“You make a great mistake, Mr. Gray,” said Riccabocca. “It would be a great advantage for you to have my assistance at this stage of your professional career.”
“I don’t expect to have any professional career,” answered Philip.
“Don’t you intend to become a professional musician?” asked the professor, surprised.
“Probably not. I have only been playing because I needed money, and my violin helped me to a living.”
“You can’t make as much money in any other way.”
“Not at present; but I want to get a chance to enter upon some kind of business. I am going to New York.”
“You will some time have a chance to hear me there, in the Academy of Music,” said Riccabocca pompously.
“I will go and hear you,” said Philip, laughing, “if I can afford a ticket.”
“Say the word and we will appear there together, Mr. Gray.”
“I think not, professor.”
In fact, though Philip had found himself unexpectedly successful as a musician, he knew very well that he was only a clever amateur, and that years of study would be needed to make him distinguished.
He was glad that he had the means of paying his expenses for a considerable time, and had in his violin a trusty friend upon which he could rely in case he got into financial trouble. Directly after breakfast he set out on his journey.
An ambitious wayfarer.
The large sums which Philip had received for his playing might have dazzled a less sensible boy. He was quite conscious that he played unusually well for a boy, but when it came to selecting music as a profession, he felt it would not be wise to come to too hasty a decision. To be a commonplace performer did not seem to him very desirable, and would not have satisfied his ambition.
He had told Professor Riccabocca that he intended to go to New York. This design had not been hastily formed. He had heard a great deal of the great city in his home in the western part of the State of which it was the metropolis, and he was desirous of seeing it. Perhaps there might be some opening for him in its multitude of business houses.
Philip had plenty of money, and could easily have bought a railroad ticket, which would have landed him in New York inside of twenty-four hours, for he was only about four hundred miles distant; but he was in no hurry, and rather enjoyed traveling leisurely through the country towns, with his violin in his hand.
It reminded him of a biography he had read of the famous Doctor Goldsmith, author of the “Vicar of Wakefield,” who made a tour on the continent of Europe, paying his way with music evoked from a similar instrument.
Three days later, he found himself on the outskirts of a village, which I will call Cranston. It was afternoon, and he had walked far enough to be tired.