"You look like a good truthful boy. Here are ten dollars for you."rn "Oh, thank you, ma'am! You're a gentleman," said Mike overjoyed. "No, I don't mean that, but I hope you'll soon get a handsome husband."rn "My young friend, I don't care to marry, though I appreciate your good wishes. I am an old maid from principle. I am an officer of the Female Suffrage Association."rn "Is it a good payin' office, ma'am?" asked Mike, visibly impressed.rn -from "Chapter X: Mike Puts on a Uniform"rn rn It's entirely possibly that the 20th-century concept of "the American dream" would not exist without the cheerfully idealistic novels of Horatio Alger, Jr. rn rn Enormous bestsellers in their day, Alger's rags-to-riches tales nurtured the nation's faltering idealism during the economic inequities of the Gilded Age. Known as the "lost" Alger story, Cast Upon the Breakers first appeared under a pseudonym in serial form in Argosy magazine in 1893.rn rn The tale of Rodney Ropes and his pals, who transform hard work and integrity pay off in wealth rn and comfort, it is vintage Alger, a relic of 19th-century Americana that is still an inspiring delight in the 21st century.rn rn American writer HORATIO ALGER, JR. (1832-1899) wrote well over 100 novels, among them Ragged Dick; or, Street Life in New York (1867), Sink or Swim (1870), and Tattered Tom; or, The Story of a Street Arab (1871).