“I aint used to goin’ to bed quite so early,” thought Dick. “This is the queerest excursion I ever took.”
Like most active boys Dick did not enjoy the prospect of spending half a day in bed; but his confinement did not last as long as he anticipated.
In about an hour the door of his chamber was opened, and a servant appeared, bringing a new and handsome suit of clothes throughout.
“You are to put on these,” said the servant to Dick; “but you needn’t get up till you feel like it.”
“Whose clothes are they?” asked Dick.
“They are yours.”
“Mine! Where did they come from?”
“Mr. Rockwell sent out and bought them for you. They are the same size as your wet ones.”
“Is he here now?”
“No. He bought another suit for the little boy, and has gone back to New York. Here’s a note he asked me to give you.”
Dick opened the paper, and read as follows,—
“Please accept this outfit of clothes as the first instalment of a debt which I can never repay. I have asked to have your wet suit dried, when you can reclaim it. Will you oblige me by calling to-morrow at my counting room, No. —, Pearl Street.
When Dick was dressed in his new suit, he surveyed his figure with pardonable complacency. It was the best he had ever worn, and fitted him as well as if it had been made expressly for him.
“He’s done the handsome thing,” said Dick to himself; “but there wasn’t no ‘casion for his givin’ me these clothes. My lucky stars are shinin’ pretty bright now. Jumpin’ into the water pays better than shinin’ boots; but I don’t think I’d like to try it more’n once a week.”
About eleven o’clock the next morning Dick repaired to Mr. Rockwell’s counting-room on Pearl Street. He found himself in front of a large and handsome warehouse. The counting-room was on the lower floor. Our hero entered, and found Mr. Rockwell sitting at a desk. No sooner did that gentleman see him than he arose, and, advancing, shook Dick by the hand in the most friendly manner.
“My young friend,” he said, “you have done me so great service that I wish to be of some service to you in return. Tell me about yourself, and what plans or wishes you have formed for the future.”
Dick frankly related his past history, and told Mr. Rockwell of his desire to get into a store or counting-room, and of the failure of all his applications thus far. The merchant listened attentively to Dick’s statement, and, when he had finished, placed a sheet of paper before him, and, handing him a pen, said, “Will you write your name on this piece of paper?”
Dick wrote in a free, bold hand, the name Richard Hunter. He had very much improved in his penmanship, as has already been mentioned, and now had no cause to be ashamed of it.