“Because there is to be an entertainment for the benefit of the Young Men’s Literary Club. It is expected to be very interesting.”
“What sort of an entertainment, Ellen?” asked the squire.
“The celebrated elocutionist, Professor Riccabocca, is to give some readings—”
“Riccabocca!” repeated the squire, in a musing tone. “I can’t say I ever heard of him.”
“Nor I; but I hear he’s very celebrated.”
“Is there anything else?”
“Yes, there’s a young musician going to play. He is said to be wonderful. He plays on the violin.”
“He’s a very handsome boy,” said Carrie enthusiastically. “He’s staying at the hotel. I saw him this afternoon when I was passing.”
“So he’s good-looking, is he, Carrie?” asked the squire, laughing.
“He’s ever so good-looking,” answered Carrie emphatically.
“Then we must certainly go, for Carrie’s sake,” said the squire.
Squire Pope had not the slightest idea that the young musician, about whom his niece spoke so enthusiastically, was the boy whom he had so recently persecuted.
If Carrie had mentioned his name, the secret would have been out, but she had not yet heard it.
In honor of her brother’s arrival, Mrs. Cunningham prepared a more elaborate supper than usual, and to this it was owing that the three entered the hall late, just as Philip was about to commence playing.
The squire and his companions were obliged to take seats some distance away from the platform, and as his eyesight was poor, he didn’t immediately recognize as an old acquaintance the boy who was standing before the audience with his violin in his hand.
“That’s he! That’s the young violin-player!” whispered Carrie, in a tone of delight. “Isn’t he handsome, uncle!”
“Wait till I get my glasses on,” said the squire, fumbling in his pocket for his spectacle-case.
Adjusting his glasses, Squire Pope directed a glance at the stage. He instantly recognized Philip, and his surprise was boundless. He gave a sudden start.
“By gracious, I couldn’t have believed it!” he ejaculated.
“Couldn’t have believed what, brother?” asked Mrs. Cunningham.
“I know that boy!” he said, in a tone of excitement.
“You know him, uncle?” said Carrie, delighted. “Then you must introduce me to him. I want to meet him ever so much. Where did you ever see him?”
“Where did I see him? I’m his guardian. He ran away from me a little more than a week since, and I never knew where he went.”
“You the guardian of the wonderful boy-player?” said Carrie, astonished. “Isn’t it strange?”
“His father died a short time since and left him in my care,” said the squire, not scrupling to make a misstatement. “But I’ll tell you more about it when the performance is over.”
When Philip first saw Squire Pope entering the hall it disconcerted him, but he reflected that the squire really had no authority over him, and consequently he had nothing to fear from him.