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Chapter 21 Ida Greyson's party

  • 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?"
  • "No."
  • "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?"
  • "Yes."
  • "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.