Ragged Dick, or, Street Life in New York by Horatio Alger Jr. Chapter 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

“You’re improving wonderfully, Dick,” said his friend, one evening, when Dick had read an entire paragraph without a mistake.

“Am I?” said Dick, with satisfaction.

“Yes. If you’ll buy a writing-book to-morrow, we can begin writing to-morrow evening.”

“What else do you know, Henry?” asked Dick

“Arithmetic, and geography, and grammar.”

“What a lot you know!” said Dick, admiringly.

“I don’t know any of them,” said Fosdick. “I’ve only studied them. I wish I knew a great deal more.”

“I’ll be satisfied when I know as much as you,” said Dick.

“It seems a great deal to you now, Dick, but in a few months you’ll think differently. The more you know, the more you’ll want to know.”

“Then there ain’t any end to learnin’?” said Dick.


“Well,” said Dick, “I guess I’ll be as much as sixty before I know everything.”

“Yes; as old as that, probably,” said Fosdick, laughing.

“Anyway, you know too much to be blackin’ boots. Leave that to ignorant chaps like me.”

“You won’t be ignorant long, Dick.”

“You’d ought to get into some office or countin’-room.”

“I wish I could,” said Fosdick, earnestly. “I don’t succeed very well at blacking boots. You make a great deal more than I do.”

“That’s cause I ain’t troubled with bashfulness,” said Dick. “Bashfulness ain’t as natural to me as it is to you. I’m always on hand, as the cat said to the milk. You’d better give up shines, Fosdick, and give your ‘tention to mercantile pursuits.”

“I’ve thought of trying to get a place,” said Fosdick; “but no one would take me with these clothes;” and he directed his glance to his well-worn suit, which he kept as neat as he could, but which, in spite of all his care, began to show decided marks of use. There was also here and there a stain of blacking upon it, which, though an advertisement of his profession, scarcely added to its good appearance.

“I almost wanted to stay at home from Sunday school last Sunday,” he continued, “because I thought everybody would notice how dirty and worn my clothes had got to be.”

“If my clothes wasn’t two sizes too big for you,” said Dick, generously, “I’d change. You’d look as if you’d got into your great-uncle’s suit by mistake.”

“You’re very kind, Dick, to think of changing,” said Fosdick, “for your suit is much better than mine; but I don’t think that mine would suit you very well. The pants would show a little more of your ankles than is the fashion, and you couldn’t eat a very hearty dinner without bursting the buttons off the vest.”

“That wouldn’t be very convenient,” said Dick. “I ain’t fond of lacin’ to show my elegant figger. But I say,” he added with a sudden thought, “how much money have we got in the savings’ bank?”

Fosdick took a key from his pocket, and went to the drawer in which the bank-books were kept, and, opening it, brought them out for inspection.

It was found that Dick had the sum of eighteen dollars and ninety cents placed to his credit, while Fosdick had six dollars and forty-five cents. To explain the large difference, it must be remembered that Dick had deposited five dollars before Henry deposited anything, being the amount he had received as a gift from Mr. Whitney.

“How much does that make, the lot of it?” asked Dick. “I ain’t much on figgers yet, you know.”

“It makes twenty-five dollars and thirty-five cents, Dick,” said his companion, who did not understand the thought which suggested the question.

“Take it, and buy some clothes, Henry,” said Dick, shortly.

“What, your money too?”

“In course.”

“No, Dick, you are too generous. I couldn’t think of it. Almost three-quarters of the money is yours. You must spend it on yourself.”

“I don’t need it,” said Dick.

“You may not need it now, but you will some time.”

“I shall have some more then.”

“That may be; but it wouldn’t be fair for me to use your money, Dick. I thank you all the same for your kindness.”

“Well, I’ll lend it to you, then,” persisted Dick, “and you can pay me when you get to be a rich merchant.”

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Categories: Horatio Alger, Jr.