A number of years ago the author of this story set out to depict life among the boys of a great city, and especially among those who had to make their own way in the world. Among those already described are the ways of newsboys, match boys, peddlers, street musicians, and many others.
In the present tale are related the adventures of a country lad who, after living for some time with a strange hermit, goes forth into the world and finds work, first in a summer hotel and then in a large hotel in the city. Joe finds his road no easy one to travel, and he has to face not a few hardships, but in the end all turns out well.
It may be added here that many of the happenings told of in this story, odd as they may seem, are taken from life. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and life itself is full of romance from start to finish.
If there is a moral to be drawn from this story, it is a twofold one, namely, that honesty is always the best policy, and that if one wishes to succeed in life he must stick at his work steadily and watch every opportunity for advancement.
JOE THE HOTEL BOY.
OUT IN A STORM.
“What do you think of this storm, Joe?”
“I think it is going to be a heavy one, Ned. I wish we were back home,” replied Joe Bodley, as he looked at the heavy clouds which overhung Lake Tandy.
“Do you think we’ll catch much rain before we get back?” And Ned, who was the son of a rich man and well dressed, looked at the new suit of clothes that he wore.
“I’m afraid we shall, Ned. Those black clouds back of Mount Sam mean something.” “If this new suit gets soaked it will be ruined,” grumbled Ned, and gave a sigh.
“I am sorry for the suit, Ned; but I didn’t think it was going to rain when we started.”
“Oh, I am not blaming you, Joe. It looked clear enough this morning. Can’t we get to some sort of shelter before the rain reaches us?”
“We can try.”
“Which is the nearest shelter?”
Joe Bodley mused for a moment.
“The nearest that I know of is over at yonder point, Ned. It’s an old hunting lodge that used to belong to the Cameron family. It has been deserted for several years.”
“Then let us row for that place, and be quick about it,” said Ned Talmadge. “I am not going to get wet if I can help it.”
As he spoke he took up a pair of oars lying in the big rowboat he and Joe Bodley occupied. Joe was already rowing and the rich boy joined in, and the craft was headed for the spot Joe had pointed out.
The lake was one located in the central part of the State of Pennsylvania. It was perhaps a mile wide and more than that long, and surrounded by mountains and long ranges of hills. At the lower end of the lake was a small settlement of scant importance and at the upper end, where there was a stream of no mean size, was the town of Riverside. At Riverside were situated several summer hotels and boarding houses, and also the elegant mansion in which Ned Talmadge resided, with his parents and his four sisters.