Once the main character of this story received a letter from an old friend who lived in the East. He asked to visit one old man whose name was Mr. Wheeler. Simon Wheeler should have known something important that the friend wanted to learn. The young man decided to fulfill this request and went to the meeting. He saw the old man in the tavern. He was sleeping near the old stove. The young man woke Simon Wheeler up and started questioning about his childhood friend Leonidas. Simon readily told his story. It happened in 1849. A man who called himself Jim Smiley came to their camp. He was very lucky and loved to bet on what was going to happen. He always guessed what would happen in the camp of the miners. He also easily predicted the results of the horse racing or dog fighting.
When the White House in Virginia burned down — the main character of this book lost his home and his precious trunk, and also happiness. It was not a problem. A home without close people who take care of you is not a real home. Happiness is also not a problem. But the loss of the trunk was important, it was insulting for him. On the first day after the fire, he caught a cold and constantly sneezed. A friend told him to pour hot water into a basin and warm legs there. The next morning, the ill man had a cold shower and went to a restaurant to eat well. Another friend advised him to drink a bottle of warm salt water — this is the best cold medicine. This method was also useless. Now he suffered not only from a cold, but also from stomach ache. He would rather have survived an earthquake; this is better than drinking warm, salty water.