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Advice To A Son
by [?]

I heard a mother say on the train that her little boy never was quite himself while traveling, because he wasn’t well. She feared it was the change in the water that made him sick. He had then drank a whole ice-water tank empty, and was waiting impatiently till we got to Pittsburg, so that he could drink out of the hydrant.

Queer people also ride on the elevated trains here in New York. It is a singular experience to a stranger to ride on these cars. It made me ill at first, but after awhile I got so mad that I forgot about it. For instance, at places like Fourteenth street, and Twenty-third street, and Park Place, there are generally several people who want to get aboard a little before the passengers get off. Two or three times I was carried by because the guards wouldn’t enforce the rule, and I had a good deal of trouble, till I took an old pair of Mexican spurs out of my trunk and strapped them on my elbows. After that I could stroll along Broadway, or get off a train when I got ready, and have some comfort.

The gates on the elevated trains get shet rather sudden sometimes, and once they shet in a part of a man, I was told, and left the rest of him on the outside, so that after a while he fell off over the trestle, because there was more of him on the outside than on the inside, and he didn’t seem to balance somehow. It was rare sport for the guards to watch the man scraping along the side of the road and sweeping off the right of way.

One day, when I was on board, there was a crowd at one of the stations, and an old man and a little girl tried to get on. She was looking out for the old man, and seemed to kind of steer him on the platform. Just as he stepped on the train, the guard shut the gate and left the little girl outside. She looked so scart and pitiful, as the train left her, that I’ll never forget it to my dying day, and as we left the platform I saw her wring her poor little hands, and I heard her cry, “Oh, mister, let me go with him. My poor grandpa is blind.”

Sure enough, the old man groped around almost crazy on that swaying train, without knowing where he was, and feeling through the empty air for the gentle hand of the little girl who had been left behind. Two or three of us took care of the old man and got him off at the next station, where we waited till she came; but it was the most touching thing I ever saw outside of a book.

Another day the cars were full till you couldn’t seem to get even an umbrella into the aisle, I thought, but yet the guards told people to step along lively, and encouraged them by prodding and pinching till most everybody was fighting mad.

Then a pale girl, with a bundle of sewing in her hand, and a hollow cough that made everybody look that way, got into the aisle. She could just barely get hold of the strap, and that was all. She wore a poor, black cotton jersey, and when she reached up so high, the jersey part would not stay where it belonged, and at the waist seemed to throw off all responsibility. She realized it, and bit her lips, and two red spots came on her pale face, and the tears came into her eyes, but she couldn’t let go of her bundle, and she couldn’t let go of the strap, for already the train threw her against a soiled man on one side and a tough on the other. It was pitiful enough, so that men who had their seats began to read advertisements and other things with their papers wrong side up, in order to seem thoroughly engrossed in their business.