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Newspaper Page Text
THE BREAKER BOY BY CLARENCE S. D ARROW (Copyright, 1913, by the Newspaper Enterprise Association.) John McCaffery was eleven years old when he became a man. Five years before this, his father and mother, with their four .children and steerage tickets, sailed out of the Queenstown Harbor, bound for the United States. They had heard of America all Irishmen had they knew that America had no English landlords; no rack-rented tenants; no hopeless men and ragged women and hungry boys and girls. So, as they stood on the steerage deck and looked through the wire netting at the fading white houses and green fields of their native land, Owen and Bridget were light of heart. Beyond the great turbulent ocean, were con tentment, equahty and wealth, a home for themselves and a brilliant future for the four children who, half in fear and half in wonder, were looking out at the white gulls and the white crested"waves. Two weeks later they landed in New York, were rushed through Cas tle Garden and hurried to the rail way train, where they set out for Scranton, Pa. Within a few days Owen had found a job in the mines, opened an account with a "company" store and rented a "company" house, with a kitchen and parlor below and two little bed rooms above. Down under the kit chen floor was a hole in the ground which they called a cellar, and some rough wooden steps led to the bot tom from the side of the house. The hut was closed with boards which ran up and down; the inside was without paper or even plaster; while, here and there, the cracks let in the daylight, and, through the winter, the wind and shifting snow. Owen and Bridget were a trifle disappointed in their home. In their little stone hut in their fai-off island, they had never dreamed tnat a house like this could be found in a land so nch and fiee, but they "weie staitmg hfe m a new, strange world; so, with strong hopes and brave hearts, they set to work to make the best of what they had, never doubting that the looked-for mansion would soon be theirs. Owen went to work in the coal mines five hundred feet beneath the ground. Every morning he stepped on hoard a car, grasped; his dinner pail in one hand, while he clutched the iron rail in the other, and held his breath until he was1 dropped to the bottom; then, at night, he went back to the foot of the pit and board ed the car to be taken again to the top of the earth. But this story is about Johnny, so we have no time to tell more of Owen, except that one day a great" piece of rock broke off from the roof of the chamber where he worked and fell squarely upon him, crushing him to death. The miners took him to the top of the shaft and back to the little hut, and consoled the helpless widow and children as best they could, and then followed him to the grave, and the story of his hopes and struggles was told. Johnny was almost eleven when they laid his father in the little con secrated ground and put the wooden cross above his head. He was at school the day the rock came down, and had dene so well that he was in the third reader, and had reached "division" in the arithmetic. Johnny's older brother was already tending a door in the mine, and his sisters were in the public school. Some years before, a wise good man, seeing how scant was the miner's in come, had built a lace mill so that his girls could earn something to help the family long So one night when the older sister left the school she care fully packed her books and slate and took tnem home ana tne next aa vvet to the mill D Jjfc. 4j.4i. -JI,JXlv?JW.'4. JU. MJi vS-krfsii iiiffi, -SiV -J.