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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Young Musician - Chapter 30. A Timely Gift
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The Young Musician - Chapter 30. A Timely Gift Post by :howdeedoodee Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :2682

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The Young Musician - Chapter 30. A Timely Gift

CHAPTER XXX. A TIMELY GIFT

The reader has not forgotten that Farmer Lovett, when Philip refused to accept any compensation for assisting to frustrate the attempt at burglary, handed him a sealed envelope, which he requested him not to open till he was fifty miles away from Norton.

Philip had carried this about in his pocket ever since. He had thought of it as likely to contain some good advice at the time; but it had since occurred to him that the farmer had not had time to write down anything in that line.

He was disposed to think that the mysterious envelope might contain a five-dollar bill, as a slight acknowledgment of his services.

Though Philip had declined receiving any payment, it did seem to him now that this amount of money would relieve him from considerable embarrassment. He therefore drew a penknife from his pocket and cut open the envelope.

What was his amazement when he drew out three bills--two twenties and a ten--fifty dollars in all! There was a slip of paper, on which was written, in pencil:

"Don't hesitate to use this money, if you need it, as you doubtless will. I can spare it as well as not, and shall be glad if it proves of use to one who has done me a great service. JOHN LOVETT."

"What's that!" asked the landlord, regarding Philip with interest.

"Some money which I did not know I possessed," answered Philip.

"How much is there?"

"Fifty dollars."

"And you didn't know you had it?" asked the publisher--rather incredulously, it must be owned.

"No, sir; I was told not to open this envelope till I was fifty miles away from where it was given me. Of course, Mr. Gates, I am now able to pay all my bills, and to repay you for what you handed Mr. Gunn."

"I am pleased with your good fortune," said the landlord cordially.

"Thank you, sir."

"But I am sorry your knavish partner has cheated you out of so much money."

"I shall make him pay it if I can," said Philip resolutely.

"I approve your pluck, and I wish you success."

"He owes you money, too, Mr. Gates. Give me the bill, and I will do my best to collect it."

"If you collect it, you may have it," said Gates. "I don't care much for the money, but I should like to have the scamp compelled to fork it over."

"I wish I knew where he was likely to be," said Philip.

"He may go to Knoxville," suggested the publisher.

"How far is that?"

"Ten miles."

"What makes you think he will go to Knoxville?" asked the landlord.

"He may think of giving a performance there. It is a pretty large place."

"But wouldn't he be afraid to do it, after the pranks he has played here?"

"Perhaps so. At any rate, he is very likely to go there."

"I will go there and risk it," said Philip. "He needn't think he is going to get off so easily, even if it is only a boy he has cheated."

"That's the talk, Mr. Gray!" said the landlord. "How are you going?" he asked, a minute later.

"I can walk ten miles well enough," answered Philip.

He had considerable money now, but he reflected that he should probably need it all, especially if he did not succeed in making the professor refund, and decided that it would be well to continue to practice economy.

"I have no doubt you can," said the landlord, "but it will be better not to let the professor get too much the start of you. I will myself have a horse harnessed, and take you most of the distance in my buggy."

"But, Mr. Gates, won't it be putting you to a great deal of trouble?"

"Not at all. I shall enjoy a ride this morning, and the road to Knoxville is a very pleasant one."

"Let me pay something for the ride, then."

"Not a cent. You will need all your money, and I can carry you just as well as not," said the landlord heartily.

"I am very fortunate in such a kind friend," said Philip gratefully.

"Oh, it isn't worth talking about! Here, Jim, go out and harness the horse directly."

When the horse was brought round, Philip was all ready, and jumped in.

"Would you like to drive, Mr. Gray?" asked the landlord.

"Yes," answered Philip, with alacrity.

"Take the lines, then," said the landlord.

Most boys of Philip's age are fond of driving, and our hero was no exception to the rule, as the landlord supposed.

"You'll promise not to upset me," said Mr. Gates, smiling. "I am getting stout, and the consequences might be serious."

"Oh, I am used to driving," said Philip, "and I will take care not to tip over."

The horse was a good one, and to Philip's satisfaction, went over the road in good style.

Philip enjoyed driving, but, of course, his mind could not help dwelling on the special object of his journey.

"I hope we are on the right track," he said. "I shouldn't like to miss the professor."

"You will soon know, at any rate," said Gates. "It seems to me," he continued, "that Riccabocca made a great mistake in running off with that money."

"He thought it would be safe to cheat a boy."

"Yes; but admitting all that, you two were likely to make money. In Wilkesville your profits were a hundred dollars in one evening. Half of that belonged to the professor, at any rate. He has lost his partner, and gained only fifty dollars, which would not begin to pay him for your loss."

"Perhaps he thought he would draw as well alone."

"Then he is very much mistaken. To tell the plain truth, our people thought very little of his share of the performance. I saw some of them laughing when he was ranting away. It was you they enjoyed hearing."

"I am glad of that," said Philip, gratified.

"There's no humbug about your playing. You understand it. It was you that saved the credit of the evening, and sent people away well satisfied."

"I am glad of that, at any rate, even if I didn't get a cent for my playing," said Philip, well pleased.

"The money's the practical part of it," said the landlord. "Of course, I am glad when travelers like my hotel, but if they should run off without paying, like the professor, I shouldn't enjoy it so much."

"No, I suppose not," said Philip, with a laugh.

They had ridden some seven miles, and were, therefore, only three miles from Knoxville, without the slightest intimation as to whether or not they were on the right track.

To be sure, they had not expected to obtain any clue so soon, but it would have been very satisfactory, of course, to obtain one.

A little farther on they saw approaching a buggy similar to their own, driven by a man of middle age. It turned out to be an acquaintance of the landlord's, and the two stopped to speak.

"Going to Knoxville on business, Mr. Gates?" asked the newcomer.

"Well, not exactly. I am driving this young man over. By the way, have you seen anything of a tall man, with long, black hair, dressed in black?"

"Yes. Do you want to see him?"

"This young man has some business with him. Where did you see him?"

"He arrived at our hotel about an hour since, I calculate."

Philip's heart bounded with satisfaction at this important news.

"Did he put up there?"

"Yes. I believe he is going to give a reading this evening."

"Thank you!"

"The professor must be a fool!" said the landlord, as they drove away.

"I begin to think so myself," replied Philip.

"That's all in our favor, however. We shall get back that money yet."

The horse was put to his speed, and in fifteen minutes they reached Knoxville.

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