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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 141 pages of information about Ragged Dick, Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot-Blacks.

“Let me tell you a little about myself.  Barnton is a very pretty country town, only about six miles from Hartford.  The boarding-school which I attend is under the charge of Ezekiel Munroe, A.M.  He is a man of about fifty, a graduate of Yale College, and has always been a teacher.  It is a large two-story house, with an addition containing a good many small bed-chambers for the boys.  There are about twenty of us, and there is one assistant teacher who teaches the English branches.  Mr. Munroe, or Old Zeke, as we call him behind his back, teaches Latin and Greek.  I am studying both these languages, because father wants me to go to college.

“But you won’t be interested in hearing about our studies.  I will tell you how we amuse ourselves.  There are about fifty acres of land belonging to Mr. Munroe; so that we have plenty of room for play.  About a quarter of a mile from the house there is a good-sized pond.  There is a large, round-bottomed boat, which is stout and strong.  Every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon, when the weather is good, we go out rowing on the pond.  Mr. Barton, the assistant teacher, goes with us, to look after us.  In the summer we are allowed to go in bathing.  In the winter there is splendid skating on the pond.

“Besides this, we play ball a good deal, and we have various other plays.  So we have a pretty good time, although we study pretty hard too.  I am getting on very well in my studies.  Father has not decided yet where he will send me to college.

“I wish you were here, Dick.  I should enjoy your company, and besides I should like to feel that you were getting an education.  I think you are naturally a pretty smart boy; but I suppose, as you have to earn your own living, you don’t get much chance to learn.  I only wish I had a few hundred dollars of my own.  I would have you come up here, and attend school with us.  If I ever have a chance to help you in any way, you may be sure that I will.

“I shall have to wind up my letter now, as I have to hand in a composition to-morrow, on the life and character of Washington.  I might say that I have a friend who wears a coat that once belonged to the general.  But I suppose that coat must be worn out by this time.  I don’t much like writing compositions.  I would a good deal rather write letters.

“I have written a longer letter than I meant to.  I hope you will get it, though I am afraid not.  If you do, you must be sure to answer it, as soon as possible.  You needn’t mind if your writing does look like ‘hens-tracks,’ as you told me once.

“Good-by, Dick.  You must always think of me, as your very true friend,

Frank Whitney.”

Dick read this letter with much satisfaction.  It is always pleasant to be remembered, and Dick had so few friends that it was more to him than to boys who are better provided.  Again, he felt a new sense of importance in having a letter addressed to him.  It was the first letter he had ever received.  If it had been sent to him a year before, he would not have been able to read it.  But now, thanks to Fosdick’s instructions, he could not only read writing, but he could write a very good hand himself.

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