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|Ragged Dick||Horatio Alger|
Nine Months Later
|Page 3 of 4||
"Thank you, Dick, but you're too generous. You've more than paid me. Who was it took my part when all the other boys imposed upon me? And who gave me money to buy clothes, and so got me my situation?"
"Oh, that's nothing!" said Dick.
"It's a great deal, Dick. I shall never forget it. But now it seems to me you might try to get a situation yourself."
"Do I know enough?"
"You know as much as I do."
"Then I'll try," said Dick, decidedly.
"I wish there was a place in our store," said Fosdick. "It would be pleasant for us to be together."
"Never mind," said Dick; "there'll be plenty of other chances. P'r'aps A. T. Stewart might like a partner. I wouldn't ask more'n a quarter of the profits."
"Which would be a very liberal proposal on your part," said Fosdick, smiling. "But perhaps Mr. Stewart might object to a partner living on Mott Street."
"I'd just as lieves move to Fifth Avenoo," said Dick. "I aint got no prejudices in favor of Mott Street."
"Nor I," said Fosdick, "and in fact I have been thinking it might be a good plan for us to move as soon as we could afford. Mrs. Mooney doesn't keep the room quite so neat as she might."
"No," said Dick. "She aint got no prejudices against dirt. Look at that towel."
Dick held up the article indicated, which had now seen service nearly a week, and hard service at that,--Dick's avocation causing him to be rather hard on towels.
"Yes," said Fosdick, "I've got about tired of it. I guess we can find some better place without having to pay much more. When we move, you must let me pay my share of the rent."
"We'll see about that," said Dick. "Do you propose to move to Fifth Avenoo?"
"Not just at present, but to some more agreeable neighborhood than this. We'll wait till you get a situation, and then we can decide."
A few days later, as Dick was looking about for customers in the neighborhood of the Park, his attention was drawn to a fellow boot-black, a boy about a year younger than himself, who appeared to have been crying.
"What's the matter, Tom?" asked Dick. "Haven't you had luck to-day?"
"Pretty good," said the boy; "but we're havin' hard times at home. Mother fell last week and broke her arm, and to-morrow we've got to pay the rent, and if we don't the landlord says he'll turn us out."
"Haven't you got anything except what you earn?" asked Dick.
"No," said Tom, "not now. Mother used to earn three or four dollars a week; but she can't do nothin' now, and my little sister and brother are too young."
Dick had quick sympathies. He had been so poor himself, and obliged to submit to so many privations that he knew from personal experience how hard it was. Tom Wilkins he knew as an excellent boy who never squandered his money, but faithfully carried it home to his mother. In the days of his own extravagance and shiftlessness he had once or twice asked Tom to accompany him to the Old Bowery or Tony Pastor's, but Tom had always steadily refused.
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