The exuberant Fitz Smythe has favored the world with another of his charming condensed romances. The scene is laid in a match factory, corner of Mission and Ninth streets. The principal characters are "a small China boy" and a squad of naughty "Melican" juveniles. The naughty boys steal a jar containing "sticks of phosphorus," which they mistake for "sticks of candy." The "Melican boys" burn their fingers and flee in disgust. Young China hastens to appropriate the abandoned spoil, and, getting burnt too, darts frantically away, yelling "H-i-e Y-a-a-h! Me smelly h--l!" This surpasses all Fitz Smythe's previous efforts -- for it has a moral. We recommend its publication as a tract for distribution in Sunday Schools. What can more forcibly impress upon the youthful mind the wickedness of stealing -- unless you're quite sure you are after the right article?
[published in Early Tales & Sketches, Volume 2, 1864-1865,
University of California Press, 1981, p. 510.]
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