Should his pretended guardian make any effort to recover him, he was resolved to make a desperate resistance, and even, if necessary, to invoke the help of the law.
Meanwhile, his pride stimulated him to play his best, and the hearty applause of the audience when he had finished his piece encouraged him.
As he was bowing his thanks he could not help directing a triumphant glance at Squire Pope, who was carefully scrutinizing him through his gold-bowed spectacles.
He was glad that the squire had a chance to see for himself that he was well able to make his own way, with the help of the violin of which the Norton official had attempted to deprive him.
In truth, Squire Pope, who knew little of Philip’s playing, except that he did play, was amazed to find him so proficient. Instead, however, of concluding that a boy so gifted was abundantly able to “paddle his own canoe,” as the saying is, he was the more resolved to carry him back to Norton, and to take into his own care any the boy might have earned. In the middle of the entertainment was a recess of ten minutes, which most of the audience spent in conversation.
Miss Carrie began again to speak of Philip.
“Oh,—uncle,” she said, “I’m so glad you know that lovely boy-player! He is earning lots of money.”
“Is he!” asked the squire, pricking up his ears. “Who told you so?”
“One of the young men that belongs to the club told me they were to pay him ten dollars for playing to-night.”
“Ten dollars!” ejaculated the squire, in amazement. “I don’t believe it! It’s ridiculous!”
“Oh, yes, it is true!” said Mrs. Cunningham. “John Turner told Carrie; and he is secretary, and ought to know.”
“That isn’t all,” continued Carrie. “Mr. Turner says it is very kind of Mr. Gray—”
“Mr. Gray!” repeated the squire, amused.
“Well, Philip, then. I suppose you call him Philip, as you are his guardian.”
“Well, what were you going to say?”
“Mr. Turner says that it is very kind of Philip to play for so little, for he made a good deal more money by his entertainment in Wilkesville.”
“Did he give a concert in Wilkesville?” asked the squire quickly.
“Yes, he and the professor. He was liked very much there.”
“And you heard that he made a good deal of money there?”
“Yes; lots of it.”
“Then,” thought the squire, “he must have considerable money with him. As his guardian I ought to have the care of it. He’s a boy, and isn’t fit to have the charge of money. It’s very lucky I came here just as I did. It’s my duty, as his guardian, to look after him.”
The squire determined to seek an interview with our hero as soon as the entertainment was over.
The pretended guardian.