“Bridget!” called a shrill voice from the basement.
“The missus is calling me,” said Bridget, hurriedly. “I’ll tell her ye want her.”
“All right!” said Dick.
The servant descended into the lower regions, and in a short time a stout, red-faced woman appeared on the scene.
“Well, sir, what’s your wish?” she asked.
“Have you got a room to let?” asked Dick.
“Is it for yourself you ask?” questioned the woman, in some surprise.
Dick answered in the affirmative.
“I haven’t got any very good rooms vacant. There’s a small room in the third story.”
“I’d like to see it,” said Dick.
“I don’t know as it would be good enough for you,” said the woman, with a glance at Dick’s clothes.
“I aint very partic’lar about accommodations,” said our hero. “I guess I’ll look at it.”
Dick followed the landlady up two narrow stair-cases, uncarpeted and dirty, to the third landing, where he was ushered into a room about ten feet square. It could not be considered a very desirable apartment. It had once been covered with an oilcloth carpet, but this was now very ragged, and looked worse than none. There was a single bed in the corner, covered with an indiscriminate heap of bed-clothing, rumpled and not over-clean. There was a bureau, with the veneering scratched and in some parts stripped off, and a small glass, eight inches by ten, cracked across the middle; also two chairs in rather a disjointed condition. Judging from Dick’s appearance, Mrs. Mooney thought he would turn from it in disdain.
But it must be remembered that Dick’s past experience had not been of a character to make him fastidious. In comparison with a box, or an empty wagon, even this little room seemed comfortable. He decided to hire it if the rent proved reasonable.
“Well, what’s the tax?” asked Dick.
“I ought to have a dollar a week,” said Mrs. Mooney, hesitatingly.
“Say seventy-five cents, and I’ll take it,” said Dick.
“Every week in advance?”
“Well, as times is hard, and I can’t afford to keep it empty, you may have it. When will you come?”
“To-night,” said Dick.
“It aint lookin’ very neat. I don’t know as I can fix it up to-night.”
“Well, I’ll sleep here to-night, and you can fix it up to-morrow.”
“I hope you’ll excuse the looks. I’m a lone woman, and my help is so shiftless, I have to look after everything myself; so I can’t keep things as straight as I want to.”
“All right!” said Dick.
“Can you pay me the first week in advance?” asked the landlady, cautiously.
Dick responded by drawing seventy-five cents from his pocket, and placing it in her hand.
“What’s your business, sir, if I may inquire?” said Mrs. Mooney.
“Oh, I’m professional!” said Dick.