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Unformatted text preview: the discipline of school irked him. He ran away several times to avoid school, and each time,
until he was about fourteen, came back after a few days,--bedraggled, hungry and repentant. The freedom of
the streets appealed to him as offering a life varied enough to suit his nature, and with excitement and
adventure always in the air. So he mingled with all kinds of boys and men and at the age of fourteen shocked
his parents by being arrested as one of a gang that was engaged in robbing drunken men in the slum quarters
of the city. It took all kinds of influence to get him released on probation, but this was accomplished and then
the boy disappeared from home.
He was gone three years and despite all search had completely disappeared. His people had given up all hope
of seeing him again (although certain members of his family were not at all saddened by the prospect) when
they received a communication from the police of a distant city with a photograph of the boy, asking if it was
true that he was their son. It seems that J. had drifted from place to place, now working as newsboy, stable
hand, errand boy, messenger, theater-usher, until he had reached this city. There he was wandering on the
streets, hungry and ragged, when a philanthropic old gentleman noticed him. J. has the good fortune to be very
innocent looking, and no matter what his crimes, his face might belong to a cherub. A friend once stated that
if J. appeared at Heaven's gate, St. Peter would surely take him to be an angel come back from a stroll and let
him in. The philanthropist stopped, the boy and inquired into his history. J. told him a very affecting story of
being an orphan whom a cruel guardian had robbed of his heritage and exaggerated his sufferings until the
indignant old fellow threatened to have the police prosecute his betrayer. With a show of great magnanimity,
J. refused to disclose his real name, and the philanthropist took him home. He had him clothed and fed, and
then, taken by the boy's engaging manners and bright ways, decided to educate and a...
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- Spring '11