July 29, 1899: “Kid th’ Blink” No longer on Top”

“Kid th’ Blink” No longer on Top

“The Debs” of the Newsies’ Strike Forced to Step Down and Out.

He Overdressed His Part

Suffered a Change of Heart and Also Won Money on the Races.

Kid the blink is no longer a disturbing element in labor circles.

For three days the Blink was the Eugene Debs of the newsboys of Greater New York. He and his ilk held up the Yellow World and the Yellow Journal on a proposition of selling to the newsboys ten papers for five cents, as was formerly the price. Now the yellows charge their barefoot agents six cents for ten papers, which only leaves the kids four mills out of a cent for each “Woiextry” they sell. Under these conditions it means that a boy must be a smart salesman to land the price of a “beefand” and a cup of coffee in Hitchcock’s or Dolan’s after a day’s work, and even a newsboy must eat once in a while, painful as the proposition is to Mr. Norris of the World and Mr. Carvalho of the Journal.

It was this empty condition of their stomachs that led the boys to a strike, and Kid the Blink to lead them. all the papers, barring the World and the Journal, have told the story of the strike, and how that, not since Monday, has then been one of the evening yellows sold in New York except under police espionage. Of course, the little pink evening edition of the Herald was a beautiful beneficiary in the deal, and it started out to make the most of its position. It furnished its papers two for a cent, and even gave them away to win circulation from its competitors. Moerover [sic] it is said that the business manager sought out the leaders of teh newsboys’ strike, Kid the Blink and Dave Simmons, on Tuesday night and staked them to $10 each to keep the strike going. Kid the Blink is what the newsboys and bootblacks call a “dead game sport.”

Kid Backs a Long Shot.

Anyway, he went at once and put up his little old “X” on Imported at 25 to 1, the same being the fifth race at Brighton. On Thursday the Blink showed up on Park row as a thing of beauty and a joy forever. He had a broad checked suit, fresh from Moe Levy’s, a high collar which hasped his little leather neck, a red tie, bright tan shoes, a straw hat with a blue polka dot band, and carried a cane.

His appearance on Park row was the signal for a riot. Word had already been spread from the World and Journal offices that the leaders had been bought off. That was a part of their business in breaking up the strike.

“The Blink,” in his innocence, helped the game along.

“Say, kids,” he said, “I don’t think there is much in this strike, do youse?”

Two hundred of the 500 boys before had not even been able to buy a withered doughnut under Ben Franklin’s statue. They were surprised at the sentiment from their Napoleon, when he said:

“Say, kids, dis is no way to make money. Dese people can beat us hands down.”

There was no more doing for Mr. Kid the Blink. A piece of paving stone struck his new crossbarred shirt, without doing much hurt, and he turned and ran into the Sun Building and upstairs. A fresh policeman started to follow him until he was met on teh stairway by a Sun reporter, who called to his mind that he was on private property without a warrant. Then the cop saw different and helped get the Blink out of a sidedoor and up to his home without violence.

Later The Blink was arrested for disorderly conduct, in order that he might not be killed by his fellow strikers. Yesterday he was fined $5 by Magistrate Mott, who, after his usual way, had decided upon the case without hearing the evidence.

His Mother Paid the Fine.

The Kid’s mother paid it, but neither she nor her son could tell the testy little old Reform Administration Magistrate that he was only arrested to keep him from being killed by a mob. However, such decisions are not new to Mr. Mott.

Bit it is a great downfall for the Kid. His real name is Louis Battell. He lives on Park Row with a widowed mother, near East Chambers street. The mother has $1,500 equity in a basement place worth $4,700. The Kid is 18 years old. He is small for his age, dark, athletic. He can “lick,” the words are his own, “any kid selling papers below Houston street,” and for three yeas has been the leader of the newsboys. His personal vanity, which led to his new suit of clothes, with the red necktie, in the midst of a strike, has proved his downfall. All the other newsboys belive that he accepted a bribe from the World and Journal, and they will never trust him again. He is called “The Blink” because of a cast in his eye.

Last night the fighters had banners on Park Row, reading:

Kid the Blink,
He’s in the Clink.

Dave Fitzimmons
He’s Our Old Persimmon.

Fitzsimmons comes from Grand street, and has not yet given up the fight.

Two scabs were beaten on City Hall Square yesterday, so that the sleepy police had to make a couple of arrests. Otherwise the strike of the newsboys was quiet. Otherwise the “Kid” did not tip over any wagons, beat a policeman or set [last line of the column is illegible].