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|Ragged Dick||Horatio Alger|
Dick Writes His First Letter
|Page 3 of 3||
"What are you doin' down here, Dick?" asked Johnny.
"I've been mailin' a letter."
"Who sent you?"
"I mean, who writ the letter?"
"I wrote it myself."
"Can you write letters?" asked Johnny, in amazement.
"Why shouldn't I?"
"I didn't know you could write. I can't."
"Then you ought to learn."
"I went to school once; but it was too hard work, so I give it up."
"You're lazy, Johnny,--that's what's the matter. How'd you ever expect to know anything, if you don't try?"
"I can't learn."
"You can, if you want to."
Johnny Nolan was evidently of a different opinion. He was a good-natured boy, large of his age, with nothing particularly bad about him, but utterly lacking in that energy, ambition, and natural sharpness, for which Dick was distinguished. He was not adapted to succeed in the life which circumstances had forced upon him; for in the street-life of the metropolis a boy needs to be on the alert, and have all his wits about him, or he will find himself wholly distanced by his more enterprising competitors for popular favor. To succeed in his profession, humble as it is, a boot-black must depend upon the same qualities which gain success in higher walks in life. It was easy to see that Johnny, unless very much favored by circumstances, would never rise much above his present level. For Dick, we cannot help hoping much better things.
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