Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie

By Andrew Carnegie | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
THE TELEGRAPH OFFICE

HAD served as messenger about a year, when Colonel John P. Glass, the manager of the downstairs office, who came in contact with the public, began selecting me occasionally to watch the office for a few minutes during his absence. As Mr. Glass was a highly popular man, and had political aspirations, these periods of absence became longer and more frequent, so that I soon became an adept in his branch of the work. I received messages from the public and saw that those that came from the operating-room were properly assigned to the boys for prompt delivery.

This was a trying position for a boy to fill, and at that time I was not popular with the other boys, who resented my exemption from part of my legitimate work. I was also taxed with being penurious in my habits -- mean, as the boys had it. I did not spend my extra dimes, but they knew not the reason. Every penny that I could save I knew was needed at home. My parents were wise and nothing was withheld from me. I knew every week the receipts of each of the three who were working -- my father, my mother, and myself. I also knew all the expenditures. We consulted upon the additions that could be made to our scanty stock of furniture and clothing and every new small article obtained was a source of joy. There never was a family more united.

Day by day, as mother could spare a silver halfdollar, it was carefully placed in a stocking and hid until two hundred were gathered, when I obtained a draft

-54-

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