Dave Ranney eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 142 pages of information about Dave Ranney.


Many’s the time I’ve stood on the Bowery and cursed God and the day I was born, and wished that I was dead.  But here I was!  Nobody cared for me, and why should they, for I did not care for myself.  I did not even think God cared much or He would have done something.  I imagined the Devil thought he had me for keeps, and so he did not exert himself very much either.  I was out of the saloon, on the street, and little as I imagined such a thing would ever happen, I never entered ——­’s saloon again.  All unknown to me the turning-point in my life had come.

Sizing up the situation, I knew I must have a drink, but how was I to get it?  Up to this time I’d done everything on the calendar except murder, and I don’t know how I missed that.  I’ve seen men killed, have been in a few shoot-ups myself, and bear some scars, but I know at this writing that God and a mother’s prayers saved me from this awful crime.

Among the many accomplishments suited to the life I was leading was that of a “strong-arm man,” and I determined to put it into use now, for I was desperate.

The rule in this dastardly work is always to select a man smaller and weaker than one’s self.  As I looked about I saw a man coming up the Bowery who seemed to answer to the requirements, and I said to myself, “This is my man!” I walked up to him and touched him on the shoulder, but as he straightened up I saw that he was as big as myself, and I hesitated.  I would have taken the chances even then, but he started back and asked what I wanted.  I said I was hungry, thinking that he would put his hand in his pocket, and then, having only one hand, I could put the “strangle hold” on him.  But he was equal to the situation.  He told me afterward that I looked dangerous.

I asked him if he was ever hungry.  He said, “Many’s the time.”  I told him I was starving.  “Come with me,” said he, and we went over to Chatham Square, to a place called “Beefsteak John’s.”

We went in and sat down, and he said, “Now order what you want.”  On the Bowery in those days you could get a pretty good meal for fifteen cents—­all you wanted to eat.  The waiter was there to take my order.  I knew him and winked to him to go away, and he went.  He thought I was going to work the young fellow for his money.

The young fellow said, “Why don’t you call for something?  I thought you were starving.”

Now here I was up against it.  I’d panned this man for something to eat, and he was willing to pay for anything I wanted, and for the life of me I could not swallow any food.  When a man is drinking he doesn’t care to eat at a table.  Give him a square meal, and he doesn’t enjoy it.  I know men to-day who spend every dollar they earn for drink, and eat nothing but free lunches, handed out with their drinks.  That was what was the matter with me.  All I wanted was drink.  The

Project Gutenberg
Dave Ranney from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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