'em, same 's you boot-blacks have."
Jippy had nothing to say in reply. He was begin-
ning to consider himself personally responsible for the
suffering he had seen and heard of that day, and had no
excuse to offer. At the same time, he realized he could
not disobey the laws of the Union without putting him-
self in the same position as the one occupied by Jet,
therefore it was necessary to bear, with the best possible
grace, the yoke he had voluntarily taken up.
I '11 go down there now," he said to Joe, an' mebbe
I '11 see you when I come back."
All right, if Bald Higgs don't have any sectionss to
yer talking' to me, I'm willing. "
Then Jippy hurried away, his face very red because
of Joe's last remark, and unmindful of the fact that the
strikers were expected to attend the meeting at the
usual place before nightfall.
Master Simpson should have been at the rendezvous
even then; for he was the only absent member when
Baldy returned from "fixing the brush-man."
Of course every fellow was eager to learn the result
of his visit, which, if one could judge from the expres-
sion of his face, had been very successful; and he took
his stand on the bench that all might hear the story.
"We went there an' let the man know who we was,"
he began, as he pushed his cap back until it would have
fallen to the ground had not a fragment of the visor
caught on his ear. He seemed terrible glad to see us,
an' asked all 'bout the Union. I give him the straight
THE VISITING COMMlITTEE.
story; an then told him if he sold any brushes to Italian
boot-blacks we would n't buy a thing more at his store.
He said as how's he did n't water make any enemy of
sich a powerful that's the very word, ain't it, Jake ? "
"That's it for a fact; he said 'powerful 'sociation,'
"I'll tell the rest myself," Master Higgs interrupted.
" He was willing' to stop selling' to them what don't b'long
to the Union, but of course he could n't tell when a
Italian come there whether he shined for a livin' or not;
so all we have to do is to stand a couple of fellers out-
side the store watching an' if anybody goes in what
has n't joined, we can sneak behind an' wink at the man.
I 'point Denny Drake an' Jake Albeck to 'tend to that
part of the work, commencin' termorrer morning. "
"Well, are we through for to-night? Sim asked
Them as wants to go home can," Baldy said in a
tone of condescension ; but there '11 be a whole raft of
fellers over from Brooklyn wanting' to join, an' the more
of us that are here the better. Besides, Skinney has n't
come back yet."
No one cared to leave until after having a good look
at the new members; and the association remained at
the meeting-place in anxious expectancy, speculating
among themselves as to how many days would elapse
before the strike had spread to all the neighboring
THE UNION'S VICTIM.
JIPPY knew exactly where to find Sam Carleton, for he
often visited at his home, and no one tried harder to
entertain him than Alice.
During the past two months, he had called several
times, with little delicacies he thought might tempt a
sick girl's. appetite, and. always liked to think she
considered him a good friend.
Now, however, he feared she would look upon him as
one of her brother's enemies, and in a certain degree
responsible for his troubles; therefore he was decidedly
ill at ease when, after climbing three long flights of
stairs, he knocked at the door leading to Mrs. Carleton's
It was Alice's mother who answered his timid sum-
mons; and she appeared so pale and careworn that it
would have been a positive relief had she boxed his ears
soundly, so guilty did he feel.
Joe Dowd jest told me Sam had been hurt pretty
bad, an' I wanted to know how he was," Jippy said
Come in and see him, and while you are here I will
go for some things Alice needs. I did n't want to leave
THE UNION'S VICTIM.
the children alone; but now you can be nurse till I
return," and Mrs. Carleton ushered him into a tiny room
where the Union's victim lay on a narrow bed almost
entirely concealed by bandages.
Joe had said Sam was terribly bruised; but Jippy was
not prepared for what he saw.
One discolored eye and a pair of swollen lips were all
of the boy's features which had been left exposed, and
the stained bandages told more eloquently than words
the extent of his injuries.
How are you feeling old man ? he asked, stepping
close by the side of the bed, when Mrs. Carleton left
Not very swell," Sam replied, speaking indistinctly.
" I could stand the poundin', if I did n't have to stay here
when mother needs money so bad."
I've brought fifteen cents of my own, an' Joe sent
eight. He says some of the other fellers will chip in an'
try to help you along. I '11 work the best I know how to
fix things till you can git out agin. But say, Sam, you
don't blame me for what Baldy did, jest 'cause I b'long
to the'Union, do you? "
Not a bit. You did n't have anything to do with it.
Bald Higgs asked me to go in with them, an' I told him
jest why I could n't ; I did n't think they'd pretty nigh
Nobody else would 'a' thought so; but he 's a regular
sneak, an' wants ter show what he can do. This noon
he smashed Jet Blake's box, an' drove him outer the
Union, 'cause he shined for five cents to get something'
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
to eat. I '11 see you have as much as I can earn,
You must n't, Jippy, you must n't, or they'll serve
you out same's they did me," and, in his anxiety, Sam
tried to sit upright; but the pain caused by the move-
ment forced him to lie down again very quickly.
I'11 go 'cross town, where they won't see me."
That would n't do, old man, for the fellers there will
drive you away. You've got to stick to the regular
places, else you can't do anything."
I s'pose I can go outer the business without askin'
Bald Higgs," Jippy said angrily. Joe would help me
along with newspapers till I got started, an' that's what
I'll do if this strike ain't ended mighty quick. How's
She 's been awful sick since yesterday. Look in the
other room where she is."
Jippy crept softly to the door, and opened it.
He saw a tiny figure lying motionless upon the bed,
with a face nearly as white as the coverings, and it was
so much like gazing at the dead that he did not stop
save for one brief glance.
She don't look alive," he whispered, returning to his
An' she's been that same way all day. Oh, Jippy, it
pretty near sets me crazy to lay here doin' nothing' when
she 's so sick! It tickled her when I brought home the
rose-bush, an' I was goin' to git some oranges to-day;
Sam ceased speaking; his voice had grown unsteady;
JIPPY AT SAM CARLETON'S.
THE UNION'S VICTIM.
and, as he covered his eye with a bandaged hand, it was
not difficult for the visitor to understand he was crying.
Jippy remained silent several moments, and then asked
Do you reckon she'd like it if I went out an' got
the fellers to buy her a whole slat of candy?"
"She would n't eat it," Sam replied, in a trembling
voice. "You 're mighty good to water help; but mother
said all we could do now was to pray. Say, Jippy, do
you s'pose you could get off a prayer ? I've been trying ,
but can't fix the words right. It must be something'
strong, 'cause you see she's awful sick."
I don't know how, Sam," and Jippy really looked
distressed. "I ain't had much to do with God, 'cept
once when Jet Blake an' me went over to the Mission
chapel, an' I 'm 'fraid He would n't pay any' tention to
what I said. That Mike Cassady Baldy's allers tellin'
'bout, seems to be mighty smart; how 'd it do to git him
to start the thing? "
Sam shook his head.
Mother prays a sight; but she's got so much to do
now I 'm laid up, I thought we might kinder help out on
it. What would you say, Jippy, if you had a sister they
said was goin' to die ? "
I reckon I could n't do any better'n say'please, God,
don't let her.'"
Then git right down on your knees, an' say it three
or four times,- but not too loud, for fear she '11 hear."
Jippy knelt by the bedside, clasped his dirty hands
over his eyes, and said slowly:--
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
Please, God, don't let Sam's Alice die."
Give it once more, Jippy, an' try a little louder."
Three times was the petition repeated fervently,
earnestly, devoutly, and who shall say that the waiting
angels did not carry the prayer to the Throne as
swiftly as if it had come to them in more courtly
I hope it'll do some good," Jippy said, with a sigh,
as he arose to his feet; "but I ain't square enough
myself to have sich things count. I 'll go now to see
what I can do toward earnin' money, an' you may
expect me back 'bout dark. Don't git to feeling' bad,
'cause the fellers '11 help out till you 're better; an'
there ain't any use worryin' while you 're so much
Then Jippy hurried away without waiting for a
As a matter of fact, Sam's request had awakened in
him a new train of thought, and he was eager to be
alone for a while.
Therefore, instead of going to the City Hall, where
he knew some of the Union's members would be
found, he went down on one of the East River piers,
and his brother strikers failed to see him again that day.
Meanwhile, Master Higgs did not have an oppor-
tunity to note the absence of Jippy. He had hardly
composed himself to meet the delegation from
Brooklyn, when four boys appeared in sight, and
Denny Drake shouted: -
Here they are now!"
THE UNION'S VICTIM.
"That can't be half of 'em," Baldy said with evi-
dent disappointment; for Skinney told us more'n a
hundred was coming P'rhaps the others'll be here
after a while."
"Is this where the Boot-blacks' Union shows up?"
one of the strangers asked, as the four entered the park.
"Yes, an' there's the Boss Shiner," Jake Albeck
said, as he pointed toward Baldy, who had assumed
what he believed to be a dignified attitude on one of
So you fellers are out on a strike, eh?"
That's what we are. Started this morning an' have
drove all the Italians outer this part of the town so
"Don't you shine any ?"
Then we've come over to join."
You must fix it with Baldy. He's got the papers."
The would-be members marched over to where
Master Higgs was awaiting their approach; and he
immediately stood up to receive them.
How many other fellers are coming? he asked.
"I reckon we're the only ones. Bill Dempsey said
he might try it for a while; but backed out when he
found he'd got to pay his own way across the bridge."
Baldy looked disappointed.
This was hardly the crowd Skinney had led him
to believe was eager to join the Union; but four were
better than none, and he did his best to appear as if
he had not expected any more.
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
"Do you water go on a strike?" he asked, after a
Of course we do. What else d' yer s'pose we come
over here for? We're tired working an' are goin' to
lay off for a while. The Union takes care of a feller
when there 's a strike, don't it? "
"Yes," Baldy said hesitatingly, "it does after it's
started; but we ain't gittin' much money in jest now."
"Well, we'll try it two or three days, anyhow."
"All right, you can sign your names, after payin'
five cents, same's the rest of the fellers have done."
Five cents !" the Brooklyn boy cried in surprise.
" What's that for ? "
"So's we'll have money enough to run the thing.
You don't s'pose a strike could be kept goin' for
nothing do you?"
An' who takes the cash ? "
"I do, of course; I'm the Boss Shiner."
Are all these fellers sich chumps as to chip in
five cents a-piece, an' let you hold the stuff ?"
It was hard for Baldy to keep his temper down;
but after severe mental effort he succeeded sufficiently
to say, -
They have to, if they join."
"Well, I reckon we'll skin back home. All we
wanted outer your old Union was a chance to lay off
two or three days while somebody else paid the bills,
an' if we can't git that much we've no business 'round
As the boy ceased speaking he started toward
THE UNION'S VICTIM.
Broadway, his companions following close behind; and
Baldy stood silent and motionless, staring after them in
mingled astonishment and rage.
It was particularly unfortunate for Skinney that he
should have returned from Jersey City just at this
moment; but the Fates so willed it, and he approached
his chief in a jaunty manner as he asked, pointing
over his shoulder at the retreating strangers:-
"Are them some of that Brooklyn crowd ? "
"Some of 'em!" Baldy repeated, in a voice choked
with emotion. Look here, Skin Jones, how many
did you say was coming' ? "
I don't exactlyy remember now; but there was a slat
of 'em. More'n half the fellers I saw said they'd join,
an' git up a strike of their own besides."
"Then you did n't see very many," Master Higgs
cried angrily. Them 's the whole gang; an' all they
come for was a chance to loaf while the Union paid for
their livin'. If that's the kind of a Walker you are,
we '11 have to choose somebody else what can count.
It's cost you ten cents to collect sixteen, an' bring in
four duffers like them. Now, that's working' hard, ain't
I've been snoopin' 'round the best I knowed how,"
Skinney whined, the fear of losing his office making
him very humble. If they tell me they're coming an'
then don't do it, I ain't to blame."
You can find out what they mean," Baldy cried,
determined to vent his ill-humor on some one; "an' it
don't take all day to talk to eight or nine fellers. I
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
s'pose you want me to leave the business here an' do
your work, don't yer ? Now, tell us what you did over
to Jersey City, an' let's have the straight story."
I saw 'bout twenty," Master Jones replied in a low,
meek tone. "Some of 'em thought the strike was a
big thing; but a good many would n't even talk 'bout
How much money did you git ?"
Not a cent. Three of the fellers said they'd come
over termorrer an' see you; then, if everything was
square, perhaps they'd chip in something. "
That part of it 'll be all right; and Baldy was con-
siderably mollified because of this apparent deference
to himself. "I '11 soon know if they mean business.
Do you s'pose anything could be done over to Williams-
I '11 try it, if you say the word," Skinney replied
"All right; go the first thing in the morning an'
don't come back till you find out jest what they're
willing' to do. Denny, you an' Jake must. stand in front
of that brush-man's place all day termorrer, an' keep
your eyes open wide for Italians. We '11- "
He was interrupted at this point by the arrival of
Sim Brown, who came from the direction of Fulton
Street with the wildest excitement apparent on every
feature of his countenance.
There's a slat of Brooklyn fellers down at the Ferry
shinin' for a nickel; an' they say they'll clean out the
whole Union if we make any kick about it! "
THE UNION'S VICTIM.
For the moment Baldy was too deeply agitated to
The perfidy of the Brooklynites, who had professed
to sympathize with the strikers, and were now doing
them the most grievous injury, wounded his sensitive
One look of reproach he cast at Skinney, who had
brought such flattering reports; and then, mentally
girding himself for the strife, as he gently rubbed his
swollen nose, he cried:--
Come on, fellers, now 's the time to show 'em what
we can do! If we don't drive the whole crowd off, the
strike is busted and he started at full speed toward
Fulton Street, followed by as many of the association
as could be summoned, Skinney Jones alone showing
no eagerness for the coming fray.
THE strikers soon learned that Sim had not given a
false alarm ; for upon arriving within half a block from
the Ferry, the Brooklynites were seen in full force, and
evidently driving a flourishing trade.
That they were prepared for an attack was shown by
the sentinels posted in every direction; and when the
members of the Union appeared in sight, the intruders
made ready for battle.
Baldy was astonished by the demonstrations.
He fancied six or eight fellows might have come
over on a raid; but there had been no idea in his mind
that it was a regularly organized plan to interfere with
the business of those who were struggling so earnestly
for their rights, until he saw the belligerent line drawn
up in such a manner as to cut off every approach to the
The strikers were now in a position where they must
fight or retreat, and the presiding officer was sadly at
a loss to know which should be done.
If a conflict was provoked, and the Union came out
second best, it would weaken his authority to such an
extent that he would be deposed, a calamity which
might necessitate his going to work.
1- 11 0-:
APPARENT IRREGULARITIES. 71
"What 11 we do, Jake?" he asked in a whisper.
" When we begin there '11 be an awful row, an' the per-
lice may pull some of us in."
If we don't have it out with 'em now, it's good-by to
the Union," Jake replied decidedly. All the fellers in
town would know we backed down, an' then they'd run
the thing to suit themselves."
During this brief conversation, the Brooklynites were
waiting impatiently for some overt act on the part of
their adversaries. Those who had been at work finished
quickly, and joined their comrades; while the foremost
made disrespectful remarks regarding the abilities of
"We'll have to go for 'em," Baldy said, after a
moment's hesitation; and he opened the battle by rush-
ing at the nearest trespasser, shielding his sore nose
with his arm to prevent further injury to that useful
In another instant, the engagement became'general,
each boy fighting as he chose, and with Skinney far in
the rear, making a great deal of noise, but doing very
Master Jones had a tender regard for his own precious
body, and was careful not to expose it to the enemy any
more than was absolutely necessary.
The strikers were laboring under a disadvantage in
one very important respect. Not being at work they
had no boxes with them, and the Brooklynites were fully
armed with these very effective weapons.
Had the conflict been prolonged more than five
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
minutes, it is probable the strikers would have suffered
complete defeat; but it was hardly well begun, when two
policemen appeared on the scene, and both armies beat
a hasty retreat, a common desire animating the hearts
of all, to escape from the blue-coated guardians of the
Now it was that Baldy showed himself equal to the
The Brooklynites had been scattered in every direc-
tion, while the majority of the strikers fled together; and
when the latter force had put a safe distance between
themselves and the officers, the Boss Shiner called a
If we work quick we can ketch a lot of them fellers,
an' jest about thump their heads off. Snoop 'round
back of the market, an' whenever you find one alone,
give it to him hot. Be sure to smash their boxes, for
that'll make the duffers feel worse 'n a poundin'; an'
when the thing is over, all hands can go home. We'll
meet at the park early in the morning. "
Then the strikers avenged the insults which the
trespassers had heaped upon them a few moments
Four boxes were splintered, as many of the visitors
soundly flogged, and the members of the Union sought
their respective beds with the belief that they
had done a noble work, while at the same time some
lengthy strides had been taken toward gaining their full
complement of rights.
Skinney Jones was particularly triumphant as he and
THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE STRIKERS AND THE BOOT-BLACKS.
his superior officer walked toward their alleged swell "
It seemed to him that Baldy had, by this satisfactory
ending of the battle, earned the right to fill the highest
office in Boot-blacks' Union, No. I, and, by virtue of the
friendship between himself and this exalted dignitary,
he was thus assured of his position as Boss Walker.
There 's no use talking' about it, Baldy," he said, in a
confidential tone, as, having paid the extravagant sum
of fifteen cents for the use of a bed, they ascended the
staircase of Connor's lodging-house, the way you 've
fixed things to-night, settles it."
Master Higgs felt confident he had displayed great
ability on the trying occasion, and praise was very sweet
to him, even though it came from his subordinate, who
would hardly dare to speak disparagingly; therefore, in
order that Skinney might be encouraged to continue the
flattery, he asked carelessly: -
What do you mean ? "
"The way you fixed it so's to do them Brooklyn
fellers up. You had the bossin' of things there, an' we
come out the big end of the horn."
That's a fact," Baldy murmured modestly.
"Of course it is. S'posen Jip Simpson, or Denny
Drake, or any of that crowd, had the handling' of things,
why we'd have got the eyes pounded out of us."
That's a fact, Skinney," Baldy replied, and, they
having gained their room, he closed the door carefully,
as if fearing there might be eavesdroppers near. But
there 's one thing you don't want to forget, when you an
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
me are alone, 'cause the other fellers won't, an' they '11
be sure to bring it up some day when they get on their
ears 'catise we go to restaurants for breakfasts, an' sleep
in this lodgin'-house."
"What is it?" Skinney asked impatiently. How
are they goin' to say anything against what we did
The whole amount of the story is, Skinney, we
would have been done up mighty quick if them police-
men had n't come along. You see the Brooklyn fellers
had the best of it, on account of havin' boxes with 'em;
an' I allow we'd been in a pretty tight place if the
officers had n't showed up jest as they did."
I don't see as it makes any difference. We come
out ahead, an' that's all there 's any need of talking' about.
The rest of the fellers won't stop to think how close a
shave it was."
They won't jest so long as things are goin' right,
Skinney; but when some of 'em get on their ear, you
can make up your mind they 'll think of everything.
That's the trouble with trying' to run a Union like this.
Mike Cassady says the worst thing about strikes is, that
everybody kicks against the officers of the Union, an'
they 've got to stand up mighty hard for their rights."
Skinney looked around the room, which, poorly fur-
nished though it was, appeared more luxurious than any
he had ever occupied, jingled the few pennies in his
pocket, thought of the satisfactory meal which he and
Baldy had just eaten, and replied, in a tone of content:
Well, I reckon we're getting' our rights, anyhow."
That's a fact," Baldy added musingly, as he lighted
a cigarette; and the Boss Walker noted with consider-
able envy the fact that the chief of Labor Union, No. i,
had indulged in a full box of these questionable luxuries.
" But you never can tell how quick there 's goin' to be a
row. Now, here's the way of it, Skinney; an' you want
to kinder keep it in mind, so 's there won't be any chance
for a row. While we're running' this thing we've got the
right to have all we want; but a good many of the fellers
would n't think so if their 'pinion was asked, an' we must
keep it quiet, do you see ? "
Then you 're counting' that we can spend this money
the other fellers are payin' in ? Skinney asked eagerly.
"Of course we've got to buy our grub with it, an
square up for lodgin's, an' once in a while I '11 stand a
little more. It's for me to say how much we shall use;
an' you must be mighty careful to turn over every cent
Of course I 'm bound to do that," Skinney replied,
with just a shade of hesitation ; but if you 've got the
handling' of all the money the members of the Union pay
in, it seems as if I ougliter have a whack at what I
It don't seem so to me," Baldy replied sharply; an'
I guess if you should make that talk where the fellers
could hear you, there'd be a new Boss Walker elected
mighty quick. Mike Cassady says a feller what runs a
strike has got to see to everything; an' that's what I
count on doin'. You don't want to try any funny busi-
ness, Skinney, with what money you collect, remember
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
that; 'cause if you get me down on you while I'm the
boss of this Union, you'll have a pretty hard row to
"Now what's crawlin' on you? You don't s'pose
I'm counting' on doin' anything that ain't jest straight,
do you?" Master Jones asked impatiently.
"Well, it won't do any harm for you to remember
what will happen in case you should try to swindle me
out of what belongs to the Union."
Skinney understood that his superior officer could, by
virtue of the authority which he had assumed, reduce the
Boss Walker to the ranks without formality; therefore
he remained silent under the implication that he would
do anything which was not strictly honest, and said
You know me, Baldy, an' you know I ain't such a
feller as to go an' do anything you don't like."
That's all right, Skinney. It won't do any harm for
you to know how things stand; an' if you want to hold
your job as Boss Walker, you must be pretty careful
how you deal with me."
I allow to be ; but I don't reckon either one of us will
keep our office more 'n four weeks, as you fixed it; 'cause
it strikes me some of the fellers are already beginning' to
kick about our stopping' at this lodgin'-house, an' think
we have n't got any right to do it."
They'd better not let me hear'em kick! They '11
get served worse 'n Sam Carleton did!"
But you can't help yourself if there 's a new Boss
They've got to 'lect one first; an' I reckon I can fix it
so's they won't dare to put up anybody against me, when
the time comes," Baldy replied, with a significant gesture
which Skinney interpreted as an assurance on the Boss
Shiner's part that his power was greater than it appeared
on the surface.
Skinney was silent several moments, and then, almost
timidly, he asked:-
"I s'pose you '11 let me be the Boss Walker jest the
same, won't you, Baldy? "
"Of course I will, if you run things the way you
I 'm willing' to do jest as you say."
Then it'll be all right, Skinney. You don't want to
forget that I'm boss of this thing, an' it's for me to
handle the money, an' say what shall be spent. So
long's you keep that in mind, I allow we '11 get on first
Of course I 'm bound to do just as you say; but look
here, Baldy, don't you s'pose the fellers will begin to
kick if we keep on sleeping' in beds like we was howlin'
swells ? "
Some of 'em will, I s'pose; but it won't 'mount to
anything. Whoever heard of the boss of a Labor
Union livin' 'round same's he used to 'fore he got into
office ? Why some of them fellers like Jet Black an' Jip
Simpson seem to think I can camp in a cart over night,
same 's they can; but it's different now I 'm the Boss
Shiner, 'cause it won't be long 'fore the newspaper fellers
will be coming' 'rouhd'to find out how the strike is goin'
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
on, an' they would n't think the Union 'mounted to
much if the Boss did n't have a bed to sleep in."
"Of course they would n't," Skinney assented.
It would n't do for me to go 'round the streets working ,
or anything like that, when all these fellers from Jersey
City an' Brooklyn, an' wherever else you go, are coming'
over to join."
Of course it would n't."
An' I 've got to have some kind of an office where
I can stay, like I do in the park; 'cause I can't be snoop-
in' 'round anywhere while folks want to find me."
Of course you can't."
An' if I 've got to run this thing, the strikers are
bound to see I get taken pretty good care of. It ain't
like as if I was working' on my own hook. Now, I'm
helping' all hands of 'em to get their rights. If it was n't
for me they'd be shinin' for a nickel now."
Of course they would."
"An' after this strike's been on three or four days,
they'll find out things are different from what they
used to be."
Of course they will."
Master Higgs looked sharply at his subordinate, as
if fancying he detected a tone of sarcasm in this last
assent to his proposition; but Skinney's face betokened
only fidelity to his leader, and without further argument
the Boss Shiner, whose life during the next four weeks
was to be devoted wholly to fighting for the rights of
the members of the Union, regardless of the wrongs
done to others, betook himself to the rest-inviting bed.
WHEN the sun rose next morning, and looked down
on City Hall park, he saw many discontented faces
among those who had assembled to begin the second
With but few exceptions, none of the boys had any
money; enforced idleness for thirty-six hours, during
which they spent their small hoards freely, had reduced
them to a state of penury, and it was not pleasant to
think they could -earn nothing that day nor the next,
unless there should be a decided change in affairs.
Some of the bolder members had already begun to
ask each other what the result would be if the strike
was prolonged for a week; and those who refrained from
saying anything openly were doing a great amount of
Jippy Simpson was present with his brother strikers.
He had eaten a satisfactory breakfast, thanks to his
mother, therefore was not hungry, as were the majority
of his companions; but he was more eager than any
member of the party to earn money, for he had promised
to carry Sam some before nightfall.
The officers were late, as usual. On their arrival
they had the appearance of having been well fed, and
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
this was not calculated to make the other members of
the Union any more contented in mind; for all knew
how these two were being supported.
"Why didn't you come back last night?" Baldy
asked sternly, as he halted in front of Jippy.
I had to find a chance to earn money. I have n't
got a cent, an' can't live on nothing. "
"You mustn't do any shinin'."
I know that," was the reckless reply; "an' I know
I 'd had plenty of cash if this strike had n't come. Now
I must snoop 'round huntin' for jobs."
S'posen there's work for you to do* helping' the
Union? and Baldy gave unmistakable signs of growing
It don't make any difference if there is. When I
joined I 'greed to go on a strike, an' that's what I 'm
at now; but I did n't promise not to do anything else,
for I must have money."
Baldy hesitated an instant. Perhaps he realized that
if the bonds were drawn too tightly, all the boys would
revolt, and he and Skinney be officers of a Union which
had no members. At all events, he replied in a concilia-
"We oughter be gittin' in some cash pretty soon, so's
we can help them fellers what needs it. If I find Mike
Cassady this forenoon, I '11 ask him where we stand the
best chance of collection' money. Skinney's goin' over to
Williamsburg right away, an' he may have good luck.
The fellers from.Jersey City oughter be here to-day, an'
perhaps they'll chip in; so I reckon we '11- have things
OPEN INSUBORDINA TION.
fixed by noon. You 'd better go now. Here's ten cents,"
Master Higgs added as he turned to Skinney, and that
young gentleman started without delay.
"Whater we goin' to do this forenoon? Jake asked.
"You an' Denny must hang 'round the brush-man's
all day. The other fellers will hunt Italians, an' I '11 stay
here, so's to be on hand when the Jersey City crowd
More than one of the boys indulged in a little grum-
bling before performing the duties assigned. Jippy's
outspoken remarks had given them an idea of what
might be done if all should act in concert, and to obey
Baldy's harsh orders was not particularly agreeable.
No fellow absolutely refused to do as he was bidden;
but each went away looking very much as if he would
prefer to be blackening boots, even though the price of
a shine was only five cents.
Jippy joined the Italian hunters; but it was his in-
tention to give them the slip at the first favorable
opportunity. He considered it his duty to work in
Sam's interests, and had already resolved to seek ad-
vice from Joe Dowd.
Baldy remained in state on one of the park benches,
receiving his followers' reports, from time to time, as
they caught an enemy, or wished to ask his advice
as to the course they should pursue.
.It was just the kind of a position he had always
thought it would be pleasant to occupy. He had no
hard work to perform; twenty or thirty boys were
bound to obey his commands; and, what was better
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
still, every member of the Union was obliged to con-
tribute to his support each week. He felt but one
regret, which was that he could not insist on the dues
being paid daily.
It was eleven o'clock.
The delegates from Jersey City had not put in an
appearance, and Baldy was still communing with himself
on the subject of his exalted position, when Jake and
Sim entered the park, running at full speed.
What's the matter?" he asked, rising to his feet
quickly. "Have the Italians been trying' to buy
Jake shook his head. He was too nearly breathless
to be able to speak immediately.
Some of 'em may come while you're here."
Denny 's there," Jake managed to say at length.
What's the matter, then? and Master Higgs spoke
very sharply. Why don't you talk, instead of standing'
there like a jumpin'-jack ? "
Say, where d' yer s'pose Skinney is? Sim asked, be-
traying by his face that he had startling news to impart.
He went over to Williamsburg this morning an' I
reckon he 's there now. Did you fellers come up here
to ask me that?"
If he went, he 's got back," Jake said, having by this
time so far recovered his breath as to carry on an intelli-
gible conversation. Sim come down on Fulton Street
an' told me he 'd seen Skinney on the front platform of
a Third-Avenoo hoss-car, smoking' a cheeroot. I started
right off to see if it was so, an' Sim follered behind.
The cars got blocked up on Chatham Square, so we
caught 'em easy enough, an' there was Skin puffin' away
as big as life. I s'pose he collected a pile of money over
to Williamsburg, an' now is spending' it. If that's the
way to be a Boss Walker, I'd like a whack at the job
Are you sure it was him ?" Baldy asked, in a tone of
mingled incredulity and surprise.
Of course we are. Don't you s'pose we know Skin
Jones when we see him? An' he was smoking too; so
who d'yer reckon paid for that cheeroot an' the ride ?
He did n't, 'cause he has n't had that much money all at
a time for a week."
It was fully a moment before Baldy could make any
reply, owing to his great astonishment that one of the
Union's founders should be a defaulter; for only by
appropriating the funds belonging to the association
could Skinney have indulged in such luxuries, except,
which was very improbable, he had effected a loan.
We can't do anything 'bout it till he comes back,"
Baldy said at length. "He's bound to turn up this
noon, an' then we '11 know what he's been doin'. You 'd
better go to work now; 'cause every feller must do all he
I 'm tired standing' outside that brush store," Jake
said, as he threw himself negligently on one of the
benches. It 's mighty hard work, an' somebody else
can take a hand at it for a while."
Do you water try it, Sim Baldy asked in a
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
Not much, I don't! I '11 set here till Skinney shows
up, for there's no use huntin' Italians. We've got 'em
scared till them few what come down town keep their
eyes open so wide you can't git anywhere near 'em."
This was open insubordination, and Baldy was well
aware that if he wished to preserve his authority it was
necessary that these two strikers should be forced to
perform the duties assigned them; but Skinney's ap-
parent irregularities threatened to weaken his power,
and he believed it would be better policy to let them
do as they pleased for a time. His one hope was that
something might happen which should counteract the
effect of Skinney's recklessness; and in this he was
not doomed to disappointment.
Sim had but just curled himself up on a bench, pre-
paratory to taking at the same time a sun-bath and a
nap, when seven boys entered the park, looking around
scrutinizingly, as if in search of something or somebody.
Baldy's heart leaped with joy at the sight of these
strangers, and, forgetting the dignity he had thought fit
to assume when the delegation from Brooklyn arrived,
he went toward them quickly, asking, -
Are you looking' for the Union? "
That's 'bout the size it," one of the boys replied-
" A feller what come over to Jersey City yesterday,
said you was all out on a strike, an' we oughter help."
If you will we can git ten cents for a shine jest as
easy as winkin'," Baldy said enthusiastically; and then,
remembering that he had not introduced himself, he
added, I'm the Boss Shiner, an' was waiting' for you.
We're trying' to drive the Italians away; for, as Mike
Cassady up at Harmony Hall says, it's them foreigners
what are ruinin' us."
"But can yer do it?" one of the strangers asked.
"Walk 'round an' see," Baldy replied, with a ma-
jestic wave of his arm. We 've drove 'em outer this
part of the town; an' if you fellers help there won't
be one within a hundred miles of here in a week."
Have you got much money to run the strike?"
That's it! That's jest it!" Baldy cried; and
then added in a confidential tone, "We ain't getting'
the help we oughter have. If there was a strike in
Jersey City, or Brooklyn, us New York boys would
shovel the cash in; but the fellers don't seem willing'
to help us over here."
Well, we've brought twenty cents, an -"
"Where is it?" Master Higgs cried excitedly.
Here," the boy said, holding out his hand, and
looking surprised at the eagerness displayed. If you
fellers have got any show of making' the thing work,
we'll chip in our share to help it along; but we don't
want to throw good money away."
Master Higgs put the pennies carefully in his
pocket, and the two refractory members sat bolt
upright in their excitement.
It looked as if the strike would be the means of
bringing in sufficient money to support them in idleness
after all, and they regretted having spoken so sharply
to the leading spirit of the scheme.
I'll take good care it ain't throwed away," Baldy
88 THE BOYS' REVOLT.
said emphatically; "an' if you fellers git up a strike,
count on our helping. "
Then, after making many inquiries as to the general
condition of affairs, the strangers took their departure,
promising to call again next day; and hardly had they
left the park when Jake said, -
P'rhaps I had better go over to the brush-man's,
an' I reckon Sim is willing' to look for a few more
"Never mind it," Baldy said, feeling as if he could
afford to be lenient, now he had triumphed. "You
might as well wait till Skinney comes."
ALTHOUGH Sim and Jake were pleasantly surprised by
the visit from the Jersey City delegation and the ma-
terial sympathy shown, they did not forget the terrible
suspicion, amounting almost to a certainty, which had
come into their minds when they saw the treasurer of
their- Union on the front-platform of a horse-car, in-
dulging in the expensive luxury of cheroot-smoking.
The visit of the Jersey City boot-blacks had served
to show that the strike might yet be such a success
that the strikers would be supported in idleness by sym-
pathizers from other cities, and therefore to these
two members of the Union there seemed yet greater
reason why the apparent irregularities of the Boss
Walker should be examined most critically.
They availed, themselves of the Boss Shiner's per-
mission to remain away from their post of duty in front
of the brush-maker's store; and yet neither could resist
the temptation of leaving the park from time to time
as he saw one of his brother strikers in the distance,
in order to tell him what of good and evil had come
upon the Union since the rising of the sun.
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
Neither allowed himself to be absent very long at
a time, because it was at Baldy's headquarters that the
apparently guilty officer would arrive, and also there
that other sympathizers with the strike might come.
Sim and Jake were not boys who were willing to
miss anything in the way of excitement, and, save for
the brief periods when they made short excursions
into the streets to acquaint their friends with what had
occurred, both remained near the chief officer of the
That evil news flies quickly, was proven on this
morning, for each boy who received information re-
garding Skinney's movements lost no time in telling
those at a distance; and the Jersey City delegation had
hardly time to gain the Ferry before the majority of
the strikers were made aware of the Boss Walker's
Joe Dowd,.the merchant in the newspaper line, was
personally acquainted with very many of the strikers,
and, although not in sympathy with the movement
which had been inaugurated, was speedily made aware
of the facts in the case, and through him Jet Blake
learned of what had occurred.
I reckon you can go back to shinin' boots pretty
soon now," Master Dowd said, as he halted poor Jet,
who was walking mournfully to and fro, searching for
an opportunity to earn sufficient money to pay for
"What's up?" and Jet's face brightened; for,
although he had striven earnestly since daybreak, no
chance for earning even so much as a nickel had
Skinney Jones has been out swellin' hisself, ridin'
on hoss-cars, an' smoking' cigars. Do you s'pose he paid
for it out of his own money? Of
course not. Why? 'Cause he never
had enough of his own to do any
"What is it he's been doin'? "
Jet asked in surprise, unable to
discover from Joe's rapidly spoken /
words the true condition of affairs.
Master Dowd repeated, perhaps
with some embellishments, that
which he had been told regarding
the Boss Walker's movements, and
added in a tone of satisfaction:
I reckon that 's goin' to let Sam
Carleton outer the trouble you fel-
lers got him into."
"I did n't do anything," Jet re-
plied mournfully. When the fel- -
lers said we could get ten cents for
shines, I was willing' to go in, 'cause
I 'd rather have a dime than- a JET BLAKE.
nickel, any day; but who'd thought
Bald Higgs could have run things the way he has ? "
That's the trouble with the most of you fellers," Joe
said sternly; "you don't do thinking' enough. I'd like
to see the game Bald an' Skin could get me into, 'cause
THE BOYS' REVOLT
I 'd know right at the start they was trying' for a chance
to help theirselves. You oughter seen what they was
up to when both of 'em elected theirselves officers in the
But I did n't when I 'greed to join," Jet replied, with
a sigh. Why the thing was n't really started 'fore Bald
Higgs said he was the Boss Shiner, an' Skin was Boss
Walker. That settled it; you could n't back out then."
Why not? It would have been a good deal better
than to wait for them to smash your box an' steal the
money you'd earned. The minute they went to thump-
in' Sam Carleton, all you decent fellers oughter left 'em."
Well, we did n't," Jet said despondently, and added,
in a more hopeful tone, Of course if Skinney's been
stealin' money that 'll break the thing up, an' there
won't be so very much harm done."
No, I s'pose not," was the sarcastic reply. I don't
reckon it makes any very great difference 'cause Sam
Carleton's got knocked out, when his sister is so sick,
pervidin' you fellers get through with it all right."
"But I 'm goin' to do all I can to help him out. Jip
Simpson 's working' for him, an' I '11 do the same, if
there's any kind of a show of their lettin' me alone."
Well, see to it that you do," Joe said, with what was
very like a threatening gesture. If I was a boot-black,
you can bet I 'd take a hand in this thing mighty quick.
As it is, I 'm going to see Sam through; an' now I
reckon you '11 have a chance to earn a few nickels,
cause the members of your Union are getting' so excited
they 're bound to stop doin' mischief for a while."
But I have n't got any box."
Then shinney 'round an' get one somewhere, while
there's a chance;" and Joe hurried away to attend to
his own business, for it was doubly important he should
have a profitable day's business, in order that he might
carry into execution his charitable intentions.
Jet felt decidedly more hopeful after this interview.
His brief experience as a striker had been so bitter that
it seemed to him as if at least a week must have elapsed
since he signed his name to the roll of the Union; and
with the thought in his mind that now he would be able
to work unmolested, he hurried away, hoping to meet
an acquaintance who would loan him an outfit until he
could earn sufficient to buy one of his own.
It was as if fortune favored him, at this particular
moment; for hardly had he taken leave of Joe when he
saw Teddy Grant on the opposite side of the street.
Master Grant had formerly been in the boot-blacken-
ing business, and, thanks to his industry and economy,
had saved such an amount of money as admitted of his
buying a news-stand on Grand Street. That he had
prospered in this enterprise could be told from his
general appearance as he walked toward his store, laden
with the stock in trade which he had been purchasing.
Hi, Teddy Jet shouted, and then, heedless of the
apparent danger, darted into the street amid the con-
fusion of horses and wagons, emerging a few seconds
later on the opposite side with no injury save what
might have been inflicted upon the tempers of the
drivers of the vehicles, several of whom had been forced
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
to pull their horses back very quickly, in order to avoid
running down the excited boot-black.
Before Jet could explain to the newsdealer why he
had hailed him, the latter said, almost sharply:
Well, I s'pose you fellers think you 're doin' a big
thing with your strike, eh ? Now how much do you
reckon folks care about it ? What if you do drive the
Icalians out of town? The men can get their boots
blacked in hotels, where they have a comfortable chair
and a newspaper to read, and only pay ten cents; while
a loafer like Bald Higgs thinks he's goin' to run this
town, an' make everybody pay him a dime."
I guess he don't think so now," Jet said hopefully.
" The way things are goin' on, it looks as if the Union
was pretty nigh busted;" and then he told Teddy what
he had learned regarding Skinney Jones's recklessness
in the way of spending money.
"Well, I counted it would turn out something like
that," Master Grant said, as he stroked his chin reflec-
tively, "an' 'cordin' to my way of thinking Skinney ain't
the only one of that crowd what's smoking' cheroots at
other fellers' expenses."
"I s'pose you mean Bald Higgs? "
Of course I do. Why, Jake Albeck told me he was
stopping' up to Connor's lodgin'-house. Now think of it!
Fifteen cents for a bed Baldy never earned fifteen cents
in a day since he started in business. Tom McGuire
told me both of them snoozers was eatin' a breakfast this
morning' that must have cost twenty cents apiece. Put
that with fifteen for a bed, an' its thirty-five cents, with-
AN INVESTIGA TION.
out counting' what 'll be put out for dinner an' supper !
I don't know as I could expect any different from you,
Jet; but I did think Jip Simpson would have had more
sense than setting' hisself out to support Bald Higgs."
"But I tell you, Teddy, the thing is about gone up
now; 'cause the fellers '11 kick jest as soon as they know
what Skinney Jones has done."
Don't you be so sure, old man. You can bet he'll
have some kind of a story to tell that will shut your eyes;
and Baldy'll do all he can to help him, 'cause he don't
want the thing to bust yet a while. I don't allow you
fellers have got out of the scrape by a good deal."
Well, you'll see that we have. Say, Teddy, ain't
you got an old box you can lend me ? I've got to earn
some money to pay Mother Biddle, and, besides, I want
to help Sam Carleton."
I haven't got an old kit as I know of; but I held on
to my good one when I went out of the business. It
would n't pay to lend you that, Jet."
Why not ? "
'Cause that box with the brushes cost me a dollar
and thirty cents, an' I don't want to lose 'em yet
"You sha'n't, Teddy. I '11 take awful good care of
em, an' bring 'em back every night."
I s'pose you would if you could; but I ain't allowing'
you'd have a chance The box would be smashed, and
the brushes thrown away, jest the same as yours was."
But I don't believe the boys will do anything of that
THE BOYS' REVOLT.
Oh, yes, they will. Bald Higgs will talk the whole
crowd over in a little while. This won't 'mount to any-
thing, 'cause the fellers ain't got nerve enough to stand
up an' do what they oughter. Baldy 'll lead them 'round
by the nose a week or so longer."
Then you don't want to lend me the box," Jet said
I would, old man, if I thought there was any chance
of getting' it back. I ain't sayin' but you 'd bring it, if
you could. You see them fellers ain't through yet, an'
you '11 have to hold on a day or two longer, 'less you can
get a chance to lug packages."
"It seems like as if I 'd held on 'bout as long as I
could. I would n't have had anything but wind to eat
all this time, if it had n't been for Jip Simpson. I feel
now a good deal like I was a bladder, an' dryin' up pretty
fast at that."
I'11 help you, Jet, when I think it's safe; but it won't
pay to let you have the box yet awhile. Wait till you
see what comes out of this scrape with Skinney, an'
come 'round an' tell me 'bout it to-night."
Then Master Grant stalked gravely away, with the air
of a highly-prosperous and thoroughly-satisfied mer-
chant, and the hungry ex-striker walked mournfully
down Broadway, with very little hope of finding an
opportunity to earn money.
Fully half an hour before noon, all the strikers, except
Jippy Simpson and Skinney Jones, had gathered at the
When they entered the park, those who had not heard
all the news, believed the strike was very nearly a failure;
but immediately Jake and Sim told of the Jersey City
boys' visit, and of the contribution brought, all grew
The receipt of twenty cents had caused the matter to
wear an entirely different aspect, and every one looked
as eager and sanguine as on the night when the Union
first sprang into existence.
Baldy was the only boy who had nothing to say rela-
tive to the very substantial sympathy shown by their
neighbors. He wanted his followers to look upon the
donation as something which had been the legitimate
outcome of his personal exertions, and treated it in the
most matter-of-fact manner.
He was positive there would be no more grumbling
against his rule for twenty-four hours at least, and was
content with this further lease of power, believing
before it came to an end some other move would be
made in his favor.
Of course Jake and Sim, while telling the good news,
did not fail to repeat the dreadful suspicions concerning
Skinney's honesty; and every fellow was so excited that
even those who had no dinner to anticipate, forgot their
It was nearly one o'clock when Master Jones made
his appearance; and as he came through the park, looking
as if actually bowed down by weight of business, it was
hard for his friends to believe him a defaulter.
If guilty, he suffered no apparent pangs of conscience,
but greeted his brother strikers with a genial smile, as he