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首页 » 儿童英文小说 » Tony The Tramp;Or Right is Might » CHAPTER XXV TONY IN NEW YORK
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CHAPTER XXV TONY IN NEW YORK
Though Tony was out of a place, he was considerably better off than he had ever been. He had five dollars in his pocket for the first time in his life. A few weeks ago he would have considered himself rich with this amount, and would have been in high spirits. But now he took a different view of life. He had known what it was to have a settled home, and to earn an honest living, and he had learned to like it. But fortune was against him, and he must go.

Good-by, James,” he said, soberly, to the hostler, the next morning.

Good-by, Tony, and good luck,” said the kind-hearted hostler.

I hope I shall have good luck, but I don’t expect it,” said Tony.

Pooh, nonsense! You’re young, and the world is before you.”

“That’s so, James, but so far the world has been against me.”

“Come here a minute, Tony,” said James, lowering his voice.

As Tony approached, he thrust a bank-note hastily into his hand.

Take it,” he said, quickly. “I don’t need it, and you may.”

Tony looked at the bill, and found it was a ten-dollar note.

You’re very kind, James,” he said, touched by a kindness to which he was unaccustomed, “but I can’t take it.”

“Why not? I sha’n’t need it.”

“Nor I, James. I’ve got some money. It isn’t much, but I’m used to roughing it. I’ve done it all my life. I always come down on my feet like a cat.”

“But you may get hard up.”

“If I do, I’ll let you know.”

“Will you promise that?”

“Honor bright.”

So James took back the money reluctantly, and Tony bade him good-by.

It was a rainy day when Tony arrived in New York. The stores were deserted, and the clerks lounged idly behind the counters. Only those who were actually obliged to be out appeared in the streets. If Tony’s hopes had been high, they would have been lowered by the dreary weather. He wandered aimlessly about the streets, having no care about his luggage, for he had brought none, looking about him listlessly. He found himself after a while in the lower part of Broadway, near where most of the European steamer lines have their offices.

All at once Tony saw a figure that attracted his eager attention.

It was Rudolph Rugg, his old comrade, and now bitter enemy.

Where is he going?” thought Tony.

This question was soon solved.

Rudolph entered the office of the Cunard line of steamers.

What can he want there?” thought Tony. “I’ll watch him.”

He took a position near by, yet far enough off to avoid discovery, and waited patiently for Rudolph to reappear. He waited about fifteen minutes. Then he saw the tramp come out with a paper in his hand, which he appeared to regard with satisfaction. He turned and went up Broadway.

As soon as he thought it safe, Tony crossed the street and entered the office. He made his way up to the counter, and inquired the price of passage. The rates were given him.

Can you tell me,” he asked, carelessly, “if a Mr. Rugg is going across on one of your steamers?”

“Mr. Rugg? Why, it is the man who just left the office.”

“Did he buy a passage ticket?”

“Yes.”

“When does he sail?”

“On Saturday.”

“And where does he go?”

“To Liverpool, of course. Can I sell you a ticket?”

“I haven’t decided,” said Tony.

If you go, you will find it for your advantage to go by our line.”

“I’ll go by your line, if I go at all,” said Tony. “I wonder whether he’d be so polite if he knew I had but three dollars and a quarter in my pocket,” said our hero to himself.

Then he began to wonder how it happened that Rudolph was going. First, it was a mystery where he could have obtained the money necessary for the purchase of a ticket. Next, what could be his reason for leaving America.

Probably he has picked somebody’s pocket,” thought Tony.

That disposed of the difficulty, but, as we know, Tony was mistaken. It was money that he had received for a worse deed, but Tony never thought of connecting the state of Rudolph’s purse with the attempt that had been made upon his own life.

When Tony came to think of it, he felt glad that Rudolph was going abroad. He felt that his own life would be safer with an ocean flowing between him and the man who latterly had exhibited such an intense hatred for him. As to his motive, why perhaps he thought that he would be safer in London than in New York.

Tony bethought himself of securing a temporary home. He was not a stranger in New York, and knew exactly where to go. There was a house not far from Greenwich street, where he had lodged more than once before, and where he was known. It was far from a fashionable place, but the charge was small, and that was a necessary consideration with Tony.

He rang the bell, and the proprietor, a hard-favored woman of fifty, came to open it.

“How do you do, Mrs. Blodgett?” said Tony.

Why, it’s Tony,” said the woman, not unkindly. “Where have you been this long time?”

“In the country,” answered our hero.

And where is your father?”

“Do you mean the man I used to be with?”

“Yes. He was your father, wasn’t he?”

“No. He was no relation of mine,” said Tony, hastily. “We used to go together, that is all.”

“Where is he?”

“I don’t know exactly. We had a falling out, and we’ve parted.”

“Well, Tony, what can I do for you?”

“Have you got any cheap room to let, Mrs. Blodgett?”

“I’ve got a room in the attic. It’s small, but if it’ll suit you, you can have it for a dollar a week.”

“It’s just the thing,” said Tony, in a tone of satisfaction. “Can I go right up?”

“Yes, if you want to. I generally want a week’s pay in advance, but you’ve been here before—?—” “No matter for that. Here’s the money,” said Tony.

I’ll show you the way up.”

“All right. I guess I’ll lie down a while. I’ve been about the streets all day, and am pretty tired.”

The room was hardly large enough to swing a cat in, and the furniture was shabby and well-worn; but Tony was not particular. He threw himself on the bed, and soon fell asleep.

How long he slept he did not know, but when he woke up the room was quite dark. He stretched, and did not immediately remember where he was; but it flashed upon him directly.

I wonder what time it is?” he asked himself. “I must have slept a long time. I feel as fresh as a lark. I’ll get up and take a tramp.”

When he went downstairs he found that it was already ten o’clock.

I feel as fresh as if it were morning,” thought Tony. “I’ll go out on Broadway and watch some of the theaters when the people come out.”

Ten o’clock seems late in the country; it is the usual hour for retiring for many families; but in the city it is quite different. There are still many to be seen in the streets, and for many it is the commencement of a season of festivity.

Tony walked for half an hour. He was so thoroughly rested that he felt no fatigue. Presently he stepped into a crowded billiard room, and, seating himself, began to watch a game between a young man of twenty-five and a man probably fifteen years his senior. The first was evidently a gentleman by birth and education; his dress and manners evinced this. The other looked like an adventurer, though he was well dressed.

Come, let us play for the drinks,” said the elder.

I’ve drank enough,” said the young man.

Nonsense. You can stand a little more.”

“Just as you say.”

The game terminated in favor of the elder, and the drinks were brought.

This went on for some time. The young man was evidently affected. Finally he threw down his cue, and said:

“I won’t play again!”

“Why not?”

“My hand is unsteady. I have drank too much.”

“I’ve drank as much as you, but I’m all right.”

“You can stand more than I. I’ll settle for the drinks and games and go home.”

“Sha’n’t I see you home?” asked the elder.

I don’t want to trouble you.”

“No trouble at all.”

The young man paid at the bar, displaying a well-filled pocketbook. There was something in his companion’s expression which made Tony suspicious. He formed a sudden resolve.

I’ll follow them,” he said, and when they left the room he was close behind them.



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