“I am much obliged to you, sir, but I won’t put you to the trouble of taking care of my money,” answered Philip coldly.
Squire Pope continued to argue with Philip, but made no impression. At length he was obliged to say good night.
“I will call round in the morning,” he said, at parting. “Perhaps you’ll listen to reason then.”
When he called round in the morning he learned to his disappointment that Philip was gone.
An offer declined.
After his interview with Squire Pope, Philip came down to the office, where he saw Professor Riccabocca, apparently waiting for him.
“Well, Mr. Gray, where shall we go next?” asked the professor, with suavity.
“I haven’t decided where to go—have you?” asked Philip coolly.
“I suppose we had better go to Raymond. That is a good-sized place. I think we can get together a good audience there.”
“You seem to be under the impression that we are in partnership,” said Philip.
“Of course,” answered Riccabocca.
“I have made no agreement of that sort, professor.”
“But, of course, it is understood,” said Riccabocca quickly, “as long as we draw so well.”
“You must excuse me, Professor Riccabocca. I must decline the proposal.”
“But why?” inquired the professor anxiously.
“I hope you won’t press me for an explanation.”
“But I do. I can’t understand why you should act so against your own interest. You can’t expect people will come just to hear you play. You need me to help you.”
“It may be as you say, professor, but if you insist upon my speaking plainly, I don’t care to travel with a man who has treated me as you have.”
“I don’t understand you,” said Riccabocca nervously; but it was evident, from his expression, that he did.
“Then you seem very forgetful,” said Philip. “You tried to deprive me of my share of the proceeds of the entertainment at Wilkesville, and would have succeeded but for a lucky accident.”
“I told you that it was all owing to neuralgia,” said Professor Riccabocca. “I had such an attack of neuralgic headache that it nearly drove me wild.”
“Then,” said Philip, “I would rather find a partner who is not troubled with neuralgic headache. I think it would be safer.”
“It won’t happen again, Mr. Gray, I assure you,” said the professor apologetically.
He endeavored to persuade Philip to renew the combination, but our hero steadily refused. He admitted that it might be to his pecuniary advantage, but he had lost all confidence in the eminent professor, and he thought it better to part now than to give him another opportunity of playing a similar trick upon him.
The professor thereupon consulted the landlord as to whether it would be advisable for him to give another entertainment unaided, and was assured very emphatically that it would not pay expenses.