It was dusk of an April day, and Fifth Avenue was crowded. A young man, who had emerged from a large hotel, stood in the stream of traffic and gazed irresolutely up and down the thoroughfare. He wore a long, cheap rain-coat, and his head was covered by a steamer-cap of an old design, with two flaps tied in a knot across the top, behind which an overabundant crop of dull black hair pushed forth. His thin, sallow face was unshaven, and his eyes were rimmed by round steel spectacles that gave him an almost owlish expression. An air of dejection hung about him, as he loitered by the curbnot the imaginative depression of youth, soon to float off like a cloud before the sun of life, but rather the settled gloom of repeated failure, as if the conviction of final doom had already begun to penetrate deeply into his manhood. He looked first up the avenue, then down, vacant of purpose, seeing nothing in the moving pageant. Finally, as if aroused by certain curious glances that the less hurried passers-by cast on him, he bestirred himself and moved on down the avenue, his shoulders stooped, his legs trailing wearily. Thus he proceeded for several blocks, never raising his head, stopping mechanically at the street crossings, resuming his discouraged pace as the crowd moved on. Once he plunged his hand into his coat pocket, to assure himself of some possession, and then withdrew it with a bitter smile for his unconscious anxiety. When in this vacant promenade he had reached the lower part of the avenue, where the crowd was less dense, and less gay and rich in appearance, he lifted his head and looked musingly into the misty space before him. "Well," he muttered, with tightening lips, "it's only one more throw-down. I ought to be used to 'em by now!" Nevertheless, his face relapsed into its melancholy expression as he turned into one of the side streets with the unconscious precision of the animal following a beaten path to its hole. He crossed several of the shabbier commercial avenues, which were crowded with traffic and blocked by men and women returning from the day's work. Compared with these tired laborers, he seemed to have a large leisurethe freedom of absolute poverty. His thoughts had turned to supper. Should he buy a roll and a piece of pie at the bakery on the next corner, ormad venture!dissipate his last resources at the saloon opposite, where the Italian wife of the Irish proprietor offered appetizing nourishment for a quarter? Meditating upon this important decision, the young man entered his own block. At one end the elevated trains rattled; at the other, heavy drays lumbered past in an unbroken file on their way to the ferries; but between the two there was a strip of quiet, where the dingy old houses were withdrawn from the street, and in front of them a few dusty shrubs struggled for life in the bare plots of earth. In the middle of this block there was an unusually animated scene. A group of children had huddled together about some object of interest. A horse must have fallen on the pavement, the young man thought dully, or there was a fight, or a policeman had made a capture. He hurried his lagging steps, moved by a boyish curiosity. As he drew nearer, he perceived that the circle was too small to contain a horse or a good scrap. The center of interest must be some unfortunate human being. He shouldered his way through the crowd.