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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 141 pages of information about Ragged Dick, Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot-Blacks.

“He knowed enough to be a teacher, and I’m awful ignorant,” said Dick.

“But you needn’t stay so.”

“How can I help it?”

“Can’t you learn at school?”

“I can’t go to school ‘cause I’ve got my livin’ to earn.  It wouldn’t do me much good if I learned to read and write, and just as I’d got learned I starved to death.”

“But are there no night-schools?”

“Yes.”

“Why don’t you go?  I suppose you don’t work in the evenings.”

“I never cared much about it,” said Dick, “and that’s the truth.  But since I’ve got to talkin’ with you, I think more about it.  I guess I’ll begin to go.”

“I wish you would, Dick.  You’ll make a smart man if you only get a little education.”

“Do you think so?” asked Dick, doubtfully.

“I know so.  A boy who has earned his own living since he was seven years old must have something in him.  I feel very much interested in you, Dick.  You’ve had a hard time of it so far in life, but I think better times are in store.  I want you to do well, and I feel sure you can if you only try.”

“You’re a good fellow,” said Dick, gratefully.  “I’m afraid I’m a pretty rough customer, but I aint as bad as some.  I mean to turn over a new leaf, and try to grow up ’spectable.”

“There’ve been a great many boys begin as low down as you, Dick, that have grown up respectable and honored.  But they had to work pretty hard for it.”

“I’m willin’ to work hard,” said Dick.

“And you must not only work hard, but work in the right way.”

“What’s the right way?”

“You began in the right way when you determined never to steal, or do anything mean or dishonorable, however strongly tempted to do so.  That will make people have confidence in you when they come to know you.  But, in order to succeed well, you must manage to get as good an education as you can.  Until you do, you cannot get a position in an office or counting-room, even to run errands.”

“That’s so,” said Dick, soberly.  “I never thought how awful ignorant I was till now.”

“That can be remedied with perseverance,” said Frank.  “A year will do a great deal for you.”

“I’ll go to work and see what I can do,” said Dick, energetically.

CHAPTER IX

A SCENE IN A THIRD AVENUE CAR

The boys had turned into Third Avenue, a long street, which, commencing just below the Cooper Institute, runs out to Harlem.  A man came out of a side street, uttering at intervals a monotonous cry which sounded like “glass puddin’.”

“Glass pudding!” repeated Frank, looking in surprised wonder at Dick.  “What does he mean?”

“Perhaps you’d like some,” said Dick.

“I never heard of it before.”

“Suppose you ask him what he charges for his puddin’.”

Frank looked more narrowly at the man, and soon concluded that he was a glazier.

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