“There is something in that,” said Philip. “But suppose we don’t succeed!”
“Succeed? We must succeed!” said the professor, striking an attitude. “In the vocabulary of youth, there’s no such word as ‘fail’! Away with timid caution! Our watchword be success!”
“Of course, you have much more experience than I,” said Philip.
“Certainly I have! We must keep up appearances. Be guided by me, and all will come right.”
Philip reflected that they could not very well make less than their expenses, and accordingly he acceded to the professor’s plans. They entered the hotel, and Professor Riccabocca, assuming a dignified, important step, walked up to the office. “Sir,” said he, to the clerk, “my companion and myself would like an apartment, one eligibly located, and of ample size.”
“You can be accommodated, sir,” answered the young man politely. “Will you enter your names?”
Opening the hotel register, the elocutionist, with various flourishes, entered, this name: “Professor Lorenzo Riccabocca, Elocutionist and Dramatic Reader.”
“Shall I enter your name?” he asked of Philip.
“If you please.”
This was the way Professor Riccabocca complied with his request: “Philip de Gray, the Wonderful Boy-musician.”
He turned the book, so that the clerk could see the entries.
“We propose to give an entertainment in Wilkesville,” he said.
“I am glad to hear it,” said the clerk politely.
“After dinner I will consult you as to what steps to take. Is there anything in the way of amusement going on in town this evening?”
“Yes, there is a concert, chiefly of home-talent, in Music Hall. There is nothing announced for to-morrow evening.”
“Then we will fix upon to-morrow evening. It will give us more time to get out hand-bills, etc. Is there a printing-office in town?”
“Oh, yes, sir. We have a daily paper.”
“Is the office near at hand?”
“Yes, sir. It is on the corner of the next street.”
“That will do for the present. We will go up to our apartment. Will dinner be ready soon?”
“In half an hour.”
Here the servant made his appearance, and the professor, with a wave of his hand, said:
“Lead on, Mr. de Gray! I will follow.”
A promising plan.
They were shown into a front room, of good size, containing two beds. The servant handed them the key, and left them.
“This looks very comfortable, Mr. de Gray,” said the professor, rubbing his hands with satisfaction.
“Why do you call me Mr. de Gray?” asked Philip, thinking he had been misunderstood. “It is plain Gray, without any de.”
“I am only using your professional name,” answered the professor. “Don’t you know people will think a great deal more of you if they suppose you to be a foreigner?”