When Dick and his friend reached Mr. Greyson's house, two carriages stoo_efore the door, from each of which descended young guests, who, lik_hemselves, had been invited to the party. One of these brought two youn_irls of twelve, the other two boys of twelve and fourteen, and their siste_f ten. Entering with this party, the two boys felt less embarrassed than i_hey had been alone. The door was opened by a servant, who said, "Youn_adies' dressing-room, second floor, left-hand room. Young gentlemen'_ressing-room opposite."
Following directions, the boys went upstairs and entered a spacious chamber, where they deposited their outer garments, and had an opportunity to arrang_heir hair and brush their clothes.
"Is your sister here this evening?" asked one of the boys, addressing Dick.
"No," said Dick, soberly; "she couldn't come."
"I'm sorry for that. She promised to dance with me the first Lancers."
"Wouldn't I do as well?" asked Dick.
"I don't think you would," said the other, laughing. "But I'll tell yo_hat,—you shall dance with my sister."
"I will, with pleasure," said Dick, "if you'll introduce me."
"Why, I thought you knew her," said the other, in surprise.
"Perhaps I did," said Dick; "but I exchanged myself off for another boy jus_efore I came, and that makes a difference, you know. I shouldn't have know_ou, if you hadn't spoken to me."
"Do you know me now?" asked the other boy, beginning to understand that he ha_ade a mistake.
"You live on Twenty-First Street,—don't you?"
"Yes," was the unexpected reply, for Dick had by a curious chance guesse_ight. "You're Henry Cameron, after all."
"No," said Dick; "my name is Richard Hunter."
"And mine is Theodore Selden; but I suppose you knew that, as you knew where _ive. If you're ready, we'll go downstairs."
"Come, Fosdick," said Dick.
"We're going to have the Lancers first," said Theodore. "Ida told my siste_o. Have you a partner engaged?"
"Then I'll introduce you to my sister. Come along."
I may explain here that Dick, and Fosdick also, had several times danced th_ancers in the parlor at the boarding-house in the evening, so that they fel_easonably confident of getting through respectably. Still his new friend'_roposal made Dick feel a little nervous. He was not bashful with boys, but h_ad very little acquaintance with girls or young ladies, and expected to fee_ll at ease with them. Still he could not think of a good reason for excusin_imself from the promised introduction, and, after going up to Ida in compan_ith his new friend, and congratulating her on her birthday (he would not hav_nown how to act if Theodore had not set him an example), he walked across th_oom to where one of the young ladies who had entered at the time he did wa_eated.
"Alice," said Theodore, "this is my friend Mr. Hunter, who would like to danc_ith you in the first Lancers."
Dick bowed, and Alice, producing a card, said, "I shall be most happy. Wil_r. Hunter write his name on my card?"
Dick did so, and was thankful that he could now write a handsome hand.
"Now," said Theodore, unceremoniously, "I'll leave you two to amuse eac_ther, while I go off in search of a partner."
"I'm in for it," thought Dick, seating himself on the sofa beside Alice. "_ish I knew what to say."
"Do you like the Lancers?" inquired the young lady.
"Yes, I like it," said Dick, "but I haven't danced it much. I'm afraid I shal_ake some mistakes."
"I've no doubt we shall get along well," said Alice. "Where did you learn?"
"I learned at home," said Dick.
"I thought I had not met you at Dodworth's. I attended dancing school ther_ast winter."
"No," said Dick; "I never took lessons."
"Don't you like Ida Greyson?" inquired Alice.
"Yes, I like her very much," said Dick, sincerely.
"She's a sweet girl. She's a very intimate friend of mine. Who is that bo_hat came into the room with you?"
"His name is Henry Fosdick."
"He's going to dance with Ida. Come, let us hurry and get in the same set."
Dick offered his arm, and, as the sets were already being formed, led hi_artner to the upper end of the room, where they were just in time to get int_he same set with Ida.
Theodore, with a girl about his own age, had already taken his positio_pposite Dick. Fosdick and Ida were the first couple, and opposite them Isaa_nd Isabella Selden, cousins of Theodore and Alice.
They had scarcely taken their places when the music struck up. Dick felt _ittle flustered, but determined to do his best. Being very quick in learnin_igures, and naturally gracefully in his movements, he got through ver_reditably, and without a mistake.
"I thought you expected to make mistakes," said Alice Selden, as Dick led he_ack to her seat. "I think you dance very well."
"It was because I had such a good partner," said Dick.
"Thank you for the compliment," said Alice, courtesying profoundly.
"Seems to me you're very polite, Alice," said Theodore, coming up.
"Mr. Hunter was paying me a compliment," said Alice.
"I wish you'd tell me how," said Theodore to Dick.
"I wish he would," interrupted Alice. "All your compliments are of the wron_ind."
"It isn't expected that brothers should compliment their sisters," sai_heodore.
Mrs. Greyson came into the room during the dancing, and was pleased to se_hat Dick and Henry Fosdick, instead of sitting awkwardly in the corner, wer_aking their part in the evening's amusement. Dick made an engagement wit_lice for another dance later in the evening, but danced the second with Id_reyson, with whom, by this time, he felt very well acquainted.
"I didn't know you knew Alice Selden," said Ida. "Where did you meet her?"
"Her brother Theodore introduced me this evening. I did not know her before."
"You haven't been here lately, Dick," said Ida, familiarly.
"No," said he. "It's because I've been very busy."
"You don't work in the evening,—do you?"
"I study in the evening."
"What do you study, Dick?"
"French, for one thing."
"Can you speak French?"
"A little. Not much."
"I'm going to try you ' _Comment vous portez-vous, monsieur?_ '"
"' _Très bien, mademoiselle. Et vous?_ '"
"That's right," said Ida, gravely. "I can't talk much yet myself. Who teache_ou?"
"I have a private teacher."
"So have I. She comes twice a week. When I don't know my lesson, she boxes m_ars. Is your teacher cross?"
"No," said Dick, laughing. "He doesn't box my ears."
"That's because you're so large. I wish I could have you for my teacher. I'_sk papa, if you could only speak it like a native."
"So I can," said Dick.
"You can, really?"
"Yes, like a native of New York."
Ida laughed, and was afraid that wouldn't do.
When the dance was over, and Dick was leading Ida to her seat, a surpris_waited him. A boy came forward hastily, and said in a tone blending amazemen_ith gratification, "Is it possible that this is Dick Hunter?"
"Frank Whitney!" exclaimed Dick, clasping his hand cordially. "How came yo_ere?"
"Just the question I was going to ask you, Dick. But I'll answer first. I a_pending a few days with some cousins in Thirty-Seventh Street. They ar_riends of the Greysons, and were invited here this evening, and I with them.
I little dreamed of meeting you here. I must say, Dick, you seem quite a_ome."
"Mr. Greyson has been a kind friend of mine," said Dick, "and I've met Id_uite often. But I felt a little nervous about coming to this party. I wa_fraid I'd be like a cat in a strange garret."
"You're a wonderful boy, Dick. You look as if you had been used to such scene_ll your life. I can hardly believe you're the same boy I met in front of th_stor House a little more than a year ago."
"If I'm changed, it's because of what you said to me then, you and you_ather. But for those words I might still have been Ragged Dick."
"I'm glad to hear you say that, Dick; but, for all that, a great deal o_redit is due to yourself."
"I've worked hard," said Dick, "because I felt that I had something to wor_or. When are you going to enter college?"
"I expect to apply for admission in about two months."
"At Columbia College?"
"I am glad of that. I shall hope to see you sometimes."
"You will see me often, Dick."
Here the music struck up, and the boys parted. It is unnecessary to spea_arther of the events of the evening. Dick made several other acquaintances, and felt much more at ease than he had anticipated. He returned home, feelin_hat his first party had been a very agreeable one, and that he had on th_hole appeared to advantage.