“Whereabouts is the fiddle, Phil?”
“It isn’t here,” answered our hero.
“Ain’t it goin’ to be sold?”
“Of course not! It’s mine. I told you that once already.”
“We’ll see!” said Nicholas angrily.
And going up to Squire Pope, he held a brief conversation with that gentleman.
The squire nodded vigorously, and walked over to Philip.
“Philip,” said he, “go and bring your violin.”
“What will I do that for!” asked our hero quietly.
“So that it may be sold.”
“It is not to be sold,” returned Philip quietly. “It belongs to me.”
“Nothing belongs to you except your clothes!” said the squire angrily. “I require you to go and fetch the instrument.”
“And I decline to do it,” said Philip.
“Do you know who I am,” demanded the squire, with ruffled dignity.
“I know you perfectly well,” answered Philip “but I am the owner of the violin, and I don’t mean to have it sold.”
“You will repent this!” said Squire Pope, who felt that his lawful authority and official dignity were set at naught.
Philip bowed and left the house. He did not know what steps the squire might take, but he was resolved not to give up his cherished violin.
An alliance against Philip.
Squire Pope was not a bad man, nor was he by nature a tyrant, but he was so fully convinced of his own superior judgment that he was in all things obstinately bent on having his own way. He had persuaded himself that our young hero, Philip, would be better off in the poorhouse than in a place where he could earn his own living, and no one could convince him to the contrary.
As to the boy’s feelings on the subject, he considered those of no importance. He had good reason to know that Philip would object to being an inmate of the almshouse, but he was determined that he should go there.
In like manner, before the auction was over, he saw clearly that it would realize a sum more than sufficient to pay the funeral expenses of the late Mr. Gray and the few small bills outstanding against his estate, and that there was no necessity that Philip’s violin should be sold, but none the less he resolved that it should be sold.
“Shall I allow a young lad to dictate to me?” Squire Pope asked himself, in irritation. “Certainly not! I know better what is right than he. It is ridiculous that a town pauper should own a violin. Why, the next thing, we shall have to buy pianos for our almshouses, for the use of the gentlemen and ladies who occupy them. A violin, indeed!”
This Squire Pope regarded as irresistible logic and withering sarcasm combined.
He saw Philip go out of the cottage, but, as the sale was not over, he was unable to follow him.