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Gratis
Stephen Crane

Maggie A Girl Of The Streets

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets is an 1893 novella by American author Stephen Crane who was born in 1871 and lived a tragically young life. The story centers on Maggie, a young girl from the Bowery who is driven to desperate circumstances by poverty and solitude. Written when Crane was only 22 its strong sense of literary realism and hard edged themes caused publishers to back away from it. So Crane published it himself under the pseudonym Johnston Smith. Of course Crane then wrote the grand work of his life The Red Badge Of Courage which was published in 1895. Such was the success of that book that it allowed him to re-publish Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, albeit with many changes in 1896. Stephen Crane died in 1900.
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    A very little boy stood upon a heap of gravel for the honor of Rum Alley. He was throwing stones at howling urchins from Devil’s Row who were circling madly about the heap and pelting at him.

    His infantile countenance was livid with fury. His small body was writhing in the delivery of great, crimson oaths.

    “Run, Jimmie, run! Dey’ll get yehs,” screamed a retreating Rum Alley child.

    “Naw,” responded Jimmie with a valiant roar, “dese micks can’t make me run.”

    Howls of renewed wrath went up from Devil’s Row throats. Tattered gamins on the right made a furious assault on the gravel heap. On their small, convulsed faces there shone the grins of true assassins. As they charged, they threw stones and cursed in shrill chorus.

    The little champion of Rum Alley stumbled precipitately down the other side. His coat had been torn to shreds in a scuffle, and his hat was gone. He had bruises on twenty parts of his body, and blood was dripping from a cut in his head. His wan features wore a look of a tiny, insane demon.

    On the ground, children from Devil’s Row closed in on their antagonist. He crooked his left arm defensively about his head and fought with cursing fury. The little boys ran to and fro, dodging, hurling stones and swearing in barbaric trebles.

    From a window of an apartment house that upreared its form from amid squat, ignorant stables, there leaned a curious woman. Some laborers, unloading a scow at a dock at the river, paused for a moment and regarded the fight. The engineer of a passive tugboat hung lazily to a railing and watched. Over on the Island, a worm building and crawled slowly along the river’s bank.

    A stone had smashed into Jimmie’s mouth. Blood was bubbling over his chin and down upon his ragged shirt. Tears made furrows on his dirt-stained cheeks. His thin legs had begun to tremble and turn weak, causing his small body to reel. His roaring curses of the first part of the fight had changed to a blasphemous chatter.

    In the yells of the whirling mob of Devil’s Row children there were notes of joy like songs of triumphant savagery. The little boys seemed to leer gloatingly at the blood upon the other child’s face.

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