February 4, 1907


After Court Officers Had Found Him a Good Home His Mother Tells Them They Were Taken In by a Juvenile Munchausen.

There seems to be a joke on somebody.
Walter Dalton, the "friendless orphan" boy who told Judge McCune in the juvenile court last Friday of his many and superlative vicissitudes after the death of his father and mother in New York and his abuse by a stepfather, how he slept in doorways there and finally beat his way to Kansas City on 9-cents because he wanted to come West where he could make a good man of himself, really lives in Armourdale and has never even seen New York. His mother, who lives there also, called at the Detention home yesterday to see this young Munchausen.

When he told his tear-stained story to Judge McCune Friday the judge and the spectators wiped their streaming eyes and sent out their hearts to give poor motherless Walter comfort.

"You look like a good boy," said Judge McCune out of the fullness of his heart (as he blew his nose suspiciously, as is proper under such stress), "but you haven't had much of a chance. We'll find you a good home and a good job where you won't have anything to do but work and nothing to eat but food and no place to sleep but in a feather bed."

"Thank you kindly, sir," sobbed Walter. "I will indeed be grateful. That's all I've been looking for and your generosity moves me. I shall do all in my power to show you how I appreciate it."

A court official led Walter away weeping and the court dried its judicial eyes and blowing its judicial nose again, called the next case.

Then the newspaper reporters wrote the story and splashed it liberally with salty tears and the next day twenty yearning philanthropists, looking for a husky boy who in turn was yearning to do a man's work for his board and clothes and a few kind words, besieged the office of the probation officer where Walter was wallowing in the fat of the county, and one of them took him triumphantly away in the face of the deep throated clamorings of the others.

When Dalton left the Detention building for his new home he was fitted out by loving hands with new clothing throughout, including a nice warm overcoat.

So much for the first installment.

Yesterday a frail, thinly clad dim-eyed woman accompanied by an ill-clothed boy of 7 appeared at the Detention home.

"Have you got a boy here named Water Dalton?" she asked.

"Yes, ma'am," replied one of the officers, "but I am sorry to say, you are too late, much as we appreciate your sympathy in favor of the friendless orphan. We have already found him a good home."

"Home," replied the woman. "Home? He already had a home and I'm his mother."

"But my dear madam," returned the astonished officer, "his mother is dead."

"I don't look very dead, do I? Well I'm his mother all right and he lives with me in Armourdale -- that is, when he isn't running away. I ought to know whether I'm his mother or not, oughtn't I?"

"Y-yes. But he said he came here from New York."

"New York, fiddlesticks. I've known him pretty well for sixteen years, which is as old as he is, and if he was ever farther East than Sheffield I never heard of it."

"But his father --"

"Father, nuthin'. Dalton skinned out years ago and left me to support this boy and that 'waif' you picked up from New York and found a good home for. But he won't be there long. As soon as he gets enough to eat and the weather gets warmer he'll be gone again. I know him.. He's no good."

"But, Judge ----" "Yes, I know what the judge said. The truth of the matter is that boy can outlie a press agent. I'm his mother and I know. New York! The only other town that boy ever lived in was Omaha, and he was in jail there three times for stealing that I know of -- and maybe more. Did he keep his eyes on the floor sort of solemn like while he was telling the judge the magazine story?"

The officer remembered that he did.

"That was Walter, all right," said the woman. "He always keeps his eyes on the floor and talks low when he's drilling for tears."

"But his stepfather beat--"

"Stepfather! He never had a stepfather. I know when I've had enough. The only person I've ever expected to help me along since Dalton left was Walter, and instead of that I've had to support him. Oh, yes, he would work occasionally, but it didn't do me much good.

"The last time I saw him was Friday morning a week ago. I put up his lunch for him and started him to work. The next I heard of him I read in the papers what a good boy he was and what a good man he was going to make and --and the rest of it. It was news to me.

"Well," she added in leaving, "I'm glad Walter is a good boy and has a good home and is going to be a good and great man. It relieves me of a good deal."

Walter Dalton is 16 years old. He was arrested by the police one night last week begging on the streets. He told a pitiful story of having been left an orphan in New York city and told it in such a plausible way that he made more friends in ten minutes than an honest boy could get together in a lifetime of uprightness. His new home is on a farm a few miles from Kansas City.