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Boxed the Train-Boy's Ears

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

THERE was a train-boy, fourteen years old, on the Grand Trunk Railroad, who had unusual enterprise. He had the regulation stock of peanuts, candies, fruits and papers. The morning after the battle of Pittsburg Landing he persuaded the manager of the Detroit Free Press to let him have a thousand copies of the paper on credit. He got the telegraph operators along the line to put out the bulletin boards at the stations mentioning the account of the battle, and stating that full particulars would be found in the papers that would come on the next train. The newsboy found a perfect mob at every stop, and as his stock decreased his price was raised, and he made quite a sum out of his project.

The boy was allowed one end of the baggage car for his wares. In this place he printed a little daily paper which he called The Grand Trunk Herald. He got the operators at the stations to tell him items of war news and printed them in his little sheet.

Though a mere child, he was an omnivorous reader, and was especially fond of chemistry. A part of his end of the baggage car was used as a laboratory. One day he was experimenting with his chemicals, when he knocked over a jar of phosphorus and set fire to the car. Though the flames were soon extinguished the conductor was greatly enraged, and at the next station he put the boy off the train and tumbled the bottles and packages out after him. But the conductor did worse than this, he slapped the boy's ears so brutally that a deafness was caused which exists to this day. That train-boy was Thomas A. Edison, the great inventor.

Almost no one of the century needed good ears more than Edison, whose whole being was so sensitive to any hint or suggestion of Nature. That he has heard the voices of the subtile forces so distinctly under his physical disabilities is a marvel, and a tribute to his strength of will and keenness of intellect.

There are some jolts and cuffs that boys receive that are just and are not harmful in their consequences, then there are others that are unjust and brutal and are widespread and long-lived in their evil results. Many a boy or girl has been struck spiritually deaf for life by a single blow of anger.

There are times when one evil act may cause a damage to another which can never be repaired.

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