Paul the Peddler is the second volume in the first series of Tattered Tom. Paul Hoffman is a fourteen-year-old young man who sells "prize packages." An elementary gambling game, he sells envelopes that have either candy or money in them; although the odds are poor, the price to play is cheap, and he performs well. Paul is a second generation American, whose late father was a skillful cabinet-maker. Paul has pride in his personal appearance, and chooses not to be a bootblack. As for the selling of newspapers, he did not care for the competition. He lives with his mother, who sews shirts to contribute towards their apartment, and his nine-year-old brother, who is lame but possesses an exceptional artistic ability. Paul is robbed of his earnings and encounters a number of setbacks to success. Of particular interest are Alger's description of life on the streets of late 19-century New York City.
About the Author
Horatio Alger, Jr. (January 13, 1832 – July 18, 1899) was a prolific 19th-century American author, best known for his many formulaic juvenile novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of middle-class security and comfort through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty. His writings were characterized by the "rags-to-riches" narrative, which had a formative effect on America during the Gilded Age.