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|Ragged Dick||Horatio Alger|
Dick Makes A Proposition
|Page 3 of 4||
Just behind him were two persons,--one, a gentleman of fifty; the other, a boy of thirteen or fourteen. They were speaking together, and Dick had no difficulty in hearing what was said.
"I am sorry, Frank, that I can't go about, and show you some of the sights of New York, but I shall be full of business to-day. It is your first visit to the city, too."
"There's a good deal worth seeing here. But I'm afraid you'll have to wait to next time. You can go out and walk by yourself, but don't venture too far, or you will get lost."
Frank looked disappointed.
"I wish Tom Miles knew I was here," he said. "He would go around with me."
"Where does he live?"
"Somewhere up town, I believe."
"Then, unfortunately, he is not available. If you would rather go with me than stay here, you can, but as I shall be most of the time in merchants'-counting-rooms, I am afraid it would not be very interesting."
"I think," said Frank, after a little hesitation, "that I will go off by myself. I won't go very far, and if I lose my way, I will inquire for the Astor House."
"Yes, anybody will direct you here. Very well, Frank, I am sorry I can't do better for you."
"Oh, never mind, uncle, I shall be amused in walking around, and looking at the shop-windows. There will be a great deal to see."
Now Dick had listened to all this conversation. Being an enterprising young man, he thought he saw a chance for a speculation, and determined to avail himself of it.
Accordingly he stepped up to the two just as Frank's uncle was about leaving, and said, "I know all about the city, sir; I'll show him around, if you want me to."
The gentleman looked a little curiously at the ragged figure before him.
"So you are a city boy, are you?"
"Yes, sir," said Dick, "I've lived here ever since I was a baby."
"And you know all about the public buildings, I suppose?"
"And the Central Park?"
"Yes, sir. I know my way all round."
The gentleman looked thoughtful.
"I don't know what to say, Frank," he remarked after a while. "It is rather a novel proposal. He isn't exactly the sort of guide I would have picked out for you. Still he looks honest. He has an open face, and I think can be depended upon."
"I wish he wasn't so ragged and dirty," said Frank, who felt a little shy about being seen with such a companion.
"I'm afraid you haven't washed your face this morning," said Mr. Whitney, for that was the gentleman's name.
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