“But you made a great deal more, I understand, in Wilkesville?”
“Yes; but I might not be as fortunate here. I had not intended to appear here at all, and should not have done so unless you had invited me. How many have you in your club?”
“Only about twenty-five, so far, and some of us are not able to pay much.”
“How long has your club been formed?” asked Philip.
“Only about three months. We wanted a place where we could meet together socially in the evening, and have a good time. Before, we had only the stores and barrooms to go to, and there we were tempted to drink. Our club was started in the interests of temperance, and we can see already that it is exerting a good influence.”
“Then I am very glad to assist you,” said Philip cordially.
“You must come round and see our room. Are you at leisure now?”
“Yes, Mr. Turner.”
Philip accompanied his new friend to the neatly furnished room leased by the society. He was so well pleased with its appearance that he thought he should himself like to belong to such an association, whenever he found a permanent home. At present he was only a wanderer.
“Our debt is thirty-four dollars,” said the secretary. “You may not think it large, but it’s large for us.”
“I hope our entertainment will enable you to clear it off.”
“If it should it will give us new courage.”
On the evening of the next day Philip and the professor entered the hall engaged for the entertainment, and took seats on the platform.
The hall was well filled, the scale of prices being the same as at Wilkesville.
“Mr. Gray,” whispered the secretary joyfully, “it is a great success! After paying all bills the club will clear fifty dollars.”
“I am delighted to hear it,” said Philip.
The professor commenced the entertainment, and was followed by Philip.
As Philip began to play his attention was drawn to three persons who were entering the hall.
These were a lady, a little girl, and a stout gentleman, in whom Philip, almost petrified with amazement, recognized his old acquaintance, Squire Pope, of Norton, who had shown himself so anxious to provide him a home in the poor-house.
Squire Pope is amazed.
Though Philip did not know it, it chanced that Squire Pope’s only sister, Mrs. Cunningham, lived in Knoxville. She was a widow, fairly well off, with a young daughter, Carrie—a girl of twelve. Squire Pope had long thought of visiting his sister, and happening about this time to have a little business in a town near-by, he decided to carry out his long-deferred plan. He arrived by the afternoon train, in time for supper.
“I am glad you are here to-night, brother,” said Mrs. Cunningham.
“Why particularly to-night, Sister Ellen?” asked the squire.