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|Ragged Dick||Horatio Alger|
Dick Makes A Proposition
|Page 2 of 4||
"What's all this, Mr. Hatch?" he demanded.
"That boy," said the clerk, "came in and asked change for a bad bill. I kept the bill, and told him to clear out. Now he wants it again to pass on somebody else."
"Show the bill."
The merchant looked at it. "Yes, that's a bad bill," he said. "There is no doubt about that."
"But it is not the one the boy offered," said Dick's patron. "It is one of the same denomination, but on a different bank."
"Do you remember what bank it was on?"
"It was on the Merchants' Bank of Boston."
"Are you sure of it?"
"Perhaps the boy kept it and offered the other."
"You may search me if you want to," said Dick, indignantly.
"He doesn't look as if he was likely to have any extra bills. I suspect that your clerk pocketed the good bill, and has substituted the counterfeit note. It is a nice little scheme of his for making money."
"I haven't seen any bill on the Merchants' Bank," said the clerk, doggedly.
"You had better feel in your pockets."
"This matter must be investigated," said the merchant, firmly. "If you have the bill, produce it."
"I haven't got it," said the clerk; but he looked guilty notwithstanding.
"I demand that he be searched," said Dick's patron.
"I tell you I haven't got it."
"Shall I send for a police officer, Mr. Hatch, or will you allow yourself to be searched quietly?" said the merchant.
Alarmed at the threat implied in these words, the clerk put his hand into his vest-pocket, and drew out a two-dollar bill on the Merchants' Bank.
"Is this your note?" asked the shopkeeper, showing it to the young man.
"I must have made a mistake," faltered the clerk.
"I shall not give you a chance to make such another mistake in my employ," said the merchant sternly. "You may go up to the desk and ask for what wages are due you. I shall have no further occasion for your services."
"Now, youngster," said Dick's patron, as they went out of the store, after he had finally got the bill changed. "I must pay you something extra for your trouble. Here's fifty cents."
"Thank you, sir," said Dick. "You're very kind. Don't you want some more bills changed?"
"Not to-day," said he with a smile. "It's too expensive."
"I'm in luck," thought our hero complacently. "I guess I'll go to Barnum's to-night, and see the bearded lady, the eight-foot giant, the two-foot dwarf, and the other curiosities, too numerous to mention."
Dick shouldered his box and walked up as far as the Astor House. He took his station on the sidewalk, and began to look about him.
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