"Two Brave Boys"
July 1910
St. Nicholas

Dublin Core


"Two Brave Boys"
July 1910
St. Nicholas


”Two Brave Boys”


EVERY boy who reads this magazine has heard the story of the sinking of the Republic[2] and of how the lad who was the operator of the Wireless telegraph stood at his post for hours until he had brought help to passengers and crew.

But there was a little sequel to the story which they may not have heard.

A week after the disaster, the manager of a vaudeville company offered this lad no less than a thousand dollars a month if he would appear on the stage.

“Me?” he said, bewildered. “A thousand dollars? Why, I ’m no actor! I ’m only a telegraph operator.”

This reminds me of a similar story which is also true.

A few years ago there stood in Penn Square, in Philadelphia, a high old building filled with offices and in a ruinous condition. When a neighboring house was taken down, its foundations were weakened and its walls began to fall. Some of the occupants of the upper stories escaped; then the stairways fell. But the frame of the elevator remained standing and the engine continued to work.

A great crowd assembled in the streets, watching the lift as it jogged slowly up and down, bringing a dozen men out of the jaws of death. As it started up again the frame of the elevator shook.

The police interfered. “Stop!” they shouted to the boy whose hand was on the lever.

“But there are two women up there,” he said.

“The walls are going!” they cried. “Come out!” dragging at him.

“There are women up there, and I ’m the elevator boy,” he repeated doggedly.

He went to the top story, took on the women, and came down slowly. When the floor of the elevator touched the earth there was a great shout of triumph. They caught the lad, calling him a hero, and praying God to bless him; but he shook himself free from them.

“Somebody had to go, and I ’m the elevator boy,” he replied, all unconscious of his bravery and unselfishness.


1. This was RHD's last publication before her death.

2. The RMS Republic sank off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts in 1903 after colliding with the SS Florida. It was the first time a distress call had been sent over the new Marconi system, and about 1,500 lives were saved as a result.


Robin Cadwallader
St. Francis University


Robin Cadwallader St. Francis University, “"Two Brave Boys"July 1910St. Nicholas,” Rebecca Harding Davis: Complete Works, accessed April 22, 2019, http://rebeccahardingdaviscompleteworks.com/items/show/78.