“I hope you don’t speak from experience.”
“No,” said Dick; “I don’t mean to get into prison if I can help it.”
“Do you see that gentleman over there?” asked the officer, pointing to a well-dressed man who was walking on the other side of the street.
“Well, he was once a newsboy.”
“And what is he now?”
“He keeps a bookstore, and is quite prosperous.”
Dick looked at the gentleman with interest, wondering if he should look as respectable when he was a grown man.
It will be seen that Dick was getting ambitious. Hitherto he had thought very little of the future, but was content to get along as he could, dining as well as his means would allow, and spending the evenings in the pit of the Old Bowery, eating peanuts between the acts if he was prosperous, and if unlucky supping on dry bread or an apple, and sleeping in an old box or a wagon. Now, for the first time, he began to reflect that he could not black boots all his life. In seven years he would be a man, and, since his meeting with Frank, he felt that he would like to be a respectable man. He could see and appreciate the difference between Frank and such a boy as Micky Maguire, and it was not strange that he preferred the society of the former.
In the course of the next morning, in pursuance of his new resolutions for the future, he called at a savings bank, and held out four dollars in bills besides another dollar in change. There was a high railing, and a number of clerks busily writing at desks behind it. Dick, never having been in a bank before, did not know where to go. He went, by mistake, to the desk where money was paid out.
“Where’s your book?” asked the clerk.
“I haven’t got any.”
“Have you any money deposited here?”
“No, sir, I want to leave some here.”
“Then go to the next desk.”
Dick followed directions, and presented himself before an elderly man with gray hair, who looked at him over the rims of his spectacles.
“I want you to keep that for me,” said Dick, awkwardly emptying his money out on the desk.
“How much is there?”
“Have you got an account here?”
“Of course you can write?”
The “of course” was said on account of Dick’s neat dress.
“Have I got to do any writing?” asked our hero, a little embarrassed.
“We want you to sign your name in this book,” and the old gentleman shoved round a large folio volume containing the names of depositors.
Dick surveyed the book with some awe.
“I aint much on writin’,” he said.
“Very well; write as well as you can.”
The pen was put into Dick’s hand, and, after dipping it in the inkstand, he succeeded after a hard effort, accompanied by many contortions of the face, in inscribing upon the book of the bank the name