Title Thumbnail

The Golden Chimney: A Boy's Mine

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
Ben Ralston and his cousin Beth were sitting on the northern slope of Russian Hill, one of the many hills of San Francisco. At the foot of the elevation the black buildings and smokeless chimney of an abandoned smelting-works rose from the beach which skirted the hill. Beyond, the blue bay sparkled in the sunlight, except where fleeting cloud-shadows raced across its surface. “I was born just about forty years too late,” the boy remarked with emphasis. “But the city’s a big place, and it’s getting bigger and bigger,—I heard a man say so to-day.” “I know all that, Beth; and the reason is, there are more people coming all the time. Every one who comes lessens my chances to get on. Forty years ago there weren’t many folks here, but there were a heap of chances.” “I had a feeling when I came up here to-day that you weren’t going to take that place in Stratton’s store.” “What made you think so?” “O, I just guessed so from the way you talked. You always talk that way when you’re blue.” She buried one of her hands in the shining sand on which it rested. “Think,”—he pointed to the huge chimney at the foot of the hill,—“think of the gold the fire of that chimney has melted! And then expect me to be an errand boy at three dollars a week, with a chance of a raise to four in six months! I tell you, Beth, I can’t do it. I’m not that kind. I’d get so wild thinking of it all. If it were something more to do, or something where I could get ahead quicker, I wouldn’t be so dead set against it.”