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首页 » 儿童英文小说 » Tony The Tramp;Or Right is Might » CHAPTER XXVIII TONY AND HIS GUARDIAN HOUSEKEEPING
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CHAPTER XXVIII TONY AND HIS GUARDIAN HOUSEKEEPING
“Now, Tony,” said George Spencer, after dinner, “I want to tell you what plans I have formed for you and myself. I have got tired of hotel life, and want a home. I shall seek a couple of handsomely furnished rooms uptown, make it social and pleasant with books and pictures, and we will settle down and enjoy ourselves.”

“I am afraid you will get tired of me, Mr. Spencer,” said Tony, modestly. “I am too ignorant to be much company for you.”

“Ignorance, like poverty, can be remedied,” said the young man. “I shall obtain a private tutor for you, and expect you to spend some hours daily in learning.” Tony’s face lighted up.

That is just what I would like,” he said.

You would like it better than going to school?”

“Yes, for at school I should be obliged to go into a class with much younger boys.”

“While with a tutor you can go on as fast as you please.”

“Yes, sir.”

“To-night we both need a little recreation. Suppose we go to Wallack’s Theater. Have you ever been there?”

“Yes, sir; but I didn’t take a reserved seat.”

“I suppose not.”

“I sat in the upper gallery.”

“To-night you shall be fashionable. Have you a pair of kid gloves?”

“The last pair I had is worn out,” said Tony, laughing.

Then you must have another pair. We will get a pair on our way there.”

It was already time to start.

At half-past eight Tony found himself occupying an orchestra chair near the stage, his hands encased in a pair of gloves of faultless fit, and looking enough like a young patrician to pass muster among his fashionable neighbors.

How does it seem, Tony?” asked Spencer, smiling.

Tiptop,” answered Tony; “but how queer kid gloves feel! I never had a pair on in my life before.”

“There are the two ladies who found fault with your appearance at the breakfast table this morning.”

“They are looking at me through an opera glass.”

“Wondering if you can be the same boy. I have no doubt they are puzzled to account for your transformation.”

Mr. Spencer was right. The two ladies were at the same moment exchanging remarks about our hero.

Goodness! Elvira, there is that boy that was at breakfast this morning at the hotel.”

“The boy that was so shabbily dressed, mamma? Where?”

“Just to the left. He isn’t shabby now. See how he is togged out. Who would have thought it?”

“It’s queer, isn’t it?”

“I think we must have been mistaken about him. He looks like a young gentleman now. But why should he have worn such clothes before?”

“I can’t tell, I am sure.”

“That’s a nice-looking young man, Elvira. I wish he would take a fancy to you.”

“La, mamma! How you talk!” said Elvira, bridling and smiling.

Depend upon it, Tony, those ladies will be polite to you if they get a chance,” said Spencer, laughing.

It makes a great deal of difference how a feller is dressed,” said Tony.

“You are right, Tony; but don’t say feller. Remember, you are fashionable now.”

“There’s a gentleman in front that I know,” said Tony, suddenly.

Where?”

“The man with a partly bald head.”

“How do you know him?”

“He was staying two or three days at the country hotel where I was a stableboy.”

“Do you think he would know you now?”

“May I see?”

“Yes, but don’t let him find you out. It won’t do in society to let it be known that you were ever a stableboy.”

“All right.”

Tony leaned over, and, addressing the gentleman, said:

“Would you be kind enough to lend me your program a minute, sir?”

“Certainly,” was the reply. Then, looking at Tony: “Your face looks very familiar. Where have I seen you before?”

“Perhaps at the St. Regis, sir,” said Tony; “I am stopping there.”

“No; I never go to the St. Regis. Bless me! you’re the very image of a boy I have seen somewhere.”

“Am I?” said Tony. “I hope he was a good-looking boy.”

“He was; but he was not dressed like you. In fact—I remember now—he was employed as stableboy in a country hotel.”

“A stableboy!” exclaimed Tony, with comic horror. “I hope you don’t think I am the boy.”

“Of course not. But really the resemblance is wonderful.”

“Mr. Spencer,” said Tony, “this gentleman has met a stableboy who looks like me.”

“I really beg your pardon,” said the gentleman; “I meant no offense.”

“My ward would not think of taking offense,” said Mr. Spencer, courteously.

Tony smiled to himself; he had a strong sense of humor, and was much amused.

It is needless to say that he enjoyed the performance—all the more so from his luxurious seat and nearness to the stage.

It’s a good deal better than sitting in the gallery,” he said, in a whisper, to his companion.

I should think so. I never sat up there, Tony.”

“And I never sat anywhere else.”

As they were leaving the theater they found themselves close to the ladies whom they had noticed at breakfast.

Elvira chanced to drop her handkerchief, probably intentionally.

Tony stooped and picked it up. Though he had led the life of a tramp, he had the instincts of a gentleman.

Thank you, young gentleman,” said Elvira. “You are very polite.”

“Oh, don’t mention it!” said Tony.

Really, mamma, he is a born gentleman,” said Elvira, later, to her mother. “How could we make such a mistake?”

“His clothes were certainly very shabby, my dear.”

“Very likely he had been out hunting or something. We must not judge so hastily next time.”

The ladies were foiled in their intentions of cultivating the acquaintance of Tony and his guardian, as two days later they left the hotel and installed themselves in an elegant boarding house on Madison avenue.

Now,” said Mr. Spencer, “we must go to work.”

“I must,” said Tony.

And I, too,” said Spencer.

What can you have to do?”

“I have received a proposal to invest a part of my money—only one-fourth—in a business downtown, and shall accept. I don’t need to increase my income, but I think I shall be less likely to yield to temptation if I have some fixed employment. I shall be so situated that I can do as much or as little as I please. As to yourself I have put an advertisement in a morning paper for a teacher, and expect some applicants this morning. I want you to choose for yourself.”

“I am afraid I shan’t be a very good judge of teachers. Shall I examine them, to see if they know enough?”

“I think, from what you say of your ignorance, that any of them will know enough to teach you for the present. The main thing is to select one who knows how to teach, and whom you will like.”

“I wish you were a teacher, Mr. Spencer.”

“Why?”

“Because then I should have a teacher whom I liked.”

“Thank you, Tony,” said the young man, evidently gratified. “The liking is mutual. I think myself fortunate in having you for my companion.”

“The luck is on my side, Mr. Spencer. What would I be but for you? I wouldn’t be a tramp any more, for I am tired enough of that, but I should have to earn my living as a newsboy or a bootblack, and have no chance of getting an education.”

So the relations between Tony and his new friend became daily more close, until Mr. Spencer came to regard him as a young brother, in whose progress he was warmly interested.

A tutor was selected, and Tony began to study. His ambition was roused. He realized for the first time how ignorant he was, and it is not too much to say that he learned in one month as much as most boys learn in three. He got rid of the uncouth expressions which he had acquired in early life, and adapted his manners to the new position which he found himself occupying in society. Mr. Spencer, too, was benefited by his new friend. He gave up drink and dissipation, and contented himself with pleasures in which he could invite Tony to participate.

Meanwhile Mrs. Harvey Middleton and Rudolph had arrived in England, and we must leave our hero for a time and join them.


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