“That’s longer than I can remember,” said Dick. “I can’t remember distinctly more’n about a thousand years.”
“What a chap you are, Dick! Do you know if we can go in?”
The boys ascertained, after a little inquiry, that they would be allowed to do so. They accordingly entered the Custom House and made their way up to the roof, from which they had a fine view of the harbor, the wharves crowded with shipping, and the neighboring shores of Long Island and New Jersey. Towards the north they looked down for many miles upon continuous lines of streets, and thousands of roofs, with here and there a church-spire rising above its neighbors. Dick had never before been up there, and he, as well as Frank, was interested in the grand view spread before them.
At length they descended, and were going down the granite steps on the outside of the building, when they were addressed by a young man, whose appearance is worth describing.
He was tall, and rather loosely put together, with small eyes and rather a prominent nose. His clothing had evidently not been furnished by a city tailor. He wore a blue coat with brass buttons, and pantaloons of rather scanty dimensions, which were several inches too short to cover his lower limbs. He held in his hand a piece of paper, and his countenance wore a look of mingled bewilderment and anxiety.
“Be they a-payin’ out money inside there?” he asked, indicating the interior by a motion of his hand.
“I guess so,” said Dick. “Are you a-goin’ in for some?”
“Wal, yes. I’ve got an order here for sixty dollars,—made a kind of speculation this morning.”
“How was it?” asked Frank.
“Wal, you see I brought down some money to put in the bank, fifty dollars it was, and I hadn’t justly made up my mind what bank to put it into, when a chap came up in a terrible hurry, and said it was very unfortunate, but the bank wasn’t open, and he must have some money right off. He was obliged to go out of the city by the next train. I asked him how much he wanted. He said fifty dollars. I told him I’d got that, and he offered me a check on the bank for sixty, and I let him have it. I thought that was a pretty easy way to earn ten dollars, so I counted out the money and he went off. He told me I’d hear a bell ring when they began to pay out money. But I’ve waited most two hours, and I haint heard it yet. I’d ought to be goin’, for I told dad I’d be home to-night. Do you think I can get the money now?”
“Will you show me the check?” asked Frank, who had listened attentively to the countryman’s story, and suspected that he had been made the victim of a swindler. It was made out upon the “Washington Bank,” in the sum of sixty dollars, and was signed “Ephraim Smith.”
“Washington Bank!” repeated Frank. “Dick, is there such a bank in the city?”
“Not as I knows on,” said Dick. “Leastways I don’t own any shares in it.”