“Doubtless you are often called upon also, Mr. Gray,” suggested Mr. Caswell with a smile.
“No,” answered Philip. “This is the first time that I have ever had the opportunity.”
“There’s no humbug about the boy,” thought Mr. Caswell. “As for the professor, he is full of it.”
“I have pleasure in handing you the price agreed upon,” said the president, presenting each with a ten-dollar bill.
“Thank you,” said Philip.
Professor Riccabocca carelessly tucked the bill into his vest pocket, as if it were a mere trifle.
At this moment, Mr. Turner came up with all the other gentleman. “Mr. Gray,” he said, “here is a gentleman who wishes to speak to you.”
Philip looked up, and saw the well-known figure of Squire Pope.
His own master.
“Ahem, Philip,” said the squire. “I should like a little conversation with you.”
“Good evening, Squire Pope,” said our hero, not pretending to be cordial, but with suitable politeness.
“I didn’t expect to see you here,” pursued the squire.
“Nor I you, sir.”
“I am visiting my sister, Mrs. Cunningham, who lives in Knoxville. Will you come around with me, and make a call?”
Now, considering the treatment which Philip had received from the squire before he left Norton, the reader can hardly feel surprised that our hero didn’t care to trust himself with his unscrupulous fellow townsman.
“Thank you, Squire Pope,” said Philip, “but it is rather late for me to call at a private house. I am staying at the hotel, and if you will take the trouble to go around there with me, we will have a chance to converse.”
“Very well,” said the squire, hesitating. Just then up came his niece, Carrie, who was determined to get acquainted with Philip.
“Uncle,” she said, “introduce me to Mr. Gray.”
“This is my niece, Caroline Cunningham,” said the squire stiffly.
“I am glad to meet Miss Cunningham,” said Philip, extending his hand, with a smile.
“What a lovely player you are, Mr. Gray!” she said impulsively.
“I am afraid you are flattering me, Miss Cunningham.”
“Don’t call me Miss Cunningham. My name is Carrie.”
“Miss Carrie, then.”
“I was ever so much surprised to hear that uncle was your guardian.”
Philip looked quickly at the squire, but did not contradict it. He only said:
“We used to live in the same town.”
During this conversation Squire Pope looked embarrassed and impatient.
“It’s getting late, Carrie,” he said. “You had better go home.”
“Aren’t you coming, too, uncle?”
“I am going to the hotel to settle some business with Philip.”
“What business, I wonder?” thought our hero.