last drunkard has toppled home, and the last debauchee has skulked like a thieving hound to his own bed; for the wickedness of the night has been done, and the work of the day is beginning.
There is something in the aspect of the city at this hour—the stars glittering over-head—the long lines of gas-lights
that stretch away in every direction — the few wayfarers stealing in and out among them in silence, like spirits—the myriad sign-boards so staring now, and useless—the houses all magnified in the imperfect light—so many evidences of intense life around, and yet so little of life visibly present—which, to one who sees it for the first time (and few of us have ever seen it), is strangely impressive.
The Tribune building
is before us. It looks as we never saw it look before.
The office is closed, and a gas-light
dimly burning shows that no one is in it. The dismal inky aperture in Spruce street by which the upper regions of the Tribune den are usually reached is shut, and the door is locked.
That glare of light which on all previous nocturnal walks we have seen illuminating the windows of the third and fourth stories, revealing the bobbing compositor in his paper cap, and the bustling night-editor making up his news, shines not at this hour; and those windows are undistinguished from the lustreless ones of the houses adjacent.
Coiled up on the steps, stretched out on the pavement, are half a dozen sleeping newsboys.
Two or three others are awake and up, of whom one is devising and putting into practice various modes of suddenly waking the sleepers.
He rolls one off the step to the pavement, the shock of which is very effectual.
He deals another who lies temptingly exposed, a “loud-resounding” slap, which brings the slumberer to his feet, and to his fists, in an instant.
Into the ear of a third he yells the magic word Fire
, a word which the New York newsboy never hears with indifference; the sleeper starts up, but perceiving the trick, growls a curse or two, and addresses himself again to sleep.
In a few minutes all the boys are awake, and taking their morning exercise of scuffling.
The basement of the building, we observe, is all a-glow with light, though the clanking of the press is silent.
The carrier's entrance is open, and we descend into the fiery bowels of the street.
We are in the Tribune
It is a large, low, ceilar-like apartment, unceiled, white-washed, inky, and unclean, with a vast