The line of passengers moved slowly forward, and his heart sank. Suddenly his eyes fell upon the little hand-bag which she carried. On one end, in small white letters, was: “Ruth Nelson, Kentucky, U.S.A.” He watched her until she was lost to view, then he turned eagerly back into the crowd. Elbowing his way forward, he seized Ricks by the arm.
“Hi, there!” he cried; “I’ve changed me mind. I’m goin’ with you to Kentucky!”
So this impetuous knight errant enlisted under the will-o’-the-wisp love, and started joyously forth upon his quest.
THE CURSE OF WEALTH
It is an oft-proved adage that for ten who can stand adversity there is but one who can stand prosperity. Sandy, alas! was no exception to any rule which went to prove the frailty of human nature. The sudden acquisition of ten dollars cast him into a whirlpool of temptation from which he made little effort to escape.
“I ain’t goin’ on to-day,” announced Ricks. “I’m goin’ to lay in my goods for peddlin’. I reckon you kin come along of me.”
Sandy accepted a long and strong cigar, tilted his hat, and unconsciously caught Ricks’s slouching gait as they went down the street. After all, it was rather pleasant to associate with sophistication.
“We’ll git on the outside of a little dinner,” said Ricks; “and I’ll mosey round in the stores awhile, then I’ll take you to a show or two. It’s a mighty good thing for you that you got me along.”
Sandy thought so too. He cheerfully stood treat for the rest of the day, and felt that it was small return for Ricks’s condescension.
“How much you got left?” asked Ricks, that night, as they stopped under a street light to take stock.
Sandy held out a couple of dollars and a fifty-cent piece.
“Enough to put on the eyes of two and a half dead men,” he said as he curiously eyed the strange money.
“One, two,—two and a half,” counted Ricks.
“Shillings?” asked Sandy, amazed.
“And have I blowed all that to-day?”
“What of it?” asked Ricks. “I seen a bloke onct what lit his cigar with a bill like the one you had!”
“But the doctor said it was two pounds,” insisted Sandy, incredulously. He did not realize the expense of a personally conducted tour of the Bowery.
“Well, it’s went,” said Ricks, resignedly. “You can’t count on settin’ up biz with what’s left.”
Sandy’s brows clouded, and he shifted his position restlessly. “Now I ax yerself, Ricks, what’u’d you do?” he said.
“Me? I don’t give advice to nobody. But effen it was me I’d know mighty quick what to do.”
“What?” said Sandy, eagerly.
“Buy a dawg.”
“A dog? I ain’t goin’ blind.”
“Lor’! but you’re a softhorn,” said Ricks, contemptuously. “I s’pose you’d count on leadin’ him round by a pink ribbon.”