Ford was all alive with the responsibilities of his position, as the only boy in the party who had been born in the city, and had travelled all over it, and a little out of it.
“Joe and Fuz,” he said, “will want to take the night boat for Albany. They’ve more time on their hands than we have. Joe?—Fuz?—why can’t you come along with us after you’ve checked your trunks? We’ll be getting dinner before long.”
The Hart boys promptly assented, after a look at each other, and a sort of chuckle.
“Might as well keep together,” said Joe. “We’d like to take a look at things.”
“Come along. I’ll show you.”
Frank Harley had seen quite a number of great cities, and he could hardly help saying something about them while they were going over on the ferryboat. They were all as far forward as they could get.
“Did you ever see any thing just like this?” asked Dab.
“Well, no, not just like it”—
“In India, or in China, or in London, or in Africa?” said Ford.
“It’s a little different from any thing I ever saw.”
“Well, isn’t it bigger?”
That was a question Frank might have undertaken to answer if there had been proper time given him; but just then the boat was running into her “slip,” away down town, and Ford exclaimed,—
“Hurrah, boys! Now for Fulton Market and some oysters.”
“Oysters?” said Dab.
“Yes, sir! There’s more oysters in that old shanty than there are in your bay.”
“I don’t know about that,” said Dab, staring at the queer, huge, rickety old mass of unsightly wood and glass that Ford was pointing at, after they got ashore. “I’m hungry, anyhow.”
“Hungry? So am I. But no man ought to say he’s been in New York till he’s tried some Fulton-Market oysters.”
“Let’s take ’em raw,” said Fuz. “Then we can go ahead.”
Dick Lee had been in the city before, but never in such company, nor in such very good clothes; and there was an expression on his face a good deal like awe, when he actually found himself standing at an “oyster-counter,” in line with five well-dressed young white boys.
The man behind the counter served him, too, in regular turn; and Dick felt it a point of honor to empty the half-shell before him as quickly as any of the rest. There was no delay about that, anywhere along that line of boys.
“Dick,” said Ford, “where’s your lemon? There it is!”
Ford had already explained to the rest that it was “against the constitution and by-laws of Fulton Market to eat a raw oyster without the lemon-juice,” and Dick would have blushed if he could.
“Dat’s so. I forgot um!” and then he added, with great care, “Yes, Mr. Foster, the lemon improves the oyster.”
“I declare!” muttered Ford. “He’s keeping it up!”
The oysters were eaten, and then it was “Come on, boys;” and away they went up Fulton Street to Broadway. They walked two and two, as well as the streams of people would let them, but the Hart boys kept a little in the rear.