“Oh, it will be all right!” said Riccabocca. “What are you going to do with yourself?”
“I shall practice a little in my room, for I want to play well to-night. When I get tired I shall take a walk.”
“Very wise—very judicious. I don’t need to do it, being, as I may say, a veteran reader. I wouldn’t rehearse if I were to play this evening before the president and all the distinguished men of the nation.”
“I don’t feel so confident of myself,” said Philip.
“No, of course not. By the way, can you lend me fifty cents, Mr. de Gray?”
“I don’t want to break a ten.”
Professor Riccabocca didn’t mention that the only ten he had was a ten-cent piece.
Slipping Philip’s half-dollar into his vest pocket, he said carelessly:
“We’ll take this into the account when we divide the proceeds of the entertainment.”
“Very well,” said Philip.
He went up to his room and played for an hour or more, rehearsing the different pieces he had selected for the evening, and then, feeling the need of a little fresh air, he took a walk.
In different parts of the town he saw posters, on which his name was printed in large letters.
“It seems almost like a joke!” he said to himself.
Just then he heard his name called, and, looking up, he recognized a young fellow, of sixteen or thereabouts, who had formerly lived in Norton. It seemed pleasant to see a familiar face.
“Why, Morris Lovett,” he exclaimed “I didn’t know you were here!”
“Yes; I’m clerk in a store. Are you the one that is going to give an entertainment tonight?”
“Yes,” answered Philip, smiling.
“I didn’t know you were such a great player,” said Morris, regarding our hero with new respect.
He had read the morning paper.
“Nor I,” said Philip, laughing.
“Are you going to Europe soon?”
“It isn’t decided yet!” Philip answered, laughing.
“I wish I had your chance.”
“Come and hear me this evening, at any rate,” said Philip. “Call at the hotel, at six o’clock, and I’ll give you a ticket.”
“I’ll be sure to come,” said Morris, well pleased.
A triumphant success.
Philip took another walk in the afternoon, and was rather amused to see how much attention he received. When he drew near the hotel he was stared at by several gaping youngsters, who apparently were stationed there for no other purpose. He overheard their whispers:
“That’s him! That’s Philip de Gray, the wonderful fiddler!”
“I never suspected, when I lived at Norton, that I was so much of a curiosity,” he said to himself. “I wish I knew what they’ll say about me to-morrow.”
At six o’clock Morris Lovett called and received his ticket.