“I think he beats Paul Beck,” said Abner, delighted to find his choice approved.
“I don’t know but he does. I feel as if I wanted to start off now.”
“I don’t see how he does it,” said Abner, with a puzzled look. “I never could do anything at it, though I’m almost twice as old.”
He passed into the room where Philip was practising.
“You’re a tip-top player,” said he, to Philip admiringly. “Why, you beat Paul Beck.”
“Is he the one you expected to have?”
“Yes. Paul’s got a big name for fiddlin’.”
“I am glad you like my playing,” said Philip, who was naturally pleased to find that he was likely to give satisfaction in his new business.
“The boys will be pleased, I can tell you.”
“I will do all I can to give them satisfaction,” said Philip modestly.
“Oh, you will! there’s no doubt about that. How much did you pay for your fiddle?”
“I believe it cost twenty-five dollars. My father gave it to me.”
“Sho! I didn’t think fiddles cost so much.”
“Some cost a great deal more.”
“Seems a good deal to lay out, but you’ll get your money back, if you can get enough to do.”
“I hope so.”
“Well, you must excuse me now. I’ve got to slick up, and go after Mary Ann Temple. She’d have been awfully disappointed if we’d had to give it up.”
“Is she fond of dancing?”
“You’d better believe she is. Why, that girl could dance for four hours stiddy—without wiltin’!”
“How late do you keep it up?”
“Till eleven or twelve. You won’t be sleepy, will you?”
“If I am, I will get up later to-morrow morning.”
“That’s all right. You can get up jest as late as you like. Lucy will save you some breakfast. We don’t allow no one to go hungry here. But I must be off. You will go to the hall along with Jonas and Lucy. They’ll introduce you round and see that you are taken care of.” Philip congratulated himself on being so well provided for, at least for one night. The future was uncertain, but with the money which he was to receive for his services, he would be able to get along for two or three days, and he might, perhaps, if successful, obtain another similar engagement.
He had a new reason for being thankful that Squire Pope had not succeeded in depriving him of his violin, for this was likely to prove a breadwinner.
He continued to practice till it was time to go over to the hall.
A lively evening.
Schoolhouse Hall, as may be inferred, was a large hall, occupying the second story of the Center Schoolhouse, and though not originally intended for dancing-parties, answered very well for that purpose.
The hall was tolerably well filled when Philip entered in company with Jonas Webb and his wife.