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|Ragged Dick||Horatio Alger|
|Page 3 of 4||
"You'll get it back, and a good deal more," said the stranger, persuasively.
"I don't know but I shall. What would you do, Frank?"
"I don't know but I would," said Frank, "if you've got the money." He was not a little surprised to think that Dick had so much by him.
"I don't know but I will," said Dick, after some irresolution. "I guess I won't lose much."
"You can't lose anything," said the stranger briskly. "Only be quick, for I must be on my way to the cars. I am afraid I shall miss them now."
Dick pulled out a bill from his pocket, and handed it to the stranger, receiving the pocket-book in return. At that moment a policeman turned the corner, and the stranger, hurriedly thrusting the bill into his pocket, without looking at it, made off with rapid steps.
"What is there in the pocket-book, Dick?" asked Frank in some excitement. "I hope there's enough to pay you for the money you gave him."
"I'll risk that," said he.
"But you gave him twenty dollars. That's a good deal of money."
"If I had given him as much as that, I should deserve to be cheated out of it."
"But you did,--didn't you?"
"He thought so."
"What was it, then?"
"It was nothing but a dry-goods circular got up to imitate a bank-bill."
Frank looked sober.
"You ought not to have cheated him, Dick," he said, reproachfully.
"Didn't he want to cheat me?"
"I don't know."
"What do you s'pose there is in that pocket-book?" asked Dick, holding it up.
Frank surveyed its ample proportions, and answered sincerely enough, "Money, and a good deal of it."
"There aint stamps enough in it to buy a oyster-stew," said Dick. "If you don't believe it, just look while I open it."
So saying he opened the pocket-book, and showed Frank that it was stuffed out with pieces of blank paper, carefully folded up in the shape of bills. Frank, who was unused to city life, and had never heard anything of the "drop-game" looked amazed at this unexpected development.
"I knowed how it was all the time," said Dick. "I guess I got the best of him there. This wallet's worth somethin'. I shall use it to keep my stiffkit's of Erie stock in, and all my other papers what aint of no use to anybody but the owner."
"That's the kind of papers it's got in it now," said Frank, smiling.
"That's so!" said Dick.
"By hokey!" he exclaimed suddenly, "if there aint the old chap comin' back ag'in. He looks as if he'd heard bad news from his sick family."
By this time the pocket-book dropper had come up.
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