Andrew Blake carried him five miles on his way, and from that point our hero used the means of locomotion with which nature had supplied him.
Some six miles farther on there was a manufacturing town of considerable size, named Wilkesville, and it occurred to him that this would be a good place at which to pass the night.
Something might turn up for him there. He hardly knew what, but the two unexpected strokes of luck which he had had thus far encouraged him to think that a third might come to him.
Philip continued on his way—his small pack of clothing in one hand and his violin under his arm. Being in no especial hurry—for it was only the middle of the forenoon—he bethought himself to sit down and rest at the first convenient and inviting place.
He soon came to a large elm tree, which, with its spreading branches, offered a pleasant and grateful shade.
He threw himself down and lay back on the greensward, in pleasant contemplation, when he heard a gentle cough—as of one who wished to attract attention. Looking up he observed close at hand, a tall man, dressed in black, with long hair, which fell over his shirt collar and shoulders.
He wore a broad collar and black satin necktie, and his hair was parted in the middle. His appearance was certainly peculiar, and excited our hero’s curiosity.
“My young friend,” he said, “you have chosen a pleasant resting-place beneath this umbrageous monarch of the grove.” “Yes, sir,” answered Philip, wondering whether the stranger was a poet.
“May I also recline beneath it?” asked the newcomer.
“Certainly, sir. It is large enough to shelter us both.”
“Quite true; but I did not wish to intrude upon your meditations.”
“My meditations are not of much account,” answered Philip, laughing.
“I see you are modest. Am I right in supposing that yonder case contains a violin?”
“Then you are a musician?”
“A little of one,” replied Philip.
“May I ask—excuse my curiosity—if you play professionally?”
“Perhaps he may help me to an engagement,” thought our hero, and he said readily, “I do.”
“Indeed!” said the stranger, appearing pleased. “What style of music do you play?”
“For each of the last two evenings I have played for dancing-parties.”
“You do not confine yourself to dancing-music?”
“Oh, no! I prefer other kinds; but dancing-tunes seem most in demand, and I have my living to make.” The stranger seemed still more gratified.
“I am delighted to have met you, Mr.—– Ahem!” he paused, and looked inquiringly at Philip.
“Mr. Gray, I believe Providence has brought us together. I see you are surprised.”
Philip certainly did look puzzled, as he well might.