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|Ragged Dick||Horatio Alger|
Dick's New Suit
|Page 3 of 4||
"Hallo, Johnny, how many shines have you had?"
Johnny turned round expecting to see Dick, whose voice he recognized, but his astonished eyes rested on a nicely dressed boy (the hat alone excepted) who looked indeed like Dick, but so transformed in dress that it was difficult to be sure of his identity.
"What luck, Johnny?" repeated Dick.
Johnny surveyed him from head to foot in great bewilderment.
"Who be you?" he said.
"Well, that's a good one," laughed Dick; "so you don't know Dick?"
"Where'd you get all them clothes?" asked Johnny. "Have you been stealin'?"
"Say that again, and I'll lick you. No, I've lent my clothes to a young feller as was goin' to a party, and didn't have none fit to wear, and so I put on my second-best for a change."
Without deigning any further explanation, Dick went off, followed by the astonished gaze of Johnny Nolan, who could not quite make up his mind whether the neat-looking boy he had been talking with was really Ragged Dick or not.
In order to reach Chatham Street it was necessary to cross Broadway. This was easier proposed than done. There is always such a throng of omnibuses, drays, carriages, and vehicles of all kinds in the neighborhood of the Astor House, that the crossing is formidable to one who is not used to it. Dick made nothing of it, dodging in and out among the horses and wagons with perfect self-possession. Reaching the opposite sidewalk, he looked back, and found that Frank had retreated in dismay, and that the width of the street was between them.
"Come across!" called out Dick.
"I don't see any chance," said Frank, looking anxiously at the prospect before him. "I'm afraid of being run over."
"If you are, you can sue 'em for damages," said Dick.
Finally Frank got safely over after several narrow escapes, as he considered them.
"Is it always so crowded?" he asked.
"A good deal worse sometimes," said Dick. "I knowed a young man once who waited six hours for a chance to cross, and at last got run over by an omnibus, leaving a widder and a large family of orphan children. His widder, a beautiful young woman, was obliged to start a peanut and apple stand. There she is now."
Dick pointed to a hideous old woman, of large proportions, wearing a bonnet of immense size, who presided over an apple-stand close by.
"If that is the case," he said, "I think I will patronize her."
"Leave it to me," said Dick, winking.
He advanced gravely to the apple-stand, and said, "Old lady, have you paid your taxes?"
The astonished woman opened her eyes.
"I'm a gov'ment officer," said Dick, "sent by the mayor to collect your taxes. I'll take it in apples just to oblige. That big red one will about pay what you're owin' to the gov'ment."
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