“I think, Ben,” she said, “it will be best for me to take all my meals in my room during the short time I stay here. Should my guardian catch sight of me he might give me some trouble, and that I wish to avoid.”
“I guess you’re right,” said Ben.
“I shall wish you to come to my room two or three times a day, as I may have some errands for you to do.”
“All right, Miss Sinclair.”
“You had better call me ‘Cousin Ida,’ so as to get used to it.”
The next day as Ben was standing on the steps of the hotel he saw, with surprise, Sam Sturgis approaching. It did not occur to him, however, that he was responsible for Sam’s presence in the city. He was glad to see a familiar Hampton face, and he said cordially: “How are you, Sam?”
“You don’t mean to say that you are stopping here, do you?”
“Yes, I do,” said Ben, smiling. “Why not?”
“Because it’s a first-class hotel.”
“Why shouldn’t I stay at a first-class hotel, Sam?”
“Because you are a poor boy. Maybe you’ve got some relations among the servants?”
“If I have I don’t know it.”
“Your uncle told me you were stopping here, but I didn’t believe it.”
“Do you believe it now?” asked Ben.
“Perhaps you just stay round here to make people believe you are a guest of the house.”
“Why should I care what people think? Nobody knows me here. However, Sam, if you want to be convinced, just come up to my room with me.”
Sam concluded to accept the invitation, and accompanied Ben to the desk.
“Please give me the key to number sixty-six,” said Ben.
“Here it is, sir.”
Sam began to think Ben’s statement was true, after all. There was no room for doubt when Ben ushered him into the handsome chamber which he occupied.
“Make yourself at home, Sam,” said Ben, enjoying his companion’s surprise.
“It’s very queer,” thought Sam. “I wonder whether he won’t run off without paying his bill.”
Sam rather hoped that this might be the case, as it would involve Ben in disgrace.
“Your uncle tells me you are going to sail for California on Saturday.”
“Have you bought your ticket?”
“How much did you pay?”
“Excuse me. I would rather not tell just now.”
“I suppose he goes in the steerage,” thought Sam.
As he could learn nothing more from our hero, Sam soon left him.
It was certainly remarkable that the boy to whom he had recently offered the position of his bootblack should be a guest of a fashionable New York hotel.
Miss Sinclair’s stratagem.
Mr. Campbell had no particular reason to think that Miss Ida Sinclair, registering from Philadelphia, was the ward of whom he was in pursuit. Still, he thought it worth while to find out what he could about her, and managed to waylay Ben in the corridor of the hotel the next morning.