Francis had gotten himself messed up with a bunch of scoundrels and truants.
At first the group of newsboys seemed harmless enough, save for the fact that most of them smoked and swore like sailors. Francis was attracted to them like a moth to a lightbulb, and he could always find them outside the lunch room, peddling their newspapers, laughing, smoking and acting like big shots.
I worried about him but Francis always said: “Don’t worry ma. Them scoundrels are really just big talkin’ little boys, trying to impress folks by smokin’ and swearin’. But they don’t do no one no harm.”
Except for the day that Francis caught pneumonia from one of them.
At first it was just an annoying cough. But as the days passed, Francis could barely rouse himself from bed, and the coughing had become a constant rattling from deep within.
Thankfully the doctor now says that Francis is out of danger. But I worry. I know he will want to get back out to those boys, and who knows what else lies in store when he does. But please tell Mother not to worry, Grace. If I could I’d ship Francis off to you in New Brunswick for a spell, just to get him away from these street urchins.
But for now, it’s Flatbush Station for us. At least for the time being.
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