It did not take long to load the pistols, with powder only. Great care was taken so that Major Sampson should not suspect the truth.
“Major,” said Felix, in a trembling voice. “If I—if anything serious happens to me tell Clara that—that I died like a man.”
“Noble boy! I will! I will!” answered the military man.
“When I give the word, gentlemen, you will both fire!” said one of the seconds.
“Very well,” answered both of the duelists.
Both pistols were simultaneously discharged. When the smoke cleared away it was ascertained that both parties were unharmed.
“Gentlemen, are you satisfied?” asked the seconds.
“I am,” answered Ulmer Montgomery, quickly.
“Then I shall be,” put in Felix Gussing. “And now that this affair is at an end, Mr. Montgomery will you shake hands?” he added.
“With pleasure, Mr. Gussing!” was the reply. “I must say in all frankness I am sorry we quarrelled in the first place. Perhaps I was wrong about the sword.”
“And perhaps I was wrong.”
“Both of you were wrong,” put in the major. “I hunted up the letter that came with the blade. It is an old Spanish weapon. Let us all call the affair off, and Mr. Montgomery shall come to Clara’s wedding to Mr. Gussing.”
“With all my heart,” cried Montgomery, and there the little plot came to a finish.
ATTACKED IN THE DARK.
“Joe, the plot worked to perfection!” said Felix Gussing, on the day following. “I have to thank you, and here are twenty dollars for your trouble.”
“I don’t want a cent, Mr. Gussing,” answered our hero. “I did it only out of friendliness to you. I hope you have no further trouble in your courtship.”
“Oh, that was all settled last night. Clara and I are to be married next week. We are going to send out the cards to-day. You see,” went on the young man in a lower tone. “I don’t want to give the major a chance to change his mind, or to suspect that that duel was not just what it ought to have been.”
“Does he suspect anything as yet?”
“Not a thing.”
“Then you are wise to have the wedding as quickly as possible.”
“When we are married I am going to let Clara into the secret. I know she’ll enjoy it as much as anybody.”
“Well, you had better warn her to keep mum before her father. He looks as if he could get pretty angry if he wanted to.”
“As you won’t take any money for this, Joe, wouldn’t you like to come to the wedding?”
“I’m afraid it will be too high-toned for me, Mr. Gussing.”
“No, it is to be a plain, homelike affair—Clara wants it that way. The major has some country cousins who will be there, and they are very plain folks.”
“Then I’ll come—if Miss Sampson wishes it.”