“When is it proposed to have the entertainment?” asked Philip.
“I suppose we should have to name to-morrow evening, in order to advertise it sufficiently.”
“I am willing to make any engagement that will suit the club,” said Philip.
“And I, too,” said Professor Riccabocca.
“The secretary authorizes me to offer you ten dollars each, and to pay your hotel expenses in the meantime,” said Mr. Perry.
“That is satisfactory,” said our hero.
“I agree,” said the professor.
“Then I will at once notify the secretary, and he will take steps to advertise the entertainment.”
Ten dollars was a small sum compared with what Philip had obtained for his evening in Wilkesville, but a week since he would have regarded it as very large for one week’s work. He felt that it was for his interest to accept the proposal.
He secretly resolved that if the entertainment should not prove as successful as was anticipated, he would give up a part of the sum which was promised him for his services.
Professor Riccabocca assented the more readily to the proposal, because he thought it might enable him again to form a business alliance with our hero, from whom his conduct had estranged him.
“Suppose we take a room together, Mr. de Gray,” he said, with an ingratiating smile.
“Gray, if you please, professor. I don’t like sailing under false colors.”
“Excuse me; the force of habit, you know. Well, do you agree?”
“The professor has more assurance than any man I ever heard of,” thought Philip. “You must excuse me, professor,” he said. “After what has happened, I should feel safer in a room by myself.”
“Why will you dwell upon the past, Mr. Gray?” said the professor reproachfully.
“Because I am prudent, and learn from experience,” answered Philip.
“I assure you, you will have nothing to complain of,” said Riccabocca earnestly. “If we are together, we can consult about the program.”
“We shall have plenty of time to do that during the day, professor.”
“Then you don’t care to room with me?” said Riccabocca, looking disappointed.
“No, I don’t.”
“What are you afraid of?”
“I am afraid you might have an attack of neuralgic headache during the night,” said Philip, laughing.
Professor Riccabocca saw that it would be of no use for him to press the request, and allowed himself to be conducted to the same room which he had so unceremoniously left a short time before.
During the afternoon, Philip had a call from John Turner, the secretary of the Young Men’s Club. He was a pleasant, straightforward young man, of perhaps twenty.
“We are very much obliged to you, Mr. Gray,” he said, “for kindly consenting to play for our benefit.”
“It is for my interest,” said Philip frankly. “I may as well remain here and earn ten dollars as to be idle.”