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Chapter 12 Dick falls into a trap

  • One evening, when Dick and Fosdick returned from their respective stores, _urprise awaited them.
  • "The postman left some letters for you," said the servant, as she opened th_oor to admit them.
  • "Maybe they're from the tax-collectors," said Dick. "That's the misfortun' o_eing men of property. What was your tax last year, Fosdick?"
  • "I don't remember such trifles," said Fosdick.
  • "I don't think they was taxes," said the girl, seriously; "they looked as i_hey was from a young lady."
  • "Very likely they are from Fosdick's wife," said Dick. "She's rusticatin' i_he country for the benefit of her health."
  • "Maybe they're from yours, Mr. Hunter," said the girl, laughing.
  • "No," said Dick, gravely, "I'm a disconsolate widower, which accounts for m_ow spirits most of the time, and my poor appetite. Where are the letters?"
  • "I left them on the bureau in your room," said the servant. "They come thi_fternoon at three o'clock."
  • Both Fosdick and Dick felt not a little curious as to who could have writte_hem letters, and hastened upstairs. Entering their chamber, they saw two ver_eat little notes, in perfumed French envelopes, and with the initial G i_olors on the back. On opening them they read the following in a neat, feminine, fine handwriting. As both were alike, it will be sufficient to giv_ick's.
  • "Miss Ida Greyson presents her compliments to Mr. Richard Hunter, and solicit_he pleasure of his company on Thursday evening next, at a little birthda_arty.
  • " _No._  —  _West Twenty-Fourth Street_."
  • "We're getting fashionable," said Dick. "I didn't use to attend many partie_hen we lived in Mott Street and blacked boots for a livin'. I'm afraid _han't know how to behave."
  • "I shall feel a little bashful," said Fosdick; "but I suppose we've got t_egin some time."
  • "Of course," said Dick. "The important position we hold in society makes i_ecessary. How'll I be able to hold levees when I'm mayor, if I don't go int_ociety now?"
  • "Very true," said Fosdick; "I don't expect to occupy any such position; but w_ught to go in acknowledgment of Mr. Greyson's kindness."
  • Mr. Greyson was the teacher of the Sunday-school class of which both Dick an_osdick were members. His recommendation had procured Fosdick his presen_lace, and he had manifested his kindness in various ways. Those who have read
  • "Ragged Dick" will remember that he had a very sprightly and engaging daughte_f ten years of age, who seemed to have taken an especial fancy to Dick. Bein_ealthy, his kindness had been of great service to both boys, inspiring the_ith self-respect, and encouraging them to persevere in their efforts to rais_hemselves to a higher position.
  • The dinner-bell rang just as the boys had finished their discussion, and the_ent down and took places at the table.
  • Soon Miss Peyton came sailing in, shaking her ringlets coquettishly. She wa_roud of these ringlets, and was never tired of trying their fascinations upo_entlemen. But somehow they had not succeeded in winning a husband.
  • "Good-evening, Mr. Hunter," said she. "You look as if you had had good news."
  • "Do I?" said Dick. "Perhaps you can tell what it is."
  • "I know how it came," said Miss Peyton, significantly.
  • "Then I hope you won't keep me in suspense any longer than you can help."
  • "Perhaps you'd rather I wouldn't mention before company."
  • "Never mind," said Dick. "Don't have any regard to my feelin's. They're tough, and can stand a good deal."
  • "How do you like the letter G?" asked Miss Peyton, slyly.
  • "Very much," said Dick, "as long as it behaves itself. What is your favorit_etter?"
  • "Don't think I'm going to tell you, Mr. Hunter. That was a pretty little note, and in a young lady's hand too."
  • "Yes," said Dick. "Perhaps you'd like to see it."
  • "You wouldn't show it to me on any account, I know."
  • "You may see it if you like," said Dick.
  • "May I, really? I should like to very much; but would the young lady like it?"
  • "I don't think she'd mind. She's written one to my friend Fosdick just lik_t."
  • Dick passed the invitation across the table.
  • "It's very pretty indeed," said Miss Peyton. "And is Miss Ida Greyson ver_andsome?"
  • "I'm no judge of beauty," said Dick.
  • "So she lives in West Twenty-Fourth Street. Is her father rich?"
  • "I don't know how rich," said Dick; "but my impression is that his taxes las_ear were more than mine."
  • "I know now what your favorite letters are," said Miss Peyton. "They are I.
  • G."
  • "I. G. are very well as long as you don't put P. before them," said Dick.
  • "Thank you for another cup of tea, Mrs. Browning."
  • "I should think you'd need some tea after such a brilliant effort, Hunter,"
  • said Mr. Clifton, from across the table.
  • "Yes," said Dick. "I find my brain gets exhausted every now and then by m_ntellectual efforts. Aint you troubled that way?"
  • "Can't say I am. Don't you want to go out and try a game of billiards thi_vening?"
  • "No, thank you. I've got to study."
  • "I expect to see you a college professor some of these days."
  • "I haven't made up my mind yet," said Dick. "I'm open to an offer, as th_yster remarked when he was placed on the table. If I can serve my fellow-me_est by bein' a college professor, and gettin' a big salary, I'm willin' t_acrifice my private feelin's for the public good."
  • "Do you agree with your friend, Mr. Fosdick?" said Miss Peyton. "Won't yo_avor us with your views?"
  • "I have none worth mentioning," said Fosdick. "I leave my friend to do th_alking, while I attend to the eating."
  • "Mr. Hunter's remarks are very entertaining," said Miss Peyton.
  • "Thank you," said Dick; "but my friend prefers a different kind o_ntertainment."
  • The boys rose from the table, and went up to their room to look over th_vening's lessons. They were quite pleased with their new teacher, whom the_ound not only competent for his task, but interested in promoting thei_rogress. He was able to help them readily out of their difficulties, an_ncouraged them to persevere. So they came to look forward to their evenin_essons not as tasks, but as pleasant exercises.
  • "It's strange," said Dick, one evening after the teacher had left them; "_sed to enjoy goin' to the Old Bowery so much. I went two or three times _eek sometimes. Now I would a good deal rather stay at home and study."
  • "Then you didn't have a home, and the lighted theatre must have been muc_leasanter than the cold and cheerless streets."
  • "Yes, that was it. I used to get so tired sometimes of having no home to g_o, and nobody to speak to that I cared about."
  • "You'd hardly like to go back to the old life, Dick?"
  • "No, it would come pretty hard to me now. I didn't seem to mind it so muc_hen."
  • "Because you had never known anything better."
  • "No. It was a lucky day when I met you, Fosdick. I'd never have had th_atience to learn. Readin', or tryin' to read, always gave me the headache."
  • "You always leave off the last letter in such words as 'reading,' Dick. Yo_hould be more careful, now that you associate with educated persons."
  • "I know it, Fosdick, but I'm so used to droppin'—I mean dropping—the g that i_omes natural. I will try to remember it. But about this party,—shall we hav_o get new clothes?"
  • "No, we have each a nice suit, and we shan't be expected to dress in th_eight of the fashion."
  • "I wish it was over. I dread it."
  • "So do I a little; but I think we shall enjoy it. Ida is a nice girl."
  • "That's so. If I had a sister I'd like her to be like Ida."
  • "Perhaps she'd like a brother like you. I notice she seems to fancy you_ompany."
  • "I hope you're not jealous, Fosdick. You can be a brother to Miss Peyton, yo_now."
  • Fosdick laughed. "There's no chance for me there either," he said. "Sh_vidently prefers you."
  • "I'll adopt her for my aunt if it'll be gratifying to her feelings," sai_ick; "but I aint partial to ringlets as a general thing."
  • It is well perhaps that Miss Peyton did not hear these remarks, as sh_herished the idea that both Fosdick and Dick were particularly pleased wit_er.
  • A day or two afterwards Dick was walking leisurely through Chatham Street, about half past one o'clock. He was allowed an hour, about noon, to go out an_et some lunch, and he was now on his way from the restaurant which he usuall_requented. As it was yet early, he paused before a window to look a_omething which attracted his attention. While standing here he becam_onscious of a commotion in his immediate neighborhood. Then he felt a han_hrust into the side-pocket of his coat, and instantly withdrawn. Looking up, he saw Micky Maguire dodging round the corner. He put his hand into his pocke_echanically, and drew out a pocket-book.
  • Just then a stout, red-faced man came up puffing, and evidently in no littl_xcitement.
  • "Seize that boy!" he gasped, pointing to Dick. "He's got my pocket-book."
  • Contrary to the usual rule in such cases, a policeman did happen to be about, and, following directions, stepped up, and laid his hand on Dick's shoulder.
  • "You must go with me, my fine fellow," he said "Hand over that pocket-book, i_ou please."
  • "What's all this about?" said Dick. "Here's the pocket-book, if it is yours.
  • I'm sure I don't want it."
  • "You're a cool hand," said the guardian of the public peace. "If you don'_ant it, what made you steal it from this gentleman's pocket?"
  • "I didn't take it," said Dick, shortly.
  • "Is this the boy that stole your pocket-book?" demanded the policeman of th_ed-faced man, who had now recovered his breath.
  • "It's the very young rascal. Does he pretend to deny it?"
  • "Of course he does. They always do."
  • "When it was found on him too! I never knew such barefaced impudence."
  • "Stop a minute," said Dick, "while I explain. I was standing looking in a_hat window, when I felt something thrust into my pocket. I took it out an_ound it to be that pocket-book. Just then that gentleman came up, and charge_e with the theft."
  • "That's a likely story," said the officer. "If any one put the pocket-boo_nto your pocket, it shows you were a confederate of his. You'll have to com_ith me."
  • And poor Dick, for the first time in his life, was marched to the station- house, followed by his accuser, and a gang of boys. Among these last, bu_anaging to keep at a respectful distance, was Micky Maguire.