the custom then, as it is at present, to run enormous tows of coal barges, propelled by a powerful tug, from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. These grim and heavily loaded fleets had an intense fascination for young Paul. Many and many a day he spent in assisting the inland sailors in lashing boat to boat and diving overboard after spars, etc., that had slipped into the river. He often dreamt of the time when he would be large enough to go down the mighty Ohio and the great Mississippi. He made many friends among the coal men and eagerly devoured their stories of danger, of voyages down the river and of the comical "darkies" in the far off south. Time after time he implored permission from his mother to go away on one of those barge trips, but she would never consent. One day while assisting as usual on a fleet that was about to depart, a great, dark whiskered man named Tom, who was his particular friend, said: "Why don't you come with us, Paul? We will take good care of you and bring you safe hme again."
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