“Yes; but admitting all that, you two were likely to make money. In Wilkesville your profits were a hundred dollars in one evening. Half of that belonged to the professor, at any rate. He has lost his partner, and gained only fifty dollars, which would not begin to pay him for your loss.”
“Perhaps he thought he would draw as well alone.”
“Then he is very much mistaken. To tell the plain truth, our people thought very little of his share of the performance. I saw some of them laughing when he was ranting away. It was you they enjoyed hearing.”
“I am glad of that,” said Philip, gratified.
“There’s no humbug about your playing. You understand it. It was you that saved the credit of the evening, and sent people away well satisfied.”
“I am glad of that, at any rate, even if I didn’t get a cent for my playing,” said Philip, well pleased.
“The money’s the practical part of it,” said the landlord. “Of course, I am glad when travelers like my hotel, but if they should run off without paying, like the professor, I shouldn’t enjoy it so much.”
“No, I suppose not,” said Philip, with a laugh.
They had ridden some seven miles, and were, therefore, only three miles from Knoxville, without the slightest intimation as to whether or not they were on the right track.
To be sure, they had not expected to obtain any clue so soon, but it would have been very satisfactory, of course, to obtain one.
A little farther on they saw approaching a buggy similar to their own, driven by a man of middle age. It turned out to be an acquaintance of the landlord’s, and the two stopped to speak.
“Going to Knoxville on business, Mr. Gates?” asked the newcomer.
“Well, not exactly. I am driving this young man over. By the way, have you seen anything of a tall man, with long, black hair, dressed in black?”
“Yes. Do you want to see him?”
“This young man has some business with him. Where did you see him?”
“He arrived at our hotel about an hour since, I calculate.”
Philip’s heart bounded with satisfaction at this important news.
“Did he put up there?”
“Yes. I believe he is going to give a reading this evening.”
“The professor must be a fool!” said the landlord, as they drove away.
“I begin to think so myself,” replied Philip.
“That’s all in our favor, however. We shall get back that money yet.”
The horse was put to his speed, and in fifteen minutes
The professor’s flight.
Professor Lorenzo Riccabocca was not a wise man. It would have been much more to his interest to deal honestly with Philip, paying his share of the profits of the first performance, and retaining his services as associate and partner.