Ragged Dick

Horatio Alger
Ragged Dick

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Title: Ragged Dick Street Life in New York with the Boot-Blacks
Author: Horatio Alger
Release Date: March, 2004 [EBook #5348] [Yes, we are more than one
year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on July 4, 2002]

Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII
DICK ***

Digitized by Cardinalis Etext Press [C.E.K.] Prepared for Project
Gutenberg by Andrew Sly


To Joseph W. Allen, at whose suggestion this story was undertaken, it
is inscribed with friendly regard.

"Ragged Dick" was contributed as a serial story to the pages of the
Schoolmate, a well-known juvenile magazine, during the year 1867.
While in course of publication, it was received with so many evidences
of favor that it has been rewritten and considerably enlarged, and is
now presented to the public as the first volume of a series intended to
illustrate the life and experiences of the friendless and vagrant children
who are now numbered by thousands in New York and other cities.

Several characters in the story are sketched from life. The necessary
information has been gathered mainly from personal observation and
conversations with the boys themselves. The author is indebted also to
the excellent Superintendent of the Newsboys' Lodging House, in
Fulton Street, for some facts of which he has been able to make use.
Some anachronisms may be noted. Wherever they occur, they have
been admitted, as aiding in the development of the story, and will
probably be considered as of little importance in an unpretending
volume, which does not aspire to strict historical accuracy.
The author hopes that, while the volumes in this series may prove
interesting stories, they may also have the effect of enlisting the
sympathies of his readers in behalf of the unfortunate children whose
life is described, and of leading them to co-operate with the
praiseworthy efforts now making by the Children's Aid Society and
other organizations to ameliorate their condition.
New York, April, 1868
"Wake up there, youngster," said a rough voice.
Ragged Dick opened his eyes slowly, and stared stupidly in the face of
the speaker, but did not offer to get up.
"Wake up, you young vagabond!" said the man a little impatiently; "I
suppose you'd lay there all day, if I hadn't called you."
"What time is it?" asked Dick.
"Seven o'clock."
"Seven o'clock! I oughter've been up an hour ago. I know what 'twas
made me so precious sleepy. I went to the Old Bowery last night, and
didn't turn in till past twelve."

"You went to the Old Bowery? Where'd you get your money?" asked
the man, who was a porter in the employ of a firm doing business on
Spruce Street. "Made it by shines, in course. My guardian don't allow
me no money for theatres, so I have to earn it."
"Some boys get it easier than that," said the porter significantly.
"You don't catch me stealin', if that's what you mean," said Dick.
"Don't you ever steal, then?"
"No, and I wouldn't. Lots of boys does it, but I wouldn't."
"Well, I'm glad to hear you say that. I believe there's some good in you,
Dick, after all."
"Oh, I'm a rough customer!" said Dick. "But I wouldn't steal. It's
"I'm glad you think so, Dick," and the rough voice sounded gentler than
at first. "Have you got any money to buy your breakfast?"
"No, but I'll soon get some."
While this conversation had been going on, Dick had got up. His
bedchamber had been a wooden box half full of straw, on which the
young boot-black had reposed his weary limbs, and slept as soundly
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