By J. T. Trowbridge revised by Kristina Harding
At noon on a dreary November day, a lonesome little fellow stood at the door of a cheap restaurant in Boston, and offered a solitary copy of a morning paper for sale to the people passing. But there were really not many people passing, for it was Thanksgiving Day, and the shops were closed, and everybody who had a home to go to, and a dinner to eat, seemed to have gone home.
An old man, with a face that looked pinched, and who was dressed in a seedy black coat, stopped at the same doorway, and, with one hand on the latch, he appeared to hesitate between hunger and a sense of poverty, before going in. It was possible, however, that he was considering whether he could afford himself the indulgence of a morning paper, seeing it was Thanksgiving Day; so at least Bert thought, and addressed him accordingly.
"Buy a paper, sir? All about the fire in East Boston, and arrest of burglars in Springfield. Only two cents."
The little old man looked at the boy, with keen gray eyes which seemed to light up the pinched look of his face, and answered in a shrill voice,"You ought to come down in your price, this time of day. You can't expect to sell a morning paper at 12 o'clock for full price."
"Well, give me a cent, then," said Bert. "That's less than cost; but never mind. I'm bound to sell out, anyhow."
"You look cold," said the old man.
"Cold," replied Bert, "I'm nearly frozen. And I want my dinner. And I'm going to have a big dinner, too, seeing it's Thanksgiving Day."
"Ah! Lucky for you, my boy!" said the old man. "You've a home to go to, and friends, too. I hope."
"No, sir; no home, and no friend—only my mother."
"It's more lonesome not to eat at all," said the old man, his gray eyes twinkling. "Here, I guess I can find one cent for you—though there's nothing in the paper, I know."