From the December 23, 1897 edition of The New York Daily Tribune:
The Newsboys’ Santa Claus.
“Do yer tink he’ll come ter-night?” asked a little Park Row newsboys of his companion.
“Do I tink who’ll come ter-night?” replied the second boy.
“Why, Santa Claus.”
“Say, what’s der matter wid yer, anyhow? Is yer getting dopey? What do you tink Santa Claus ud be doing down in Park Row. He’d get the grand ha ha if he come down here. He only goes among der rich folks up on der avnoos.”
“Well, he come here last year an’ took us ter der beanery an’ filled us all up wid pork and beans, an’ pie and coffee. Oh, I wish he’d come ter-night. I’se awful hungry.”
“Dat’s jest like you, Petey; you’se always hungry, an’ besides day feller wasn’t Santa Claus. He was a chap dat bet on der ‘beef-an’ horse at der races an’ made a big wad. Why, dat blokey had dough ter burn, an’ he wanter ter blow hisself. I don’t tink he’ll come ’round again cause I guess he’s broke—all dose racetrack fellers goes broke. It’s jest as bad as shooting craps ter get away wid a feller’s dough.”
“I’se awful cold. Let’s go an’ sit on der grating over der pressroom.”
“Dere yer go agin, Petey. I never seen a feller like you. Yer can’t stand notting. If yer ain’t hungry yer cold, an’ if yer ain’t cold yer hungry. Come on. You can lay on der graing an’ I’ll hustle’ round, an’ if I sell dese poipers we’ll have some buns.”
A little later the boys met again on the grating.
“I tink Santa Claus’ll come sure ter-night,” said Petey.
“Come notting”, exclaimed the second boy; “he’s got better graft den dis.”
“I wish I was up in dose stars. Santa Claus lives up dere, an’ all der boys are warm an’ have plenty ter eat.”
“See here, Petey, dere yer go agin. Yer gettin’ daffy fer sure. Get a brace on yer an’ we’ll go an’ buy some buns. I sold me poipers and we’ll celebrate.”
“I can’t get up, Chimmy; someting’s der matter wid me. I’se sick and I guess I’se going to croak. Oh, I wish Santa Claus ‘d come.”
The second boy stooped down over his sick comrade, and just as he did so a big policeman appeared on teh scene and said:
“See here, get a move on you or I will have your hides. You know you can’t stop here.”
“Dat’s all right, boss,” said Petey’s chum, “but Petey’s sick an’ I guess yer’ll have ter get der ambulance.”
The big policeman laid his hand gently on Petey’s shoulder and tried to rouse him, but the boy’s eyes were closed, and he did not move.
Just then a rough-looking man clad in a big ulster pushed his way through the little crowd that surrounded the sick newsboy and asked what the trouble was.
“Oh, Petey’s caved in,” exclaimed his cum. “He to’ght dat Santa Claus would be down here ter-night, an’ he didn’t come. Dere ain’t no Santa Claus. Dat feller dat treated us in der beanery las’ year was a racetrack feller, dat’s all.”
“Who says there isn’t a Santa Claus?” shouted the big man. “If you say that again I’ll throw you down a manhole. I am Santa Claus, and don’t you forget it.”
Then stooping over Petey’s prostrate form he tenderly picked him up in his arms, and, telling the rest of the boys to fall in line, he carried him into the warm and cheerful little restaurant a short distance away. The genial warmth of the room and a few spoonfuls of hot coffee soon aroused Petey from his stupor, and, looking trustfully up into the face of the man, he exclaimed:
“I know’d Santa Claus ‘d come.”
The man stayed in the restaurant until the boys had feasted to their hearts’ content and the orders that were filled for pork and beans, “sinkers,” mince pie and coffee kept the waiters busy. Every now and then a new lot of boys gathered in front of the beanery, and they, too, were called inside and feasted by Petey’s Santa Claus. The latter did not leave until there were no more boys to fee, and when he finally went away he left a bright silver dollar in Petey’s hand, and the latter and his chum slept in warm beds in the Newsboys’ Lodging House that night.