“He poked over the book in my hand and read the title. ‘Hard Times,’ he said, with a little laugh. ’I guess so. What do you say? I think you will do. Better come along and let me give you a note to him now.’
“As in a dream. I walked across the street with him to his office and got the letter which was to make me, half starved and homeless, rich as Croesus, it seemed to me.
“When the sun rose I washed my face and hands in a dog’s drinking trough, pulled my clothes into such shape as I could, and went with Bob to his new home. The parting over, I walked down to 23 Park Row and delivered my letter to the desk editor in the New York News Association up on the top floor.
“He looked me over a little doubtfully, but evidently impressed with the early hours I kept told me that I might try. He waved me to a desk, bidding me wait until he had made out his morning book of assignments; and with such scant ceremony was I finally introduced to Newspaper Row, that had been to me like an enchanted land. After twenty-seven years of hard work in it, during which I have been behind the scenes of most of the plays that go to make up the sum of the life of the metropolis, it exercises the old spell over me yet. If my sympathies need quickening, my point of view adjusting, I have only to go down to Park Row at eventide, when the crowds are hurrying homeward and the City Hall clock is lighted, particularly when the snow lies on the grass in the park, and stand watching them awhile, to find all things coming right. It is Bob who stands by and watches with me then, as on that night.”
The big important lesson underlying all of these concrete examples is that the individual of this type never ought to attempt to do any kind of work in which success depends upon physical effort. Whatever talents he may have will express themselves always best in an intellectual way. It may be art, it may be music, it may be machinery, it may be business, it may be mining or agriculture, it may be any one of many other active pursuits which have also a purely intellectual side. In his early youth his mind naturally turns to the more material manifestation of his talent. But, with proper training and given the proper opportunities, he will always gravitate surely to the mental and intellectual phases of his bent. The boy who is interested in machinery may become an inventor or he may become a playwright or an author. The boy who is interested in plants and flowers may become a botanist or a naturalist, or, perhaps, even a poet. The boy who is deeply interested in battles and fighting may be far better adapted to the profession of historian than to the trade of soldier. The boy who likes to build houses and factories in his play, and seems to be deeply interested in the construction of edifices, may not be fitted to become a contractor or a draughtsman.