“He’s welcome to all he gets out of me,” said Dick.
UP BROADWAY TO MADISON SQUARE
As the boys pursued their way up Broadway, Dick pointed out the prominent hotels and places of amusement. Frank was particularly struck with the imposing fronts of the St. Nicholas and Metropolitan Hotels, the former of white marble, the latter of a subdued brown hue, but not less elegant in its internal appointments. He was not surprised to be informed that each of these splendid structures cost with the furnishing not far from a million dollars.
At Eighth Street Dick turned to the right, and pointed out the Clinton Hall Building now occupied by the Mercantile Library, comprising at that time over fifty thousand volumes.*
* Now not far from one hundred thousand.
A little farther on they came to a large building standing by itself just at the opening of Third and Fourth Avenues, and with one side on each.
“What is that building?” asked Frank.
“That’s the Cooper Institute,” said Dick; “built by Mr. Cooper, a particular friend of mine. Me and Peter Cooper used to go to school together.”
“What is there inside?” asked Frank.
“There’s a hall for public meetin’s and lectures in the basement, and a readin’ room and a picture gallery up above,” said Dick.
Directly opposite Cooper Institute, Frank saw a very large building of brick, covering about an acre of ground.
“Is that a hotel?” he asked.
“No,” said Dick; “that’s the Bible House. It’s the place where they make Bibles. I was in there once,—saw a big pile of ’em.”
“Did you ever read the Bible?” asked Frank, who had some idea of the neglected state of Dick’s education.
“No,” said Dick; “I’ve heard it’s a good book, but I never read one. I aint much on readin’. It makes my head ache.”
“I suppose you can’t read very fast.”
“I can read the little words pretty well, but the big ones is what stick me.”
“If I lived in the city, you might come every evening to me, and I would teach you.”
“Would you take so much trouble about me?” asked Dick, earnestly.
“Certainly; I should like to see you getting on. There isn’t much chance of that if you don’t know how to read and write.”
“You’re a good feller,” said Dick, gratefully. “I wish you did live in New York. I’d like to know somethin’. Whereabouts do you live?”
“About fifty miles off, in a town on the left bank of the Hudson. I wish you’d come up and see me sometime. I would like to have you come and stop two or three days.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Do you mean it?” asked Dick, incredulously.
“Of course I do. Why shouldn’t I?”
“What would your folks say if they knowed you asked a boot-black to visit you?”