The Halberdier of the Little Rheinschloss (Henry)

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The Halberdier of the Little Rheinschloss
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «Roads of Destiny»
Microsummary: A young man took a job as a halberdier in a restaurant to win a bet with his girlfriend's father, proving he could work for three months without being fired.

A man frequented a restaurant called Old Munich, where he enjoyed the company of Waiter No. 18. One day, he noticed a broken cigar-case and asked the waiter about it.

Waiter No. 18 — narrator; restaurant waiter; observant, talkative.

The waiter told him a story about a young man who was hired as a halberdier, an ancient man-at-arms, to stand on the stairs leading to the Little Rheinschloss, a room above the restaurant. The young man, who never revealed his name, was well-liked by the customers, especially the ladies.

Sir Percival (Hal) — young man; halberdier at the restaurant; educated, determined, and resourceful.

One night, a group of high-rollers came in, including a wealthy girl who recognized the halberdier as someone she knew named Deering. She demanded that he serve their table, and he reluctantly agreed.

Helen — Sir Percival's girlfriend; wealthy, high-spirited, and initially disapproving of his job.

Throughout the night, the girl treated him poorly, and he struggled with his duties as a waiter. At one point, he accidentally spilled hot soup on her expensive dress, and her father demanded that the halberdier be fired.

‘I’m halberdiering for my living,’ says the stature. ‘I’m working,’ says he. ‘I don’t suppose you know what work means.’

However, the halberdier made a passionate speech about the dignity of his profession and the arrogance of the wealthy, which convinced the restaurant owner not to fire him.

Herr Brockmann — restaurant owner; appreciates Old-World atmosphere; stubborn, proud of his establishment.

‘The calling of a halberdier,’ says he, ‘is an ancient and honourable one. Sometimes,’ says he, ‘the man-at-arms at the door has saved the castle while the plumed knights were cake-walking in the banquet-halls above.’

It was then revealed that the girl's father had made a bet with Deering that if he could earn his own living for three months without being fired, he would give him something he wanted. The bet ended at midnight that night, and Deering had won.

The girl apologized and showed affection for Deering, and they left the restaurant together. The next day, they returned for dinner, and Deering gave a generous tip to the new halberdier, who accidentally dropped his halberd on the cigar-case, breaking it.