The narrator intervenes to provide a bit of Travis’ back story. He had indeed stolen the passbook after hearing Dick and Fosdick talk about their savings one night. A lazy young man, Travis has heard about a possible get-rich-quick scheme in California, but needs seventy-five dollars to secure his transport there. Being unable to come up with this amount himself, he resorted to stealing from Dick—but hadn’t yet been able to withdraw the money from the bank.
This is the first of two narrative interludes about Travis, who is given a surprising amount of backstory. Alger probably saw Travis as the great antagonist of his story, with Maguire only a minor one. In contrast to Dick, Travis is unwilling to put in the hard work required of wealth, and his laziness is meant to be reflective of his low moral character.
Dick makes his way to the bank as soon as it opens and tells the clerk—who knows him by name owing to his frequent appearances there to deposit money—what has happened. The clerk assures Dick that the money is still there, and together they arrange for the police to be on hand when Travis arrives to withdraw Dick’s money.
Dick being so dutiful in his banking duties as to have formed a relationship with the teller pays off nicely here. Another example of how “doing the right thing” always results in a positive outcome within the novel.
As Dick is preparing to leave the bank (in order to return to shining shoes), he spies Travis about to walk in. With the clerk’s help, Dick hides from Travis behind the counter.
It’s a testament to Dick’s rise in life that the clerk trusts him—a homeless shoeshine boy—so completely in this situation.