“I don’t doubt it, Miss Sinclair,” returned Ben.
“It is desirable that I should tell you-”
“Don’t tell me anything unless you like, Miss Sinclair. I am not troubled with curiosity.”
“Thank you, but in the confidential relations which we are to hold toward each other, it is necessary that you should understand my position. I will reserve my explanation, however, till we reach the hotel.”
“We are to stop at the Astor House?”
“Yes, and I wish you to put down my name and your own on the register, and obtain two rooms as near together as convenient.”
“Very well, Miss Sinclair.”
“You may put me down as from-well, from Philadelphia.”
“All right. Shall I put myself down from Philadelphia, too?”
“Not unless you choose. Your native village will answer. By the way, you are to pass for my cousin, and it will be better, therefore, that you should call me by my first name-Ida.”
“I wouldn’t take the liberty but for your wishing it.”
“I do wish it-otherwise it would be difficult to pass you off as my cousin.”
“All right, Miss Sinclair-I mean Ida.”
“That is better. I shall call you Ben.”
“You couldn’t very well call me Mr. Stanton,” said our hero, smiling.
“Not very well. But here we are at the hotel. We will go in together. I will go to the ladies’ parlor, and you can join me there after securing rooms at the office.”
Of course Ben was not used to city hotels, and he was a little afraid that he should not go to work properly, but he experienced no difficulty. He stepped up to the desk, and said to the clerk:
“I should like to engage rooms for my cousin and myself.”
The clerk pushed the register toward him.
Ben inscribed the names. At first he could not remember his companion’s last name, and it made him feel awkward. Fortunately it came to him in time.
“We can give you rooms on the third floor. Will that do?”
“Yes, sir, I think so. We would like to be near together.”
“Very well. I can give you two rooms directly opposite to each other.”
“That will do, sir.”
The clerk touched a bell, and a porter presented himself:
“Here are the keys of sixty-six and sixty-eight,” said the hotel clerk. “Take this young gentleman’s luggage to sixty-six, and show the lady with him to number sixty-eight.”
Ben followed the porter, pausing at the door of the ladies’ parlor, where his companion awaited him.
“Come, Ida,” he said, feeling a little awkward at addressing Miss Sinclair so familiarly. “The servant is ready to show us our rooms.”
“Very well, Ben,” said Miss Sinclair, smiling. She did not seem so nervous now.
As the clerk had said, the rooms were directly opposite each other. They were large and very comfortable in appearance. As Miss Sinclair entered her room she said: