“He’s a trump,” said Dick, enthusiastically.
The gentleman, so denominated, came out before the boys went away, and spoke with them kindly.
Both Dick and Henry were highly pleased at the success of the application. The pay would indeed be small, but, expended economically, Fosdick thought he could get along on it, receiving his room rent, as before, in return for his services as Dick’s private tutor. Dick determined, as soon as his education would permit, to follow his companion’s example.
“I don’t know as you’ll be willin’ to room with a boot-black,” he said, to Henry, “now you’re goin’ into business.”
“I couldn’t room with a better friend, Dick,” said Fosdick, affectionately, throwing his arm round our hero. “When we part, it’ll be because you wish it.”
So Fosdick entered upon a new career.
NINE MONTHS LATER
The next morning Fosdick rose early, put on his new suit, and, after getting breakfast, set out for the Broadway store in which he had obtained a position. He left his little blacking-box in the room.
“It’ll do to brush my own shoes,” he said. “Who knows but I may have to come back to it again?”
“No danger,” said Dick; “I’ll take care of the feet, and you’ll have to look after the heads, now you’re in a hat-store.”
“I wish you had a place too,” said Fosdick.
“I don’t know enough yet,” said Dick. “Wait till I’ve gradooated.”
“And can put A. B. after your name.”
“It stands for Bachelor of Arts. It’s a degree that students get when they graduate from college.”
“Oh,” said Dick, “I didn’t know but it meant A Boot-black. I can put that after my name now. Wouldn’t Dick Hunter, A.B., sound tip-top?”
“I must be going,” said Fosdick. “It won’t do for me to be late the very first morning.”
“That’s the difference between you and me,” said Dick. “I’m my own boss, and there ain’t no one to find fault with me if I’m late. But I might as well be goin’ too. There’s a gent as comes down to his store pretty early that generally wants a shine.”
The two boys parted at the Park. Fosdick crossed it, and proceeded to the hat-store, while Dick, hitching up his pants, began to look about him for a customer. It was seldom that Dick had to wait long. He was always on the alert, and if there was any business to do he was always sure to get his share of it. He had now a stronger inducement than ever to attend strictly to business; his little stock of money in the savings bank having been nearly exhausted by his liberality to his room-mate. He determined to be as economical as possible, and moreover to study as hard as he could, that he might be able to follow Fosdick’s example, and obtain a place in a store or counting-room. As there were no striking incidents occurring in our hero’s history within the next nine months, I propose to pass over that period, and recount the progress he made in that time.
Fosdick was still at the hat-store, having succeeded in giving perfect satisfaction to Mr. Henderson. His wages had just been raised to five dollars a week. He and Dick still kept house together at Mrs. Mooney’s lodging-house, and lived very frugally, so that both were able to save up money. Dick had been unusually successful in business. He had several regular patrons, who had been drawn to him by his ready wit, and quick humor, and from two of them he had received presents of clothing, which had saved him any expense on that score. His income had averaged quite seven dollars a week in addition to this. Of this amount he was now obliged to pay one dollar weekly for the room which he and Fosdick occupied, but he was still able to save one half the remainder. At the end of nine months therefore, or thirty-nine weeks, it will be seen that he had accumulated no less a sum than one hundred and seventeen dollars. Dick may be excused for feeling like a capitalist when he looked at the long row of deposits in his little bank-book. There were other boys in the same business who had earned as much money, but they had had little care for the future, and spent as they went along, so that few could boast a bank-account, however small.