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|Ragged Dick||Horatio Alger|
Up Broadway To Madison Square
|Page 2 of 4||
"I aint used to genteel society," said Dick. "I shouldn't know how to behave."
"Then I could show you. You won't be a boot-black all your life, you know."
"No," said Dick; "I'm goin' to knock off when I get to be ninety."
"Before that, I hope," said Frank, smiling.
"I really wish I could get somethin' else to do," said Dick, soberly. "I'd like to be a office boy, and learn business, and grow up 'spectable."
"Why don't you try, and see if you can't get a place, Dick?"
"Who'd take Ragged Dick?"
"But you aint ragged now, Dick."
"No," said Dick; "I look a little better than I did in my Washington coat and Louis Napoleon pants. But if I got in a office, they wouldn't give me more'n three dollars a week, and I couldn't live 'spectable on that."
"No, I suppose not," said Frank, thoughtfully. "But you would get more at the end of the first year."
"Yes," said Dick; "but by that time I'd be nothin' but skin and bones."
Frank laughed. "That reminds me," he said, "of the story of an Irishman, who, out of economy, thought he would teach his horse to feed on shavings. So he provided the horse with a pair of green spectacles which made the shavings look eatable. But unfortunately, just as the horse got learned, he up and died."
"The hoss must have been a fine specimen of architectur' by the time he got through," remarked Dick.
"Whereabouts are we now?" asked Frank, as they emerged from Fourth Avenue into Union Square.
"That is Union Park," said Dick, pointing to a beautiful enclosure, in the centre of which was a pond, with a fountain playing.
"Is that the statue of General Washington?" asked Frank, pointing to a bronze equestrian statue, on a granite pedestal.
"Yes," said Dick; "he's growed some since he was President. If he'd been as tall as that when he fit in the Revolution, he'd have walloped the Britishers some, I reckon."
Frank looked up at the statue, which is fourteen and a half feet high, and acknowledged the justice of Dick's remark.
"How about the coat, Dick?" he asked. "Would it fit you?"
"Well, it might be rather loose," said Dick, "I aint much more'n ten feet high with my boots off."
"No, I should think not," said Frank, smiling. "You're a queer boy, Dick."
"Well, I've been brought up queer. Some boys is born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Victoria's boys is born with a gold spoon, set with di'monds; but gold and silver was scarce when I was born, and mine was pewter."
"Perhaps the gold and silver will come by and by, Dick. Did you ever hear of Dick Whittington?"
"Never did. Was he a Ragged Dick?"
"I shouldn't wonder if he was. At any rate he was very poor when he was a boy, but he didn't stay so. Before he died, he became Lord Mayor of London."
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