Ragged Dick and Struggling Upward (Penguin American Library)
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From the 1860's through the 1890s, Horatio Alger wrote hundreds of novels to teach young boys the merits of honesty, hard work, and cheerfulness in the face of adversity. As Carl Bode points out in his introduction, Horatio Alger filled a void in American literature and met scant competition both in the nature and the number of his works. Like his heroes, Alger rose to the top by chance, coincidence, and hard work.
The hero of Ragged Dick is a veritable "diamond in the rough"—as innately virtuous as he is streetwise and cocky. Immediately popular with young readers, the novel also appealed to parents, who repsonded to its colorful espousal of the Protestant ethic. Struggling Upward, published nearly thirty years later, followed the same time-tested formulas, and despite critical indifference it, too, had mass appeal.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
hundred and fifty miles had to be traversed in a stage, and this form of traveling Luke found wearisome, yet not without interest. There was a spice of danger, too, which added excitement, if not pleasure, to the trip. The Black Hills stage had on more than one occasion been stopped by highwaymen and the passengers robbed. The thought that this might happen proved a source of nervous alarm to some, of excitement to others. Luke’s fellow passengers included a large, portly man, a merchant from
he asked. “Would it fit you?” “Well, it might be rather loose,” said Dick, “I ain’t much more’n ten feet high with my boots off.” “No, I should think not,” said Frank, smiling. “You’re a queer boy, Dick.” “Well, I’ve been brought up queer. Some boys is born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Victoria’s boys is born with a gold spoon, set with di’monds; but gold and silver was scarce when I was born, and mine was pewter.” “Perhaps the gold and silver will come by and by, Dick. Did you ever
increased by Luke’s withdrawal from the list. “The prize is yours now,” whispered Tom. “It was before,” answered Randolph, conceitedly. Poor Luke looked disappointed. He knew that he had at least an even chance of winning, and he wanted the watch. Several of his friends of his own age had watches, either silver or Waterbury, and this seemed, in his circumstances, the only chance of securing one. Now he was apparently barred out. “It’s a pity you shouldn’t skate, Luke,” said Mr. Hooper, in a
readers, but, where the entire income of the family was so small, it was a matter of some consequence. “I don’t think Luke has heard anything of this,” said the widow. “He has not mentioned it to me.” “Perhaps there won’t be any change, after all,” said Melinda. “I am sure Tim Flanagan wouldn’t do near as well as Luke.” Miss Melinda was not entirely sincere. She had said to Mrs. Flanagan that she quite agreed with her that Luke had been janitor long enough, and hoped Tim would get the place.
your game.” “No, I don’t want to increase my debt.” “Oh, I won’t charge you for what you play this evening. Tony Denton can be liberal as well as the next man. Only I have to collect money to pay my bills.” Randolph didn’t know that all this had been prearranged by the obliging saloon-keeper, and that, in now pressing him, he had his own object in view. The next morning, Randolph took an opportunity to see his father alone. “Father,” he said, “will you do me a favor?” “What is it,