Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/126

This page has been validated.
96
MY LIFE AND LOVES.

cooks in the wurrld and if it weren't that she's down on a man when he has a drop in him, she'd be the best gurrl on God's earth. As it is, I married her and I've never been sorry: have I Mary?" "Ye've had no cause, Mike Mulligan."

Mike had nothing particular to do next morning and so he promised he would go and get my little trunk from the Custom House. I gave him the key. He insisted as warmly as his wife that I should stay with them till I got work: I told them how eager I was to begin and Mike promised to speak to his chief and some friends and see what could be done.

Next morning I got up about five-thirty as soon as I heard Mike stirring, and went down Seventh Avenue with him till he got on the horse-car for down-town and left me. About seven-thirty to eight o'clock a stream of people began walking down-town to their offices. On several corners were bootblack shanties. One of them happened to have three customers in it and only one bootblack.

"Won't you let me help you shine a pair or two?" I asked. The bootblack looked at me: "I don't mind", he said and I seized the brushes and went to work. I had done the two just as he finished the first: he whispered to me "halves" as the next man came in and he showed me how to use the polishing rag or cloth. I took off my coat and waistcoat and went to work with a will; for the next hour and a half we both had our hands full. Then the rush began to slack off but not before I had taken just over a dollar and a half. Afterwards we had a talk and Allison, the bootblack, told me he'd be glad to give me work any morning on the same terms. I assured him I'd be there and do my best till I got other work. I had earned three shillings and had found out I could get good board for three dollars a week, so in a