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|Ragged Dick||Horatio Alger|
Micky Maguire's Second Defeat
|Page 2 of 4||
"He's been at the Island two or three times for stealing," said Dick. "I guess he won't touch me again. He'd rather get hold of small boys. If he ever does anything to you, Fosdick, just let me know, and I'll give him a thrashing."
Dick was right. Micky Maguire was a bully, and like most bullies did not fancy tackling boys whose strength was equal or superior to his own. Although he hated Dick more than ever, because he thought our hero was putting on airs, he had too lively a remembrance of his strength and courage to venture upon another open attack. He contented himself, therefore, whenever he met Dick, with scowling at him. Dick took this very philosophically, remarking that, "if it was soothin' to Micky's feelings, he might go ahead, as it didn't hurt him much."
It will not be necessary to chronicle the events of the next few weeks. A new life had commenced for Dick. He no longer haunted the gallery of the Old Bowery; and even Tony Pastor's hospitable doors had lost their old attractions. He spent two hours every evening in study. His progress was astonishingly rapid. He was gifted with a natural quickness; and he was stimulated by the desire to acquire a fair education as a means of "growin' up 'spectable," as he termed it. Much was due also to the patience and perseverance of Henry Fosdick, who made a capital teacher.
"You're improving wonderfully, Dick," said his friend, one evening, when Dick had read an entire paragraph without a mistake.
"Am I?" said Dick, with satisfaction.
"Yes. If you'll buy a writing-book to-morrow, we can begin writing to-morrow evening."
"What else do you know, Henry?" asked Dick.
"Arithmetic, and geography, and grammar."
"What a lot you know!" said Dick, admiringly.
"I don't know any of them," said Fosdick. "I've only studied them. I wish I knew a great deal more."
"I'll be satisfied when I know as much as you," said Dick.
"It seems a great deal to you now, Dick, but in a few months you'll think differently. The more you know, the more you'll want to know."
"Then there aint any end to learnin'?" said Dick.
"Well," said Dick, "I guess I'll be as much as sixty before I know everything."
"Yes; as old as that, probably," said Fosdick, laughing.
"Anyway, you know too much to be blackin' boots. Leave that to ignorant chaps like me."
"You won't be ignorant long, Dick."
"You'd ought to get into some office or countin'-room."
"I wish I could," said Fosdick, earnestly. "I don't succeed very well at blacking boots. You make a great deal more than I do."
"That's cause I aint troubled with bashfulness," said Dick. "Bashfulness aint as natural to me as it is to you. I'm always on hand, as the cat said to the milk. You'd better give up shines, Fosdick, and give your 'tention to mercantile pursuits."
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