Arrived at the hotel, they went up-stairs to Philip’s chamber. “You left Norton very abruptly, Philip,” commenced the squire.
“There was good reason for it,” answered Philip significantly.
“It appears to me you are acting as if you were your own master,” observed the squire.
“I am my own master,” replied Philip firmly.
“You seem to forget that I am your guardian.”
“I don’t forget it, for I never knew it,” said our hero.
“It is generally understood that such is the case.”
“I can’t help it. I don’t need a guardian, and shall get along without one.”
“Ahem! Perhaps that isn’t to be decided by you.”
“If I am to have a guardian, Squire Pope,” said Philip bluntly, “I sha’n’t select you. I shall select Mr. Dunbar.”
“I have much more knowledge of business than Mr. Dunbar,” said the squire, shifting his ground.
“That may be, but there is one important objection.”
“What is that?”
“You are not my friend, and Mr. Dunbar is.”
“Really this is very extraordinary!” ejaculated the squire. “I am not your friend? How do you know that?”
“You tried to make a pauper out of me, when, as you must perceive, I am entirely able to earn my own living.”
“Is it true that you were paid ten dollars for playing this evening?” asked the squire curiously.
“It beats all!” said the squire, in amazement.
“Yet you wanted to sell my violin for a good deal less than I have earned in one evening,” said Philip, enjoying his enemy’s surprise.
“You gave an entertainment at Wilkesville also, I hear?”
“Did you make as much there?”
“I made between sixty and seventy dollars over and above expenses.”
“You don’t expect me to believe that!” said the squire.
“I don’t care whether you believe it or not; it’s true.”
“Have you got the money with you?”
“Then you’d better give it to me to keep for you.”
“Thank you; I feel capable of taking care of it myself.”
“But it’s improper for a boy of your age to carry round so much money,” said the squire sharply.
“If I need help to take care of it, I will ask Mr. Dunbar.”
“Come, Philip,” said the squire, condescending to assume a persuasive manner, “you must remember that I am your guardian.”
“I dispute that,” said Philip.
“I won’t insist upon your going back with me to Norton, as long as you are able to support yourself.”
“Then you wouldn’t advise me to go back to the poorhouse,” said Philip, with some sarcasm in his voice.
“I didn’t mean to have you stay there long,” said the squire, rather confused. “You’d better give me most of your money, and I’ll take care of it for you, and when you’re twenty-one you’ll have quite a little sum.”