“Will you sell me the fiddle for dad’s bill, squire?” asked Nicholas eagerly.
“You are premature, Nicholas—”
“I mean you must wait till the auction. Then you will have a chance to bid on the instrument, if you want to secure it.”
“Phil says it’s his, and won’t be for sale at the auction.”
“Then Philip is mistaken. He is only a boy. The estate will be settled by those who are older and wiser than he.”
“I guess you’ll find him hard to manage, squire,” said Nick, laughing.
“We shall see—we shall see,” returned the squire.
And, with a dignified wave of the hand, he continued on his walk.
After the visit of Nicholas, Philip thought it most prudent to convey the violin which he prized so much to the house of his friend, Frank Dunbar, where he had been invited to take his meals.
He was willing to have the furniture sold to defray his father’s small debts, but the violin was his own. It had not even been given him by his father. Though the latter purchased it, the money which it cost had been given to Philip by a friend of the family. He rightly thought that he had no call to sell it now.
“Frank,” said he to his boy-friend, “I want you to put away my violin safely, and keep it until after the auction.”
“Of course I will, Phil; but won’t you want to play on it!”
“Not at present. I’ll tell you why I want it put away.”
And Philip told his friend about Nick’s application to purchase it, and the liberal offer he had made.
“Nick’s generosity never will hurt him much,” said Frank, laughing. “What in the world did he want of your violin?”
“He wants to make himself popular with the girls.”
“He’ll never do that, even if he learns to play like an angel!” said Frank. “You ought to hear the girls talk about him. He couldn’t get a single one of them to go home with from singing-school last winter. He teased my sister to go, but she told him every time she was engaged to some one else.”
The two days that intervened between the funeral and the auction passed, and the last scene connecting Philip with the little cottage which had been his home was to take place.
In a country town, an auction-however inconsiderable-draws together an interested company of friends and neighbors; and, though no articles of value were to be sold, this was the case at the present sale.
Philip didn’t at first mean to be present. He thought it would only give him pain; but at the last moment he came, having been requested to do so by Squire Pope, as information might be required which he could give.
The bulk of the furniture was soon disposed of, at low prices, to be sure, but sufficiently high to make it clear that enough would be realized to pay the small bills outstanding.
Philip’s lip quivered when his father’s watch was put up. He would have liked to buy it, but this was impossible; for he had only about a dollar of his own.