“Indeed!” said the landlady, who did not feel much enlightened by this answer.
“How’s Tom?” asked Dick.
“Do you know my Tom?” said Mrs. Mooney in surprise. “He’s gone to sea,—to Californy. He went last week.”
“Did he?” said Dick. “Yes, I knew him.”
Mrs. Mooney looked upon her new lodger with increased favor, on finding that he was acquainted with her son, who, by the way, was one of the worst young scamps in Mott Street, which is saying considerable.
“I’ll bring over my baggage from the Astor House this evening,” said Dick in a tone of importance.
“From the Astor House!” repeated Mrs. Mooney, in fresh amazement.
“Yes, I’ve been stoppin’ there a short time with some friends,” said Dick.
Mrs. Mooney might be excused for a little amazement at finding that a guest from the Astor House was about to become one of her lodgers—such transfers not being common.
“Did you say you was purfessional?” she asked.
“Yes, ma’am,” said Dick, politely.
“You aint a—a—” Mrs. Mooney paused, uncertain what conjecture to hazard.
“Oh, no, nothing of the sort,” said Dick, promptly. “How could you think so, Mrs. Mooney?”
“No offence, sir,” said the landlady, more perplexed than ever.
“Certainly not,” said our hero. “But you must excuse me now, Mrs. Mooney, as I have business of great importance to attend to.”
“You’ll come round this evening?”
Dick answered in the affirmative, and turned away.
“I wonder what he is!” thought the landlady, following him with her eyes as he crossed the street. “He’s got good clothes on, but he don’t seem very particular about his room. Well; I’ve got all my rooms full now. That’s one comfort.”
Dick felt more comfortable now that he had taken the decisive step of hiring a lodging, and paying a week’s rent in advance. For seven nights he was sure of a shelter and a bed to sleep in. The thought was a pleasant one to our young vagrant, who hitherto had seldom known when he rose in the morning where he should find a resting-place at night.
“I must bring my traps round,” said Dick to himself. “I guess I’ll go to bed early to-night. It’ll feel kinder good to sleep in a reg’lar bed. Boxes is rather hard to the back, and aint comfortable in case of rain. I wonder what Johnny Nolan would say if he knew I’d got a room of my own.”
About nine o’clock Dick sought his new lodgings. In his hands he carried his professional wardrobe, namely, the clothes which he had worn at the commencement of the day, and the implements of his business. These he stowed away in the bureau drawers, and by the light of a flickering candle took off his clothes and went to bed. Dick had a good digestion and a reasonably good conscience; consequently he was a good sleeper. Perhaps, too, the soft feather bed conduced to slumber. At any rate his eyes were soon closed, and he did not awake until half-past six the next morning.