“Thank you, sir!” said Philip, “You shall not repent your confidence in me.”
“I say ditto to my friend, the publisher,” said the bill-poster.
“Wait a moment, gentlemen,” said Philip. “There is a bare possibility that I can do something for you.”
For the first time since he left Norton he thought of the letter which he was not to open till he was fifty miles from Norton.
“Mr. Gates,” he said, “can you tell me how far Norton is from here?”
“About sixty miles,” answered the landlord in surprise.
“Then it’s all right.”
A timely gift.
The reader has not forgotten that Farmer Lovett, when Philip refused to accept any compensation for assisting to frustrate the attempt at burglary, handed him a sealed envelope, which he requested him not to open till he was fifty miles away from Norton.
Philip had carried this about in his pocket ever since. He had thought of it as likely to contain some good advice at the time; but it had since occurred to him that the farmer had not had time to write down anything in that line.
He was disposed to think that the mysterious envelope might contain a five-dollar bill, as a slight acknowledgment of his services.
Though Philip had declined receiving any payment, it did seem to him now that this amount of money would relieve him from considerable embarrassment. He therefore drew a penknife from his pocket and cut open the envelope.
What was his amazement when he drew out three bills—two twenties and a ten—fifty dollars in all! There was a slip of paper, on which was written, in pencil:
“Don’t hesitate to use this money, if you need it, as you doubtless will. I can spare it as well as not, and shall be glad if it proves of use to one who has done me a great service. John Lovett.”
“What’s that!” asked the landlord, regarding Philip with interest.
“Some money which I did not know I possessed,” answered Philip.
“How much is there?”
“And you didn’t know you had it?” asked the publisher—rather incredulously, it must be owned.
“No, sir; I was told not to open this envelope till I was fifty miles away from where it was given me. Of course, Mr. Gates, I am now able to pay all my bills, and to repay you for what you handed Mr. Gunn.”
“I am pleased with your good fortune,” said the landlord cordially.
“Thank you, sir.”
“But I am sorry your knavish partner has cheated you out of so much money.”
“I shall make him pay it if I can,” said Philip resolutely.
“I approve your pluck, and I wish you success.”
“He owes you money, too, Mr. Gates. Give me the bill, and I will do my best to collect it.”
“If you collect it, you may have it,” said Gates. “I don’t care much for the money, but I should like to have the scamp compelled to fork it over.”