“I wish I could come here every day,” thought Dick. “It seems kind o’ nice and ’spectable, side of the other place. There’s a gent at that other table that I’ve shined boots for more’n once. He don’t know me in my new clothes. Guess he don’t know his boot-black patronizes the same establishment.”
His supper over, Dick went up to the desk, and, presenting his check, tendered in payment his five-dollar bill, as if it were one of a large number which he possessed. Receiving back his change he went out into the street.
Two questions now arose: How should he spend the evening, and where should he pass the night? Yesterday, with such a sum of money in his possession, he would have answered both questions readily. For the evening, he would have passed it at the Old Bowery, and gone to sleep in any out-of-the-way place that offered. But he had turned over a new leaf, or resolved to do so. He meant to save his money for some useful purpose,—to aid his advancement in the world. So he could not afford the theatre. Besides, with his new clothes, he was unwilling to pass the night out of doors.
“I should spile ’em,” he thought, “and that wouldn’t pay.”
So he determined to hunt up a room which he could occupy regularly, and consider as his own, where he could sleep nights, instead of depending on boxes and old wagons for a chance shelter. This would be the first step towards respectability, and Dick determined to take it.
He accordingly passed through the City Hall Park, and walked leisurely up Centre Street.
He decided that it would hardly be advisable for him to seek lodgings in Fifth Avenue, although his present cash capital consisted of nearly five dollars in money, besides the valuable papers contained in his wallet. Besides, he had reason to doubt whether any in his line of business lived on that aristocratic street. He took his way to Mott Street, which is considerably less pretentious, and halted in front of a shabby brick lodging-house kept by a Mrs. Mooney, with whose son Tom, Dick was acquainted.
Dick rang the bell, which sent back a shrill metallic response.
The door was opened by a slatternly servant, who looked at him inquiringly, and not without curiosity. It must be remembered that Dick was well dressed, and that nothing in his appearance bespoke his occupation. Being naturally a good-looking boy, he might readily be mistaken for a gentleman’s son.
“Well, Queen Victoria,” said Dick, “is your missus at home?”
“My name’s Bridget,” said the girl.
“Oh, indeed!” said Dick. “You looked so much like the queen’s picter what she gave me last Christmas in exchange for mine, that I couldn’t help calling you by her name.”
“Oh, go along wid ye!” said Bridget. “It’s makin’ fun ye are.”
“If you don’t believe me,” said Dick, gravely, “all you’ve got to do is to ask my partic’lar friend, the Duke of Newcastle.”