In the corridor of the hotel Joe, one day, met the timid Felix Gussing, the young man who had once had so much trouble in driving a horse.
“How do you do, Mr. Gussing,” said our hero politely.
“Why if it isn’t Joe!” cried the young man, and smiled. “What are you doing here?”
“I work at this hotel now.”
“Is it possible! Didn’t you like it at Riverside?”
“Yes, but the place is shut up for the winter.”
“Ah, I see.”
“Are you stopping here, sir?”
“Yes, I came in an hour ago. I have business in Philadelphia.”
“Maybe you’re buying horses,” said Joe, slyly.
“No! no! No more horses for me,” ejaculated the dude. “I—er—this is of more importance.”
No more was said just then, but later our hero met Felix Gussing again, and on the day following had an errand that took him to the young man’s room.
“Joe, you are quite a wise boy, perhaps I can confide in you,” said Felix Gussing, after some talk on other subjects.
“I’ll be glad to be of service to you, Mr. Gussing.”
“I have a delicate problem to solve. Sometimes a young man can give better advice than an older person,” went on the dude.
“Don’t flatter me, Mr. Gussing.”
“I am in love,” went on the young man, flatly.
“I am quite sure the young lady loves me.”
“Then I suppose you are going to get married.”
“There is an obstacle in the way.”
“Perhaps I had better tell you the whole story—if you’ll listen to me,” went on the dude.
“Certainly I’ll listen,” said Joe. “I’ve got a little time off.”
And then Felix Gussing told his tale of woe, as will be found in the next chapter.
ONE KIND OF A DUEL.
“Her name is Clara, and she is the daughter of Major Thomas Botts Sampson, of the regular army,” began Felix Gussing.
“Then her father is a military man.”
“Exactly, and that is the trouble,” and the dude gave a groan. “It is this way: When I went to see Major Sampson he greeted me very cordially, until I disclosed the object of my visit.
“‘Sir,’ said he ’This is a matter which requires consideration. Have you gained my daughter’s consent?’
“‘I have,’ I answered.
“‘So far so good,’ said he. ’But there is one thing more. Have you served in the army?’
“‘No,’ said I.
“‘Or fought a duel?’
“Then he told me to remember that he had served in the army and that his daughter was the daughter of an army man, one who had gone through many battles. After that he said he was resolved that his daughter should marry only somebody who had proved himself a man of courage.”
“What did you do then?” asked Joe, becoming interested.