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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.

“I aint much used to writin’ letters.  As this is the first one I ever wrote, I hope you’ll excuse the mistakes.  I hope you’ll write to me again soon.  I can’t write so good a letter as you; but, I’ll do my best, as the man said when he was asked if he could swim over to Brooklyn backwards.  Good-by, Frank.  Thank you for all your kindness.  Direct your next letter to No. —­ Mott Street.

  “Your true friend,
  “Dick Hunter.”

When Dick had written the last word, he leaned back in his chair, and surveyed the letter with much satisfaction.

“I didn’t think I could have wrote such a long letter, Fosdick,” said he.

“Written would be more grammatical, Dick,” suggested his friend.

“I guess there’s plenty of mistakes in it,” said Dick.  “Just look at it, and see.”

Fosdick took the letter, and read it over carefully.

“Yes, there are some mistakes,” he said; “but it sounds so much like you that I think it would be better to let it go just as it is.  It will be more likely to remind Frank of what you were when he first saw you.”

“Is it good enough to send?” asked Dick, anxiously.

“Yes; it seems to me to be quite a good letter.  It is written just as you talk.  Nobody but you could have written such a letter, Dick.  I think Frank will be amused at your proposal to come up there as teacher.”

“P’r’aps it would be a good idea for us to open a seleck school here in Mott Street,” said Dick, humorously.  “We could call it ’Professor Fosdick and Hunter’s Mott Street Seminary.’  Boot-blackin’ taught by Professor Hunter.”

The evening was so far advanced that Dick decided to postpone copying his letter till the next evening.  By this time he had come to have a very fair handwriting, so that when the letter was complete it really looked quite creditable, and no one would have suspected that it was Dick’s first attempt in this line.  Our hero surveyed it with no little complacency.  In fact, he felt rather proud of it, since it reminded him of the great progress he had made.  He carried it down to the post-office, and deposited it with his own hands in the proper box.  Just on the steps of the building, as he was coming out, he met Johnny Nolan, who had been sent on an errand to Wall Street by some gentleman, and was just returning.

“What are you doin’ down here, Dick?” asked Johnny.

“I’ve been mailin’ a letter.”

“Who sent you?”

“Nobody.”

“I mean, who writ the letter?”

“I wrote it myself.”

“Can you write letters?” asked Johnny, in amazement.

“Why shouldn’t I?”

“I didn’t know you could write.  I can’t.”

“Then you ought to learn.”

“I went to school once; but it was too hard work, so I give it up.”

“You’re lazy, Johnny,—­that’s what’s the matter.  How’d you ever expect to know anything, if you don’t try?”

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