“The boy looks honest,” said the landlord. “I like his appearance. We will see what he has to say.”
So when Philip had finished his breakfast he was summoned to the parlor, where he met the creditors of the combination.
“These gentlemen,” said the landlord, “have bills against you and the professor. It makes no difference whether they receive pay from you or him.”
Poor Philip’s heart sank within him.
“I was hoping Professor Riccabocca had settled your bills,” he said. “Please show them to me.”
This was done with alacrity.
Philip found that they owed five dollars for the hall, five dollars for advertising and printing, and one dollar for bill-posting— eleven dollars in all.
“Mr. Gates,” said our hero uneasily, to the landlord, “did Professor Riccabocca say anything about coming back when he went out this morning?”
“He told my clerk he would be back to breakfast,” said the landlord; adding, with a shrug of the shoulders: “That was two hours and a half ago. He can’t be very hungry.”
“He didn’t pay his bill, I suppose?”
“No, of course not. He had not given up his room.”
Philip became more and more uneasy.
“Didn’t you know anything about his going out?” asked the landlord.
“No, sir. I was fast asleep.”
“Is the professor in the habit of taking long morning walks?”
“I don’t know.”
“That is strange, since you travel together,” remarked the publisher.
“I never saw him till day before yesterday,” said Philip.
The creditors looked at each other significantly. They began to suspect that Philip also was a victim.
“Do you know how much money was received for tickets last evening?”
“About a hundred and fifty dollars.”
“How much of this were you to receive?”
“Half of what was left after the bills were paid.”
“Have you received it?” asked the agent.
“Not a cent,” answered Philip.
“What do you think about the situation?”
“I think that Professor Riccabocca has swindled us all,” answered Philip promptly.
“Our bills ought to be paid,” said the agent, who was rather a hard man in his dealings.
“I agree with you,” said Philip. “I wish I were able to pay them, but I have only six dollars in my possession.”
“That will pay me, and leave a dollar over,” suggested the agent.
“If it comes to that,” said the printer, “I claim that I ought to be paid first.”
“I am a poor man,” said the bill-sticker. “I need my money.”
Poor Philip was very much disconcerted. It was a new thing for him to owe money which he could not repay.
“Gentlemen,” he said, “I have myself been cheated out of fifty dollars, at least—my share of the profits. I wish I could pay you all. I cannot do so now. Whenever I can I will certainly do it.”