“You won’t gamble any more,—will you, Dick?” said Frank, laying his hand persuasively on his companion’s shoulder.
“No, I won’t,” said Dick.
“Yes, and I’ll keep it. You’re a good feller. I wish you was goin’ to be in New York.”
“I am going to a boarding-school in Connecticut. The name of the town is Barnton. Will you write to me, Dick?”
“My writing would look like hens’ tracks,” said our hero.
“Never mind. I want you to write. When you write you can tell me how to direct, and I will send you a letter.”
“I wish you would,” said Dick. “I wish I was more like you.”
“I hope you will make a much better boy, Dick. Now we’ll go in to my uncle. He wishes to see you before you go.”
They went into the reading-room. Dick had wrapped up his blacking-brush in a newspaper with which Frank had supplied him, feeling that a guest of the Astor House should hardly be seen coming out of the hotel displaying such a professional sign.
“Uncle, Dick’s ready to go,” said Frank.
“Good-by, my lad,” said Mr. Whitney. “I hope to hear good accounts of you sometime. Don’t forget what I have told you. Remember that your future position depends mainly upon yourself, and that it will be high or low as you choose to make it.”
He held out his hand, in which was a five-dollar bill. Dick shrunk back.
“I don’t like to take it,” he said. “I haven’t earned it.”
“Perhaps not,” said Mr. Whitney; “but I give it to you because I remember my own friendless youth. I hope it may be of service to you. Sometime when you are a prosperous man, you can repay it in the form of aid to some poor boy, who is struggling upward as you are now.”
“I will, sir,” said Dick, manfully.
He no longer refused the money, but took it gratefully, and, bidding Frank and his uncle good-by, went out into the street. A feeling of loneliness came over him as he left the presence of Frank, for whom he had formed a strong attachment in the few hours he had known him.
DICK HIRES A ROOM ON MOTT STREET
Going out into the fresh air Dick felt the pangs of hunger. He accordingly went to a restaurant and got a substantial supper. Perhaps it was the new clothes he wore, which made him feel a little more aristocratic. At all events, instead of patronizing the cheap restaurant where he usually procured his meals, he went into the refectory attached to Lovejoy’s Hotel, where the prices were higher and the company more select. In his ordinary dress, Dick would have been excluded, but now he had the appearance of a very respectable, gentlemanly boy, whose presence would not discredit any establishment. His orders were therefore received with attention by the waiter and in due time a good supper was placed before him.