Horatio Alger, Jr. (1832 – 1899) was a prolific American author of the 19-th century. His writings were characterized by the "rags-to-riches" narrative, which had a formative effect on America during the Gilded Age. Alger best known for his many 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.
Most of Alger's stories empathize the need for hard work and honesty as a way to get ahead. In this story the main character is a boy of twelve with a bright face and laughing eyes, but dressed in clothes of coarse material. This is Jack Harding, the main character. One morning as Jack left to buy milk for breakfast he found a basket on the doorstep. Having found a baby girl on their doorstep seven years previously, Jack and his parents are alarmed when a lady claiming to have been the infant's nurse arrives to reclaim the child. Now he doesn't know how to act but finally he makes the right choice. Which one?