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Title: John Marsh's Millions
Author: Klein, Charles, 1867-1915, Hornblow, Arthur, 1865-1942
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "John Marsh's Millions" ***

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[Illustration: Book Cover]

_Frontispiece. Page 233_.]




Authors of the Novel "The Lion and the Mouse,"
"The Third Degree," etc.



       *       *       *       *       *




  CHAPTER                                                           PAGE
      I                                                                7
     II                                                               23
    III                                                               36
     IV                                                               50
      V                                                               63
     VI                                                               80
    VII                                                               95
   VIII                                                              112
     IX                                                              130
      X                                                              148
     XI                                                              161
    XII                                                              179
   XIII                                                              198
    XIV                                                              214
     XV                                                              229
    XVI                                                              252
   XVII                                                              268
  XVIII                                                              286
    XIX                                                              306
     XX                                                              328


  "Are you afraid of yourself?" Frontispiece                         233
  "That's not John Marsh's will"                                      78
  The agonized scream of a mother robbed of her young                175
  Paula left the asylum office accompanied by the nurse              300


When John Marsh, the steel man, died, there was considerable stir in the
inner circles of New York society. And no wonder. The wealthy
ironmaster's unexpected demise certainly created a most awkward
situation. It meant nothing less than the social rehabilitation of a
certain individual who, up to this time, had been openly snubbed, not to
say deliberately "cut" by everybody in town. In other words, Society was
compelled, figuratively speaking, to go through the humiliating and
distasteful performance of eating crow. Circumstances alter cases. While
the smart set was fully justified in making a brave show of virtuous
indignation when one of its members so far forgot himself as to get
kicked out of his club, it was only natural that the offending
gentleman's peccadilloes were to be regarded in a more indulgent light
when he suddenly fell heir to one of the biggest fortunes in the

It was too bad about "Jimmy" Marsh. His reputation was unsavory and he
deserved all of it. Total lack of moral principle combined with an
indolent, shiftless disposition had given him a distorted outlook on
things. All his life he had been good for nothing, and at the age of
forty he found himself a nuisance to himself and everybody else. Yet he
was not without a natural cunning which sometimes passed for smartness,
but he often overreached himself and committed blunders of which a
clever man would never be guilty. To put it plainly, Jimmy was crooked.
Fond of a style of living which he was not able to afford and desperate
for funds with which to gratify his expensive tastes, he had foolishly
attempted to cheat at cards. His notions of honor and common decency had
always been nebulous, and when one night, in a friendly game, he
clumsily tried to deal himself an ace from the bottom of the deck, not
even the fact that he was the brother and sole heir of one of the
richest men in the United States could save him from ignominious

The affair made a great noise at the time, and the newspapers were full
of its scandalous details. But the public soon forgets, and as to the
newspapers--they found other victims. Besides, Jimmy's prospects were
too bright to permit of him being dropped from sight altogether. It was
not forgotten that one day he would step into his brother's shoes and
then Society, willy nilly, would have to do homage to his money.

This rich brother, by the way, was largely responsible for Jimmy's
undoing. They were both--he and John--the sons of poor English people
who immigrated to America five years after John's birth. The father was
a journeyman baker and started a small business in Pittsburg. Two
cousins of the same name, William and Henry, haberdashers by trade, had
likewise settled and prospered in New Jersey. Fifteen years later the
mother died in giving birth to another son. The elder boy, a taciturn,
hard-working lad with a taste for figures, had found employment in the
steel industry, then in its infancy, but growing with giant strides. As
he acquired experience, his position was improved until, before long, he
was known as one of the most expert steel workers in the iron region.
Suddenly, dire calamity befell the little family. One fateful morning,
while making his early rounds, the baker was run over and killed by a
railroad train. It was a staggering blow, but John rose manfully to the
emergency. Silent, serious, masterful, his brain teeming with ideas
that would revolutionize the entire steel trade, he stoically buried his
progenitor and despatched the orphaned Jimmy to school.

The years passed. The discoveries of vast ore fields in Michigan and
Wisconsin had made the United States the biggest producer of steel in
the world. The pace set was terrific, orders poured in from all corners
of the globe, plants were kept going night and day, a steady stream of
gold flowed into the coffers of the delighted steelmakers who soon
became millionaires over night. John Marsh had long since been a partner
in the company to which he had remained loyal since boyhood, and in the
orgy of profit sharing, he found himself with stock holdings
representing millions.

James naturally shared in the good fortune. The hard-working John
grudged nothing to the drone. He paid the boy's way through college and
gave him a liberal allowance. When he was old enough and had sufficient
schooling he'd put him in the steel business and make a man of him. But,
unfortunately, Jimmy was not made of the same stern stuff as his
brother. Expensive tastes and dubious acquaintances were about all that
he acquired at the University. He gambled and drank and got hopelessly
entangled in debt. John was not blind to his brother's faults, but, in
a measure, he excused them. To the elder brother, plodding, methodical,
sober, the hare-brained, irresponsible Jimmy was always "the kid." What
was the use of taking him seriously? One day he'd get tired of making an
ass of himself. So he paid his debts without complaint. One day Jimmy
boldly demanded an increase in his allowance. John, still unruffled,
shook his head. "No, kid," he said quietly, "you must manage with what I
give you. When I'm gone you'll get it all." This was the first time that
John had hinted at the disposition he had made of his fortune. Of
course, it was only natural that an old bachelor should leave
practically everything to his only brother, but this was the first
intimation he had given of his intentions. Rendered almost speechless
from emotion, Jimmy hurried to the money lenders and borrowed on
"futures" to the limit.

This was the real starting point of Jimmy's downward course. From now on
he was unfitted for any serious effort. If he ever had any ambition he
lost it now. He lived solely on "prospects." What was the use of
exerting himself, he argued, when any day he might come in for millions?
When he left Harvard--under a cloud, of course--John took him in the
steel works. But Pittsburg's strenuous, nerve racking, smoky life did
not appeal very strongly to a young man who thirsted for the more
voluptuous joys of Broadway. He left for New York saying he would shift
for himself, and John, secretly glad to be rid of him, gave him a
handsome cheque and his godspeed.

So well did Jimmy "shift" for himself that within a year he had
squandered $10,000 and was hopelessly involved in debt. Once more the
patient John straightened matters out, and when Jimmy said he thought he
could win out in Wall Street if only given the chance, he purchased for
him a seat on the Stock Exchange. Two years later, as a result of
certain stock jobbing operations, not entirely free from scandal, he was
temporarily suspended from the floor, and later forced to sell his seat
to satisfy clamoring creditors who threatened to put him in jail. But
thanks to the good John's liberal allowance, he was still able to put on
a respectable front and thus for years he merely drifted, at heart a
crook, but living the life of a gentleman of leisure, awaiting patiently
the day when he would come into "his own."

The coming inheritance had thus gradually grown to be an obsession.
Night and day it occupied his thoughts. He could think and talk of
nothing else. His associates mockingly called him "Inheritance Jim."
For twenty-five long years he waited for his brother to die, and when,
from time to time, John in his few and far-between letters casually
remarked that he was enjoying excellent health, he took the news almost
in the light of a personal injury.

The years went on. The other cousins, William and Henry had died, each
leaving a son. William's son, Peter Marsh, feeling within the spiritual
call, became a Presbyterian minister at Rahway, and taking to himself a
wife, succeeded in raising a numerous progeny on a very slender income.
Henry's son, Thomas Marsh, followed his father's trade as haberdasher
and barely managed to keep body and soul together. To these poor
relatives, also, the dollars of "uncle" John proved an irresistible
attraction. In order not to be forgotten, they wrote him affectionate
letters, none of which received as much as an acknowledgment. Towards
these impecunious cousins James Marsh assumed a patronizing, almost
friendly, attitude. On divers occasions when his financial affairs
became so critical that he had to negotiate a small loan without delay
he had found even their slender savings useful. In return for these
pecuniary services rendered he had not discouraged the hope which they
often expressed that "uncle" John would remember them in his will. To
serve his own ends he kept up the pleasant fiction that he was on the
best of terms with his brother and that he would gladly use his
influence in their interests.

As a matter of fact, nothing was further from the truth. He saw nothing
of John. As the brothers grew older they drifted further apart. Months,
years, passed without their seeing each other. When in urgent need of
funds James made flying trips to Pittsburg, he never saw his brother
anywhere but at his office. John never invited him to visit his home, a
lonely place situated some miles out in the suburbs. Practically, the
old man led the life of a recluse. At rare intervals he would write to
his brother James, enclosing a cheque in answer to a begging letter, but
otherwise he discouraged all attempts at intimacy. The old gentleman
kept entirely to himself, growing more reserved and secretive about his
affairs as the years passed. He saw absolutely no one and of recent
years had spent six months out of the twelve in Europe. He might have
been dead long ago for all that was seen of him.

But Jimmy did not worry. John's will was made, that he knew. Bascom
Cooley, his own friend and lawyer, had drawn it up and witnessed its
execution. He had it secure in his possession. If anything happened he
would be informed of it at once. So there was nothing to worry about.
All he had to do was to wait.

Meantime Jimmy, feeling the need of a companion, took to himself a wife.
The lady was the widow of a man named Chase, who had held high position
in one of the big insurance companies. The public investigations came
with their awkward disclosures, and Mr. Chase, unable to face the
limelight of publicity, conveniently succumbed to heart failure, leaving
to his relict a few thousand dollars and the responsibility of looking
after an eighteen-year-old son--a slangy, flippantly inclined youth
rejoicing in the euphonious name of Todhunter, but whom everyone, his
cronies and creditors both, knew as "Tod." Mrs. Chase, a stout,
vulgar-looking woman, with hair startlingly yellow and teeth obviously
false, met Mr. James Marsh at a dinner one night, and when, between
courses, the inevitable inheritance yarn was detailed to her by an
obliging neighbor, it at once flashed upon the widow that here was a man
whose acquaintance it might be worth her while to cultivate. She had
still a little money left out of the wreck of the defunct Chase's
estate, and this immediate cash asset, she shrewdly reflected, might
prove attractive to a man known to live up to every cent of his income,
but whose "prospects" were simply dazzling. That he had no money of his
own was no serious obstacle. Under the circumstances they could afford
to dip into her principal, and by the time that was exhausted, the event
which they both so devoutly desired could not fail to have happened.

The golden bait, thus adroitly hooked, soon caught the fish, and for the
next year or two Mr. James Marsh had all the ready cash he needed. At
the suggestion of the widow, who naturally was anxious to see in the
flesh the mysterious brother on whose state of health so much depended,
John was cordially invited to attend the wedding which was solemnized
with much pomp at a fashionable Fifth Avenue Church. The wedding day
came but no John. Not even by as much as a card did he extend his
congratulations to the happy couple. The only members of the Marsh
family present were Peter, the Presbyterian minister and his wife, from
Rahway, and Thomas Marsh, the haberdasher and his wife, from Newark,
while the genial Tod, a broad grin on his face, stood up for his mother.

The newly married pair took a showy house in West Seventy-second Street,
and while the money lasted they lived in magnificent style. When it was
gone they lived no less luxuriously, thanks to the unwilling
coöperation of overconfident tradespeople. Mrs. Marsh felt that she
could not get along without her motor car, her butler, and half a dozen
useless maid servants. It cost money to entertain so lavishly and
creditors were pressing, but her bridge parties could not be interfered
with for such a trifling reason. At the pace they lived the few thousand
dollars were soon exhausted, yet no matter. Even if the butcher, the
baker, or the domestic servants were kept waiting for their money, the
social prestige of the Marshes must be maintained.

It was far from being smooth sailing. Jimmy's wits were taxed to the
utmost to ward off creditors who grew more and more importunate in their
demands. One day while he was down town trying to raise a loan, Mrs.
Marsh was subjected to such a mortifying and humiliating experience that
she feared she would never rally from the nervous shock it caused her.
It was her regular day at home, and Henry, the butler, stiff in gold
embroidered livery, was busy at the front door ushering in carriage
arrivals. As already hinted, his mistress was long in arrears with her
tradespeople, and being ever apprehensive of a court summons, she had
given Henry implicit instructions to carefully scrutinize all comers and
slam the heavy door in their faces on the slightest suspicion that the
visitors were not all they appeared to be. Having served the best
families for nearly thirty years, Henry was in a position to assure his
employer that he was more than a match for the wiliest lawyer. Nor had
he overestimated his powers. Loudest among the clamoring creditors was
the milkman. His bill was formidable, and every effort to collect it had
failed. He procured a summons, but it was found impossible to serve it.
Every trick known to the thick-soled sleuths of the sheriff's office was
thwarted by the vigilant and resourceful Henry.

The worthy milkman suddenly conceived a bright idea. Among his customers
was a young woman lawyer to whom he spoke about the matter. Properly
indignant at the treatment to which he had been subjected she offered to
help him. She was a novice at serving summonses, but possessed plenty of
the quality so necessary in the courts known as "nerve." This modern
Portia, after a preliminary survey of the premises which she was to take
by storm, quickly determined upon a plan of action. Learning in the
neighborhood that Mrs. Marsh was "at home" to her friends every Thursday
afternoon, she decided to be one of the guests. Dressing herself in her
best finery she took a hansom cab and drove to West Seventy-second
Street, arriving at the Marsh residence simultaneously with a venerable
old lady whom she politely assisted with her wraps. The old dame had no
recollection of having seen the young woman before, but distrusting her
own bad memory, concluded that she was one of Mrs. Marsh's younger
friends whom she had forgotten, and thanked her profusely for her kind
attentions. The two women approached the front door together. To the
hawk-eyed butler, always on the alert, the young woman was a stranger,
and, under ordinary circumstances, his suspicions might have been
aroused, but seeing her chatting in the most cordial way with one of his
mistress's oldest friends, he felt that any questioning on his part
would be resented as unwarranted impertinence. Bowing low, therefore, he
ushered the two ladies up the thickly carpeted stairs into the
beautifully decorated reception rooms, which were already crowded with
smartly dressed women. In the centre stood the amiable hostess, the
conventional smile of welcome on her face, exchanging greetings with
each arrival. When the new visitors were announced everyone turned, and
Mrs. Marsh pranced amiably forward. Her venerable old friend she
welcomed effusively, and then her eyes fell inquiringly on the stranger.
The smile disappeared, a shadow darkened her face. Instinct told her
something was wrong. Approaching the young woman she said with asperity:

"I haven't the pleasure----"

"You're Mrs. Marsh, I believe," smiled the lawyer.

"Yes," stammered the other, "I'm Mrs. Marsh, but I haven't the

"Quite so," replied the young woman coolly. Quickly drawing a long,
ominous-looking folded paper from her dress, she said archly and

"This is for you, Mrs. Marsh. I regret to serve a summons in this way,
but your milkman has waited a long time, and all's fair in love and

The people standing about tittered, and there was an embarrassing
silence. Mrs. Marsh, at first, wished the floor would open and swallow
her up. Then her eyes flashed with fury. Waving the unwelcome visitor
back out of reach of her guests' ears, she almost shouted:

"Get out of here, hussy! How dare you steal into anyone's house in this
contemptible way? Out with you before I forget myself!"

The astonished and crestfallen butler opened wide the door, not daring
to meet his irate mistress' eye, and the woman lawyer hastened back to
her client to report success.

Under the circumstances it was not surprising that this particular
Thursday did not count among Mrs. Marsh's successful "At Homes." There
was a chill in the air which everyone remarked, and one by one the
visitors departed, each impatient to retail the good story elsewhere.

It was some time before Mrs. Marsh got over the shock, and from this
time on her troubles seemed to multiply. They came thick and fast. Even
Tod worried her. Tired of his fast companions, menaced with a
curtailment of the financial supplies which had made his idle life
possible, and hopeless under present home conditions of ever making a
decent career for himself, her son rebelled and suddenly startled his
mother by announcing his determination to go to work. He had been
offered the agency of an automobile firm, the engagement including also
a preliminary trip to Europe to negotiate for the representation of some
foreign cars. There was no need to hesitate over such an offer as that.
He was off to gay Paree! A week later he sailed, leaving his mother and
stepfather to weather the financial storm as best they could.

Matters did not mend after his departure. Creditors became more
insistent, subpoenas more numerous. Then one day, like a bolt from the
blue, came the final catastrophe which sent the whole Marsh edifice
tumbling like a house of cards. Something unexpectedly happened in Wall
Street. Caught in a bad squeeze of the "shorts," involved in another
shady transaction of a nature still more serious than the last scandal,
Jimmy staggered home one night with ruin and worse staring him in the
face. This time there was no way out possible. He could not raise a
dollar, and Bascom Cooley, his lawyer and crony, the only man whose
skill and influence could save him, was absent in Europe. It was the end
of everything. He must either resign himself to prison stripes or blow
his brains out.

Affairs had reached this crisis in the Marsh household when late one
evening a messenger boy brought to West Seventy-second Street the
following cablegram:

     "New York office notifies me Richard Marsh died suddenly in
     Pittsburg yesterday. Am returning on the next steamer.



"No--no, my boy--this is on me!" protested Mr. Cooley, drawing a wad of
money from his vest pocket and carelessly tossing a hundred-franc note
across the counter.

While the cockney bartender of the English Tavern in the Champs Elysées
counted out the change, Tod, with an unsteady hand, raised to his lips
the glass of foaming, sparkling _Clicquot_.

"Here's to Uncle Dick--bless him!"

"Amen!" responded Mr. Cooley fervently.

The regular frequenters of the place, jockeys, bookmakers, racing touts,
and other persons of dubious appearance and pursuits who make up that
queer riffraff of British sporting characters always found drifting
about the French metropolis, either flush after recent winnings at
Longchamps or out at elbow from an extraordinary run of ill luck--all
these worthies nudged each other and grinned as they watched the two
Americans. There was no doubt in everyone's mind as to the nationality
of the strangers. Only Yankees could afford the luxury of opening
"fizz" so early in the day. What the onlookers did not know, of course,
was that an event of exceptional importance had brought the two
Americans together on this particular morning and that Tod Chase and
Bascom Cooley, the well-known New York lawyer, were celebrating an
auspicious event by "setting 'em up." Otherwise there would be little
excuse for loitering in the small, stuffy barroom, with its pungent odor
of stale beer and atmosphere thick with tobacco smoke, when the call of
the beautiful world without was so strong.

It was a glorious Spring morning, one of those perfect days when Paris,
decked in her loveliest raiment, is seen at her best. Under the shade of
the fine oak trees lining the entire length of the noble avenue were
dozens of buxom _nou-nous_, attractive in their neat caps and long
streamer ribbons. They sat knitting and gossiping while their daintily
dressed charges, happy and healthy, romped noisily in the bright
sunshine. Out in the broad, immaculately clean roadway, a heavy
three-horse omnibus _Porte Maillot-Hôtel de Ville_ creaked its way up to
the Place de l'Etoile.

Todhunter Chase was not a bad-looking boy. There was something about him
which at once attracted the stranger. Small hours and cold bottles had
spoiled his complexion somewhat, and the vernacular and usages of the
Tenderloin had not improved his speech and manners. But people
overlooked his foibles because of his intense good nature. Nothing could
down that. Always smiling, always jolly, ever ready to go out of his way
to oblige a friend, it was little wonder that he was popular. His
features were well cut and his athletic, well-knit figure was well
groomed. With his frank, engaging personality and more than average
intelligence, there was no career in which he might not have done
himself credit. But unfortunately for Tod, he was afflicted with
matritis. In other words, his mother was solely to blame for his having
reached the age of twenty-five without earning as much as the price of a
celluloid collar button. Selfish and short sighted, as are many mothers
with growing sons, the then Mrs. Chase had preferred to have her boy
dangling at her skirts rather than see him prepare himself seriously to
battle with the world. After leaving college without honors, he made a
half-hearted effort to get something to do. He tried a dozen things and
succeeded in none. Utterly unable to concentrate on any one thing he
failed miserably in everything. Office routine he found irksome;
discipline intolerable. So, for several years he just drifted, leading a
lazy, irresponsible life that soon rendered him unfit for anything,
more than gambling or carousing with his cronies. As he grew older he
acquired more sense, but then it was too late. His mother at times
worried about it, but more often took it philosophically. As long as the
money held out, there was enough for her boy. There was plenty of time
to think of his future. Tod was so popular that he would be sure to
marry well. He would get some rich girl whose father would take him in
as partner. Then he would find a position in life ready made. There was
no hurry. Besides, would they not be rich themselves one day? Thus had
Tod's career, also, been marred in a measure by the same dazzling
"prospects" which had ruined his stepfather!

He was weak and he had been foolish, yet at heart Tod was not a bad
sort. A little wild, perhaps, as are most boys of his age and
opportunities, but by no means a fool. Anyone who took him for lacking
in gray matter would make a serious mistake. His moral sense was blunted
and his environments were bad--that was all. The fundamentals were good
and when a man's fundamentals are good his case is never quite hopeless.

Always in buoyant spirits, to-day Tod felt especially jubilant. Things
certainly seemed to have changed for the better. He had been in Paris
only two weeks, and he had already secured the American agency of two of
the most important French automobile makers, and on top of this
unlooked-for success had come the surprising news from home that John
Marsh was dead at last. The event so long waited for had actually
happened. Too much good fortune is bad for anyone, and for the last few
hours Tod had been celebrating not wisely, but too well. His face was
flushed and his speech thick as he went on:

"The old gentleman must have been a decent sort to cash in just now. It
couldn't have come at a better moment. Things at home were getting
pretty queer. Jimmy will be simply tickled to death!"

His companion, a big, heavily built, coarse-looking man, considerably
his senior in years, pursed his lips and nodded.

"I guess you're not sorry," he said dryly.

"Hang it! Cooley, why should I care?" cried Tod explosively. "He was
nothing to me. I never even saw him. Yet--do you know--I sometimes felt
a sneaking respect for the old man for the delicious way he snubbed
Jimmy. No doubt he was disgusted with him long ago. You know he wouldn't
see him or have anything to do with him. I guess he knew him better than
any of us. Jimmy's the limit--there's no doubt of that. I'm no saint
myself, but I know when to stop. The mater must have been wuzzy when she
married him. She's had a peck of trouble with him--you've no idea! Of
course this windfall puts everything right. I'd have given a couple of
hundred to have seen Jimmy's face when he opened your cable."

Mr. Cooley smiled grimly.

"Yes--I guess he didn't sleep much that night. He's waited long enough."

"Waited!" ejaculated the other. "Why, he has thought of nothing
else--sleeping or waking. If anything should happen to rob him of that
inheritance I think it would kill him."

"Ain't much chance of that," replied the lawyer, puffing out his chest.
"I drew up the will. When Bascom Cooley attends to a thing, it's likely
to be for keeps. The will was witnessed and executed right in my
presence, so there isn't any question about it. The will is now in our
safe-deposit vaults. That is why I must go back immediately. Nothing can
be done until I return. By the time I reach New York, the funeral will
be over. Then we can read the will."

Bascom Cooley, who for many years had looked after the late John Marsh's
interests, and to-day was one of Jimmy Marsh's closest cronies, was one
of the most widely known criminal lawyers in the United States. His
reputation was not of the best, but he was prosperous and the world
forgives much to the successful man. Shrewd, utterly unprincipled, all
kinds of questionable yet profitable legal business came his way, and
thanks to a brilliant talent, and a domineering, blustering manner which
intimidated judge and jury alike, he usually contrived to score a
victory for his client. It is true that only the guilty went to him. Law
breakers knew that if Bascom Cooley could not help them escape the
consequences of their misdeeds no one else could. He was known to be a
crooked lawyer. Corrupt practices, flagrant dishonesty, shameless
perjury of which he had been guilty had often been hinted at, yet none
dare attack him openly. His mysterious influence with the big political
leaders made him a man to be feared. It was Cooley's boast that the law
could not touch him. When it was seen that by the powerful influence
behind him he could break policemen, smother indictments, muzzle the
authorities, and make and unmake judges at will, the public began to
believe him.

He was born in New York City, of Irish parents. His father was a
policeman who, thanks to political pull, was able to reach a captaincy.
His salary and perquisites enabled him to give his son a better
education than he himself had received, and when it came to the choosing
of a career, Bascom decided on law. He was admitted to the Bar and began
practice in the ninth ward where he had the advantage of his father's
influence. A chip of the old block, he realized early in life the power
of money. He resolved to be successful, no matter by what means, and
with this determination constantly in mind it is not surprising that he
soon became involved in all kinds of shady schemes, all looking to the
fattening of his bank roll. In a single notorious real-estate deal--the
purchase of land for the purpose of a public park--he robbed the city of
nearly $250,000. That is to say, it was shown that the price the city
was compelled to pay for the land was exactly $250,000 more than it was
worth. Not that he himself got all the money. He did not expect that.
More than half of the spoils in the gigantic, bare-faced steal, went to
the men higher up, to those in the inner ring of boodle politicians, a
shameless coterie of rascals who at once brought to bear all the power
of the System to shield Bascom Cooley from prosecution and themselves
from exposure and disgrace. Laughing at threats of disbarment, snapping
his fingers at the hue and cry in the newspapers, Mr. Cooley went his
way, stealing, perjuring himself, openly defying public opinion.

The news of John Marsh's death was most welcome to Mr. Cooley. He was
taking a vacation in Europe and enjoying the sights of Paris when his
New York office notified him of what had occurred, and he cabled that he
would return at once. For a long time the wily attorney had had his eye
on the Marsh millions. Otherwise, how explain his close friendship for
Jimmy Marsh? Such a poor, weak fool could have nothing in common with
the famous lawyer whose brain teemed only with big schemes. If he
tolerated Jimmy, and dined and wined him and got him elected at his club
when no other club would admit him, it was with a purpose distinctly
Machiavellian in view. When Jimmy's financial affairs reached an acute
crisis it was always Mr. Cooley who obligingly bridged the chasm. Jimmy,
as already hinted, had borrowed freely on his prospects. Cooley was
nearly always the lender. Now the time had come to settle, and Mr.
Cooley promised himself not only to get back his own, plus interest, but
a substantial bonus besides. He knew a few things about Jimmy
Marsh--things Jimmy would rather not have the world, and especially the
yellow newspapers, know. And no doubt Jimmy would pay up like a man.
The money had come at a most convenient time. He had some big deals on
hand and needed cash badly. Things could not have turned out better. He
would go back at once and get in touch with things. It was while he was
hurrying from his hotel to go and secure his passage home by the first
steamer that he stumbled across Tod, who cheerfully accepted his
invitation to drink to the health of the inheritance.

Tod, who had been silent for a few minutes, apparently lost in thought,
suddenly blurted out:

"What gets me is that the old man left Jimmy any money at all! They
never saw each other. The old man utterly disapproved of his brother's
way of living, and had nothing to do with him."

"There was no one else to whom he could leave it--that's why," replied
the lawyer. "John Marsh," he went on, "was a peculiar man. He was
distant and reserved, I might say secretive--even with me, his legal
adviser. No one knew the real workings of his mind. I drew up his will
according to a rough draft, written by him."

"When was that?"

"Twenty-five years ago."

Tod gave vent to an expressive whistle.

"So Jimmy has been waiting twenty-five years?"

"Yes," said the lawyer, "twenty-five years--the average span of human

"Suppose he has made another will since? Did Jimmy ever think of that?"

Mr. Cooley shrugged his shoulders.

"No--no danger of that. Why should he? If he had, wouldn't I know of it?
I have always remained on the best of terms with the old gentleman. I
have attended to other legal business for him, so if he did change his
mind in regard to the disposition of his estate, why wouldn't he come to
me? No, I don't think so. He kept aloof from his brother, but it's no
more than he did from anyone else. The man was eccentric--peculiar--you
must let it go at that."

"What was the old beggar worth? Have you any idea?"

"Twenty years ago he was several times a millionaire. What he has done
with the money, how he has invested it, I can't say. But he was no
spendthrift. There'll be enough to go round, I promise you that."
Draining his glass, he added: "I suppose you'll give up this automobile
business now, and go back and do some fancy figure skating on Broadway.
There's more fun in that, eh?"

Tod shook his head.

"No--Cooley--you're wrong. Like everyone else, you think I'm crazy for
money. But I'm not--honest to God! I've had my fling and I'm through.
I'm sick of Broadway, its rotten men and painted women. I'm sick of that
idle, stupid existence which stifles every decent impulse a fellow may
have. It's always the same, the same crowd, the same drinks and stunts,
the same old headache the next morning. I tell you I'm through with that
sort of life. I believe I was intended for something better, and, by
God, I'm going to make the effort! These last two weeks I've actually
respected myself because I've succeeded in making my board bill. Let
Jimmy and mater enjoy the money. I want none of it. I tell you I'm going
to win out by myself. You see if I don't! Here--have another drink!"

The lawyer laughed. This kind of talk from Tod was something entirely
new. He wondered how much the champagne was responsible for it.

"Shall you go back to New York?" he asked.

"Oh, I suppose so," replied Tod carelessly. "I ought to go on general
principles. I only came here on a brief visit."

"I sail to-morrow on the _Adriatic_," said the lawyer. "Come with me."

The young man shook his head.

"That's out of the question. I still have some business to attend to. I
may go Saturday on the _Touraine_."

"Oh, then you'll be right behind me. I'll let them know you're on the
way home."

"Tell Jimmy not to have all the money spent before I get there," grinned

The lawyer made a move towards the door.

"Well-- I must be off. It's late, and I've a lot to attend to. I have to
go to the Palais-Royal first. Are you going my way?"

A moment later they were on the avenue hailing a cab. The _cocher_,
aroused by the promise of an extra _pourboire_, drove off briskly in the
direction of the Rue de Rivoli, and soon they were rolling smoothly
along that street of wonderful arcades. Passing the gilded gates of the
Tuileries gardens they soon came abreast of the Louvre. Tod glanced up
at the gloomy, time-discolored walls.

"That's one place I must take in before I leave Paris. Not that I know
one picture from another. Ever been there?"

Mr. Cooley gave a snort of disapproval.

"Naw," he grunted. "I've no time to spend in sepulchres. I prefer the
Bal Tabarin myself."


Among the extraordinary attractions which makes Paris the show place of
Europe, the historic Palace of the Louvre possesses, curiously enough,
the least drawing power of any. Its popularity, from the tourist
viewpoint, at least, certainly falls far short of that enjoyed by the
Moulin Rouge. In other words, the Louvre, vast repository as it is of
the art wealth of the world, would seem to contain little attraction for
the multitude. The annual picture expositions in the Champs Elysées are
always crowded to suffocation, especially on free days, showing that the
common people are not wholly indifferent to art, but for some reason
which has never been satisfactorily explained, the celebrated museum,
the one-time residence of the Kings of France, with all its historic
memories, its priceless pictures and endless rooms filled with
sculptures and antiquities is treated with indifference and neglect. The
_blasé_ Parisian takes no interest in it, because it is at his very
door. If he loves pictures, he prefers the annual _Salon_ where he
regales on the latest conceptions of the various modern schools. To
him, the Louvre belongs to the past, in common with the Sorbonne, the
Pantheon, Notre Dame, and other public monuments which constitute the
city's pride.

To-day the Louvre recruits its visitors chiefly from provincial folk and
foreigners. Cook's tourists, open-mouthed, heavy-booted, and breathless,
rush headlong through the rooms, their feet resounding noisily on the
highly polished parquet floors, slippery as ice and shining like
mirrors, rudely disturbing the almost religious silence of the deserted
galleries. Like a flock of stupid sheep driven by a hoarse-voiced
shepherd who acts as official guide, they stumble from room to room,
following the long, puzzling labyrinth of corridors, understanding
nothing of the stereotyped explanations shouted at them, merely glancing
at and quite indifferent to, the art wealth of the centuries which looks
disdainfully down upon them from every side. Attendants in uniform, a
cocked hat worn jauntily over their left ear, an expression of utter
weariness on their stolid, soldier-like faces, walk listlessly up and
down with measured tread, secretly despising these foreign barbarians
who display so little interest in the great masters, watching with
eagle eye that one of the vandals does not stick his umbrella through a
priceless Rembrandt or Correggio.

Here and there, secluded in distant corners, sitting or standing near
favorite pictures, which they have come to love as though they were
their own, are the true art lovers, the copyists, who spend weeks,
months, sometimes years in futile attempts to transfer to modern canvas
the wonderful transparent coloring of a Tintoretto, a da Vinci or a
Raphael. They are of both sexes. Some are old and others are young. One
is a venerable old man, with long, snow-white hair and patriarchal
beard, who for half a century has earned a scant living copying the
masters. Others are neatly dressed, slim-looking girls--art students of
all nations--timidly trying to reproduce works whose fame has rung
around the world. Monday is the copyists' favorite day, for then the
great Museum is closed to the general public, and by special permission
the artists have the huge palace and its precious contents all to
themselves. They are not annoyed by the crowding and rude staring of
thoughtless strangers. Bent over their easels, they are alone in the
great palace, amid silence as heavy and impressive as that in a church.

Perched on top of a high stool, her fingers skillfully, yet delicately
plying the brush, a young woman sat copying one of Raphael's Madonnas.
The picture showed the Virgin, radiant and beatified, holding the chubby
Infant Jesus, while Joseph, slightly in the background, looks benignly
on. The coloring in the original was wonderful. The transparent blue of
Mary's gown, the living flesh tints of both mother and Child were
well-nigh unattainable with modern pigments, and the young artist,
descending from the stool to get a better perspective, made a gesture of
discouragement as she realized how far her own work fell short.

She was a tall, striking-looking brunette with large dark eyes and
classic features crowned by a mass of black hair, carelessly yet not
unbecomingly arranged. Her girlish, slender figure suggested youth,
while the delicate features and a broad intellectual forehead indicated
refinement and more than average intelligence. Dressed in deep mourning,
the sombre garments emphasized still more sharply the extreme pallor of
her face. Her eyes were red as if from recent weeping. Just now,
however, her thoughts were concentrated on the important work on hand,
and so engrossed was she in her painting that she did not hear a man's
approaching footsteps. He was close up to her before she was aware of
his proximity.

"Well, Paula," he called out in stentorian tones, "how is it going?"

Startled, the young girl turned quickly. When she saw who it was, her
face broke into a smile.

"Oh, Mr. Ricaby, how you frightened me! I did not hear you coming. These
galleries are so lonely that even one's friends scare one." Pointing to
the canvas resting on the easel in front of her, she exclaimed
gleefully: "See how hard I've been working!"

The newcomer, a smooth-faced man of forty with whitening hair and kind
gray eyes, smiled indulgently as he silently noted the morning's
progress. Yet his attention was not given exclusively to the picture. By
the glance he gave the canvas and the way he looked at the artist, a
keen observer might have guessed which he admired most. That he was in
love with the girl was plain enough on the circumstantial evidence
alone, nor was it less clear that either she was ignorant of his
feelings, or did not care. True, he was old enough to be her father. To
her, he was a good friend, nothing more. Long ago he had realized this,
and the love words on his lips had always died away before they were
spoken. He suffered in silence. When a man of forty loves for the first
time--it hurts.

Leon Ricaby was intended for the church. His personality as well as his
training made that his natural vocation. His pale, ascetic-looking face,
with its spiritual, thoughtful expression gave him an appearance quite
clerical, while his rich and resonant voice, and grave, deliberate
enunciation constantly suggested pulpit eloquence. Even as a boy he was
serious and studious, and as he approached manhood his mind became
filled with noble ideas regarding the uplifting of mankind. He became an
idealist, and, not content with mere words, carried his theories into
the New York slums, doing more than his share in the work of rescuing
the degraded and unfortunate. He felt within a call to the ministry,
and, on taking holy orders, had entered upon his duties with all the
impassioned fervor of a zealot. To established dogmas he paid little
heed. Christ was his Church. He tried to model his own life after that
of the humble Nazarene. But he soon realized the impossibility of
leading a consistent Christ-like life amid twentieth-century conditions.
He found no trace of Christ anywhere. Within the Church itself there was
not only an unholy traffic in preferments, but he found his fellow
clergy, curates, rectors, bishops at war among themselves, self-seeking,
greedy for power and money. The men and women in his congregations were
envious, selfish, malicious, hypocritical. It made him sick at heart,
and when he found that he could no longer reconcile the inconsistencies
of spiritual truths to his intellectual point of view, he left the
Church and took up the study of law. Admitted to the Bar, he began to
practice in New York, but only with indifferent success. In this career,
also, his conscience proved a stumbling block. He soon discovered that
men employed him not to teach them how to obey the law, but how to evade
it. Again he rebelled. He refused cases that did violence to his
principles no matter how profitable they might be. He declined to defend
law breakers whom he knew to be guilty. Those persons of whose innocence
he was assured, he would defend with all the energy and skill at his
command, giving his services gratuitously to those who could not afford
to pay, and in the court-room his outbursts of eloquence seldom failed
to convince the jury. Thus for years he plodded on according to his
conscience. He was not rich. Such rare triumphs as he scored in the
courts could not make him wealthy. A long spell of hard work had caused
a breakdown in his health, and on his physician's advice he had taken a
trip to Europe. In Paris he had run across Paula Marsh whose
acquaintance he had made in America.

He had first met her when she was doing Settlement work in New York's
Ghetto. A consistent altruist, even after he began to practice law, he
did not lose his interest in the splendid organizations which seek to
improve the conditions of the poor. He found Paula the leader of a group
of ardent young women--all girls of easy circumstances, yet willing to
forego social pleasures, and spend their days in congested districts,
visiting filthy tenements reeking with disease-laden air, in order to
alleviate human suffering and bring a ray of comfort to unfortunates who
had almost abandoned hope. This, mused the lawyer, was true
Christianity. He found that Paula had convictions and ideas which were
in sympathy with his own views and this naturally drew them together. As
the intimacy grew Leon Ricaby began to nourish in his heart the hope
that one day he could make Paula his wife, but the wish thus far, at
least, had found no response in his companion. She enjoyed the society
of this man who had struggled and suffered, whose ideals had been
shattered. She admired him for his moral courage in living up to his
principles, but that he expected she might ever be more to him than a
friend had never for an instant entered her thoughts. A good friend he
certainly had been. When her mother died he alone consoled her in her
sorrow, and now that this new crisis had arisen in her life--the sudden
death of her father, necessitating her immediate return to America--he
stood ready to assist her again with his advice and protection.

"Well--where have you been all morning?" she asked lightly.

"Running all over Paris," he answered. "I've seen the house agent and
arranged for the cancellation of the lease of your apartment. I've been
to the steamship office and booked our passages. We sail on the
_Touraine_ next Saturday."

Paula dropped her palette and looked up in consternation.

"Next Saturday--the day after to-morrow?" she exclaimed. "It's
impossible! It will take another fortnight to finish this picture."

Mr. Ricaby shook his head.

"Then the picture must remain unfinished," he said impatiently. "We must
sail Saturday." Changing his tone, he went on almost coaxingly: "Surely,
Paula, you realize what is at stake! There is no time to be lost. The
cable announcing your father's death reached you five days ago.
According to his instructions the old will was not to be opened until
three weeks after his demise. That will give us just time to reach New
York before the old will is offered for probate. Don't you see the
danger of delay? A large fortune awaits you. If you don't go to America
and claim it, you may lose it all. Can't you be ready?"

The girl's pale face flushed with anger. Hotly she said:

"I can't go until my work is done. You lawyers are all alike--only the
material, sordid things of life have any weight with you. I think more
of my work than of all the money in the world--you know that. Why must I
go to America? To be compelled to meet and be pleasant to relatives who
at this moment are unaware of my very existence, and who will have every
reason to detest me and consider me an interloper. I hate America. What
has America ever done for me? It robbed me all these years of a father
who, had he seen more of his only child, might have learned to love me.
Its severe climate killed my mother, and, when she went, I was
alone--without even a friend."

"Have you forgotten me?" he interrupted quietly.

Quick to remark the note of reproach in his voice, she held out her

"Forgive me," she murmured. "It is most ungrateful of me to talk like
that. Yes--you are indeed my friend. I shall never be able to repay all
that you have done for me. Forgive me. This sudden terrible news from
America has unnerved me. I'm all unstrung. Don't mind what I say. I'll
go to New York if you think it necessary, but my work--what of my work?"

"Your work?" he echoed gravely. "Haven't you other work left undone in
New York? Work more important than that you are now doing?"

"What work?"

"Your Settlement work--have you forgotten those poor people in the slums
who each day looked forward to your coming as if you were an angel sent
from Heaven to dry their tears and bid them not despair? Has it not
occurred to you during these past few days what God might wish you to do
with the large fortune your father has left you? You are so different to
most women. You are not vain, selfish, preoccupied only with foolish,
trivial pleasures. At least I think you are not. I like to imagine that
you are one of those noble women who would not hesitate to devote her
life, her fortune, to the cause of suffering humanity. Think what good
you might do with your inheritance. Paula--surely you realize that this
is the opportunity of your life!"

He spoke eloquently, pleadingly, his resonant voice resounding rich and
mellow through the empty corridors. As the girl listened, her face grew
thoughtful. She clasped and unclasped her hands nervously. Her large,
luminous eyes shone with a new light. Rapidly, spasmodically, with
growing exaltation, she replied:

"Yes--yes--you are right. I had not thought of that. My work is
there--not here. We will go at once--at once. I'll start packing

Mr. Ricaby smiled.

"That's the way to talk," he said cheerily. "You see I knew you better
than you knew yourself. Of course, it won't be altogether plane sailing.
You must be prepared for----"

He hesitated.

"Prepared for what?" she demanded, looking at him curiously.

"Well, you see, you'll have to meet your relatives, and, as they are
totally ignorant of your very existence, your sudden appearance will be
a shock to them, especially to your Uncle James who, during all these
years, has come to look upon the money as his own."

"Poor Uncle James!" she murmured. "I'm so sorry."

"Don't waste any sympathy on him. He isn't worth it," smiled the lawyer.
"Your uncle, I'm sorry to say, does not enjoy a very good reputation in
New York. His brother knew his character and would have nothing to do
with him. Your father kept his marriage a secret from him and rather
than destroy the old will, in which he had left James everything, he
made a new one leaving everything to you."

Paula turned away in order to hide the tears that filled her eyes.

"Poor father," she murmured. "I would rather have had his love than his

A lump rose in the lawyer's throat, and, the better to conceal his
feelings, he suddenly became interested in the surrounding paintings.
His heart went out to this orphaned girl. Practically she stood alone in
the world to fight her battles. He realized the probability of the later
will being fiercely contested. He thought with forebodings of the
impending and long drawn-out legal battle, of all the insults that the
disappointed James Marsh and his family would heap upon this defenceless
girl--their hints of illegitimacy and other unscrupulous methods of
attack, all of which would distress and humiliate a delicate and
sensitive girl. If she knew what was in store for her, perhaps she would
hesitate. But she would not fight the battle alone as long as he was
able to champion her cause. He would see that her rights were fully

Taking up her palette and brushes Paula went on with her painting.
Quietly she said:

"Very well, Mr. Ricaby. You know best. We will sail on Saturday."

"That's a sensible girl! I came to take you to luncheon. It's just
twelve o'clock. Can you come?"

She pointed at the canvas.

"I have still a little to finish. Then I'm done for the day. I can't
work in the afternoon--the light is not good. Couldn't you make it half
an hour later?"

"Certainly. That will give me time to go to the American Express office.
I must see them about shipping your baggage. I'll come back for you in
half an hour."

He lifted his hat and went away.


The sound of the lawyer's retreating footsteps died away in the
distance. Once more a heavy stillness settled down over the gallery.
Left to herself, the young girl resumed working with increased vigor. As
her brushes moved rapidly, touching places here and there, now seeking
fresh color on the palette, now making some spot on the rapidly
progressing canvas glow with rich tints, her movements gradually grew
more or less mechanical. While her hand kept busy, her thoughts were

She was sorry to leave Paris. Much that she held dear, her friends, the
bohemian student life which she loved, she must now give up forever. A
new world, new acquaintances claimed her. Yes, Mr. Ricaby was right. It
was her duty to go back and do good with the fortune which fate had sent
her. She would seek happiness by making others happy. She would use the
money left by her father to alleviate the sufferings of the unfortunate.
She would build model tenements, endow hospitals and homes for orphaned
and crippled children. She would make that her life work. Her face
flushed with pleasure as she planned out all that she could do. Mr.
Ricaby should be her legal adviser. He would tell her how to invest her
fortune to best advantage, so she might do all the good possible. It
would reconcile her to leaving Paris if she could devote her life to
trying to solve the social problem.

Her thoughts reverted to her childhood days in America. She had a dim
recollection of living in a great gloomy house in the outskirts of an
ugly, smoky city. At night when she went to bed she could see in the
distance tall chimneys belching flame, terrifying tongues of flame that
reached almost to the sky. They lived very quietly and saw no one. Her
father, reserved and uncommunicative, discouraged callers, and her
mother, a French woman, not understanding the language very well, made
no acquaintances among her neighbors. Then she went to the convent
school where she was educated, and after that they moved to Paris and
made a long stay with relatives of her mother. On the return to America
they lived quietly for a time in New York, seeing absolutely no one, and
it was at this period that she became seriously interested in Settlement

She wondered why her father had always insisted on keeping his marriage
secret. It was not because he was ashamed of her mother, who came of a
distinguished family. He must have been fond of her in his
undemonstrative way, for he cried bitterly when she died. For some time
he seemed to find comfort in his daughter's companionship, but little by
little the man's eccentricities estranged them. Owing to his frequent
absences she saw less and less of him until, at last, she asked to be
allowed to return to Paris to study art. He readily acquiesced and
provided her with a comfortable allowance. To their friend, Leon Ricaby,
to whom he handed a long envelope, he had said in her hearing: "This,
Mr. Ricaby, contains my last will. I have named you as executor. I have
left everything to Paula. If anything happens to me, look after my
little girl. Another will, executed years ago, in my brother's favor, is
in existence. For reasons of my own I do not wish to destroy that will.
It would lead to explanations and unpleasantness I would rather avoid.
But this new will post-dates the old one. This is the only valid will."
That was only six months ago, and now he, too, was gone.

Thus absorbed in these reflections, Paula did not notice how dangerously
her stool tilted on the treacherous, highly polished parquet floor.
There was a little spot high up on the canvas which she wanted to
reach, so, slightly elevating herself, she leaned forward, palette in
one hand, brush extended in the other. Suddenly the stool slipped
backwards and she was thrown heavily against the easel which went
crashing to the ground, the picture, palette, paint box, and brushes
being hurled in all directions. It was all over before she had time to
cry out, and the next instant she found herself sitting unceremoniously
on the floor in the midst of all the débris.

"Gee! That was a tumble! Not hurt, are you?" exclaimed a man's voice in

Paula looked up in amazement. She had heard no footsteps and had no idea
that anyone was near. Standing looking down at her, his face trying to
suppress a grin, was a young man of about twenty-five. He was rather
loudly dressed in a check lounging suit and red tie, and as much by his
manner as by his clean-shaven face and clothes she took him for a fellow
countryman. "Just like an American's bad breeding to laugh at a woman's
misfortune," was her inward indignant comment.

Lifting his hat, he extended his hand to assist her to rise.

"Lucky I happened along, eh?" he grinned.

Paula carefully stretched out her arms to make sure that no bones were

"You didn't prevent my fall," she said ruefully.

"No," he laughed, "but it's given me an excuse to make the acquaintance
of a pretty girl."

She tried to look displeased and dignified, but the stranger's impudence
and breezy familiarity amused her. He was a clean-cut, rather
good-looking boy, and his laugh was not only contagious but positively
refreshing after Mr. Ricaby's depressing conversation and funereal

"How did you know that I understood English?" she inquired.

Pointing to a copy of _Galignani's Messenger_ in which her palette and
brushes had been wrapped, he said with a chuckle:

"I saw that--jumped at conclusions--that's all. I'd make good as a
Sherlock Holmes, eh, what? Besides, don't you suppose I can spot an
American girl when I see one?"

"I'm only half American," she answered, surprised to find herself
conversing so glibly with a perfect stranger. "My mother was French. My
father was an American."

Noticing that she spoke in the past tense and remarking her mourning
dress, he surmised that her parents were dead. She interested him, and
it was more sympathy than idle curiosity that prompted the query:

"Where do you live--New York?"

She shook her head.

"No, I live here, or, rather, have done so until quite recently. I'm
going to America next Saturday--to live there for good."

"Next Saturday!" he cried, in surprise. "Say, that's odd! I'm going on
the _Touraine_ myself!"

"The _Touraine_--yes--I think that's the name of the boat." Almost
apologetically she added: "You see I haven't travelled very much."
Looking at him more closely, she inquired:

"You are an American?"

He grinned, showing fine white teeth.

"I try to be. Greatest country on earth. My name's Todhunter
Chase--'Tod' for short you know. Everyone calls me Tod. It's hard to be
dignified with such a name, ain't it?"

Suddenly the girl caught sight of her painting which, hurled a dozen
paces away, was lying face down in the dust.

"Oh, my picture!" she exclaimed anxiously. "I do hope it's not damaged!"

She started forward to pick it up, but Tod, by a quick jump, got there
before her.

"No damage done!" he cried triumphantly. With a careless laugh he added:
"Anyhow, it's only a picture."

"Only a picture!" she exclaimed indignantly as she clasped the precious
canvas to her breast. "Don't you love what is your own? I've worked six
long months over it. I wouldn't have anything happen to it for anything
in the world. Don't you like pictures?"

He gave a broad grin as he answered:

"Pictures? I'm crazy for 'em--especially the kind engraved on a $500
U. S. Treasury note. I'm perfectly dippy over those."

"Dippy? What's that?" she asked, puzzled.

"Oh--you're not familiar with Broadway slang, are you? Well--'dippy' is
most expressive and up to date. It means that one's joy over a certain
thing is so keen that the mental faculties are put temporarily out of

She laughed heartily. He was certainly droll, this American. He made her
laugh and that in itself was a novel sensation. As she packed up her
things, she asked:

"What is your life work?"

"My what?" he gasped.

"Your work. What is your occupation?"

"Oh, you mean what I do for a living?" Puffing out his chest he went on
proudly: "I'm in the automobile business, and I'm a cracker jack at it,
too. Only been in it a month, but I guess I've made good all right."

She smiled at his unblushing self-conceit.

"Only been at it a month?" she echoed. "Why, what did you do before

The question seemed to embarrass him.

"Oh, I worked hard enough," he replied carelessly. "I got up at noon,
had breakfast, played golf or took a spin in the machine, ran in to the
club, dressed for dinner, ate, went to a show, back to clubs, played
poker till three A. M., back home. Same old thing week in, week out, all
through the season. Isn't that hard work?"

"Hard work--yes," she answered quietly. "I should think that very hard
work if I had to do it. But I don't think it is exactly the kind of work
a self-respecting man should do." Looking him straight in the face, she
added: "At least, not the kind of man I would care to know----"

Tod shuffled his feet as if ill at ease. Under the scrutiny of her calm
gaze he seemed to lose some of his self-assurance.

"You're dead right!" he stammered nervously. "But what can a fellow do?
When one's in a certain set, one has to live as everyone else does."
Summoning up courage, he demanded boldly: "If you lived in New York and
knew everybody, wouldn't you like to have a jolly good time?"

She shook her head.

"I should live as I want to live," she answered calmly. "My happiness
would consist in making others happy. If I were rich, I would go among
the poor and try to lighten the burdens of those less fortunate than I."

He laughed scornfully.

"Oh, you're one of those freak suffragettes--a socialist!"

She smiled as she replied:

"I am a Christian--a socialist if you will." There was an amused
expression on her face as she asked: "What do you know of socialism?"

"Oh, it's a lot of rot," he retorted. "We see 'em in New York--lazy,
wild-eyed guys with dirty faces and long hair, blowing off hot air on
Union Square, organizing strikes, throwing bombs, and raising Cain
generally. They're usually bums out of a job. As long as they've no
money they're rabid socialists; directly they make a little money, they
become capitalists. They're fakirs, all right!"

Paula shook her head. Gravely she said:

"I'm afraid you've got the wrong idea altogether. Socialism is
beautiful. It is the one thing that will save mankind from decadence
and gradual extinction. I am a socialist because I am a Christian.
Christ loved the poor and the lowly. I try to follow in His footsteps."

Tod looked at her in amazement. The kind of girls he was accustomed to
associate with talked quite differently. Unconsciously his manner grew
more respectful.

"So you're sailing on the _Touraine_! Say, isn't that a queer
coincidence? Awfully nice, though. I'll see you on board, won't I?
That'll be jolly." He stopped and hesitated. Then looking at her
sheepishly, he said with a grin: "Now, I've told you my name, may I know
yours? Rather informal introduction, what?"

Paula hesitated. Was it altogether proper to talk to a stranger in this
way? But he seemed such a nice, ingenuous young man. Surely there could
be no great harm in it. Before, however, she could reply, her ears
caught the sound of approaching footsteps, and at the same instant she
heard the big church clock outside striking the half hour. It was Mr.
Ricaby returning to take her to lunch. In another moment the lawyer
appeared. As he came up he stopped short, as if surprised to find her
conversing with a total stranger. Puzzled, he stared from one to the
other. Paula quickly explained:

"I had a little mishap. I fell from the stool and this gentleman very
kindly came to my assistance." Introducing the two men, she said: "Mr.
Leon Ricaby--Mr. Todhunter Chase."

Tod nodded and Mr. Ricaby bowed stiffly. Feeling that he was now in the
way, the younger man turned to go. Removing his hat, he asked again:

"Since we're to be fellow passengers on the _Touraine_, may I not have
the pleasure of knowing the name of the lady to whom I was able to be of
some assistance?"

Mr. Ricaby frowned disapproval, but Paula, now safely chaperoned,
hesitated no longer. Promptly she said:

"My name is Paula Marsh."

Tod could not suppress a start of surprise.

"Marsh!" he echoed. "By Jove! that's another odd coincidence! My
stepfather's name is Marsh--Mr. James Marsh, of West Seventy-second

It was now Mr. Ricaby's turn to be astonished.

"Then you are----?" he cried.

"I'm Tod Chase. My mother married Jimmy Marsh. I'm going back home to
take part in a family jollification. You know his brother just died,
and Jimmy has come in for a windfall."

Paula, who was busy packing her things, had not heard, but Mr. Ricaby
quickly gave the young man a significant nudge.

"Hush!" he said. "You're speaking of her father!"

Tod gave a gasp.

"Her father!" he exclaimed.

"Yes--her father," said the lawyer quietly. "John Marsh married her
mother--a Frenchwoman--twenty-two years ago. He kept the marriage

Tod gave vent to a low but expressive whistle.

"Then his money----?" he gasped.

"Goes to his daughter, of course," answered the lawyer, with studied

"But the will----" exclaimed the other. "The will which Bascom Cooley,
Jimmy's lawyer, has had in his possession all these years----?"

"Absolutely valueless," replied Mr. Ricaby coolly. "Before he died John
Marsh made a new will. I have it safe in my own keeping. We are going to
New York to offer it for probate."

This sudden and unexpected revelation was too much for Tod. Rendered
speechless, he just stared at the lawyer. Mr. Ricaby continued amiably:

"We sail Saturday. I understand that you are going on the same boat. I'm
very glad to have met you, Mr. Chase. It is likely that we shall see a
good deal of each other in New York. Miss Marsh and I are just going out
to get a bite of lunch. Won't you join us?"

The young man stammered his thanks.

"With pleasure--I----"

Paula went out with Mr. Ricaby close behind. As Tod followed he again
whistled to himself significantly:

"Well, I'm d----d! What will Jimmy say to this?"


The cablegram from Paris had effected a startling transformation in
Jimmy Marsh. He was a changed man. No longer the cringing, furtive-eyed
bankrupt, ever dodging his creditors, he arose masterfully to the new
situation created by the sudden turn in his fortunes. From the hopeless
depths of moral and financial ruin the news of his brother's death
suddenly raised him to the dollar-marked heights of social prestige and
great wealth. At last his long years of waiting were rewarded. John was
dead! He was the possessor of millions! All the sweets and power which
gold can buy were now his! It seemed too good to be true, and he pinched
himself to make sure that it was not all a dream. The excitement and
nervous strain proved more than he could bear. Locked in his own room he
laughed hysterically and wept aloud--tears of gratitude and joy. His
brother was dead! Now, for the first time he could begin to live. He was
only fifty. He might still enjoy twenty years more.

The news rushed through the town like a Kansas cyclone. It was the one
topic of conversation in clubs, brokers' offices, theatre lobbies,
barrooms, and hotel corridors. Jimmy Marsh a millionaire, a power in
Wall Street, a personage to be reckoned with! It sounded funny, yet
there it was. Men suddenly remembered that Jimmy was not such a bad sort
after all, and all day long Mrs. Marsh was kept busy at the telephone
answering calls from officious acquaintances who suddenly became very
friendly and interested.

Recognizing the propriety of not exhibiting too much joy in public and
having little sense of proportion, Jimmy went to the other extreme in
his anxiety to observe the conventions. He rushed into violent mourning,
and, not content with attiring himself and wife in sombre hue, even to
the ridiculous extent of having black borders on his handkerchiefs which
he used conspicuously on every possible occasion, he gave peremptory
orders that everyone in his household, his chauffeur, his footman, his
cook and maids should all be decked in crape. The blinds of the West
Seventy-second Street home were tightly drawn and the servants
instructed to walk on tiptoe and talk in whispers as in a house of
death. Pictures and statuary were covered with black drapery, and a
large oil-painting of John Marsh, conspicuous over the mantelpiece in
the reception room was likewise covered with crape. These certain
outward signs comforted Jimmy. Every day and every hour they convinced
him that the death of his brother was not a chimera of his disordered
brain, but something very real indeed. This sensation, this assurance he
needed to complete his happiness.

The funeral, which was a very quiet affair, took place unostentatiously
with Mr. and Mrs. James Marsh as chief mourners. The only others who
attended were some of John Marsh's business associates and the Jersey
cousins who hurried respectively from Newark and Rahway in the eager
expectation that the will would be read on the return from the cemetery.
In this, however, they were sadly disappointed. The representative of
Bascom Cooley, attorney for the Marsh estate, said that the box
containing the will could not be opened until the return from Europe of
Mr. Cooley. He had been cabled for and doubtless would return
immediately. In any case, nothing could be done now as Mr. Marsh had
expressly stipulated that the will should not be opened for three weeks
after his death. Jimmy secretly fumed at this delay, but there was
nothing to do but wait. He had waited so long that he could afford to
wait a little longer.

The days went by with exasperating slowness. It was all Mr. and Mrs.
Marsh could do to conceal their growing impatience, and, as the time
approached for the formal reading of the will, they each grew more and
more agitated. Mr. Cooley, full of importance, arrived from Europe a few
days after the funeral. He at once went into prolonged secret sessions
with Jimmy, and, when he emerged, his face wore an expression of
satisfaction not seen there in a long time. Tod, he announced, was
coming by the next steamer.

Jimmy decided to do things in as dramatic and ostentatious a way as
possible. He arranged to have the will opened in the library in the
presence of the entire family solemnly assembled. In a self-composed,
dignified manner he would request Mr. Cooley to read his brother's
testament while he, himself, bowed deep in grief in a chair would show
proper sorrow by burying his face in his deep black-bordered
handkerchief, and listen with thumping heart to the solemn message from
the dead which was to make him one of the richest men in New York. The
Jersey cousins were invited, of course. He had to invite them. He did
not know to what extent, if at all, his brother had remembered them, but
it was policy not to ignore them, especially after the little pecuniary
services they had rendered. Besides, he did not wish to furnish his
relations with any excuse to contest the will. He had nothing to hide.
He wanted the whole world to know exactly what the will said and just
how his brother had left him the money.

At length the great day arrived. Jimmy, so arrayed in black from head to
foot that he looked like an animated raven, wandered from room to room,
instructing the new butler, bossing the other servants, admonishing them
to move about noiselessly, rehearsing Mrs. Marsh on the demeanor she
must observe throughout the proceedings, arranging the _mise-en-scène_
in the library where the will would be read. Bascom Cooley, he planned,
would take his seat in a dignified manner at the end of the long library
table. He and Mrs. Marsh, together with Tod, whose arrival was expected
any moment, would take seats farther down the board. The Jersey cousins
would be ushered to places slightly in the background. Overhead,
dominating the scene, was the oil-painting of John Marsh, swathed in

For the twentieth time, Jimmy, watch in hand, had gone to the front
parlor window and drawn aside the blinds to see if Mr. Cooley was coming
with the strong box containing the will.

"Tod ought to be here by this time," said Mrs. Marsh anxiously, her eye
on the clock. "It is eleven o'clock. The _Touraine_ docked at nine. I
ought to have gone to meet him."

"Nonsense!" exclaimed her husband. "He's big enough to look after
himself. I sent the motor to the French line dock. He'll be here any

The front door bell rang violently.

"Here he is now!" cried Mrs. Marsh, hurrying forward.

There was the shuffle of many feet and the sound of strange voices in
the hall. The next instant the curtains were thrown open by the butler,
and a number of people, men and women, dressed in black, entered,
smiling and bowing. They were the country cousins, with their sons and
daughters, all come to hear the will read. They slouched in one after
the other, sheepish-looking and awkward. James and his wife greeted them
politely yet distantly. It was impolitic to be over cordial with people
who could never be anything but undesirable relations.

The newcomers sat down gingerly on the heavy gilt chairs. Unaccustomed
to such fine surroundings, they were visibly nervous and ill at ease.
Their new clothes did not fit them, and they felt generally
uncomfortable. They had thought it necessary to go into mourning. It
was an expense they could ill afford, and the matter had furnished food
for endless discussion. But it was finally decided that at least that
much respect should be paid to the memory of a dear "uncle" who, they
fervently prayed, had not forgotten them. The men wore new,
cheap-looking black suits; the wives and daughters had on heavy crape

The preacher from Newark, fat and asthmatic, was out of breath after the
quick walk from the Subway.

"Phew!" he puffed, mopping his head with a colored handkerchief which
contrasted violently with his sombre garments: "We're not late, are we?"

"Oh, dear no," said Jimmy, greeting everyone with forced politeness.
"Mr. Cooley is not here yet. Sit down and make yourselves comfortable."

"I told Mathilda it wasn't no use hurryin'!" exclaimed the reverend
gentleman peevishly. "She's always so afraid of missing something."

His wife, a shrewish little woman with a snappy manner, bridled up
indignantly. Facing her clerical spouse, she exclaimed:

"Now, Peter, how do you come to talk that way? Wasn't you saying to me
all the way along: 'Hurry up or when we gets there like as not we'll
find they've done us out of what's comin' to us?'"

The preacher reddened and coughed uneasily:

"No--no--my dear--nothing of the kind. You misunderstood me----"

"I heard you, Dad," piped the falsetto voice of his daughter, a gawky
girl of eighteen.

The situation was rapidly becoming strained, and it was a relief to
Jimmy when his wife came to the rescue by offering the visitors some
liquid refreshment. Mrs. Thomas Marsh, wife of the Newark haberdasher, a
tall, angular woman with a shrill, masculine voice, accepted with

"Thank m'm, I don't care if I does. You know I hate funerals, I'm that
spooky. They allus gives me the creeps. Not that I ever seed nothin',
but I'm just afeerd. Glass of brandy? Yes--thank you, m'm. I wouldn't
have come to-day, but for Tom's coaxing. He worried and worried----"

"But my dear madam," interposed Mr. James Marsh, somewhat scandalized.
"This is not a funeral. We've met here merely to listen to the reading
of my lamented brother's will."

Mrs. Thomas chuckled, paying no attention to her husband, who kept
nudging her to be quiet.

"Uncle John's will! Well--don't wills and death go together? There's no
will readin' without a death, is there? That's why these meetings are
spooky." Flopping down on one of the chairs, she demanded: "How long
will we have to wait?"

"Directly my lawyer arrives," he replied, trying to control his temper.
"He won't be long now."

An awkward silence followed. Each looked at the other while Jimmy, who
was growing more and more nervous, paced restlessly from table to
window. Mrs. Marsh, overheated from excitement, was busy giving final
instructions to the servants to leave them undisturbed once the reading
had begun. The country cousins and their offspring took advantage of the
preoccupation of their hosts to glance furtively round the room, making
muffled exclamations as they attracted each other's attention to the
richness of the furnishings, watching open-mouthed the going and coming
of the solemn-faced butler, who, together with his master, was on the
alert for the arrival of the much-desired Mr. Cooley.

The reverend gentleman from Rahway nudged his wife.

"I wonder if there's goin' to be anythin' doin' in the eatin' line?" he
whispered. "Buryin' people and business of this sort always puts my
appetite on edge."

"Really, Peter--you surprise me!" exclaimed his wife with asperity.
"What do you think this is--an Irish wake?"

She lapsed into a dignified silence and glued her eyes on the clock. In
another corner of the room the haberdasher's wife, with whom Mrs. Peter
was not on speaking terms, was cogitating thoughtfully on what the will
might and might not contain. Turning to the haberdasher, she said in a
low tone:

"We'll look sweet if he hasn't left us anything."

Her husband put on an injured expression.

"Say, Mary," he grumbled, "can't you be a little more cheerful?"

This playful badinage between the cousins might have been kept up for
some time, only, suddenly, there came two sharp rings at the front
entrance. There was no mistaking that ring. The mark of the lawyer was
written all over it. The cousins, as if detected in some impropriety,
sat up with a start. Jimmy, thrusting aside the heavy tapestry curtains,
rushed out into the hall and a moment later reappeared, escorting
triumphantly Mr. Bascom Cooley, who held in his right hand a small tin
security box.

The collective gaze of the country cousins was at once concentrated on
the tin box. Instinctively they guessed that it contained the one all
important document--the last instructions of their dear lamented uncle,
the late John Marsh, regarding the disposition of his fortune.

Mr. Cooley, full of his usual bluster, advanced briskly into the room.
Barely deigning to notice those present and ignoring utterly Jimmy's
formal introductions, he proceeded at once to the place prepared for him
at the head of the table, and banged the tin box down in front of him.
Then with a patronizing gesture, meant to be amiable, he invited the
others to take their places. When the shuffling of feet had ceased and
everything was perfectly still he turned to his host and began

"My dear friend and client, we have met here to-day for the performance
of a painful but very necessary duty--to ascertain your late brother's
wishes in regard to the disposition of his estate----"

Deeming this a proper moment to display brotherly feeling, Jimmy drew
from his pocket the black-bordered handkerchief and buried his face in
its more or less soiled folds. The cousins, not knowing what was
expected of them, began to study closely the pattern of the green cloth
which covered the table. Clearing his throat as a preliminary to further
oratorical flights, Mr. Cooley went on:

"Yes--I know what you feel at this solemn moment, friend. You feel that
if the dead could only be called back to life, you would cheerfully
relinquish the wealth to which the grim Reaper has made you heir. But
that cannot be. We must accept without question the decree of an
inscrutable Providence. Your brother loved you, James--for that I can
vouch. He was a silent, reserved man and kept strangely aloof from the
world, but his heart was in the right place. On the few occasions when
he took me into his confidence, he spoke most affectionately of you--his
only brother. You alone were in his thoughts when he had under
consideration the important duty of making his will----"

The cousins looked at each other blankly and shifted uneasily on their
seats. The lawyer went on:

"One day--now some twenty-five years ago--John Marsh sent for me to go
to Pittsburg. When I arrived he handed me a sheet of note paper with
some lines hurriedly scribbled on it--the draft for his will. 'Cooley,'
he said, 'this is the way I want to leave my money.' Two days later the
will was signed." Tapping the box in front of him, he added
impressively: "It has been in this box ever since. Mr. Marsh, with your
permission, I shall now open the box and read the will."

Jimmy, his heart pumping so furiously that he feared his neighbors must
notice it, gave a quick gesture of assent. Mrs. Marsh grew a shade paler
under her cosmetics. The cousins shuffled closer to the table. The
psychological moment had arrived.

"One moment!" cried Jimmy. Rising quickly and going to the door, he
called the butler:

"Wilson, I don't wish to be disturbed on any pretext whatever. Keep this
door shut, and don't allow any one to enter no matter who it is."

Returning to his seat, he gave the lawyer a sign to proceed.

Calmly, deliberately, Mr. Cooley inserted a key in the lock. The lid
flew open, revealing a number of papers within. The lawyer picked out a
formidable-looking folded document, yellow with age. The cousins gasped.
Instinctively every one knew that it was the will. Unfolding it slowly,
Mr. Cooley looked up to see if all were paying attention. Then, clearing
his husky throat, he began to read in impressive, ministerial style:


     "I, John Marsh, of the City of Pittsburg, in the State of
     Pennsylvania, being of sound health and understanding, do hereby
     declare this to be _my last will and testament_:

     "First. I direct the payment of my just debts.

     "Second. To my cousin, Thomas Marsh of Newark, N. J., I bequeath
     the sum of _Two Thousand dollars_ to belong to him and his heirs
     absolutely and forever.

     "Third. To my cousin, the Reverend Peter Marsh of Rahway, N. J., I
     bequeath the sum of _Two Thousand dollars_ to belong to him and
     his heirs absolutely and forever.

     "Fourth. The remainder of my estate, of whatsoever nature, real
     estate, bonds, stocks, interest in steel properties, etc., etc.,
     which amounts to nearly _Five Million Dollars_, I bequeath to my
     only bro----"

Crash! Bang! In the hall outside there was the sound of shattered glass
and the angry slamming of doors. Mr. Cooley stopped reading and, looking
up, glared at the others in indignant surprise. This was rank sacrilege!
He wondered if he couldn't get some one committed for contempt of court.
The cousins, not sure whether they should be satisfied or not with
Uncle John's remembrance of them, gazed at each other in consternation.
Jimmy, wrathful at this flagrant disregard of his explicit orders, rose
to investigate. Outside in the hall could be heard the voice of the new
butler raised in loud altercation with someone whose entrance into the
library he was trying to prevent.

"Get out of my way! I tell you I will go in!" exclaimed an angry voice.

"It's Tod!" cried Mrs. Marsh, rising.

The library door was flung unceremoniously open and in walked Tod,
trying to staunch with his handkerchief the blood which flowed freely
from a cut finger. He was somewhat dishevelled after a lively scrimmage
with the butler who, not recognizing him as a member of the family, had
literally obeyed his master's instructions and attempted to bar the way.
It was a poor welcome home, but he was cheery and good natured as ever.
Kissing his mother boisterously, he said:

"Hallo, _mater_! How are you? Say--that new butler of yours is a
bird--tried to keep me from coming in here to see you. Just think of it!
So I smashed him against the glass door and cut my finger." Looking
around, a broad grin spread over his face. With well acted surprise, he
exclaimed: "Why, what's going on here? Looks like a prayer meeting!"
Nodding familiarly to the lawyer and Mr. Marsh, he called out:
"Hello--Cooley! Hello Jimmy!"

James Marsh, his face pale with suppressed irritation, snapped

"We waited for you all morning. I told the butler to let no one come in.
A disturbance of this kind is most annoying." Turning to the lawyer, he
added: "Now, Mr. Cooley, will you please continue----"

"What are you all doing?" grinned Tod.

"Please be quiet, Tod," said his mother, pulling him by the sleeve.
"Take a chair and listen. Mr. Cooley is reading the will."

"The will?" echoed Tod innocently. "What will?"

"John Marsh's will, of course. Really, Tod, what makes you so stupid?"

Exasperated, inwardly raging, Mr. Marsh made a sign to Mr. Cooley to
proceed with the reading. The lawyer thus urged, resumed. In a loud
voice he repeated:

     "_I bequeath to my only brother_----"

[Illustration: "THAT'S NOT JOHN MARSH'S WILL!"]

"That's not John Marsh's will!" cried Tod, again interrupting.

"Not the will!" exclaimed the cousins, aghast.

"Not my brother's will!" cried Jimmy, his face blanching.

"Not the will--what do you mean, sir?" roared Bascom Cooley.

"Just what I say!" replied Tod doggedly. "That scrap of yellow parchment
is only good for the waste-paper basket. John Marsh was married, and has
a daughter living. Before he died he made a new will, leaving every cent
to her!"


"Hilda!" called out a voice in a shrill, angry key. "Hilda!"

"Yes--m'm," came the slow reply.

The boarding house drudge, a bold looking Irish girl, not devoid of
certain physical attractions, despite a dirty apron, dishevelled hair,
and besmudged face, entered Mrs. Parkes' parlor, carrying broom and dust

"Was it me yer wus after callin', m'm?" she demanded, in a rich, auld
counthry brogue.

"I thought I told you to dust this room!" snapped her mistress, with
rising wrath.

The girl looked stupidly around.

"Sure--ain't it dusted?" she answered saucily.

Mrs. Parkes bounded with anger. Losing all patience and pointing to an
accumulation of dirt plainly in evidence under the chairs, she cried:

"Do you call that dusting? What have you been doing all day? It's always
the same--nothing done. I don't know what we're coming to--having to run
a respectable house with such help. All you girls think about nowadays
is gadding about, getting as much wages as you can, and doing as little
work as possible. You ought to be ashamed of yourself!"

Mrs. Parkes stopped her tirade for sheer want of breath. Hilda threw
back her head defiantly.

"Maybe I ain't as good as some as think they're my betters, and maybe I
am. If I don't suit, yer can get someone else. My month's up to-day.
I'll go at once."

Throwing down broom and dust pan, she bounced out of the room.

Mrs. Parkes looked after the disappearing form of her housemaid in
consternation. She was sorry now that she had lost her temper. Servants
were so hard to keep that it seemed the height of folly to deliberately
send them away. It would have been better to put up with any insolence
rather than expose herself to be left alone. How was it possible to run
a boarding house without domestic help? Certainly things were coming to
a pretty pass if a mistress couldn't say a few plain words of truth.
With a weary sigh of discouragement, she picked up the broom and started
to do, herself, the work which Hilda had neglected.

The servant problem had bothered Mrs. Parkes for nearly twenty-three
years, since the day when she first took upon herself the task of
letting "nice rooms with board for select ladies and gentlemen." Left a
widow in straitened circumstances after a none too happy married life,
and faced with the urgent necessity of doing something for a living, it
occurred to her that the best way to provide herself and boy with a home
and income was to open a boarding house. She leased an old four-story
residence on West Fourteenth Street, and, furnishing it as neatly as
possible with the capital at her disposal, she hung out her shingle.
Lodgers knocked at the door to inquire, were attracted by the clean
rooms, and remained for years. It was hard work catering for the table
and looking after the wants of the guests, but Mrs. Parkes toiled
uncomplainingly. It would not be forever, she promised herself. When her
boy grew up, she could take a rest. He would provide for everything, and
they would no longer be under the necessity of taking boarders.

Her boy was Mrs. Parkes' one weakness. There were just three things in
which she took special pride--cleanliness of her house, the
respectability of her boarders, and her son Harry. Not that there
existed any good reason for feeling particular satisfaction over her
offspring. Harry grew up as other boys do, but his earning capacity did
not grow with him. Like other boys who are made too comfortable at
home, he saw no necessity to exert himself, and at the age of thirty he
was still living at home, more of a hindrance than a help in the
domestic economy, his usefulness being limited to doing odd jobs around
the house and keeping tab on the lodgers' accounts. Recently he had
found employment in an architect's office, and then he became
intolerable. There was nothing that he could not do; no heights to which
he could not climb. A good deal of a _poseur_ he wore gold-rimmed
glasses, aped the absent-minded manner of the student, and spoke in
vague terms of big things he was about to accomplish. That nothing came
of them surprised nobody but his credulous and indulgent mother, who
lived on year after year in the blissful conviction that one day Harry
would astonish the world. If she had any secret worries about her son at
all, it was that he might commit some folly with the other sex and marry
below his station. Mrs. Parkes was only a boarding house keeper, but she
was proud. She did not forget the fact that on her maternal side she was
descended from one of the best families in the South. Not that she had
any cause to complain of Harry in this respect, but she recalled certain
anxieties which her dead husband had caused her in this respect, and she
sometimes feared that her son might have inherited some of the paternal
traits. For this reason alone she was glad Hilda was leaving. There was
no telling what mischief might happen with such a bold creature around
the house.

Mrs. Parkes was absorbed in her reflections when the sound of a
well-known voice made her look up.

"Hallo, ma! Whatever are you doing that for? Where's Hilda?"

An oldish-looking young man, a pipe in his mouth, newspaper in his hand,
stood in the doorway looking at her.

Mrs. Parkes smiled at her son:

"There's no one else to do it, Harry. Hilda is going."

The young man was so surprised that he took the pipe from his mouth,
gave an expressive whistle, and came into the room.

"Hilda leaving? I just met her coming down stairs with all her things
on. She looks deuced pretty in her street clothes. What are you sending
her for?"

"She gave me insolence. I scolded her for neglecting her work. She said
she would go. That's all." Looking at her son searchingly, she added:
"Why are you so interested?"

The young man laughed, and, throwing himself into an armchair,
proceeded to make himself comfortable.

"Interested? I'm not particularly interested that I know of. I'm sorry
if you have to do all the work, that's all."

Mrs. Parkes shook her head ominously as she said:

"Harry, you're your father over again."

Absorbed in reading his newspaper, the young man at first made no
answer. Then looking up, he chuckled lightly:

"Mother--you're over-anxious--and like most over-anxious mothers, you're

Mrs. Parkes looked at him fondly as she answered slowly:

"My dear boy--I know human nature----"

He shrugged his shoulders impatiently:

"You knew father, that's all," he said testily. "I wish to goodness he'd
been a better husband, then you wouldn't make my life miserable by
always suspecting the worst. I can't speak to a girl--I can't even look
at one--that you don't jump to the ridiculous conclusion that I'm
falling in love with her, or that I'm like my father. Why don't you hire

His mother could not suppress a smile:

"They're too expensive for a boarding house. Besides, some of my lady
guests might object to having them around. No--it's not you, my boy.
It's our designing sex I'm afraid of. I know I'm anxious, but I don't
want to lose you as I lost your father."

"You're always throwing my father at me," he answered. "Can I help it if
he was a little wild? He's dead now. Why can't you let him alone?"

Rising and flinging down his newspaper with a gesture of impatience, the
young man crossed the room, and, pausing at a door near the window, he
leaned his head forward and listened. His mother watched him in silence.
Disapproval at his behavior was plainly written on her face.

"What are you doing at that door, sir?" she demanded sharply.

Harry grinned. He knew his mother's weakness too well to be much
impressed with her affected tone of severity.

"Is Miss Marsh in?" he asked, in a low tone.

A new suspicion crossed Mrs. Parkes' mind. Hilda was safe out of the
way, but here was a new peril. Before this she had noticed her son
staring at her young lady lodger. Dear--dear--how like his father he

"Why do you want to know?" she demanded. "What concern is it of yours?"

"I want to see her on important business," he said doggedly.

Mrs. Parkes held up her finger warningly.

"Now, Harry--don't make a fool of yourself. Remember--this Miss Marsh is
a boarder--under my roof. She seems a nice girl--even if she does owe me
three weeks' rent. But she's nothing for you to waste your time on."

Harry held up his hand in protest.

"Mother," he cried. "I'm thirty years old--I'm earning fifteen hundred a
year as assistant draughtsman in the office of the biggest firm of
architects in New York City. I'm a free, separate entity, an independent
individual, a somebody, and I warn you--if you try to pick out my
company for me--as you did for my father, you'll lose me as you did him.
You'll not only be a grass widow, but a grass mother. I want to see Miss
Marsh because--well, I want to see her----"

"She owes me three weeks' board," repeated Mrs. Parkes doggedly.

"What of it?" he laughed. "I don't want to see her about that."

"I don't trust a girl who owes me three weeks' lodging----"

"You do trust her, or she wouldn't owe you. You trust her because she's
a lady, because you like her--yes, you do! She's in trouble,
mother--and you're never hard on anyone that's in trouble, you dear old
bundle of inconsistencies!"

Going up to his mother, he put his arm round her neck. Kissing her, he

"She'll pay you as soon as she gets the money her father left her. You
know she's won her lawsuit."

Fumbling in her pocket, Mrs. Parkes drew out an envelope.

"Yes, so I heard," she said dryly, "but this is a little reminder--just
to let her know how much it is. I never knew you took such an interest
in her affairs."

"An interest?" exclaimed Harry, with mock surprise. "What nonsense. Come
here, mother--sit down. I want to talk seriously with you."

Drawing up a chair, he made her take a seat. Taking a seat opposite, he

"Mother, was my father a serious man?"

"Never--except when he was broke."

"Well--I am serious. I love Paula Marsh. Now, don't faint. Last night I
asked her to be my wife----"

Mrs. Parkes gasped.

"Not one word against her," he went on anxiously. "I know your first
impulses are never friendly."

Mrs. Parkes nodded her head sagaciously.

"If--if she inherits all her father's money--you might do worse."

"No--no, mother," replied her son, shrugging his shoulders. "You're
mistaken. I love her for herself--not for her money. Besides, she may
not get the money after all. Mr. Ricaby, her lawyer, telephoned last
night that there is a new move now against her. You see her father made
a will leaving her all his money. Her Uncle James is contesting the will
and the estate is tied up and she can't get any of it. She hasn't money
enough even to get good lawyers. I think Ricaby's an old fluff. It's a
shame the way her relations are trying to do her out of it. How I do
hate relations!"

"How can they deprive her of her property if it's hers?" inquired Mrs.
Parkes incredulously.

"I don't know," said Harry, scratching his head. "They're doing it,
that's all. Last night after talking to her lawyer over the 'phone she
broke down and burst into tears. Said she was all alone in the
world--had no one to protect her--and I--mother--human nature couldn't
stand it. I--offered to protect her----"

Mrs. Parkes sighed.

"Your father would have done the same," she said.

"Kindly refrain from associating my father's name with this matter," he
cried impatiently.

Mrs. Parkes seemed lost in thought. Her eyes filled with tears.

"At a time like this I can't forget him--bad as he was--I can't help
thinking of him." With a deep sigh, she added: "Well, what did--what did
she say----?"

"Nothing," rejoined Harry carelessly, "she looked haughtily at me and
walked out of the room. Perhaps I was wrong, mother. I had no right to
take advantage of her distressed condition of mind. I'm going to
apologize to her. I came away from business early to-day on purpose to
do so. It was too soon for a proposal--she doesn't know me well

Mrs. Parkes tossed back her head indignantly.

"I don't see why you should apologize," she said; "you're as good as she
is--and maybe better. If I remember rightly there was some question as
to her mother being legally married to the father."

"That's a damnable lie invented by her relations so as to deprive her of
her rights to her father's estate!" broke in Harry hotly.

"And her father----" went on his mother, "they say he was crazy when he
made his will."

"Another lie!" he cried indignantly. "Don't you know that's what
lawyers always say about a man who doesn't leave his estate to their
clients. And they can get any number of people to prove it, too--if the
estate is large enough."

His mother was silent for a moment; then, with an air of unconcern, she

"How much money is there?"

"I don't know--a whole pile. If there wasn't, Bascom Cooley wouldn't be
the lawyer for the other side--you can bet on that."

"It's very strange," mused Mrs. Parkes; "she promised me three weeks ago
that she'd pay me what was owing."

Harry put his hand in his pocket and brought out a roll of bank notes.

"Here, mother, I'm going to pay that bill. When she gives you the money
you can pay me back. I don't want you to mention it to her. Will you
promise me?"

Mrs. Parkes looked fondly at her son.

"Is it as bad as all that?" she said.

Harry looked sheepishly down at the carpet.

"Yes--I'm--I'm a goner this time----" he murmured.

"Well," exclaimed Mrs. Parkes, with a laugh, "your father never would
have done that. No, Harry, I won't take your money. I can wait. Food is
dear, rent is high, and times are hard, but I can wait----"

The young man bounded forward and again threw his arms around her.

"You know, mother, that's what I like about you. You're barking all the
time, but you never bite."

Mrs. Parkes, overcome at this unusual display of filial affection, put
her handkerchief to her eyes. Whimpering, she said:

"You know, Harry, I always did like that girl. There's something about
her one can't help liking. She came here from the swellest hotel on
Fifth Avenue and took what we gave her without a murmur. At first I
thought she was a leading lady out of an engagement, until I found that
she went down to the slums every day and worked among the poor. I tell
you I was kinder scared when she told me about her lawsuit. Two years
ago I had a young lady who occupied the front parlor and back--and
private bath, too. She was a show girl, and she ran up five hundred
dollars on the strength of a lawsuit she had against a Wall Street man
for breach of promise. She lost the case and I lost my money." With a
sigh she went on: "It was your father's fault. He advised me to trust
her, but this one's different. Yes, quite different." She stopped and
burst into tears: "Harry, my boy, you're all I have. I don't want to
lose you--I don't----"

Harry looked distressed.

"Now--now--don't cry," he said. "You won't lose me. You'll get a
daughter--that's all."

"God knows I've always wanted a daughter!"

"Well, let me pick one out for you. I think my judgment is better than

The little door opposite which Harry had been watching so eagerly
suddenly opened, and a young woman quietly entered the sitting room. It
was Paula Marsh, dressed in her street clothes.

She nodded to mother and son in a friendly but reserved manner, and was
about to pass out through another door into the outer hall without
speaking when she seemed to remember something. Opening a small bag, she
said amiably:

"Oh, Mrs. Parkes, I was looking for you. I've just come in. Here is what
I owe you. I am sorry----"

Mrs. Parkes, all flustered, rose from the chair.

"Oh, please--not now--there's no hurry--not just now. You look so
tired--sit down a moment and rest yourself."

Paula smiled at her landlady's solicitude, and, taking off her hat and
coat, thrust some money in the elder woman's hand.

"Yes--yes--I insist," she said. "I've been downtown all morning, waiting
for my lawyer in a stuffy little office--and even then I didn't succeed
in seeing Mr. Ricaby. Nothing makes one so tired as failing to do what
one starts out to do."

"Sit down, dear, and rest yourself," said Mrs. Parkes, proceeding to
bustle about. "Let me get you a cup of tea--now, do--you look so tired!"

"Don't say that, please," protested the young girl. "It makes me feel
ten times more tired than I really am."

"But I insist. The water is boiling," said the landlady, hurrying out of
the room. "I won't be a moment. A nice cup of tea is just the thing.
Harry will keep you company while I'm gone." With a mischievous wink at
her son, she added, as she disappeared: "Won't you, Harry--like a good


Two years had slipped by since Paula's return to America and matters
relating to the inheritance were no nearer actual settlement than
before. They were even more complicated, for the law, with all its
ponderous, intricate machinery, all its chicanery and false swearing,
had been set in motion, not to protect the orphan but to shield those
knaves who sought to enjoy what was not their own.

Tod's startling revelation in his stepfather's library, the morning the
will was being read, regarding John Marsh's secret marriage, came as a
terrible shock to Jimmy. At first he loudly denounced it as a damnable
lie, a blackmailing scheme, the invention of some hidden enemy. Then, as
he grew calmer and learned more details, he began to realize that the
elaborate structure which he had built up so carefully for years was
about to topple and in his disappointment he grew almost hysterical. He
stormed and raved, working himself into such a frenzy that it was
dangerous to go near him. But for Bascom Cooley, who still held out
hope, he would have shot himself. But Cooley, the resourceful, cunning
Cooley advised patience. All might be well. The money was not yet lost
by any means. What were the courts for if not to see that justice was
done? And Mr. Cooley was honest in his belief that a very serious
injustice would be done if the money went anywhere else than into his
own pockets. The new will must be contested. Some way must be devised to
have it declared invalid. It must be shown that John Marsh was insane at
the time he made the will and that the Frenchwoman he lived with was not
his wife. If this were true the girl Paula Marsh was not his legitimate
daughter. The truth of these statements would not be in question for a
moment, for reliable witnesses would go on the stand and solemnly swear
to them. Mr. Cooley knew where such witnesses could be found. It was
only a question of money. The longest purse secured the greatest number
of witnesses, for, strangely enough, very few people are willing to
commit perjury gratis. Cooley attended to everything, and well, he
might. He himself had as much at stake as Jimmy. So, going among his
influential friends, the "men higher up," he set the wheels of justice
moving--in his own direction.

The first gun in the long and bitterly contested legal battle, which
was to follow, was fired directly Leon Ricaby offered the new will to
the Surrogate for probate. Mr. Cooley replied promptly by offering the
first will. An administrator was then appointed by the Surrogate to
conserve the estate during the litigation, and thus the Marsh estate was
tied up into a complicated legal knot which only the Surrogate or a
decree of a competent court could disentangle.

Then began for Paula a long, drawn-out period of mental distress and
physical discomfort, which taxed her patience and powers of endurance to
the utmost. On first arriving in New York, she had taken a modest suite
of rooms in one of Manhattan's luxurious hostelries, but this she soon
found too expensive for her slender purse. Until it was proved that she
was legally entitled to the fortune her father had left, she could not
touch a cent of it. Meantime, her means were limited. Practically all
the available cash she had was a few hundred dollars left from her Paris
allowance. Mr. Ricaby offered to advance her any amount, but she
gratefully declined his assistance, preferring to husband her resources
by the practice of strict economy. The first step was to move into
cheaper quarters. After a long search she found comfortable rooms at
Mrs. Parkes' genteel boarding house on West Fourteenth Street. The
neighborhood was far from fashionable, but Paula did not mind that.
Indeed, she thought it an advantage, preferring to be quiet and
secluded, hidden away, as it were, from the world until the legal fight
was over and she could take her proper place in the world. Besides, she
was nearer now to the poorer districts to which her daily duties called
her, almost next door to the slums where her youthful enthusiasm,
tireless energy, fine humanitarianism were devoted daily to the noble
work of rescuing the needy and unfortunate. This Settlement work, far
from weighing heavily upon her, she regarded as a blessing. It not only
enabled her to do some good in the world, but it kept her mind occupied
while the lawyers were squabbling in the courts.

Of Mr. Ricaby she saw very little. He was busy, working constantly in
her interests, preparing for the trial. The case, he told her, was
already on the calendar and would come up very soon. Victory, for their
side, was, of course, a foregone conclusion. The other side had
virtually not a leg to stand upon. They must be prepared, however, for
any emergency. Bascom Cooley was known to be unscrupulous, a man who
would stop at nothing to gain his ends. Through trickery and his
political pull he had already scored an important point. The judge
before whom the case would come was an intimate friend of his. They
played poker together and belonged to the same political organization.
Was it not possible that he might be tempted to let his sympathies lean
in his crony's favor? Yet even judges dare not betray their trust too
openly. If right were on Paula's side, the Court would be forced to
render a decision in her favor.

Notwithstanding this legal unpleasantness, Paula thought she ought to
call on her uncle, and in this Mr. Ricaby agreed with her. So one
afternoon she dressed herself smartly and rode up Broadway to West
Seventy-second Street. The reception she received was not such as to
encourage her to repeat the visit. Her uncle was out, but Mrs. Marsh
greeted her with frigid politeness and asked her to have tea. While the
two women were taking mental inventory of each other Mr. Marsh came in,
and the situation became more strained.

Jimmy had expected this visit and had prepared himself for it. He had
intended to call the girl an impostor to her face, to drive her from the
house, but now she had come, he did neither. He saw a tall, pale,
aristocratic-looking girl who vaguely, despite the difference of sex,
reminded him of his brother. Yes, now he saw her he knew it was the
truth, but no matter, he would fight just the same. She was his
brother's child, the girl who had come between him and his rightful
inheritance. She was the enemy. But he would fight her and he would win.
Cooley had promised him that. These thoughts were passing through his
mind as he sat in silence, staring gloomily at her. Then he asked
questions about her father and the way they lived in Paris. It seemed to
her that he was most interested in her answers regarding her mother, and
it suddenly occurred to her that he was cross-examining her for the
purpose of the trial. Disconcerted she relapsed into monosyllables and
the atmosphere grew more chilly. There was no hint of legal
difficulties. He merely inquired if she intended to reside permanently
in New York, and expressed the hope that she would always consider their
house her home. Paula silently bowed her thanks, and the ceremonious
call was at an end.

Of Tod Chase she had seen a good deal since the voyage home. He had
asked for permission to call and she assented gladly. The young man
belonged in a way to the enemy's camp, but she did not mind that. On the
ship they had been thrown a good deal in each other's company, and she
had taken a fancy to him. He was always in such good humor, always so
full of animal spirits that his mere presence relieved the general gloom
and cheered her up. He brought her books and magazines and chatted to
her by the hour of a world she did not know and did not care to know. He
talked freely of the coming trial; denounced the whole thing as an
outrage and hotly berated his stepfather and Bascom Cooley as two
scoundrels. He got so worked up over the case that Paula had to laugh.
Only one person was not convinced of his sincerity and that was Mr.
Ricaby. The lawyer was not blind to the fact that the young man was
paying Paula a good deal of attention, and he would have been more than
human had he not resented it.

Thus in a way Paula was happy. In the day time she had her work among
her poor, and the evening she gave up to reading or music. Sometimes Tod
would drop in, and, with Mr. Ricaby, they would have an enjoyable
evening. On rare occasions Harry and Mrs. Parkes would be invited to
join the little circle.

Then came the trial with all its annoyances, all its brutalities. It was
a terrible ordeal for the young girl, and there were times when, utterly
worn out and discouraged, she felt it was beyond her strength to go on.
The opposite side had no mercy on her. Bascom Cooley was not the kind of
man to spare anyone, woman or child. There were no lies and calumnies
that a devilish ingenuity and brazen impudence could invent that he did
not concoct in order to attack the new will. To discredit the new
claimant, he grossly insulted her; to belittle the will, he calumniated
the dead man. He produced witnesses who swore on the stand that John
Marsh, of late years, was an entirely changed man, irresponsible for his
actions. They testified that he not only drank himself to death, but
that he acted irrationally and was clean out of his mind. Physicians in
Cooley's employ gave corroborative evidence, with some modifications.
Mr. Cooley, triumphant, argued that his client, Mr. James Marsh, had
amply proved his claim. He alone was entitled to the estate under the
original will which was executed at a time when the deceased was in
possession of all his faculties. If, thundered the lawyer, the second
will was not a damnable forgery--and significantly he added, they had
not yet had time to go into that phase of it--it was the work of a crazy
man. He would go still further----

Now he did a horrible thing. Not content with vilifying the father, he
besmirched the character of Paula's mother. Granted, he shouted, that
John Marsh was not crazy--even then the girl had no legal claim to the
estate, for she was illegitimate. John Marsh never married her mother!

Instantly Mr. Ricaby was on his feet with an indignant protest. Was it
not scandal enough, he cried hotly, that members of the bar should
prostitute their profession by putting perjured witnesses on the stand
without further disgracing themselves by wantonly insulting a
defenseless girl? The insinuation of illegitimacy was a cowardly and
venomous lie, an outrageous falsehood which could be nailed on the spot,
for, luckily, his client, Miss Marsh, had safe in her possession her
mother's marriage certificate. As to the other statements made under
oath regarding John Marsh's mental condition, they were equally reckless
and fabricated solely for the purpose of influencing the court's
decision. The witnesses he would call would refute the allegations

Long before the trial closed, it was apparent that Mr. Ricaby had by far
the best of it. But the fight was not yet won. There were delays and
more delays. Mr. Cooley, feeling he was losing ground, changed his
tactics. Instead of pushing the case, he sought to gain time. Finally
when the evidence was all in, and counsel for either party had exhausted
their arguments and powers of vituperation, the Court calmly reserved
its decision, and the long, tedious wait and suspense began all over

Paula was glad it was over, and at heart was not really concerned about
the outcome. Of course, the money would be welcome. It was hers, and it
was her duty to claim it. When it was in her possession, she saw in her
mind's eye a thousand miracles that might be worked with it to bring
comfort and joy into many a desolate home. But if she lost--well, then
she would go cheerfully to work and support herself. There were times
when she wondered if she would ever marry. Perhaps she would, but whom?
There was no one she cared particularly about. At one time she thought a
good deal of Mr. Chase, but since the beginning of the trial she had
seen less of him. His visits to the boarding house were less frequent,
and it seemed to her that his attitude was more distant. After all, it
was only natural. No matter how much he might sympathize with her, he
must realize that a victory for her would mean a terrible blow to his
own mother. She could not blame him if he stood aloof. Mr. Ricaby had
never liked him. Perhaps she herself was mistaken in him. His profession
of friendship might be only a blind in order to pry into her movements.

She smiled to herself as she reflected that she certainly would not care
to marry Harry Parkes. Yet her landlady's son was the only male who,
thus far had ventured to pay court to her. Always solicitous for the
welfare of everybody around her, she was sorry for Harry Parkes. That he
had faults, she overlooked. He had some good traits--therefore she
concluded that there was still hope for him. She tried to get him
interested in her Settlement work and offered to find for him duties
which he would find congenial. But Harry, his faith in himself unshaken,
received all such suggestions with a grimace. As was to be expected, he
put a wrong construction on her sympathetic attitude, mistaking kindly
interest for adoration of his manly charms, and last evening when they
were alone in the parlor he had attempted liberties which she
indignantly resented. She let him plainly understand that if it happened
again she would be forced to leave the house. That is why she was not
particularly grateful to Mrs. Parkes for leaving them alone now. Her
mind was too preoccupied for small talk. At any moment, Mr. Ricaby had
telephoned her, the Court might be expected to hand down its decision.
Still, not wishing to appear curt, she said:

"Your mother is remarkably amiable this afternoon, Mr. Parkes."

Harry woke up with a start.

"Yes--yes--she is--she is!" he stammered. There was a short silence, and
then he said:

"Miss Marsh--I want to apologize for--for--for my--my--conduct the other

"Apologize!" she exclaimed, as if not understanding.

"Yes," he stammered. "I'm very sorry--very sorry----"

"Sorry--why, what did you do?" she demanded.

Harry looked at her in surprise.

"It isn't what I did so much," he said hesitatingly, "as what I
said--I--want--you to forgive me----"

Paula smiled.

"There's nothing to forgive, Mr. Parkes. The fact is, you won't think
I--I'm rude, will you--but--I hardly remember what happened last night.
I was very weak and foolish, and I'm afraid I gave way to--to tears. I
don't believe in tears--it seems you're sorry for yourself--and I'm not
sorry for myself--I'm angry with my relations--I'm angry because they
make me angry. I love peace and happiness and a calm, quiet life--and
they make my existence a hell on earth--with their attacks on my father
and mother and their lawsuits. My heart is always in my mouth--I'm
always afraid that something dreadful is going to happen--any moment I
may hear the Court's decision. I'm unhappy, Mr. Parkes--and I've no
right to be unhappy. I'm young and I have a happy disposition--every
capacity to enjoy my life but----" Shaking her head, she added: "But
there, I'm not going to bother you with my troubles. You're home

"You're sure that you're not angry with me?"

"Why, no--what for--whatever did you say or do?"

He hesitated and looked at her, trying to read her mind. Her
self-possession disconcerted him.

"Never mind," he said finally, "I was very foolish----"

"Were you?" she replied calmly. "I didn't notice anything out of the

He advanced a step nearer and his voice was agitated, as he burst out:

"You see, Miss Marsh, I----"

"Do you mind calling me Paula," she said in the most matter-of-fact
tone. "I hate the name of Marsh--it's my Uncle James' name--and it's
always on those horrid law papers--'_Marsh versus Marsh_.' It's always
connected with defendants and plaintiffs and--affidavits--and other
horrible instruments of torture. My heart beats every time I see the
dreadful words. _Marsh versus Marsh!_ I dream of _Marsh versus
Marsh_--and when I wake up in the morning--the first thing that greets
me in the morning paper is _Marsh versus Marsh_. I hate the name--I hate

Was this the opportunity? Harry did not know but he seized it.

"Why--why not change it?" he murmured.

Paula smiled.

"That idea has occurred to me dozens of times," she said gaily. "I will
when this horrible lawsuit is settled."

His companion grew a shade paler.

"Is that a--a bargain----" he asked seriously.

"Yes," she laughed.

"And may I--pick--pick out a suitable name for you----?"

"If you like," she said lightly; "any old name will

"Even Par--Parkes?" he suggested.

"Yes--even Parkes," she laughed. "Anything but Marsh----"

The door opened and Mrs. Parkes entered, carrying a tray with tea.

"Here we are--here we are," she said cheerily, "a fresh cup of tea--I
opened a new packet of Lipton on purpose. Say, that Lipton makes elegant
tea! Oh, I've forgotten the toast. Harry, run down and get it, there's
a dear boy." Turning to Paula, she added: "He is a dear boy, isn't he?"

"Just like his father, I think you once told me," rejoined Paula, with a
covert smile.

"Did I? Well, he is in some ways--and in some ways he isn't."

"Mother, please!" exclaimed Harry. "I'm afraid I'm like you, Miss
Paula--I don't like to be reminded of my relations-- I'll get the toast,

He left the room to go foraging for toast, while Mrs. Parkes began
pouring out tea.

"Did the dear boy tell you?" she asked. "He said he was going to
apologize but----"

"Will you kindly tell me what the dear boy did that needs so much
apology?" said Paula.

"He's so impulsive," said Mrs. Parkes, with a sigh. "To that extent he
is like his father--but--he feels as I do that until your lawsuit is
settled one way or the other, he should not have asked you to be his
wife. One lump or two?"

Paula opened wide her eyes.

"Be his wife?" she exclaimed. "One lump? No, two. Did he ask me to marry

"Yes. Didn't he? He said he did----"

"So that's what it was--great Heavens! I've been proposed to--and I
didn't know it----"

"Of course, he has my consent," went on Mrs Parkes, in a patronizing

"Of course, I mean--thank you--that's rather nice," rejoined Paula,
trying to conceal a laugh. "You're awfully good--but--this is nice tea,
isn't it?"

"Why, you haven't tasted it yet," protested the landlady.

"No--I'm just going to. The aroma--is----" Gulping the tea down she
scalded herself. "It's hot, isn't it?"

The door reopened and Harry reappeared with the toast.

"Mr. Ricaby has just come in," he blurted out. "He wants to see you at
once--says it is most important. I told him to come right up. Why, Miss
Marsh, what's the matter----?"

Paula had turned pale. The teacup almost fell from her trembling hand.
Perhaps her attorney had brought the message which she had been so
anxiously expecting. Had he brought good news?

"You look frightened to death, my dear!" exclaimed Mrs. Parkes.

Paula rose.

"May I ask you to excuse me?" she said. "Mr. Ricaby wants to see me on
most important business connected with my lawsuit. I would like to see
him alone."

"Certainly, my dear," said Mrs. Parkes, rising. "We'll take the tea in
my room. Come, Harry, help me with the tray."

The young man frowned disapproval at this most untimely interruption,
but there was no help for it. With a glance at Paula that received no
response, he rebelliously picked up the tray and followed his mother


Mr. Ricaby entered the room hurriedly. His face was serious and his
manner agitated. Paula advanced eagerly to meet him.

"Bad news!" he began. "That which I feared has happened."

The young girl turned pale.

"You mean that we have lost?"

The lawyer sank wearily into a chair, and in a tone of utter
discouragement went on:

"Yes--we've lost! I did all I could. The court allows that you were born
in wedlock--oh, yes--that much they admit. Also that your father was not
insane when he made his will--very kind of them--and that you, his
daughter, may inherit his estates--but----"

"But what?" she demanded anxiously.

The lawyer looked at her in silence. He hesitated to let her know the
worst all at once. Slowly he said:

"Your uncle--is appointed your guardian and custodian during your
minority, and that means he will have complete control of you--and of
your money----"

"My uncle?" she cried in dismay. "Oh, Mr. Ricaby--couldn't you have
prevented that?"

He shook his head. Then, jumping to his feet, and pacing the floor
nervously, he exclaimed angrily:

"How can one man cope with a gang of crooks or break up a well-organized
System? Bascom Cooley, your uncle's lawyer, is a prominent member of the
inner political ring which controls everything. He presented his
petition to a judge who received his appointment from this very
organization. It was a foregone conclusion what the outcome would be.
Now we're no better off than before. The granting of the petition will
give your uncle complete control of your fortune."

Paula looked at him blankly. This was too much. Her patience was almost
exhausted. She had borne everything patiently up to now, but this new
insult went too far. Tears started to her eyes, and, stamping her foot
angrily, she cried:

"He shan't have my father's money to squander how and on whom he
pleases! On that I'm determined. I'll give it away-- I'll-- Oh! surely
something can be done!"

Mr. Ricaby shrugged his shoulders.

"I'm afraid not," he answered. "Your uncle is in the hands of an
unscrupulous gang. He has spent money like water to break the will. His
lawyers resorted to every questionable device under a loosely
constructed legal jurisprudence. Where did the money come from? Your
uncle didn't have it. His marriage to Mrs. Chase--an extravagant widow
with an extravagant son--used up all the money he had. This is Cooley's
venture--and Cooley never goes into anything unless he's sure of

"And they have won!" she exclaimed.

The lawyer nodded.

"They have absolute control of you--and your money----"

"Can't anything be done?" cried the young girl, wringing her hands in
despair. "Can't you do something? Surely I have some rights. Can't you
try?--can't you?"

The lawyer was silent for a moment. Then he said thoughtfully:

"I could retain ex-Senator Wratchett--but he would ask twenty-five
thousand dollars in advance. He's not as good a lawyer as Cooley, but he
has more pull." Excitedly he went on: "Ah! that's what we want,
Paula--political pull! My God! What a farce life is! When I was a
minister of the Gospel I was a dreamer, howling for purity and truth.
Now I'm awake, with my feet on the earth. I'm praying for a liar and a
trickster to come and help us out--and cursing myself because I haven't
the money to buy him----"

"Twenty-five thousand dollars!" she echoed helplessly. With a bitter
laugh she went on: "I pawned my last ring this morning to pay Mrs.
Parkes the money I owed her. You gave the Judge the whole history of the
case--you told him how my uncle has deliberately stood in the way of my
getting my rights for two years--you told him that he is my worst


"And yet he appointed him my custodian and guardian?"

The lawyer shrugged his shoulders. Dryly he replied:

"He belongs to the same political organization as Cooley. In this
State," he went on, "in order to get the nomination, a judge or his
friends are expected to contribute a large sum of money to the campaign
fund--the idea is that he owes something to the men who pay that money
for him, that he must show some gratitude to those who nominate and
elect him--fine ethics, eh? I think I'll go back to the pulpit----"

"Can my uncle compel me to live with him?" demanded Paula.

"Yes," he replied. "I'm afraid so."

The girl jumped up, her hands clenched, her face flushed with anger.
Hotly she cried:

"I won't--I won't--live with him! I hate that vulgar, showy woman--his
wife! She sneered at me in court because I cried when they said my
father drank himself to death. I hate that foolish, giggling son of
hers--I hate them all! They've spoiled my life, they've robbed me of the
joy of youth. I'm old before my time! My God! I'm not twenty, and I feel
worn out. It's a shame the abominable way they've hounded me, but I
won't give in--I won't----"

"Come, come, Paula," said the lawyer soothingly. "I feel just as badly
as you do about it--I----"

He stopped abruptly and looked out of the window.

Paula watched him in silence. Something within told her that if this man
felt bitter under defeat, it was more for her sake than for his own.

"Go on," she said, more gently.

"I don't see that we can do anything more just now," he continued. "The
fact is, I'm a bit bewildered. I'm simply stunned!" Hesitatingly, he
went on: "I feel I'm to blame to a certain extent. I don't think I
quite understand my profession. There are so many laws--so many
loopholes to evade the law--so many ramifications--so many
interpretations. It's all law--law--law--nothing but law--the question
of equity and justice is completely lost sight of in the chaos of
procedure--the letter of the law is there, but the spirit is wanting!"

Sitting down, he buried his face in his hands, the picture of utter

Paula approached and laid a hand on his shoulder.

"It's not your fault, Mr. Ricaby," she said kindly. "You've done your
best, but just think! To be compelled to live with my uncle, the man who
destroyed my father's memory, who reviled my mother! Oh, it's--it's
monstrous! No, they shan't compel me--I defy them--I defy the law! What
do you advise?"

The lawyer shook his head.

"You will gain nothing by openly defying them," he said. "When in
doubt--wait! Meantime I'll go and see ex-Senator Wratchett. Perhaps I
can interest him in our behalf. I'll move Heaven and earth to get
him--set a thief to catch a thief, eh? Oh, it's a glorious game! God
knows I've tried to be fair!"

They were so busy talking that they did not hear a timid knock on the
door. Mrs. Parkes put her head in.

"A gentleman to see Miss Marsh!" she said, holding out a card.

Paula's face brightened and then grew serious as she caught sight of the
name on the bit of pasteboard.

"It's Mr. Chase," she said, turning to the lawyer. "He hasn't been here
for an age. I'm surprised he has called so soon after the rendering of
the decision. Do you think I should receive him?"

Mrs. Parkes seemed surprised that there should be any question about it.

"He came in a beautiful motor car!" she exclaimed. "Oh, what a
magnificent machine! Royal blue color and such a handsome uniform the
chauffeur has----"

Mr. Ricaby frowned. He had never approved of this friendship with a
young man whose motives he had reason to suspect very strongly. His
calling so soon after the verdict was certainly not in the best of
taste. It was more than likely that he was a spy sent by the ingenious
Mr. Cooley to ferret out their plan of action. Mr. Chase had been very
amiable and attentive to them in Paris and during the voyage home, but
all that might be only part of the game. On the other hand, if it was a
prearranged plan it would work both ways. With a little careful
maneuvering they, too, might be able to find out from Tod what new tack
the enemy was working on. So, on second thoughts, it might be well to
encourage his visits.

"Tell him to come up," he said to the landlady.

Mrs. Parkes bounced out, and a moment later Tod entered.

"I hope I don't intrude," was his cheery greeting.

"Not at all," replied Paula, somewhat coldly. "Won't you sit down?" she

He took a seat and drew off his gloves. Affably, he said:

"Thanks--yes. I'll even take a cup of tea if you'll ask me. When I once
get started on a proposition I go right round the course--even with a
punctured tire." Turning to the lawyer, he went on: "Say, Mr. Ricaby--I
just heard that the case has gone against you. That's fierce! I've come
to have a little family talk-fest."

He stopped and looked at his hostess and the lawyer. Both remained
silent and non-committal. With a shrug of his shoulders, he continued:

"No answer? Well, then, I'll talk to myself, and you can listen till you
feel like joining in----"

"Are you here at the request of your stepfather?" interrupted Mr. Ricaby

The young man gave him a look that was intended to be withering.
Instinctively he knew that Mr. Ricaby was no friend of his, and perhaps
he guessed the reason. But he did not come to see the lawyer. He liked
Paula and was sincerely sorry for her. He did not propose to be bluffed
out of his newly made friendship by the unreasonable suspicion of a
jealous rival. Sharply he retorted:

"No. I am here at my own request. I'm sorry for this little girl. I saw
her in court several times when they were trying to break the will, and
my heart went out to her. I want to help her. Oh, I know I don't look
like anybody's friend. I'm fat--I'm selfish--and I love myself to
distraction--and all that, but--I give you my word I felt sorry for her.
I'll never forget her face the day she testified. Gee whiz! Cooley laid
it onto Uncle John--your father I mean--didn't he? It wasn't right--I
felt sorry, and I told Jimmy so. Miss Marsh, believe it or not--I'm here
to express myself as thoroughly disgusted with the methods my folks have
employed to get Uncle John's money."

"Why do you call my father Uncle John?" demanded Paula haughtily.

"I got your Uncle Jimmy when he married my mother," laughed Tod, "and I
take everything that goes with him--including Uncle John and you--I
don't see why I shouldn't have the nice things, too."

"Thank you," she answered, trying to suppress a smile.

Tod grinned.

"I understand you're coming to live with us?" he said.

Paula's face darkened again.

"Am I?" she said frigidly.

"Cooley says so," he went on, "and Jimmy seconded the motion, so I
thought I'd come ahead--and sort of break the ice, as it were. I told
mother and she said it wasn't a bad idea--for me--and here I am. You are
coming, aren't you? It'll be awfully jolly for me. Please say yes--one
plunge and it's all over."

Paula was forced to laugh in spite of herself. Then recalling suddenly
his attitude at the trial, she demanded:

"Why did you laugh in court when they said my father was a drunkard?"

"Laugh?" he exclaimed. "I couldn't help it. All that Cooley was able to
prove was that your father drank a quart of champagne at dinner, now and
then. Why, I do that myself--even when I'm out of training! One quart?
Why, it's pitiful! I'm laughing yet, but understand, I was laughing for
you--not against you."

She turned away her head so he should not see she was smiling. But he
was not slow to note the advance he was making, and, thus encouraged, he
went on:

"Another--and perhaps the real reason why I came--and this is on the
level--I'm responsible for this whole state of affairs."

Mr. Ricaby looked up in surprise.

"You?" he exclaimed.

"Yes," continued Tod, rising to go. "My mother married Jimmy because she
wanted money. You know she's very extravagant, and I'm her chief
extravagance. I run up bills and she pays 'em. We've both got the habit.
Well, you see, if it wasn't for my debts, she wouldn't have married
Jimmy and he probably wouldn't have tried to get his brother's estate.
So you see it's all my fault. I'm the black sheep--the others are only
dark-brown. But I'm going to do what's right from this out. To begin
with, I'm going to turn my new eight-thousand-dollar car over to you."

"Why should you do that?" demanded Paula.

The young man chuckled as he replied:

"I got the cash on a note endorsed by mother, and Jimmy will have to pay
it out of your money. It's your money that bought the car--so you take
it--but I'll run it for you. It's a dandy. Just romps up the hills. I
can squeeze seventy out of it. It's downstairs now. Say, Miss Marsh,
come down and take a look at it----"

She shook her head.

"No--thank you all the same."

He looked at her with an injured expression.

"I give you my word of honor," he said, "I want to do what is right.
Jimmy and mother always regarded Uncle John's money as theirs and I
unconsciously fell into line. But I've woke up--I withdraw from the
contest. I'm out of it--so we can be good friends--but--take my advice
and watch Jimmy and keep your eyes on Cooley. You know Cooley cooks up
all sorts of schemes for Jimmy, and Cooley isn't exactly working for
charity. I don't like Cooley. He's too sharp. Of course, a lawyer ought
to be sharp, but Cooley is almost too deuced sharp--one of these days
he'll cut himself." As he made a move towards the door, he said: "You
will come, won't you? When shall I say you're coming?"

He stopped to hear her answer, but none came. There was an embarrassing
silence. Mr. Ricaby, who was walking nervously up and down the room,
suddenly turned on the young man, and, looking him squarely in the face,

"You really wish to do what is right?"

"Yes," answered Tod promptly.

"Then tell the whole truth," said the lawyer, raising his voice, "how
much are you to receive if you succeed in persuading Miss Marsh to
accept her uncle's guardianship without protest?"

The young man answered the older man's steady gaze unflinchingly. If he
was playing the role of a spy certainly his face did not betray it. With
perfect sangfroid, he answered:

"This is unworthy of you. Yet I don't blame you for suspecting me. It
was like this--I told them they didn't know how to handle women----"

"And you do?" laughed Paula.

"Well," replied Tod, his chest inflated with self-importance, "I've had
a little experience with women. But I didn't promise to tell you the
truth about that. I said to Jimmy and Cooley: Kindness--that's the
idea--kindness. Don't jerk at her mouth. Hold the rein loose. Treat
women and horses alike. Women and horses--the noblest creatures in God's
creation. Leave her to me, I said--you see I wanted to get well
acquainted with you--I'm interested--really I am."

"Indeed!" laughed Paula satirically. "I ought to feel quite

Tod broke out into a hearty laugh. Pointing gleefully at his hostess, he

"Ha! ha! The ice is cracking. Miss Marsh--I warn you--you're warming

Paula was about to make retort when the door opened and Harry Parkes
appeared. He nodded stiffly to Tod and approached the lawyer.

"Mr. Ricaby," he said, "your office is calling you on the telephone."

The lawyer immediately excused himself and hurried out of the room.
There was an awkward silence. Tod looked at Harry and the latter looked
at Tod. Both rivals for the lady's good graces, neither seemed disposed
to leave the field free for the other.

"Well--I suppose I'd better go----" growled Tod finally. Holding out his
hand to Paula, he said: "May I report progress?" Seeing her smile and
thinking he might be able to get the best of the other fellow after all,
he went on: "My car is downstairs. Won't you come down and look it

"Thank you, so----" she replied.

"Just a spin round the park," he pleaded. "I can do it in fifteen
minutes. It's all right, you know. The speed limit don't go with me at
all--I know all the policemen. You see Jimmy is running strong with the
chief--and whatever we say, goes."

Paula laughed merrily.

"I'm afraid I can't accept your invitation, even with the special
inducement of being able to break the law with impunity."

"Sorry. Well, good-bye--I'm off." His manner lost its flippancy, and
there was genuine feeling in his voice as he added: "Good-bye, Miss
Marsh. Whatever happens I'm really and truly glad I had this chat with
you, but I'm afraid I did most of the talking. Good-bye."

"Good-bye, Mr. Chase," she said, extending her hand.

The door closed and Paula returned slowly to the table.

"A curious boy," she murmured, more to herself than to her companion. "I
rather like him."

"Do you?" exclaimed Harry blankly, looking at her over his gold
eyeglasses. Awkwardly he went on: "I'm glad he's gone. I wanted to say
something to you. Miss Marsh--I--I've thought it all over----"

Paula resumed her seat and took up a book.

"Now, Harry," she laughed, "you're going to propose again. I can see it
in your face. Please don't. There's a good boy."

"I was only going to say," he stammered, "that the name of Parkes is at
your disposal."

"That's very kind, but----"

"Fifteen hundred a year--no encumbrances--unlimited prospects----"

She looked up at him, much amused.

"It sounds a little like a real estate advertisement. But, seriously,
Harry--don't--don't--can't you see I've no time for such nonsense? I'm
driven almost to distraction. I owe Mr. Ricaby so much money. He has
almost ruined himself for me. He has worked day and night on this
case--neglected all his law practice. I hear him coming now. Perhaps he
has some news."

There were sounds of hurried footsteps. The door opened, and the lawyer
entered hurriedly. He looked flurried as if something important had
happened. Turning to Harry, he said quickly:

"Will you excuse us a moment?"

"Certainly--certainly----" said the young man.

With a side glance at Paula, he went out, closing the door. Mr. Ricaby
quickly approached Paula. Laboring under some excitement, he said:

"Your uncle demands an interview with you. I told him you refused to go
to him."

"Quite right! Go to him indeed!" she exclaimed indignantly.

"He and Mr. Cooley are now at my office. They want to come here to see

"I won't see them," she cried.

"Perhaps it would be good policy," said the lawyer thoughtfully.

"No," she retorted emphatically. "I won't see them."

"Yes, Paula," said the lawyer kindly, but firmly, "they can keep up this
legal battle for years--as long as they choose--until we're exhausted
and most of the money we're fighting for is expended in fees and costs.
Cooley will never give up--and we can't go on without money. Something
might be gained by meeting them halfway." He hesitated a moment and then
went on: "Cooley told me over the telephone just now that he had new
evidence. He could prove that his client had a partnership with his
brother, and was entitled to half----"

"He can prove anything," she cried contemptuously. "I refuse to degrade
myself by a compromise. It shall be all or nothing."

Nervous and agitated, Mr. Ricaby strode up and down the room. He was
advising the girl for the best. He had experience in these matters.
Well he knew the law's terrible delays, and even then the result was

"If you fight them," he said, "it means more costly litigation. I may be
able to get Wratchett, but I'm not sure that he'll fight Cooley. They're
such strong political cronies. You've nothing to lose by holding out the
olive branch, and much to gain. Really, Paula, it's better for you to
see them. I am so sure about it that I told them to come over."

With a gesture of discouragement Paula sank down in a chair.

"God knows I'm as tired of the struggle as you are, Mr. Ricaby," she
cried, "but I hate to give up. I know you're advising me for the
best--yes--I'll be guided by you--I will see them--and--and yield as
gracefully as I can, but it seems hard, very hard. When will they come?"

"In a few minutes," replied the lawyer.


Bascom Cooley had not overestimated his abilities or the extent of his
pull. He had not, indeed, been successful in his efforts to have the new
will set aside. There are some things which not even crooked lawyers,
with all their cunning and underhand methods, are unable to do. Even his
perjured witnesses could not disprove the fact that John Marsh was
legally married to Paula's mother, and that he was of sound mind when he
made the second will. Backed by all the influence of the System, he
could not prevent Paula from inheriting what was naturally and legally
hers. Yet, thanks to the mysterious and powerful support behind him, he
did manage to score in one important point. He was able to manipulate
the legal wires in such a way that Paula, after the Court decision
rendered in her favor, found herself no better off than she was before.
Being a minor, she could not touch her inheritance. The appointment of a
guardian was necessary, and Bascom Cooley, after much secret and
underhand manoeuvring, finally persuaded a judge to appoint the
girl's uncle special administrator until she could come of age. It was
clearly unconstitutional and at once evoked protest from Paula's
attorney. But to no purpose. The court's order was peremptory. An appeal
to a higher court would mean more endless and expensive litigation. The
best plan, perhaps, was to wait patiently the one short year and then
demand a strict accounting. At least, so argued Mr. Ricaby.

Bascom Cooley now had things going his way. Jimmy, his poor, weak tool,
was in sole control of the Marsh millions. For twelve months he could do
what he liked with the money. Much can be accomplished in a year--money
can be made, money can be lost. If, when the day of accounting came,
there was a scandal, Jimmy alone would be held responsible, and as for
denouncing others as having shared in the division of the spoils, he
would not dare. Cooley knew too much of his business for that.

The next important step was to control, as far as possible, the
movements of the ward herself. It would never do to have her living in a
cheap boarding house, going and coming as she pleased, surrounded by
people who might tell her embarrassing truths. The influence of Leon
Ricaby, especially, Mr. Cooley was anxious to remove. He felt that with
the attorney out of the way, they would have less trouble with the girl.
That is why he had impressed Jimmy with the urgent necessity of taking
Paula as a more or less unwilling boarder under his roof.

"She'll kick like a steer," he growled. "But that's nothing. I like a
gal with some spirit in her. She must do what we say, whether she likes
it or not."

Overbearing, brutal, defiant, Mr. Cooley entered the sitting room of
Mrs. Parkes' boarding house, followed meekly by Jimmy Marsh. Fashionably
dressed, dyed and perfumed, Paula's uncle, in personal appearance,
offered a sharp contrast to the burly, coarse-looking lawyer. The two
men were types so utterly dissimilar that it was almost paradoxical to
find them in such close association. It was as if the lamb suddenly
found it to his taste to consort with the wolf. While the lawyer
advanced into the room, his air arrogant, his manner insolent, Jimmy
remained in the background, nervous and fidgetty. That he was completely
under the mental control of his attorney was plainly evident.

Mr. Ricaby was alone in the room, awaiting their arrival.

"Hallo, Ricaby--howdy?" exclaimed the big lawyer. "You know Mr.

Jimmy nodded and Mr. Ricaby bowed stiffly. His manner was freezingly

"Yes, I think I have that pleasure."

Without troubling to wait for an invitation, Mr. Cooley flopped his
large person into an armchair. Then, looking all around as if in search
of someone, he asked:

"Well, where's the young lady?"

"She'll be here in a moment," replied Mr. Ricaby. There was an awkward
pause, and then he went on: "I need scarcely tell you that this sudden
visit is most unexpected."

The big lawyer gave a coarse laugh.

"Always expect the unexpected from Bascom Cooley!" he cried. "Sit down,
Mr. Marsh. Yes, Mr. Ricaby, Bascom Cooley aims at a certain point, but
he never looks in the direction he's aiming, and while the other side is
carefully guarding the wrong place--bing!--Bascom Cooley's got 'em where
he wants 'em."

Mr. Ricaby nodded.

"Quite so!" he said, with a shade of irony.

Mr. Cooley grinned.

"That's why the aforesaid is in a class all by himself," he chuckled.

Mr. Marsh ventured to obtrude himself into the conversation. Timidly he

"Perhaps my niece may find the hour inconvenient. I'm perfectly willing
to postpone----"

Mr. Cooley stamped his foot impatiently.

"Now, look here, Marsh, don't be a fool; don't establish a precedent of
meekness, or you'll have to be meek all the time. That's the advice I
give young married men, Ricaby."

He laughed boisterously at his own wit, and looked at Mr. Ricaby as if
expecting him to join in the merriment. But Paula's attorney remained
sober as a judge.

"Come, come, be cheerful!" went on Mr. Cooley; "why not let us be good
friends? Why can't Miss Paula be made to understand that my client is
her friend as well as her nearest relative? Flesh and blood is flesh and
blood--you can't get away from that fact. He wants to open his heart to
her. Hang it, they've been separated long enough! All his movements,
however seemingly unfriendly, have been actuated only by a sense of
justice to his own family."

"Perfectly true--perfectly true," broke in Jimmy eagerly. "She is my
brother's child, and, although we've seen nothing of her, nevertheless I
feel that I am far more competent to--to take charge of--the family
estate--than she is."

"The family estate?" interrupted Mr. Ricaby, elevating his eyebrows.

"Yes," said Jimmy boldly. "My brother's estate and mine. You know, the
woman he married----"

Cooley held up his hand with a deprecating gesture:

"Now, please, don't let us go into that phase of the matter. The
marriage was kept secret, but we have conceded that it was a marriage.
Once and for all, let us have done with this litigation business. My
client doesn't want to drag this case through the courts for years. He
can if he wants to--but he doesn't. What he wants is--peace and

"And his brother's estate," interrupted Mr. Ricaby sarcastically.

Mr. Cooley looked aggrieved.

"Ricaby," he said, "that insinuation is not in keeping with the friendly
purpose of this meeting. My client is special administrator--an
appointee of the Court--and we are acting under the law----"

"The law!" exclaimed Mr. Ricaby scornfully. "That's the damnable part of
it! You're acting under a law that compels a widow or orphan to spend
thousands of dollars on litigation in order to obtain what is theirs by

Mr. Cooley shrugged his shoulders.

"The law is all right."

"Then it's dishonest interpretation that's at fault," retorted the other
hotly. "Something is rotten somewhere when the courts can be used to
legally deprive this girl of her inheritance."

Mr. Cooley rolled his eyes and remained unperturbed. Suavely, glibly, he

"You're repeating yourself, brother Ricaby. So you told the judge, and
it didn't do your case a particle of good. That's a sign of weakness.
But come, I promised myself not to allow anything to interrupt the
peaceful, harmonious flow of events." With an effort at flowery
rhetoric, he went on pompously: "Let us bury the legal axe, let's bring
flesh and blood together, that they may be reunited over the grave of a
buried family feud. Let us bring our clients together on terms of peace.
It's a sacred duty we owe our profession, Mr. Ricaby, a duty that exalts
our profession over all other callings. The ministry may make peace for
man in Heaven, but we are peacemakers here on earth."

"Quite true--quite true," chirped Jimmy from the far corner of the room.

Mr. Ricaby shrugged his shoulders.

"No wonder they call you the silver-lipped orator," he muttered

There was a knock at the door, and Mr. Ricaby went forward to see who it
was. Speaking to someone in the hall outside, he said:

"My clerk? Oh, yes, ask him to come up. No--I'll go down." Turning to
the others, he asked:

"Will you excuse me for a moment?"

"Certainly," said Mr. Cooley, "and, while I think of it, do your best to
persuade Miss Paula that we are really acting for her best interests.
She is alone in the world. Her uncle will take her into his own family,
welcome her as his own child."

Mr. Ricaby, with an impatient shrug of his shoulders, went out without
waiting to listen to any more. Mr. Cooley, who had not noticed the
attorney's departure, went on:

"Can't you see the picture, Ricaby? Uncle--niece--bosom of family--happy
home--cousins--smiling faces--all radiant with newly found happiness?"

Suddenly he noticed that Ricaby was no longer there. Turning to Jimmy,
he exclaimed, in a changed tone of voice:

"You know that fellow is the damndest bore I was ever up against! His
arguments to the judge were puerile--positively puerile! That one about
the ethical aspect was a bird. You know it's all I can do to keep my
temper with that brand of practitioner."

Jimmy nodded approval.

"You've been remarkably patient--remarkably," he said.

Mr. Cooley's face broke into a self-satisfied smile.

"Those fellows theorize and theorize by the yard. I've sat on the bench
and listened to their cackle till I got so hot under the collar I'd like
to jump down and bang 'em over the head with their own law books. They
quote authorities by the stack and hand you all the old-time stuff from
old Roman and British digest down to last year's decision. Those fellows
forget that Henry Clay and Daniel Webster oratory is out of date.
Marsh--while I think of it--don't make too much show of affection to the
girl--not too much 'Uncle' business at the start, she may not take to it

"Of course, of course," said Jimmy impatiently. "I'm not exactly a

"Not exactly--no--but sometimes perilously near," retorted Cooley dryly.

"My dear Cooley----"

"Now, my dear James, you must really be guided by me----"

"But there are limits," said the other.

"Quite so," acquiesced the lawyer, "and I apologize for not observing
them, but I really can't allow you to lose control of your brother
John's fortune without at least making the effort to guide you

"No, of course not," muttered his vis-à-vis. "God knows how I should
ever pay your fees if I did----"

The lawyer opened wide his eyes as if he did not quite comprehend.

"Pay my fees? Why, my dear Marsh, I don't want to be paid fees----"


"You don't suppose I'm working for mere fees, do you? I'll tell you what
I'm after when we get control of the estate."

"We?" echoed Jimmy interrogatively.

"_Oui--oui_"--snapped Cooley. "That's French for 'yes.' Do you imagine
that Bascom Cooley intends to desert you after the battle is won?
No--no--he will help you handle your victory."

"Quite so--quite so," nodded Jimmy vacuously, "but at the same time----"

"There is no same time," snapped Mr. Cooley; "you take your _tempo_ from
me." Holding up his hand he demonstrated with his fingers: "Move number
1--give her a regular allowance and regulate all expenditure. Move
number 2--turn all her father's investments into cash. Move number
3--reinvest the cash, so that we can handle the profits."

"But suppose she--she refuses?" demanded the other.

"She won't. She daren't. If she does"-- He hesitated as if unwilling to
give expression to his secret thoughts, even to Jimmy--"we'll put her
where she can't refuse."

"Put her where she can't refuse?" echoed his client, puzzled. "I don't

The lawyer put his finger warningly to his lips.

"Hush!" he whispered, "I've got it all planned out. There isn't one
chance in a thousand for us to miss fire, but you must follow--not lead.
Bascom Cooley has never lost a case. He can't lose a case. Why, Marsh,
I'll take either side of this case and win."

"What colossal confidence!" cried Jimmy admiringly.

Mr. Cooley looked around as if to make sure that there were no
eavesdroppers. His manner became very serious and determined.

"That's the whole secret, Jimmy," he said. "Believe in yourself and that
flock of sheep we call the world will follow you. The power to be is
only the power to will. Whatever I will--happens, and that is a very
valuable political asset. Why, I can take a rank outsider at a crowded
caucus--over the heads of all the regular nominees--nominate him and jam
him through to the front. I've done it--they can't resist me. When I say
'yes,' by God! it's yes! It's got to be 'yes.' Your claim wasn't worth a
button when you first came to me. Well, what do you think of your
chances now? You wouldn't take ninety cents on the dollar for it, would
you? Well, I guess not!"

The door opened and Mr. Ricaby reappeared with a bag in his hand. He
seemed surprised to see the two men still alone. Looking around, he

"Isn't Miss Marsh here yet?"

"No," said Cooley, with a covert sneer, "the young lady is taking her

Jimmy made an effort to put on an air of offended dignity.

"My niece is perhaps unaware," he said loftily, "that Mr. Cooley is
waiting. I don't mind for myself----"

Mr. Ricaby was about to leave the room to investigate, when suddenly the
door of the bedroom on the right opened and Paula appeared. Her face was
pale, but she was cool and self-composed. The girl's manner gave little
indication of the agitation within. These men who had come to see her
against her will, she feared and abhorred. That they were her mortal
enemies instinct told her, that they would stop at nothing to gain their
ends, she had every reason to believe. This new proposal sugar-coated as
it was with proffers of friendliness, could only cloak some sinister,
covert design. She would have liked to communicate her fears to Mr.
Ricaby, but this unexpected visit had so taken her by surprise that
there was no opportunity. But she would be on her guard. They should get
nothing from her.

"Thank God!" she murmured to herself, "this is a free country. They may
annoy me, but they can do me no bodily harm."

As she came in the two men arose, Jimmy feeling more and more
uncomfortable, Mr. Cooley beaming with smiles, Mr. Ricaby anxious.

"Miss Marsh," began Mr. Ricaby, "these two gentlemen--er----"

Paula advanced and bowed distantly.

"Yes--I know--Mr. James Marsh and--Mr. Cooley."

"Will you--er--sit down--Paula?" stammered her uncle.

"Thank you--no," replied Paula, with quiet dignity. "I--I prefer to
stand." Significantly she added: "It won't take us very long to say
what we have to say."

Jimmy muttered something under his breath, and Mr. Cooley got ready for
action. Taking the floor, he began pompously:

"Miss Paula, your uncle wants you to---- It is his earnest desire that
bygones--bygones--and that the past be forgotten."

"We're not in court now, Mr. Cooley," answered the girl quickly. "If my
uncle has anything to say to me I prefer to hear it directly from him.
He does not need an attorney."

The lawyer shrugged his massive shoulders and sat down.

"Oh, just as you please," he said.

Jimmy came forward.

"Of course, of course," he said quickly. "I want you to--to come
home--Paula. Your aunt also wishes you to come--she is eager to welcome

Paula's face did not change its expression. She had made up her mind.
Nothing could shake her from that determination. Still, it was perhaps
just as well to find out just what the other side had to propose. Calmly
she said:

"That much I understand, but I want to know exactly what you expect of
me so that there may be no misunderstanding in the future. What is my
exact position according to your idea----"

"Your position----" stammered Jimmy.

"Yes," she insisted. "My position in regard to my father's property? In
other words, what are your demands?"

Mr. Ricaby interfered.

"Mr. Marsh--I think she means----"

Paula raised her hand as if she did not need any assistance.

"Mr. Ricaby, I wish to know from Mr. Marsh himself exactly what he
expects of me."

"What we expect?" stammered Jimmy.

This was a question he was unprepared for. He looked at Paula helplessly
and then turned to Mr. Cooley. There was a hurried whispering, during
which time Paula and her attorney stood waiting. Finally Jimmy came

"You will come and live with us, of course?" he said.

"Yes," she replied, with a careless nod.

"Yes, as our own child, Paula," he went on eagerly.

"Oh, yes," she repeated.

"You will have a regular allowance from the estate," continued her


"You will be your own mistress. That is--er--you will come and go as you
please, of course. But I think it best that we--that is, your
aunt--select such companions for you as--er--we deem advisable."

"To safeguard my morals, I presume?"

"No, no; just a--a social precaution. Perhaps it won't be necessary. I
don't insist on it. It just occurred to me, that's all. Of course we
shall be guided by your own desires, but as your uncle and guardian I
reserve the right to decide what is best for your social welfare."

"What about my debts?"

"Your debts?"

He looked helplessly at Mr. Cooley. The big lawyer guffawed, and said

"They will be paid out of the estate."

"My counsel fees are very large," went on Paula. "I owe Mr. Ricaby an
enormous sum."

"We'll examine his accounts carefully and decide," echoed Jimmy.

"No," said Paula decisively, "his accounts will not be examined
carefully. They will be paid without question--and without delay."

Mr. Cooley shrugged his shoulders.

"We'll--we won't discuss that point now."

"We won't discuss that point now," echoed Jimmy. Turning to her
attorney, he said: "Mr. Ricaby, you will turn over all the papers
referring to this or any other matter that Miss Marsh may be interested
in--as in future Mr. Cooley will be her counsel and legal adviser."

"Indeed!" cried Paula.

"Yes, my dear girl," said her uncle; "it would be rather inconvenient to
have more than one legal adviser in the family. In fact, it will be
impossible--quite impossible."

Paula shook her head.

"Mr. Ricaby is my friend--the only friend I have in the world," she

"That's rather a pity," answered Jimmy, with a feeble attempt at irony.
He turned to Mr. Cooley and the lawyer shook his head. Jimmy went on:

"I am very sorry, Paula, but that doesn't alter the position. It's the
one point I'm afraid I must insist on."

Paula turned to her attorney.

"Mr. Ricaby, will you kindly tell these gentlemen that our interview is
at an end?"

Jimmy started forward.

"Paula! My dear niece----"

"I have nothing further to say," answered Paula coldly.

"Paula--won't you listen?"

"Please ask them to go," she repeated.

"Won't you reconsider?" cried her uncle. "I express my sincere regret
for any annoyance I may have caused you."

She smiled bitterly. All the hate that she had nourished in her heart
against this man was now heated to boiling point. Vehemently she burst

"I expect to suffer through coming in contact with a mean, mercenary
nature like yours," she cried, "that's the penalty I pay for being 'your
dear niece.' What I cannot understand and what I cannot forgive is your
cruelty in blackening my dead father's memory--to stamp your own brother
a lunatic and drunkard! Why, it's--it's horrible! Even the love of money
in a degenerate age doesn't explain that. And my dead mother! Her name
had to be dishonored, that I might be stamped as illegitimate. No
accusation too scandalous, too shameful, or too degrading, could be
made--because I had come between you and this miserable money!" Shaking
her clenched fist in his face, she cried: "But you'll never get it,
Uncle James, you'll never get it! You hear that, sir? You'll never get
it--and, now--please go."

Mr. Cooley looked at her in silence for a moment, whispered a few words
in Jimmy's ear, and then both men left the room.


Paula now breathed freely for the first time in weeks. The enemy was
utterly routed. Temporarily at least she might reasonably expect to be
spared further annoyance. Her uncle, it was true, had control of her
fortune, and until she came of age her hands were completely tied. But
in another year she would be her own mistress. Then they would be
powerless to molest her. Meantime, she devoutly hoped that they would
leave her in peace to live her own life as she saw fit.

The excitement and turmoil incidental to the trial having quieted down,
affairs at the boarding house soon resumed their normal aspect. Paula
became more active daily in her Settlement duties, and was already well
known as one of the most prominent and energetic workers in that humane
organization. Conspicuous in the public eye as the heiress to a large
fortune, the great interest she took in the condition of the poor
attracted much attention in the newspapers. They printed her portrait
with eulogistic comments, sent reporters to interview her, and printed
statements, entirely unauthorized, to the effect that when she came into
her inheritance she would devote her millions to the cause of charity.
All day long she was busy downtown on her mission of mercy and even at
night was frequently called away either to address some socialist
gathering or attend a committee meeting.

Mr. Ricaby, ever attentive and devoted, always escorted her on these
occasions, not realizing himself, perhaps, that he took keener pleasure
in these nocturnal excursions than a legitimate interest in the case
would warrant. Paula was grateful for his company, but that was all. For
a pretty girl, full of life and sentiment, she was singularly heart
whole. Of the deeper passions which disturb other normal healthy girls
of her age she seemed entirely free. Men had declared her cold. The
opposite sex appeared to have no attraction to her. But this was a
mistaken impression. She was not cold. It was simply that the right man
had not yet appeared. Certainly, Leon Ricaby with his grave manner and
shattered illusions was not her ideal. She found him devoted, but dull.
She found no pleasure in his society. Harry Parkes was shallow and
impossible. The most interesting man she knew was Tod Chase. He was
original and he interested her. His breezy manner and cheerful way of
looking at things was just what her own life lacked. His mere presence,
his droll utterance, and broad grin dispelled the blues and made her
feel happier. She believed, too, that he was a friend. He had not called
since her refusal to go and live with her uncle, but she had no reason
to believe that he disapproved of her action. Perhaps he was afraid to
intrude on her. She had offered to take him down to the slums to show
him just how the poor people lived. Any day he might come to claim the

But with all her courage Paula was far from happy. Often she wished that
her father had not left her a cent, and that she was back in Paris,
copying the old masters in the Louvre. All she had gone through could
not have failed to affect her nervous system. She was singularly
depressed. Try as she would, she was unable to shake off the idea, which
soon became an obsession, that something serious was about to happen,
that some catastrophe, compared with which all that had until now
occurred were trifles, was hanging over her head. Never so much as now
had she realized her utter loneliness and defencelessness. Mr. Ricaby
and the Parkes were very kind and sympathetic, but at best they were
only acquaintances. She had no real claim upon them. There was
apparently nothing to fret about. Her uncle and Bascom Cooley gave no
sign of life, yet still she worried. She tried to centre all her
attention on her work, but always the silent question arose in her mind:
"What is being plotted in the dark?" The uncertainty of suspense
unnerved her so much that she was soon rendered unfit for work of any

One evening about two weeks after the ignominious retreat of Messrs.
Marsh and Cooley, she was sitting alone with Mr. Ricaby in Mrs. Parkes'
parlor. She had been busy at the Settlement all day and returned home so
tired that she was glad when, after dinner, the call of her attorney
gave her an excuse for not going to a lecture which she had promised to

"What do you think?" she asked anxiously. "Will they leave me alone

The lawyer shook his head ominously:

"You don't know Bascom Cooley. He never admits defeat. Baffled in his
attempt to keep you under close control in the Marsh house, he will
scheme to gain his ends in some other way. While you are free to come
and go as you please you are a hindrance to their plans. Besides, all
this newspaper talk about your intention to spend millions on your
Settlement work must have made them furious. They will seek other means
to coerce you into passive obedience. They are both scoundrels, and
there is not the slightest doubt in my mind that they have entered into
a conspiracy to make unlawful use of your money. But until they show
their hands we can do nothing."

The young girl sighed. Would all this trouble, the plotting and
counterplotting, never end? How weary she was of it all! Mr. Ricaby
heard the sigh and guessed the reason.

"Don't be discouraged," he said. "It's only the things which are worth
having that are worth fighting for. Think of all the good you can do
with your money when you get it."

Paula's dark eyes flashed.

"You are right," she murmured. "It is ungrateful of me to fret like
this. You are so kind." She hesitated a moment, as if there were
something on her mind to which she feared to give utterance. Then
timidly she said: "Everything will come out all right, no doubt, but I
can't shake off an uncomfortable feeling that there's still more trouble
coming. I don't like that man Bascom Cooley. He talks and acts as if he
had the power to do anything, even to compelling me by force to do what
I don't wish to do." With a little shudder she added: "I had a horrible
dream last night."

Mr. Ricaby laughed.

"Come--come, Paula! Don't let this thing take hold of you like that.
What was the dream?"

The young girl's large eyes, turned toward him, were dilated with
panicky terror. Her pallid face was still paler and the muscles about
her sensitive mouth twitched spasmodically. In a low, frightened voice,
she went on:

"I dreamed that my uncle came to see me. He said insolently that I must
go and live with him. I replied that I would not, and I ordered him from
the house. Instead of going, he merely laughed, and, opening the door,
beckoned to a man who stood waiting outside. The man entered. He was a
gaunt, sinister-looking person, with a cruel mouth and big, hollow,
staring eyes that seemed to pierce me through. A sardonic smile was on
his face. My uncle pointed at me. 'There she is!' he said. 'Take her
away. She's mad.' I gave a scream, and woke up."

Mr. Ricaby laughed outright.

"You must have been eating something which disagreed with you," he said.
"Surely you don't allow yourself to be frightened by anything so silly
as that?"

Paula nodded.

"It was all so vivid that it seemed true. Suppose----"

She hesitated.

"Suppose what?" he demanded.

"Suppose they did something like that. Suppose they had me declared
insane and placed in an asylum? One has read of such things. I think
they are capable of anything."

The lawyer looked amused. Laughingly he asked:

"In what age do you think you are living, Paula--in the twentieth
century or in the middle ages? Put all such nonsense out of your head.
They couldn't do what you suggest unless a medical commission signed
papers of commitment, and how could they get them? You'd have no
difficulty in proving that you are as sane as they are."

Paula's face brightened. This dream had been haunting her, and she felt
a sense of relief that she had been able to confide it to some one.

"I suppose it is foolish," she faltered. "But you know how it is when
one gets a fixed idea. It's hard to shake it off."

Mr. Ricaby looked at her in silence, a wistful expression on his face.
Had he dared, he would have gone forward and taken her in his arms,
telling her hotly that he loved her, and asking her to let him
henceforth be her natural protector. But there was no response in the
girl's face to the tumult that raged in his own heart. Her thoughts were
not of him. He checked the ardent words that rushed to his lips, and, as
usual, was silent.

"Won't you have some tea?" she asked carelessly, quite unconscious of
what was passing in his mind. Before he could reply there was a sharp
rap at the door, which half opened.

"May a fellow come in?" called out a cheerful voice.

The next instant Tod Chase poked his head in the room. Paula rose.

"Come in-- I'm very glad to see you," she said, advancing with
outstretched hand. The flush of pleasure that covered her cheek was
proof enough of the genuineness of her cordiality.

Tod came in, good humored as usual, and with a broad grin on his face.
All in one sentence he blurted out:

"Hope I don't intrude--looks kind of cozy in here. Been trying to come
round for a week, but our factory's been working overtime these
days--greatest rush you ever saw--a fellow's kept on the jump--how have
you been? You look just right. Howdy, Mr. Ricaby?"

He stopped to take breath. Paula laughed. It was the first laugh in
weeks. It did her good.

"Take a seat, won't you?" she smiled.

Tod laid down his hat and drew up to the little circle.

"I wonder you look at me after what's happened," he said, as he drew off
his gloves. "Anybody connected with our branch of the family ought to be
kicked. Of course, you understand it isn't my fault. My sympathy is all
yours. You see, Jimmy had looked upon this money as his own. He's sore,
Cooley's sore, everybody's sore. I don't care a rap myself. I'm making
an honest living for the first time in my life. I don't need your money.
Why don't they leave you alone? The money's yours--that's all there is
to it."

"I suppose you know that they wanted Miss Marsh to go and live at your
stepfather's house?" interposed Mr. Ricaby.

Tod nodded.

"Yes--another pipe dream. That was Cooley's suggestion. I heard them
talking about it. The day you turned Jimmy down he came home mad as a

"All I ask is to be let alone," cried Paula.

"Haven't you heard from them since?" inquired Tod.

Mr. Ricaby looked up quickly.

"No--we've heard nothing. What is it--some new nefarious scheme?"

Tod was silent, and looked at Paula. Noticing his hesitation, she was at
once filled with apprehension. He had heard something and did not wish
to cause her anxiety.

"Tell me," she said quickly, "what do you know of their plans? If you
are my friend you will conceal nothing."

"Yes," chimed in Mr. Ricaby. "It would be a kindness to let us know."

Tod looked from one to the other in a perplexed sort of way. Evidently
there was something on his mind that troubled him. Finally he said:

"I don't know a thing--honest I don't. They have some idea that I don't
approve of their actions, so they tell me nothing. Only----"

Again he hesitated.

"Only what?" said Paula eagerly.

"There's a lot of talk going on," continued Tod. "Cooley's at the house
every night, and they have long conferences in the library behind closed
doors. Last night my curiosity got the better of my manners. I glued my
eye to the keyhole and listened. Jimmy and Cooley were sitting at the
table in silent consultation. There was another man present--Dr.
Zacharie. You know Dr. Zacharie--the nerve specialist. I think he's a
humbug and a charlatan myself, but he gets himself talked about, the
women crowd his consulting rooms, and he's making piles of money.
Suddenly your name was mentioned. I tried to hear what was said, but
they spoke in low tones. Every now and then Cooley turned to Dr.
Zacharie and asked something, whereupon the doctor nodded."

Paula looked at Mr. Ricaby.

"What does this mean?" she asked.

The lawyer shrugged his shoulders.

"How should I know? I wouldn't pay any attention to it, if I were you.
Your uncle can surely have friends at his home without our getting
alarmed over it."

"Mr. Ricaby's dead right," burst in Tod. "It's a bally shame that I told
you. I wouldn't have said a word if you hadn't pressed me. The meeting
probably had nothing to do with you----"

Mr. Ricaby looked thoughtful.

"Birds of a feather flock together. I've known Dr. Zacharie for years.
He always had a bad name. One day he will be shown up as the scoundrel
that he is. If he's in with Cooley and Jimmy Marsh it's for no good.
Still, as Mr. Chase says, it may have nothing whatever to do with us."

Paula shook her head apprehensively.

"I don't know Dr. Zacharie," she said. "But I don't like his name. A
chill came over me when I heard it. I'm dreadfully nervous."

Tod seized her hand.

"Now, Miss Marsh--say one word more and I'll go and kill him! Dismiss
Zacharie and all the others from your mind. Why--they are not worthy to
breathe the same air as you. If you don't brighten up and forget all
about them I'll do something desperate. Anyhow, I came here to-night on
a desperate errand. It was to remind you of a promise."

"A promise--what promise?"

"Didn't you say that you would take me down to the slums one day?"

"Yes, I did."

"Well, I'm ready to go. When shall it be?"

The young girl hesitated a moment. Then she said:

"To-morrow's an interesting day. There are classes at the Settlement
home and house visits among the poor." Holding up a finger, she added
warningly: "Mind, it isn't exactly fun. You'll see a new phase of life,
something you do not know--the appalling misery and sordid wretchedness
of a great, careless city."

"That's immense!" cried Tod, rising enthusiastically. "I'll come for you
to-morrow. What time?"

"About eleven o'clock," she smiled.


The Bowery, that Broadway of the slums, odoriferous sink of cosmopolitan
pauperism, degradation, and crime, wore its familiar, everyday aspect of
ugly squalor and vice--grimy, dilapidated rookeries, dark, sinister
hallways, filthy, greasy pavements littered with decayed fruit skins,
gutters choked up with offensive black slime, suspicious-looking
characters, abominable stenches of sauerkraut and stale beer which
offended the nostrils on every side. On the slender rails high overhead
occasional trains crashed by with a sullen roar; in the middle of the
roadway rushing trolley cars noisily clanged their warning gongs, while
on either sidewalk stretching as far south as the City Hall cheap
clothing shops, tough saloons, low dance halls, pawnbrokers, penny
arcades, vaudeville shows, displayed their gaudy signs. Up and down
pushed and jostled a perspiring and motley crowd--bearded Jew peddlers,
pallid sweat-shop workers, Chinese, flashily dressed "toughs,"
furtive-eyed pickpockets, sailors on shore leave, factory girls,
painted street walkers, slouching longshoremen, tattered tramps,
derelicts of both sexes--an appalling host of unkempt, unwashed,
evil-smelling humanity.

In the side streets, just off the main thoroughfare, conditions were
even more congested and depressing. On either hand ricketty, grimy
tenements were alive with bearded Russians, fierce-looking Italians,
vociferating Irish, pot-bellied Germans. From broken windows hung
clotheslines bending under the load of newly washed rags; on flimsy,
rusty fire-escapes were jammed filthy mattresses on which slept the
wretched occupants, glad to escape from the foul air and heat within;
dark stairways and stoops were thronged with neglected, consumptive
children. The evil smells were so numerous that it was impossible to
determine which was the most objectionable. The air was full of
discordant, nerve-racking sounds. On one side of the street an Italian
was grinding a wheezy organ, while little girls, some with bare feet,
danced to the music. A few yards farther on, boys with white faces drawn
by hunger, were rummaging eagerly in ash barrels, hunting for scraps of
refuse. Two women were pulling each other's hair in the centre of a
circle of encouraging neighbors, neglected babes were screaming, dogs
were barking, a vendor was shrieking his wares. It was Hell, yet
nothing unusual--only everyday life in the slums.

"Isn't it dreadful?" murmured Paula, as she and Tod hurried along
Rivington Street.

"Gee!" replied her escort. "Look at some of those faces! They seem
hardly human. Animals are better looking."

"They are not to blame," answered Paula sadly. "These poor people are
the victims of circumstances. They have been brutalized--the Jews by
centuries of race persecution, the others by merciless economic
conditions. The black poverty in which they live is well nigh
inconceivable. Their desperate struggle for mere existence is

"Phew!" exclaimed Tod, as he peeped through the window of a gloomy,
broken-down rookery. "How can any one live in such a place? The Black
Hole of Calcutta couldn't have been much worse!"

"That's just it," answered Paula, with some warmth. "You self-satisfied,
well-fed people uptown don't take the trouble to come down here to find
out how the poor live. We Settlement workers know, for we are right in
the heart of it all. What you see from the street is nothing. You must
enter some of these tenements if you wish to become really acquainted
with the shocking conditions in which they live--the crushing poverty,
the physical and moral suffering, the gross immorality. In some places
as many as twelve persons, full-grown men and women, half-grown boys and
girls, all eat and sleep in one dark, ill-ventilated room. Can you
wonder that such a life brutalizes them and that they die like flies?"

Tod shrugged his shoulders.

"What good would it do if we did know? We couldn't help all of them. You
remember what Baron Rothschild said to a wild-eyed anarchist who one day
managed to break into his office brandishing a pistol: 'My friend, you
insist that I share my fortune with the poor. I am worth five millions
of dollars. There are in the world more than five hundred million
paupers. Here is your share--exactly one cent.'"

"That's all very well," smiled Paula. "I don't go to that extreme. We
can't help all, but we can help a little. If the rich could see things
as they are, it would make them reflect. I don't think they would be so
wickedly extravagant in their own homes if they saw all this misery. The
price of one big dinner served in a Fifth Avenue mansion would support
half a dozen families here for a year."

Tod looked skeptical.

"I like to hear you talk," he said lightly, "because you're so earnest
about it, but really you're wrong. If these people were given assistance
to-day they would be as badly off to-morrow. All civilizations have had
this problem to deal with. The poor are the underdogs in the struggle
for life. They're only half human, anyway. Most of them have never known
anything better. They are used to roughing it. They actually enjoy their
dirt. They themselves are largely responsible for their own misfortunes.
They drink, they're shiftless and thriftless."

"The rich have more vices than the poor," answered Paula quietly. "The
poor drink to drown their troubles. We can't say just why, of two men
born with the same advantages, one prospers and the other remains in the
gutter. We can only deal with the problem as we find it. It is dreadful
to think that buried in these fearful tenements, brutalized by their
frightful environments, are numbers of talented young men and women who
are trying to better themselves. Left to themselves they are likely to
sink deeper in the frightful morass that surrounds them, but if extended
a helping hand they may be able to rise above the appalling conditions
and so escape the terrible degradation and suffering that otherwise
awaits them. A boy or girl, children of the tenements, may have within
the genius of a Wagner or a Rosa Bonheur, but from infancy these
children are so dragged down, so brutalized by their unspeakable
environments that their natural aspirations and talents are hopelessly
crushed. It is to such as these that the Settlement lends its aid. We
are trying to help the deserving, we are seeking to sift the gold from
the dross. Look, there is the Settlement House!"

On the opposite side of the street was a substantial-looking building
resembling a small school-house. Conspicuous by its cleanliness among
the surrounding dingy tenements, erected by enlightened and humane
idealists for the sole purpose of uplifting humanity, it stood as a kind
of moral lighthouse set down in a deadly morass of crime and hopeless

"Come, I will show you all through," cried Paula enthusiastically. Her
face brightened up and her step was elastic as once more she found
herself in the midst of her fellow workers. Smiles and nods greeted her
from every direction. The place was busy as a beehive. The halls were
full of people; classes were going on in the different rooms. Taking
Tod's arm, she led him in this direction and that, proud to show all
there was to be seen. There were regular night classes where those
employed during the day could receive instruction in stenography,
bookkeeping, and other useful vocations, gymnasiums, classes where the
technical trades were taught, classes where music lessons were given.
There were also attractive recreation rooms which kept young men from
the dangers of saloons and young girls from the temptations of the dance

"It's such interesting work," she said. "Here I have no time to think of
my troubles. I can forget Uncle James and Bascom Cooley."

Tod was full of enthusiasm.

"No wonder you've no use for society and the rest," he said admiringly.
"If I'd taken a taste for this sort of thing years ago perhaps I
wouldn't have made such a fool of myself."

Paula laughed.

"There's still time," she said mischievously. "It's never too late to
mend, you know." Leading him once more in the direction of the street,
she added: "This is the bright side of my work; I'll let you look now on
the darker side. It isn't so pleasant. Come with me."

Docilely he followed her out of the building, wondering where he was
being taken, caring little, so long as she was with him. This dark-eyed
girl, with her serious views and charming manner, had already taken a
strong hold of the young man. She was utterly different from any girl he
had ever known, and cogitating secretly with himself, he came to the
conclusion that the comparison was in her favor.

Quite unconscious that she was the object of her companion's thoughts,
Paula hurried along the narrow, slippery pavements, crowded with
pale-faced women and children, obstructed by all kinds of wagons and
hucksters' pushcarts. Stopping for a moment at a delicatessen shop, she
purchased some ham, eggs, butter, and bread, and then hastened on again
until she came to a big, dreary tenement.

"We go in here," she said, quite out of breath after the quick walk. "It
is the home of one of my favorite pupils, Annie Hughes. They are
wretchedly poor. The father is an incorrigible drunkard and the mother
is bedridden. Only the devotion of her child keeps her alive. I want you
to see Annie. She is only twelve, but she does the work of two women.
She cannot play like other children of her age, yet she never complains.
She is entirely devoted to her mother. It's a dreadful hovel they live
in. You'll be shocked at what you see, but don't show surprise. Mrs.
Hughes is a decent woman, and it will only distress her. She's
consumptive and can't live long. If she dies I shall adopt and educate
Annie as my own."

They entered a dark, narrow, forbidding-looking hallway, with walls
thickly begrimed with the accumulated filth of years, and so cracked
that the plaster in places had fallen out in huge chunks, exposing the
wood lathing. At the far end was a winding, ricketty staircase, every
stair filthy with refuse and rubbish, and only dimly lighted by small
windows that did not look as if they had been washed since the house was
built. It was a steep climb to the sixth floor, and both were out of
breath when they reached the top. Paula approached a door, and knocked.

"Is that you, Annie?" called out a feeble voice.

"No, Mrs. Hughes--it is I, Miss Marsh, with a friend."

Without waiting for further invitation, they pushed open the door and
went in.

A shocking scene of neglect and squalor met their eyes. In a dimly
lighted, poorly ventilated room about fourteen feet square, on a
tumble-down bed, covered with filthy rags, lay a woman past middle age,
apparently asleep. Her eyes were closed and she did not take the trouble
to turn her face as the visitors entered. The place, living room and
bedchamber in one, was indescribably and hopelessly dirty and littered
with broken furniture and rubbish of every description. It was really
the attic of the house, the low ceiling formed by the roof sloping down
to the front, where a small window looked into the street below. Half
the glass panes being broken and patched up with paper, only a poor
light entered the room, and this helped to partly conceal the
dirt-encrusted floor, torn, filthy bedding, and greasy stove piled up
with unwashed dishes. The foul air reeked with offensive odors of
decaying vegetation and bad drainage.

The woman on the bed started to cough, a violent cough which shook the
bed. When the spasm had passed she turned to see who had come in. Paula
she knew, but Tod was a stranger, yet her face expressed neither
surprise or embarrassment. The poor are accustomed to unceremonious
visits from Salvation Army workers and others, and they are so wretched
that they have ceased to care about anything. A faint smile came over
the invalid's pale, wan face.

"I thought it was Annie," she said. "She's been a long time gone. I had
to send her to the Dispensary to get some more medicine. My cough is
very bad to-day."

She stopped, seized again by a fit of coughing.

"I brought you a few little things, Mrs. Hughes," said Paula, laying
down the packages she had brought. At the same time she slipped a
five-dollar bill into the woman's hand. "Let Annie beat you up a
fresh-laid egg. It'll do your cough good. You must get all the
nourishment you can or you'll never get strong."

"God bless you, lady," murmured the sick woman. "Where would Annie and
me be to-day if it wasn't for you?"

"Where's your husband?" demanded Paula.

Mrs. Hughes shook her head feebly.

"I don't know," she whispered. "He never comes near me. He earns wages
now and again, but it all goes in whisky. The neighbors say he was
arrested last week and sent to the Island."

Paula turned to Tod.

"Isn't it fearful?" she said, in a low tone.

Tod put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a ten-dollar bill.

"Terrible!" he said. "Here--give her this. She needs it more than I.
It's the first thing I've done for charity in my life, and somehow it
makes one feel good."

Paula looked at him and smiled as she passed the money over to Mrs.

"This is from my friend here," she said.

"God bless you, sir!" she said. "It'll help keep Annie and me going a
little while more. 'Tain't for long, though. I've given up hope. I'll
never get any better. The doctor says I'm a goner. He knows. He told a
neighbor, and she told Annie. The poor child came home crying as if her
dear little heart would break. It's not for myself that I'm worrying.
It's for Annie. If you only knew what a good child she is, sir----"

She stopped short, choked by another fit of violent coughing.

"Don't worry," said Paula, soothingly and trying to keep back her own
tears. "We'll take good care of Annie."

The sick woman raised herself with difficulty on one arm.

"The child's gone a long time," she said uneasily. "I'm always anxious
when she's away."

The words were hardly out of her mouth when through the crack in the
window came the sound of unusual commotion in the street below. There
was the noise of an automobile stopping with a jerk, warning shouts, and
then the shrieks and sobbing of women. Tod rushed to the window.

"It's an accident!" he said. "Some one has been run over."

Paula, her heart in her mouth, seized by an indefinable dread, leaned
out of the window. All they could see was a surging crowd gathered
round a big, red automobile. A burly policeman, and a tall, thin man in
a linen duster were stooping over a prostrate form. Suddenly a wild cry
from the bed behind them froze the blood in their veins. They looked
back. Mrs. Hughes, livid, had raised herself to a sitting posture and
was trying to get out of bed to come and see for herself. The mother's
unerring instinct had told her what had happened--yet she dare not give
expression to her dread. Her hollow eyes dilated wide with terror, she

"Annie only went to the Dispensary. She ought to be back by now. Where
can she be?"

Outside, the noise and excitement had been succeeded by an unnatural
calm. Suddenly Tod, who was still hanging half out of the window, turned
round, and before Paula could silence him, called out:

"They're coming into this house."

A cry from the mother answered him. She did not know why she called out.
Surely it was no misfortune of hers--this accident. She only knew that
her child was out, and should have returned long ago.

Paula rushed to the top of the landing and looked down. Below, she saw a
procession of people slowly ascending the stairs. First came the
stalwart policeman bearing something white in his arms, then came the
tall, thin man in the linen duster, followed by a number of women
weeping and wailing. Paula felt herself grow pale. A vague intuition
told her that a terrible tragedy had occurred. Her heart seemed to stop
beating. Up and up, closer and closer, came the policeman with his

"What is it?" cried Paula, scarcely able to control herself.

"A child run over, m'm," answered the officer stolidly. Tears were in
his eyes as he added: "It's little Annie Hughes. I'm afraid it's all

The child's form was limp, the eyes were closed, her little dress was
saturated with blood.

"Oh, God!"

With an involuntary shriek of horror, Paula staggered back into the
attic. Her first thought was of the poor mother, to save her the shock
of seeing the body of her mangled child, but as she crossed the
threshold, she suddenly felt sick and dizzy. The room seemed to swim
round. She called loudly:

"Mr. Chase! Come quick!"

Then she fainted, just as Tod reached her.


But poor Mrs. Hughes had heard the shriek and she answered it with one
even more terrible--the agonized scream of a mother robbed of her young.
Suddenly possessed of almost superhuman strength, she left the bed and
staggered to the door while Tod, panicstricken, was dashing cold water
into Paula's face, trying to revive her.

The policeman entered with his pathetic burden and laid the child gently
on the bed.

"We've rung for an ambulance," he explained, "but----"

A fierce, hysterical outburst interrupted him. The wretched mother
snatched her child from his grasp and, fondling it to her almost naked
breast, tried with wild, staring eyes and trembling hands to find its
injuries. Not understanding, unable to help, crushed under the awful
weight of this supreme blow which had stricken her, she frantically
kissed the child's white face and called upon her by name.

The tall, thin man in the linen duster advanced, felt the child's pulse,
and then tried to lead the mother away.

"Madam," he said, "I'm a doctor. There's nothing to be done. It's all
over. I can't tell you how I deplore this accident. If money can help
matters, I am willing to pay. The little girl ran right into my
automobile as I was turning the corner." Turning to the policeman, he
added: "It was an accident, officer, wasn't it? Thank God, you were a
witness to that. Everybody saw how it happened."

The policeman glared angrily at him. Almost savagely he replied:

"You may thank your stars it was, or you'd never have got out of this
neighborhood alive. They'd have strung you up to a lamppost sure as
fate, and served you right. I guess it was an accident, all right, and
you're not to blame, but I'll have to arrest you, anyway, on a technical
charge of homicide."

The distracted mother, staring at the two men, had listened stupidly.
Suddenly she understood, and, pointing a scrawny finger at him, cried

"Ah--you are the murderer! You killed my child! He killed my child! Oh,
justice in Heaven!"

The effort was more than her weakened condition could stand. Sobbing
violently, she fell prostrate over the body of her little daughter.

The stranger turned to Tod, who was still engaged in reviving Paula. It
seemed to Tod that he had seen the pale, sardonic face, those piercing
eyes and jet black hair before. He could not tell just where.

"You seem the only reasonable one here," said the stranger. "The woman's
hysteria is only natural. I am entirely blameless in the matter. Of
course, it is very sad, but these children of the tenements will run
under the wheels of carriages. It is a wonder more are not killed."
Looking at Paula, who was slowly coming to, he inquired: "Fainted, eh?
One of the family?"

Tod did not like the man's cold, indifferent, almost brutal manner. It
was with an effort that he replied civilly:

"No--this lady was merely paying a visit here. The child was one of her
pupils. She is Miss Paula Marsh, teacher of the Rivington Street

The stranger started and looked at Paula more closely.

"The niece of Mr. James Marsh?" he cried, in surprise.

Tod nodded.


"How strange!" muttered the stranger. Drawing a card from his pocket, he
said: "I am Dr. Zacharie!"

Now Tod remembered where he had seen this man. It was through the
keyhole of the library the night of that secret midnight meeting.

Paula opened her eyes. At first she saw only Tod. Then her gaze,
wandering round the room suddenly rested on Dr. Zacharie, who stood
staring with his black, piercing eyes and sardonic smile, silently
studying her. For a moment she stared back at him, without making a
movement or a sound. A look of repulsion and fright came into her face.
Suddenly she uttered a shriek:

"The man of my dreams!" she cried.

Then she fainted again.

Dr. Zacharie put his finger on her pulse and turned to Tod. It seemed to
the latter that a smile of satisfaction hovered about his mouth.

"She's a highly nervous girl," he said, "and subject to strange
hallucinations. I am a nerve specialist. Cases like this interest me.
Her condition is well known to her uncle. He asked me to call and see
her. It is a curious coincidence that I should meet her under these
tragic circumstances. You had better get her home at once. My automobile
is at your disposal."


Three weeks passed and Paula still felt the terrible shock of little
Annie's death. The sad affair had made such an impression on her
sensitive nature that she was compelled to give up her Settlement work
temporarily if not altogether. For days she was haunted by the wretched
mother's agonized face; that shrill scream of despair still rang in her

For some time she had been thinking of leaving town and going somewhere
for a rest. Certainly she needed it. Her nerves were all unstrung; she
felt more low-spirited and depressed than ever. With her music and her
books she tried to shake off the melancholy that weighed upon her, but
without much success. The book dropped from her listless hands and she
found herself incapable even of thinking, her mind constantly filled
with a vague, indefinable feeling of uneasiness.

Both Mr. Ricaby and Tod tried their best to cheer her up, insisting that
there was nothing to worry about. It was ten months now since her uncle
was appointed administrator of her estate. In two months more his
guardianship would be at an end, and she would be legally entitled to
come into her own. Yet, in spite of this reassurance, strange misgivings
seized the girl. What new move were her uncle and Bascom Cooley
contemplating? She had heard nothing of them for weeks, but that in
itself meant nothing. Under the peculiar circumstances, such silence
was, perhaps, all the more suspicious.

Why had her uncle spoken to this Dr. Zacharie, the nerve specialist,
about her? How frightened she had been that fatal afternoon in Mrs.
Hughes' attic when she first saw the doctor. As he stood staring at her,
with those black, piercing eyes and sardonic smile of his he looked
exactly like the terrible man in her dream. Of course, that was silly,
but she could not overcome her first aversion to the man. Since the
accident he had called at the boarding house several times on the
pretense of inquiring after her health, and on each occasion she noticed
that he looked at her strangely. Why did he come so often--by what right
did he stare at her and question in that searching, inquisitional
manner? In future, she would not allow it. She would resent it as an
intolerable impertinence. If he came again she would refuse to see him.

One afternoon she was home, alone. The weather was stormy and had
spoiled a little shopping excursion arranged with one of her Settlement
friends. At a loss what to do in order to kill time, she thought she
would practice a little, so going to the piano, she played a few bars.
This soon tired her. Finding she had no mind for music, she picked up a
book and tried to read. But she found it impossible to become
interested. For some reason she could not explain she felt nervous and
ill at ease. Depressing fancies came crowding into her brain. There was
nothing particularly to worry about, yet something within told her that
a critical moment in her affairs was fast approaching. She was growing
more and more uncomfortable, when suddenly there came a rap at the door.
Nervously she jumped up, wondering who it could be. Surely Mrs. Parkes
would not knock, and she had not heard the front doorbell.

"Come in," she called out timidly.

The door opened and Dr. Zacharie appeared on the threshold, bowing and

Dr. Louis Zacharie belonged to that class of medical practitioner,
limited happily in number, who do not hesitate to disgrace a noble
profession for mere love of lucre. An arrant humbug, he called himself a
nerve specialist, and with the help of one or two yellow newspapers
ever ready to print any trash so long as it was sensational, had
succeeded in getting himself talked about as an authority on nervous
diseases. Silly women and foolish men believed he possessed
extraordinary powers to cure their imaginary ailments, and flocked in
crowds to his waiting rooms. Society took him up. It became the fashion
to consult him. Soon he was so busy that he could be seen by appointment
only, and money literally flowed into his coffers. A man of magnetic
personality, with some skill as a hypnotist, he had no difficulty in
persuading his patients that they were in a very alarming condition, and
that only the closest care at his hands could save them from total
nervous collapse and worse. His real character as an unprincipled
charlatan was, of course, well known to all his medical colleagues, but
he was clever enough to cover up his tracks and thus managed to escape
disciplinary action by the Medical Society. He was a comparative
newcomer in New York, but in the West he had blazed a long trail of
crookedness. Driven from San Francisco for malpractice, he turned up in
Denver, where he again aroused the authorities to action. He fled to
Chicago and for a time kept from public notice. Then there was a new
scandal, and once more he disappeared, to turn up two or three years
later in New York. In the metropolis his peculiar talents seemed to
find a more profitable field. Within a short time he found himself one
of the most successful and fashionable specialists in the city.

One day he found among the patients in his reception room a big,
blustering man who introduced himself as Bascom Cooley. The doctor had
already heard of the criminal lawyer, and for a moment was inwardly
perturbed, thinking the visit might have some connection with his past
history. But Mr. Cooley soon put him at his ease. He had called on
behalf of a friend of his, Mr. James Marsh. They understood that he, Dr.
Zacharie, was an expert on all nervous disorders. There was a case in
Mr. Marsh's immediate family that they believed needed watching. Would
the doctor be willing to come to Mr. Marsh's house for a conference? The
doctor looked at the lawyer and the lawyer looked at the doctor. Each
understood the other. There was money in it--big money. That decided it.
Dr. Zacharie went that same night to West Seventy-second Street, and
ever since had evinced a warm interest in James Marsh's ward.

Paula's face flushed with annoyance. Going hastily forward, she said:

"I am afraid I cannot see you, doctor."

Not in the least abashed by this chilly reception, Dr. Zacharie
advanced into the room, the sardonic smile hovering round his thin,
cruel mouth.

"I won't detain you a minute-- I have come to say good-by," he said

Thinking that she might get rid of him the more quickly by a pretense at
politeness, Paula said more amiably:

"Are you leaving town, doctor?"

The question was unfortunate for, thus encouraged, he took a seat
uninvited, and drew off his gloves with deliberate slowness.

"Just a few words before I go." Fixing her with his penetrating black
eyes, he went on: "You know, your case interests me--so much----"

"My case?" echoed Paula, coldly elevating her eyebrows as if not
comprehending his meaning.

He nodded.

"When I first saw you the day of that unfortunate accident I said to

He stopped and shook his head ominously. Then, after a pause, he

"I said to myself, she's a fine, highly strung girl, who needs care and
attention, and, above all--rest--rest. Yes, your brain needs rest. It is
over-worked--you think too much--the wheels go round too fast."

"Yes?" said Paula, trying to curb her growing impatience.

The doctor smiled.

"You don't mind my sitting down, do you?" he asked.

"Not in the least--if you wish to," she replied curtly, without making a
move to take a seat herself.

He sat in silence, watching her stealthily.

"Won't you sit down, too?" he said. "We will talk a little."

She shook her head decisively.

"No--I--I can't talk to you. I had fully made up my mind never to see
you again. I'll be perfectly frank, Dr. Zacharie, you have a disquieting
effect on me."

He smiled again, a cynical, horrible smile, which made her shudder.

"That is because I tell you the truth," he said, blinking his eyes. "You
don't like to hear about your state of mind."

"No. For I don't believe what you say," she retorted hotly. "My
health--my mind--is as clear as yours. I am only tired. I'm weary to
death of this awful lawsuit. I am compelled to stay in-doors, to keep my
door locked so that they shan't serve me with any one of those dreadful
papers summoning me to appear, to answer, to show cause, to answer
endless questions. Even when you knocked just now my heart began to

He shrugged his shoulders as if the symptoms she described confirmed
only too well his diagnosis.

"You see," he cried, "you are all nerves! There is great danger
there--hidden dangers that only we men of science can see."

Starting involuntarily, she exclaimed apprehensively:

"Hidden danger! What do you mean? Why do you tell me these things? Do
you think it does me any good to hear them? Last time you were here,
doctor, I asked you not to call again. I told you I needed no further
professional advice. I am perfectly well--and strong--and--and--and----"

She stopped and stared at him, as if struck with a new idea.

"You see," he cried quickly, "you cannot even finish your sentence. You
have forgotten what you were going to say."

"No," she replied promptly, "I was just thinking--something flashed
across my mind. Dr. Zacharie, you were sent here by Uncle James to watch

"To watch you?" he echoed with well-simulated surprise.

"Yes," she said firmly. "To watch me--am I right?"

He shrugged his shoulders.

"Your uncle is anxious about you, of course--why not? You have said many
strange things about him. He is actually afraid for you, and for
himself. It's natural enough. But come, don't let us speak of him. That
is the one subject that we should never mention before you. It is
your--your--what shall I call it--that the non-scientific person may

Paula paced nervously up and down the room. What did these insinuations
mean? What was the real object of this ambiguous questioning? She was
about to retort angrily, when the door opened, and to her great relief
Mrs. Parkes entered.

"Oh, I beg your pardon," said the landlady, about to withdraw.

"Don't go, please," cried Paula, going forward. "I want to see you, Mrs.
Parkes. Dr. Zacharie is just going." Turning to dismiss him without
further ceremony, she said curtly: "Good-by, doctor. Please thank my
uncle, and tell him I don't need medical attention."

Dr. Zacharie rose and bowed. He understood that he was unceremoniously
dismissed, but he was not the kind of man to easily lose his sangfroid.

"As you wish," he said, as he rose and went toward the door, "but you
will be careful--won't you?" Impressively he added:

"Remember--there is danger--great danger of total collapse. Your nerves
need watching. The slightest imprudence----"

"Lord sakes, doctor, you're not very comforting!" cried Mrs. Parkes.

"I always tell my patients the truth," replied the doctor. "It is

"Then I'm glad I'm not your patient," retorted the landlady promptly.
"Give me the good, cheerful lie that comforts, even if it ain't true. My
experience with Parkes taught me that, Paula-- I was only happy when he
was lying to me."

"Well, I have warned you, Miss Marsh," repeated the doctor, "take care!"

Paula bowed haughtily.

"Thank you--good-by," she said icily.

Dr. Zacharie opened the door and disappeared.

"Phew! Isn't he the Job's comforter!" exclaimed Mrs. Parkes. Looking
suddenly at Paula, she said:

"Lord sakes, child, how pale you are!"

Paula was visibly distressed. The man certainly had frightened her, for
she was all trembling. Going to the door, she first locked it, and
then, turning to Mrs. Parkes, she said, in an agitated voice:

"Don't let him come here again--please! He has such a depressing effect
on me. Somehow or other I'm afraid of him--afraid of him. I don't know
why--but I am."

Suddenly she stopped, and, approaching the landlady, said, in a
shuddering whisper:

"Mrs. Parkes, if anything happens to me----"

"Gracious! What could happen?" cried the old lady.

"I don't know," replied the young girl gloomily. "My uncle is desperate
for money. If anything happened to me--he's the next of kin--he'd get
the estate." She stopped, as if unwilling to tell what was on her mind.
Then, with an effort, she continued: "Supposing he----"

"Supposing he what?" demanded the other.

"I don't know--I have such strange thoughts--I never know what they're
going to do next. Mr. Ricaby doesn't know, either. There's this strange,
inexplicable silence, these strange visits of Dr. Zacharie. It is as if
they were waiting for--for-- It's the uncertainty that gets on my nerves

The old lady shrugged her shoulders.

"Why don't you get married and settle the whole business?" she said.

"Get married!" cried Paula, compelled to smile in spite of her anxiety.

"Certainly. Then your husband can do the worrying, and your uncle could
whistle for the money.

"Yes, yes; but who could I marry?" laughed Paula.

The old woman shook her head sagaciously.

"Oh, just look around a little. You won't have to look very far. My
Harry's a good boy--as different from his father as chalk is to cheese.
He's fine looking, too, and he's a good son--and, Paula, a good son
makes a good husband."

"Get married," said Paula musingly, "and get away from here? Yes. That's
it--that's it."

"I was speaking to Mr. Ricaby about it," went on Mrs. Parkes.

Paula looked up, surprised.

"Mr. Ricaby? What--what did he say?" she demanded.

"He said it was a splendid idea--but you'd have to get your uncle's
consent--or the consent of the court--or something. My advice is to
marry first and ask consent afterward."

Paula was silent and thoughtful for a moment. Then she asked:

"Did Mr. Ricaby seemed pleased at the idea?"

"Well, not--not--exactly pleased. He didn't throw up his hat and dance
a hornpipe, but he congratulated me on having such a fortunate son."

The young girl stared at her landlady as if dumbfounded.

"What!" she cried, "did you tell Mr. Ricaby that your son--what did he

"I said that Harry loved you and would make you a good husband," replied
the mother proudly.

"How did you dispose of me in the matter?" smiled the girl.

Mrs. Parkes seemed embarrassed for an answer. Hesitatingly she answered:

"I said--that you--that you were not exactly opposed to the idea."

It was only with difficulty that Paula could keep her face straight.
Controlling herself, she said:

"Mrs. Parkes, you have said that a good, cheerful lie is sometimes very
comforting, but--in this case it's not only cheerless and
uncomfortable--it's also most embarrassing. As it happens, I'm very much
opposed to the idea."

The mother looked at her blankly. That her Harry was not a suitor any
girl would eagerly jump at had never entered her mind.

"You could learn to love him," she said testily.

Paula was getting rather weary of the subject. Impatiently she replied:

"But I don't want to learn to love him. Forgive me, Mrs. Parkes, if I
ask you not to refer to the subject again."

"The poor boy is eating his heart out," said Mrs. Parkes, wiping away a
solitary tear.

Just as she spoke the door opened and the object of the conversation put
his head in.

"Say, _mater_," he grinned, "do you know Mr. Chase has been waiting
downstairs half an hour?"

"Oh, my gracious!" cried the old lady, all flustered. "I quite
forgot--so he has! He wants to see you. He came while the doctor was
here. I told him to wait, and I'd--I--clean forgot--oh, dear! I'll tell
him to come up. Excuse me, dear, I'm all upside down to-day."

With more excuses the landlady bounced out of the room, leaving the two
together. Harry had been listening at the keyhole, and now he eyed Paula
sheepishly. There was an awkward silence. Finally he took courage, and

"Miss Paula--I want you to forgive my mother's meddling with our
affairs. I promised you I would never speak of marriage again, and I
won't. But I can't get mother to--stop spreading the news. She has told
Mr. Ricaby, she has told Dr. Zacharie, and now she has just told Mr.
Chase that--that the matter between us is settled."

Paula gasped with mingled surprise and indignation.

"Mr. Chase! Oh! And Dr. Zacharie! Oh!"

"Don't be too hard on her, Miss Marsh," he said apologetically, "it's
the vanity of the mother, she thinks her son is good enough for any one,
just because he's her son. But he isn't--I know it, and--when he's a
confirmed bachelor of eighty she'll know it, too."

"I hope she's alive then," smiled Paula, who had recovered her good

Just then the door opened, and Tod entered. He first looked at Paula,
and, with a grimace, extended his hand to Harry Parkes.

"First of all--congratulations!" he said.

Offering his hand to Paula, he said:


The young girl showed impatience.

"Please, Mr. Chase--don't jest!" she cried.

"What!" exclaimed Tod, a pleased expression on his face, "nothing in

"Nothing at all!" replied Paula laconically.

Tod looked immensely relieved. Then, turning the subject, he said in a
low tone:

"I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Paula, but it's bound to be in all
the papers to-night."

"Bad news!" exclaimed Paula apprehensively.

"What is it? Tell me; I'm used to that."

Harry moved towards the door.

"If you'll pardon me I'll go."

He went out, closing the door behind him. Approaching Paula, Tod said

"I should have come here before, only I could not get away. I'm keeping
tabs on Cooley. I wanted to warn Ricaby. Ricaby is all right, but he
doesn't seem to know how to handle the case. He gets the worst of it
every time."

"What is the news?" demanded Paula uneasily.

"Well, they've arrested Ricaby!"

"Arrested him! What for?"

"For debt. It appears that he has borrowed money on some securities left
in his charge by a client, or something of that sort. He was taken from
his office this morning to the City Hall Court. He's trying to get

"Mr. Ricaby in prison!" cried Paula. "The only friend I have in the

"Not the only friend," replied the young man promptly. "Count me, too,
Miss Paula. I'm with you in the fight you're putting up against that
school of sharks, and you couldn't drive me away from you with a
Gatling. This is a new move in their game, but we'll block it. I'm going
on Ricaby's bail bond myself."

"Can you?" asked Paula eagerly.

"Can I?" laughed Tod. "It's the easiest thing I do. Mother's got some
real estate, and she'll sign anything for me. You know it's a joke on
Jimmy to make his wife put up bail for the man he's had arrested. As for
Cooley, it will be a scream when he finds it out."

"Oh, but the disgrace of it!" cried Paula, in dismay. "The
humiliation--he's so sensitive. Poor Mr. Ricaby!"

"That's all right, Miss Marsh," said Tod consolingly. "It's a put-up job
of the Big Chief--that's one of his methods. We'll get Ricaby out before
to-night. I thought you'd like to come with me to jail--he's down in the

"The Tombs!" she exclaimed.

"Of course," he went on, "that's no place for a lady, but when I'm with
you, you might be in the St. Regis for the courteous treatment you'll
get. Say, can you see Cooley's face when he finds out who went on
Ricaby's bond! Do you know what worried them so? They heard that Ricaby
is trying to raise money to retain ex-Senator Wratchett. That fellow
Cooley's a wonder! He hears about things before they happen."

"Then it's for me--for my sake," faltered Paula, "that Mr. Ricaby is in
prison. I believe he has beggared himself for me--to fight this case.
He never tells me how much I owe him. It's all my fault. Let's go to him
at once. Oh, Mr. Chase, I'm so grateful to you!"

Going into her room, she reappeared immediately with her hat and coat
and began hurriedly to put them on.

"Then call me Tod, won't you?" grinned her companion. "All my men
friends call me Tod. The only name I won't stand for is Todhunter. Your
Uncle Jimmy insulted me with that epithet once, and I went up so high in
the air that he never did it again. I'm the one man your uncle respects.
I make so much noise he has to bribe me to keep quiet. That's Bascom
Cooley's argument--the more noise you make the more attention you get,
and the more you fool people. Cooley says----"

"Don't be like Mr. Cooley," she protested.

"He's mighty successful, all the same. Do you know, Miss Marsh, he and
two or three others run this city?"

"More's the pity," she replied dryly.

Enthusiastically he went on:

"Bascom Cooley is the great American legal genius--he never loses a
case. If I thought it would please you I'd cut out the brass band
effects and put some soft pedal polish on my manners. You wouldn't
believe it, would you? I almost graduated, that is, I nearly took a
degree. I can slow down to society speed if I want to."

"Whatever you are, be yourself," smiled Paula gently.

"Then you like me as I am, eh?" he grinned. "Well, that's a good start!"

"Let us go, please," said Paula, embarrassed at the personal tone the
conversation had taken. "When I think that a noble-hearted,
self-sacrificing friend is in prison because he tried to help
me--I--feel I ought to share his prison cell with him. Let us go to him
at once."

"Say, I'd go to jail for the rest of my life if you'd share my cell with
me," he said, with mock heroism.

Paula laughed.

"I think you said you'd cut out the brass band effects, Tod."

"That's right," he replied. "I'm an extremist. When I like anybody I--I
don't know where to stop. Ricaby is a good fellow, and he's entitled to
anything you can say about him."

The words were hardly out of his mouth when suddenly there was the sound
of footsteps outside. The door opened and Mr. Ricaby appeared.


Paula did not believe her eyes. She could hardly have been more startled
if she had seen a dead man suddenly come back to life. Here she had been
busy making plans to go and console him in prison, and behold he walked

The lawyer's face was pale and serious, and his manner agitated.
Certainly he had gone through an experience unpleasant enough to upset
any man. The enemy had made a trap for him, and, like a fool, he had
walked into it blindly. Arrested on an absurd charge while trying to
raise more funds to carry on the case, he had been subjected to the most
mortifying humiliation and annoyance, no doubt at the suggestion of the
wily Mr. Cooley himself. Of course, he had no difficulty whatever in
making an explanation so satisfactory that the Court at once dismissed
the case, but then it was too late. The mischief was done. The reporters
had the story, and the yellow extras with their exaggerated "scare
heads" were already shrieking their way all over town. Who was
responsible for this new outrage? Who was it that had informed Mr
Cooley that he was trying to borrow money in order to engage the legal
services of ex-Senator Wratchett? To Paula alone he had confided his
plans. No, there was still another. Yes, he remembered it now. He had
spoken of his intentions in the presence of Mr. Chase, the last time the
young man had called at the house. No doubt he had betrayed them.

Disregarding Tod's presence, the lawyer advanced quickly towards Paula.

"Pardon my coming up without being announced," he said. "But I heard Mr.
Chase was here, and I came straight in."

Paula's face lit up with pleasure. Hurrying forward and extending both
her hands, she cried:

"Oh, I'm so glad to see you! We were just going to--to--the prison. Tell
me how--when--did you----"

The attorney halted and pointed to Tod.

"First," he said severely, "dismiss that gentleman! While he is here I
can say nothing."

Paula, surprised, looked from one to the other.

"Why," she exclaimed, "Mr. Chase is here to help us! He came with the
news of your arrest, and he was going with me to get bail for you. He's
our friend!"

"He is not your friend," retorted the lawyer indignantly. "Every word
you utter, every action, every detail of your conversation, no matter
how petty, is reported faithfully to Mr. Cooley--by this man."

Tod looked at Paula.

"Do you believe that?" he asked.

She shook her head.

"How else are they acquainted with all that happens here?" demanded
Ricaby, trying to control his temper. Turning on Tod, he went on
angrily: "You have called here almost every day, you've talked to Mrs.
Parkes, to young Parkes; you've played the spy under pretence of
friendship--and you can't deny it."

The young man shrugged his shoulders.

"You're quite right, Mr. Ricaby," he said calmly. "There are some things
that a man can't stoop to deny, and this accusation is one of them."

"Then how can I explain it?" demanded the lawyer. "They knew that I was
trying to raise money." Turning to Paula, he added: "They know of your
engagement to young Parkes."

"There is no engagement," interrupted Paula quietly.

Mr. Ricaby looked searchingly at her as if trying to read what was in
her thoughts. Then he went on:

"They know of your intention to fight your uncle's guardianship to the
bitter end. They know your nervous condition. They know everything--even
the fact that Dr. Zacharie comes here."

"I'm not surprised at that," exclaimed Paula. "I believe he was sent
here by my uncle purposely to annoy and frighten me. He came here again
to-day, but I got rid of him. I don't think he will come again so soon."

The lawyer grew thoughtful, then suddenly, as if a new idea had suddenly
flashed into his mind he exclaimed:

"Ah! he did, eh? I don't like that man coming here so often. There is
something in the wind. I don't know what. I intended to warn you."

He stopped for a moment, and then, looking at Tod, he said

"The fact is, we hardly know friend from foe. I may be doing Mr. Chase a
serious injustice. If so, I beg his pardon. We are fighting in the dark.
We're fighting men without conscience or principle. We can't trust
anyone. We dare not."

Paula turned to Tod.

"Will you give us your word?" she said, with an encouraging smile.

The young man looked at her reproachfully as he shook his head:

"No," he said, "that means you have some doubt. No, Miss Marsh, I won't
give my word. It shouldn't be necessary. I guess I'll go. You're all
right, Mr. Ricaby, you're doing your best, but you get rattled. You lose
your head and you bark up the wrong tree. I guess that's where Cooley
doubled up on you." Reaching the door, he turned round: "I'm sorry you
don't believe me, Miss Marsh. I'll do all I can for you, but you're
kinder tying my hands. Good day, Mr. Ricaby--good-bye, Miss Marsh, and
good luck to you."

"Oh, don't go, Mr. Chase," exclaimed Paula, going towards him. "I don't

"Yes, I guess I'd better go," he replied doggedly, "he's your counsel.

The door closed behind him. He was gone. Mr. Ricaby turned to the girl:

"Paula," he said earnestly, "we must trust no one. They won't stop at
anything, as you see. They even had me arrested on a ridiculous charge.
I was trying to borrow money--to carry on this case--to engage
ex-Senator Wratchett. Mr. Chase knew this, didn't he?"


"You see, he knows everything. I'm afraid he's a spy."

The girl shook her head. She was too good a judge of human nature to be
so easily deceived.

"I can't believe it," she said quietly. "I don't believe it."

"At all events," said the lawyer, "we dare not risk taking him into our
confidence any more. Listen, I've raised the money, and I'm going to see
Wratchett to-night."

"Why did they arrest you?"

"Because I overlooked the formality of having a certificate of shares
endorsed over to me. As soon as I could get word to my friend, who
loaned me the securities, he came down and the magistrate released me at
once, but the stigma of arrest, of accusation, of prison, is there.
That's what Cooley wants--to discredit me in court. Cooley knows that if
he throws enough mud some of it is bound to stick."

The young girl made a gesture of discouragement. Sinking down in a chair
at the table, she said wearily:

"Oh, I'm so tired of it all. Let's give it up, Mr. Ricaby. Let's go to
my uncle and make the best bargain we can. I was hasty before. I'll be
more patient this time."

The lawyer shook his head.

"Now that I have the sinews of war?" he cried. "No! We'll win out;
you'll see. They must be pretty desperate when they resort to such
tactics as false arrest. No, by God! I'm going to stick to them now."

Paula walked to the window, and, drawing aside the curtain, gazed
thoughtfully into the street below.

"Isn't there some way out of it?" she demanded. "If, for instance, I
married--my husband----"

The lawyer started, choked back something that rose in his throat, and
hesitatingly said:

"No, you must obtain the consent of the Court or of your guardian. It
would make new complications, application of annulment--oh, innumerable
opportunities to harass you. No--I--I am opposed to the idea of
marriage, Paula."

"I hope you don't think that I have Mr. Parkes in mind?" she smiled.

"Pshaw!" he exclaimed impatiently. "Do you suppose I pay any attention
to that old woman's idle chatter? I don't know whom you have in your
mind, but I have too much respect for your intelligence to imagine for a
moment that it is Mr. Parkes."

He stopped and looked wistfully at her. Did he dare reveal to this girl
what had been so long in his heart? At last, summoning up courage, he
said in a low, diffident tone:

"If I could only think that it was I----"

Startled, she looked at him in amazement. Impulsively, he went on:

"There! I have spoken at last, Paula, after all these years. I didn't
intend to say anything. This is no time to speak of such matters,

Eagerly he scanned her delicate and sensitive face, trying to read there
some response that would satisfy his longing, but her manner was grave
and her voice perfectly calm and passionless, as she answered kindly:

"I had no idea that you thought of me in that way. I am sorry, Mr.
Ricaby. I have regarded you as a life-long friend--nothing more. I can
never forget what you have done for me. I shall always be grateful for
your friendship and untiring devotion. That I can never repay."

Chilled, the lawyer drew back instinctively. There was no mistaking that
indifferent, matter-of-fact tone. Bitterly he said:

"Yes, I understand. I have always felt that. I have inspired you with
feelings of kindliness, gratitude, friendship. But love? No. That you
reserve for some more fortunate man."

"Don't say that, Mr. Ricaby," she replied gently. "There is no other
man, I assure you. I would not hurt your feelings for the world, but you
know we can't always control these things ourselves. I admire you
immensely--I respect you more than any man I know."

Eagerly he darted forward and took her hand.

"Do you give me hope?" he murmured.

She turned away her head as she answered:

"Don't let us speak of this now. You can understand that in this present
moment of great anxiety I hardly know what I am doing or saying. I can
never forget what I owe you. Any woman should be proud to be your wife."

The lawyer shook his head.

"A woman who really loves does not stop to reason. You might be willing
to repay what I've done for you by making me happy, but that is not what
I ask. What I have done for you is nothing. It is not such a debt that
you should sacrifice your whole life in repaying it. If there can be no
other consideration than that, I prefer that our relations should remain
as they are." Suddenly turning on her, he demanded:

"Are you sure there is no other?"

The girl shook her head.

"No," she said positively. "There is no other."

"Then I'll hope against hope," he said hoarsely, "and until your suit is
settled I promise you not to mention the subject again."

Going to the table he took his hat and gloves. Then coming back to where
she was, he held out his hand:

"Good-bye," he said. "I am going now to Albany. It is a trip that I
can't put off any longer. I can't stop to explain what the business is,
but it is important and concerns your case. Of course, my every movement
is watched, and while I am away they may try to take advantage of my
absence by annoying you in some way, so you'd better keep in the house.
Bolt yourself in and decline to see anyone, no matter who it is. Above
all, don't have anything to do with Mr. Chase. Instinctively I distrust
that man."

"Do you? I'm sorry for that," she said, shaking her head. With a deep
sigh, she added: "I'm beginning to dread being here alone. I think I'll
leave this place. I'm not myself at all lately. Come back as soon as you
can. Sometimes I think it would be best for me to go to my uncle and put
an end to the whole wretched proceedings."

The lawyer shook his head in protest, and, taking his hat and coat, went
towards the door.

"No, we're going to win out, Paula," he said decisively. "You'll see. I
trusted to ordinary legal procedure, to the equity and justice of the
case. Now I'll adopt their tactics and fight them with their own
weapons. Cheer up, Paula, we're in sight of victory. Good-bye."

"Good-bye, Mr. Ricaby," she said, holding out her hand. "Don't worry
about me--I shall be all right."

"Good-bye, Paula," he said, with a smile. "Wish me a safe return."

"God knows I do, dear friend!" she said earnestly.

The young girl carefully bolted the door after him, and, returning to
the window, stood looking after her attorney until he disappeared from
view. The weather was threatening. Big drops of rain, driven slantwise
by gusts of wind, were making the passers-by run hastily to cover.

She was sorry he had spoken. Never had she dreamed that he thought of
her in that way. She was sorry for him, because he deserved to be happy.
She was grateful to him, but in her heart she knew well that it was
useless to hold out any hope. She could never love him. It was too bad
that he had spoken. Now their relations would not be so pleasant. There
would be embarrassment on both sides. The delightful friendly intimacy
of the past must cease. She had lost her best friend.

Was any girl so unfortunate and so unhappy before? Here she was locked
up in this depressing boarding house, afraid to go out for fear that her
uncle might try to kidnap her and do her some harm. For some unexplained
reason she felt horribly nervous and low-spirited. Whether it was
because Mr. Ricaby had left her all alone she did not know, but she felt
herself growing more and more nervous. If only Tod would come to cheer
her up. Suddenly, as she stood looking disconsolately through the
window, her gaze became riveted on a figure which she noticed standing
in a doorway opposite. It was a man with a slouch hat pulled well down
over his eyes, and it seemed to her that she recognized Dr. Zacharie. He
appeared to be watching the house. Instinctively, she shrank back and
when she looked again he had disappeared.

She laughed nervously to herself. How foolish she was! Why should Dr.
Zacharie watch the house? She was surely mistaken. No doubt it was some
stranger sheltering from the rain. If she kept seeing things like that
she would soon make herself ill. With a forced effort at gaiety she
essayed to throw off her melancholy by humming a song, but soon stopped,
unable to continue. Sitting down at the piano, her fingers had just
touched the keys when all at once there was a knock at the door. Paula
rose and opened. It was Mrs. Parkes.

"You're wanted at the telephone, my dear," said the landlady.

"Who is it?" demanded Paula.

"Mr. Chase."

Paula hesitated.

"Mr. Chase--I--I can't go--make some excuse."

"Shall I take the message?" asked Mrs. Parkes.

Remembering Mr. Ricaby's parting admonition Paula shook her head.

"No--I--must not receive any message," she replied.

As she spoke she was standing in a position commanding a view of the
street. Suddenly she started back in consternation and beckoned to the

"Mrs. Parkes, come here, quick!"

Pointing out of the window, she said:

"Do you see that man standing on the corner--the one looking up here? I
don't want him to see me. Who is it? Tell me."

"It's Dr. Zacharie with some stranger," said the landlady, peering out.

"Ah, I thought so!" exclaimed the young girl excitedly. "I was sure of
it. He seems to be watching, doesn't he--watching the house?"

"Yes," said Mrs. Parkes, looking again, "it's the doctor all right, with
another gentleman--the gentleman who was here before. Why, there's three
of them!"

"Three of them!" echoed Paula, dismayed.

Fearfully, she looked over Mrs. Parkes' shoulder.

"Yes, I see. It's my uncle and Mr. Cooley. They're pointing at this
house and whispering together. What can they want?" Frightened, she
turned to the landlady: "Mrs. Parkes, don't let anyone into this house
to-night, do you hear? What can they be doing?"

"They seem to be waiting for someone."

"Don't let them see you looking," cried the girl, becoming more and more
nervous. "Careful--don't let them see you! This is some new move! They
know Mr. Ricaby has gone to Albany. Oh, what can I do?"

"Why, what are you afraid of, my dear?" demanded the landlady,

"I don't know," replied the trembling girl, in a frightened whisper,
"only--don't let them in, Mrs. Parkes. Whatever you do, don't let them

"Why, my dear!" exclaimed the old lady; "what ails you? Whatever is the
matter, your hands are as cold as ice--what is it?"

"I don't know," gasped the other. "I can't explain even to myself, but I
don't want to see that man again--don't leave me, Mrs. Parkes."

"But I want to go and give Mr. Chase your message," said the other.

"Mr. Chase--oh, yes!" cried Paula. "Tell him I want to see him--tell him
to come here at once! I can't be entirely alone. I must see Mr. Chase.
Tell him to come at once!"

Before the landlady could obey, however, there was a loud peal of the
front door bell. Paula turned pale.

"It must be those men!" she exclaimed. "Look out! Can you see them there

Mrs. Parkes hurried to the window and looked out.

"No," she said, "they're gone."

In the hall outside was the sound of footsteps and voices.

"They've come for me!" cried Paula, in an agony of fear. "They've come
for me! He said he would, and he has." Wringing her hands, she cried:
"Why did Mr. Ricaby go away! I'll go to my room--they dare not come
there--they dare not."

Rushing into her room, she shut the door and locked it. Mrs. Parkes went
to the door and only partly opened it.

"Miss Marsh cannot see anyone," she said, trying to shut the door in the
intruders' faces.

Outside was heard Bascom Cooley's loud, coarse voice:

"But she must see us--she must. It's the mandate of the court!"

Someone pushed the door open. Mrs. Parkes, unable to resist, fell back.
Bascom Cooley entered, followed by Jimmy Marsh and Harry Parkes.


Mr. Ricaby was not mistaken when he said that Bascom Cooley never
admitted defeat and would stop at nothing to gain his ends. The
situation, as far as Jimmy Marsh and Cooley were concerned, was
certainly desperate. Even in the short time that Jimmy had had Paula's
fortune under his control, he had so mismanaged it--to employ only a
polite term--as to make his guardianship little short of a scandal. Wall
Street, race horses, and the card table had already swallowed a
considerable part of the Marsh millions, and that a goodly share of the
money had gone to Jimmy's unscrupulous lawyer no one could doubt. A day
of reckoning must come sooner or later.

Both men knew this well, and Mr. Cooley also knew that whatever exposure
and punishment awaited the ward's uncle would also implicate himself.
The important thing, therefore, was to put off that day as long as
possible, if not altogether, and the resourceful Cooley was not slow in
hitting upon an idea. The girl, he said, must not be permitted to claim
her estate. In a few more weeks she would be of age and legally entitled
to demand of her uncle an accounting of his stewardship. There was no
time to be lost. They must show that the girl was incapable of taking
care of her own affairs. Was not her conduct strange and eccentric
enough to justify this belief? Had she not flatly refused to live with
her uncle, preferring the small, uncomfortable quarters of a cheap
boarding house to a luxurious suite in a fine residence? Did she not
associate habitually with socialists, paupers, and other undesirables?
Were there not rumors that she had affianced herself to the almost
imbecile son of her landlady? Had she not announced her intention to
give all her money to these people, once it came into her possession?
Was she not at all times highly nervous, morose, melancholy? Did she act
rationally? What were all these traits and eccentricities but proof of
an unsound mind?

It was a very sad state of affairs, of course, but the truth was that
the young woman was mentally unbalanced and needed the rest cure. She
should be sent somewhere where her special case could receive proper
attention. At first Jimmy was staggered by this audacious proposal.
There were some lengths to which even he hesitated to follow Cooley. But
his resistance was not long lived. When the lawyer, without mincing
words, showed him in what peril he stood and that this step was
necessary if he wished to be spared the ignominy of wearing prison
stripes, he gave way. The next question was the method of procedure. How
could the girl be placed in an institution without regular commitment
papers? Again, Mr. Cooley sprang into the breach. Dr. Zacharie would
swear to anything for a consideration.

Mr. Cooley next went before a judge of a competent court, and petitioned
for an order for the commitment to an asylum of Paula Marsh, a minor and
ward of his client, Mr. James Marsh, on the alleged ground that she was
of unsound mind and liable to do injury to someone. At the same time he
submitted an affidavit sworn to by Dr. Zacharie, a recognized specialist
in nervous and mental diseases, to the effect that on several occasions
when he had observed and examined the said Paula Marsh, he had found her
highly nervous and excitable and subject to hallucinations. On one
occasion, in his presence, she had uttered threats of bodily violence
against the said James Marsh. The court thereupon appointed physicians
to examine the said Paula Marsh, the physicians being Dr. McMutrie,
visiting inspector of the State Asylum for the Insane, and Professor
Bodley, a country doctor recommended by Cooley. If in the opinion of
these medical experts the girl was insane, commitment papers would be
granted. Armed with this formidable mandate of the court, Mr. Cooley
gathered his forces and made his sudden raid on Mrs. Parkes' boarding

It was in vain that the landlady tried to bar the way. The burly lawyer,
more aggressive than ever, now that he felt himself armed with the
authority of the Court, roughly pushed his way in.

"Now, my good lady," he said coaxingly, in a clumsy effort to be
amiable. "I will assume the entire responsibility and that ought to
relieve you of any further anxiety."

"I know, sir," said Mrs. Parkes, "but Mr. Ricaby's orders----"

Paula had already taken refuge in her own room. Harry tried to prevent
Cooley's further entrance.

"Miss Marsh doesn't want to see you," he said. "Her orders were----"

Before he could complete what he was going to say the muscular Mr.
Cooley gave him a push that nearly knocked him over.

"All orders are superseded by an order of the court!" he retorted. Going
back to the door, he called out to others waiting in the hall: "Come in,

A strange and lugubrious procession filed into the parlor. First came
Dr. Zacharie, his swarthy face beaming with insolent triumph. Behind him
was Dr. McMutrie, the State Inspector, a smooth-faced keen-eyed man, and
close at his heels trotted Professor Bodley, a fat, asthmatic person
with spectacles and side whiskers. Jimmy Marsh, feeling anything but at
ease, brought up the rear. Solemn-faced and ominous-looking, the doctors
stood in a row, waiting for further developments.

"This is an outrageous intrusion!" cried Mrs. Parkes.

"Nonsense!" retorted Mr. Cooley. Pointing to Jimmy Marsh he exclaimed:
"This gentleman is appointed special administrator and guardian of the
Marsh estate, and as such is empowered to take any steps he may deem
necessary to effect an interview with his niece." Waving the other
gentlemen to chairs, he said: "Sit down, gentlemen."

The doctors, thus invited, took chairs in a semi-circle on one side of
the table. Dr. McMutrie, as head of the insanity commission, sat in the
centre. On his right was Dr. Zacharie and on his left Professor Bodley.
Directly they were seated Dr. Zacharie put before his colleagues a
number of papers which they proceeded to peruse carefully.

Jimmy sat in a corner, nervously twirling his thumbs while Mr. Cooley
waited impatiently for Paula to come in. At last, his patience
exhausted, he turned to the landlady. Pointing to the room on the left,
he asked:

"Isn't that her room?"

"Yes, sir," replied Mrs. Parkes hesitatingly, "but----"

The lawyer advanced as if about to force his way in, but Harry Parkes
sprang forward and barred the way. If ever there was an opportunity to
display his devotion and heroism, it was surely now.

"This is an unwarrantable intrusion!" he cried indignantly. "If you
don't desist I--I shall call an officer!"

Mr. Cooley shrugged his shoulders contemptuously.

"Please do," he chuckled, "and I'll have you arrested for obstructing a
special appointee of the court in the performance of his duty." Staring
at Harry, he went on: "Let me see--you're the young chap who entertains
the absurd notion of marrying Miss Marsh. You're Henry Parkes, are you

Harry looked uncomfortable.

"Yes, sir."

"Well, let me inform you, Mr. Parkes," said the lawyer grimly, "that any
marriage ceremony with Miss Marsh, without the consent of her uncle,
will not only be illegal, but it will also render you liable to
imprisonment for contempt of court."

"What!" cried Harry frightened. "Imprisonment!"

"Precisely!" rejoined the lawyer, "and I now notify you that until these
gentlemen have decided whether Miss Marsh is competent to enter into a
marital engagement, contract, or promise, any such engagement, contract,
or promise is null and void and can in no way or manner become the basis
for any legal action on your part. I think that will be about all." He
coughed and looked around for admiration.

"There is no promise," gasped Harry terrified; "no engagement--nothing."

"No, sir," exclaimed Mrs. Parkes, with a low curtsy. "Indeed, there

"A very sensible way to look at it," replied the lawyer with a grim
smile of satisfaction, "and now, my good lady, please tell Miss Marsh
that we are waiting for her."

Jimmy Marsh came forward, his manner fidgetty and nervous.

"Perhaps my niece may not be quite prepared," he stammered. "In that
case you will tell her that we will wait for her."

"Quite so," chimed in Cooley. "That is--we'll wait a reasonable time."

"We'll be very gentle with her," added Jimmy considerately.

"Very well, sir," said Mrs. Parkes, now thoroughly cowed. She crossed
the room and knocked at Paula's door. Receiving no answer, she knocked
again. At last a voice called out:

"Who's there?"

"It's only me, dear--Mrs. Parkes."

There was the sharp click of a key being turned. The door was opened
cautiously. The landlady went in and the door slammed to again.

"And now, young man," said Mr. Cooley, who had watched the proceedings
without comment. "If you will kindly withdraw we shall all regard your
absence most favorably."

Thoroughly intimidated by the lawyer's domineering manner, Harry went
sheepishly towards the door. As he reached the threshold he turned and
said timidly:

"Of course you understand, sir, that there is no engagement of any
sort--there never was."

With a gesture the lawyer waved him to be gone.

"That's all right," he said disdainfully.

As he disappeared the lawyer turned to see what the commission was
doing. All the doctors were busy. Dr. McMutrie was deeply engrossed in
the reading of a voluminous report. Professor Bodley, not quite sure
what was expected of him, was glancing over some newspaper clippings and
trying to look wise. Dr. Zacharie rose and held out a paper which he had
selected from a number of others spread out on the table before him.

"This, gentlemen," he said pompously, "is the daily report--a very
minute observation."

"Hum!" growled the inspector, looking up, "I don't see anything very
serious so far."

"Do you anticipate any trouble?" whispered Jimmy to Mr. Cooley.

"I don't anticipate it," rejoined the lawyer dryly, "but I'm prepared
for it. If it comes, Bascom Cooley will be on deck." Confidently he
added: "McMutrie is the only hard nut we have to crack. He's one of
those d----d conscientious fellows. He may ask awkward questions.
Zacharie is ours--and Bodley is a d----d fool. He's liable to jump in
any direction, but he'll follow McMutrie in the final say. Zacharie is
the family physician, and that always carries conviction."

"We were very lucky to get him," chuckled Jimmy.

"Hush!" commanded Cooley. "Dr. McMutrie is talking to you." In a
warning undertone, he added: "Take care what you say!"

"Has your niece ever threatened you personally, Mr. Marsh?" demanded Dr.

"Specifically no--constructively yes," answered Cooley promptly for his

The inspector looked annoyed.

"Excuse me, Mr. Cooley," he snapped. "I addressed Mr. Marsh."

Jimmy turned red and shuffled uneasily on his feet. Quickly he said:

"Yes, I should say so. Yes, her manner was always very--very--I should
say quite threatening."

"It's all there in the affidavit," said Mr. Cooley.

Ignoring the interruption, Dr. McMutrie went on:

"Has she ever made a personal threat against your life--in your
hearing?" Pointing to the paper in his hand, he said impatiently: "These
statements are all more or less vague."

"The affidavit of the family physician bears that out," interrupted
Cooley again.

Dr. McMutrie frowned.

"Mr. Marsh, will you please answer my questions? Yes, or no."

"Yes," said Jimmy positively.

"She has?"

"Yes, sir. I'm in actual fear of my life--that's the whole truth."

Mr. Cooley beamed satisfaction.

"Yes," he said quickly, "my client can never tell when this girl's mania
for the punishment of imaginary wrongs inflicted on her may not assume
the form of personal violence. We have thirty witnesses who can prove
the existence in this unfortunate girl's mind of the most unaccountable,
unreasonable desire to--to inflict something she calls retribution on
this innocent man's head. Oh, it's a positive danger--a positive

Professor Bodley peered over his spectacles and grew reminiscent.

"I remember," he said, "a case up the State, where that condition
resulted in a fatal shooting affair."

"Of course," exclaimed Cooley eagerly, glad to grasp at any straw,
"that's just it. It isn't her ridiculous notion about money--or the fact
that she is being sought in marriage by penniless paupers. It's the fear
of violence which prompts us to ask that she be taken care of, and
watched, at least for a time, for her own sake absolutely--for her own

The inspector's face grew grave.

"Quite so--quite so," he said thoughtfully.

Professor Bodley held up a newspaper clipping.

"Is it really a fact," he demanded, "that Miss Marsh stated that she
intended to contribute a large sum of money to----" He stopped a moment
to consult the clipping and then read on: "An institution for the
development of the psychic self in domestic animals?"

"That's sworn testimony!" exclaimed Mr. Cooley, pointing to the

"It's a positive fact," nodded Dr. Zacharie affirmatively, "she told me
so herself."

"Animal-psychology is decidedly far fetched," laughed the professor. "It
seems to me that the human race has a hard enough time in developing its
own soul."

He threw himself back into his chair convulsed at his own humor.

"Rather good," grinned Cooley, joining in the merriment.

"Of course," went on Dr. Zacharie gravely, "these strange ideas may mean
nothing. But with the delusion of imaginary wrongs a violent mania may
develop. You never can tell where it will lead. A case of this sort
needs close study."

Jimmy nodded approval.

"Just so," he said. "A year or so of rest in the calm seclusion of some
country retreat would do the poor girl so much good. It might work a
complete cure--don't you think so?"

Mr. Cooley gave him a nudge.

"Hush!" whispered the lawyer.

Up to this point the lawyer had followed the proceedings eagerly, highly
gratified at the progress made, but Jimmy's loquaciousness threatened to
spoil everything. Aloud he said:

"Er--these gentlemen will form their own opinions. Whatever is best will
be done. If your niece is, as I fear, hopelessly incompetent, you can
rely on them to--to--take the proper step to prevent any catastrophe."

"Her attitude is certainly very significant," said Dr. Zacharie

Dr. McMutrie was still sceptical. Dryly he said:

"Yes, it signifies that she dislikes her relatives, but dislike of one's
relatives is not necessarily a sign of mental derangement. I know some
very excellent people who cannot bear the sight of their relatives."

"On the other hand," retorted Mr. Cooley, "Hamlet hated his uncle, and
it developed into a general mania for killing people. If he'd been
properly restrained five innocent lives would have been saved."

"Five lives--that is not in the medical records, is it?" demanded
Professor Bodley anxiously.

"Shakespeare killed them--not Hamlet," laughed Dr. McMutrie.

"Still," said Mr. Cooley significantly, "it's a good object lesson."

"We don't need object lessons from playwrights," rejoined Dr. McMutrie

"Certainly not," chuckled the professor.

"Hush!" exclaimed Jimmy. "Here comes my niece!"

The door of the little room opened, but it was not Paula. Mrs. Parkes
appeared instead.

"She won't come, sir," said the landlady apologetically. "I told her,
and I tried to persuade her, but she wouldn't."

"Then we'll go to her," said Mr. Cooley determinedly.

He made a motion as if he would use force, but Mrs. Parkes, alarmed,
held up her arms entreatingly.

"No, please, sir, the poor girl's so frightened! Won't you come

Dr. Zacharie advanced, full of importance and authority.

"I'll get her," he said grimly. "That is, of course, unless I have
completely lost my influence over her. In these cases one can never be
sure what form the delusion will take."

"Do as you think best, doctor," assented Mr. Cooley.

Dr. Zacharie opened the door and went in. There was a short delay during
which the others waited expectantly. In a few moments the door again
opened and Paula entered docily, the physician at her side.


Nervous and trembling, in a condition verging on total collapse, the
young girl suffered herself to be led into the parlor, there to face the
strange tribunal which was to pass judgment upon her. Further resistance
she felt was useless. That she realized. These men would sit there and
persecute her until she surrendered and submitted to their merciless
cross-examination. Whether they had a legal right thus to invade the
privacy of her home she did not know. Mr. Ricaby had gone to Albany, and
there was no way of communicating with him. No doubt her uncle and Mr.
Cooley knew he was away and had taken advantage of it. If only Tod would
come. Perhaps he had already received the message.

As she entered, the doctors half rose from their chairs and bowed. There
was a quiet dignity in her manner that compelled their respect. Each
looked intently at her, and Dr. McMutrie, leaving his seat, placed a
chair for her so she might face them.

"Now, Miss Marsh," he said, not unkindly, "please don't be alarmed.
There is nothing to be afraid of. We are here only for your own good.
Won't you please answer the few questions we shall ask you? It is merely
a matter of form. Please take a seat, and above all, don't be nervous."

Paula sat down, and he returned to his place. Mr. Cooley made a sign to
Mrs. Parkes to withdraw, and the landlady was about to obey when Paula
stopped her.

"Please don't go, Mrs. Parkes--please don't go!" she cried almost

Mr. Cooley was about to object, but on a sign of assent from the head of
the commission, the landlady was allowed to remain.

Mr. Cooley now proceeded to business.

"We ask your pardon, Miss Marsh, for what seems to be an unwarranted
intrusion, but--the law prescribes our rights--that is, my client's
right to take any steps he may deem necessary to see you and bring these
gentlemen with him for the purpose of--er--talking over your future."

"My future?" she echoed. Looking around in bewilderment she demanded:
"Who--who are these gentlemen?"

Mr. Cooley hastened to reply.

"Friends of your uncle's--friends of mine--of yours."

"What do they want?" she demanded falteringly.

The lawyer grew red in the face. He was at a loss to answer frankly her
very direct question. Stuttering and stammering, he said:

"To--er--just to--er----" Not knowing what to say, he introduced the
doctors: "Professor Bodley, of Michigan, State Psychopathic expert--also
Professor of Psychotherapy, Ann Arbor--Miss Marsh."

Professor Bodley bowed pompously.

Mr. Cooley continued the presentations:

"Dr. McMutrie, the eminent expert pathologist, psychologist, and
alienist--Examiner New York State institutions, etc., etc., etc., Miss
Paula Marsh--my client's niece. I need not introduce Dr. Zacharie--your
family physician."

"He is not my family physician," interrupted Paula, with quiet dignity.

"Not now perhaps," said Cooley soothingly. "But he was--er--now--er--
I'm sorry Mr. Ricaby isn't here to explain more fully the object----"

"What is the object?" demanded Paula.

The lawyer evaded a direct answer.

"Your interests," he replied quickly, "are perfectly safe in your
uncle's hands. Oh, if I could only convince you--but never mind."
Turning to the doctor, he said, in a low tone:

"Observe the unnatural glitter of the eye when I mention the uncle. Will
you proceed, gentlemen?"

From the time that Paula seated herself Dr. Zacharie kept his big, black
eyes fixed on her. Once or twice she turned, and, noticing the
persistence of his stare, she shuddered involuntarily. It made her
restless and uncomfortable. She wondered if Harry Parkes had succeeded
in telephoning to Tod. If only he would come! She didn't know what he
could do to help her. These men, no doubt, had some sort of legal
authority to torture her in this way, but Tod's mere presence would
reassure her and help her to bear the ordeal.

"Doctor," said Professor Bodley pompously, "I think you had better----"

Dr. McMutrie began fumbling with some papers. Looking up, he said:

"Certainly, certainly. What is your age, Miss Marsh?"

"Twenty," she replied quietly.

The inspector cleared his throat and went on:

"Miss Marsh, will you tell me why you prefer to live here under these
conditions rather than go and live with your uncle and aunt, where you
would have so many more social advantages?"

The girl hesitated for a moment. Then she said:

"I--I prefer not to say."

"Is it not because you hate your Uncle James?" demanded Mr. Cooley.

The inspector held up his hand warningly to the lawyer.


"I do not hate him," said Paula. "I am afraid of him."

"Are you afraid of yourself?" continued the inspector. "You told Dr.
Zacharie that you could not control yourself in his presence."

"Yes," she cried, with a little shudder. "I--I am afraid of myself. He
inspires me with hateful thoughts, and I believe that hateful thoughts
injure the person who thinks them." Suddenly she turned and again found
Dr. Zacharie staring at her. She stopped and almost hysterically she
cried: "I--I can't answer you if---- I can't think if that man sits
there and stares at me. Won't you please ask him to go?"

Dr. Zacharie smiled indulgently and shrugged his shoulders.

"Why, my dear child, I was unaware----" He shook his head significantly
as if her hysterical outburst only went to confirm his diagnosis.

Mr. Cooley chuckled, and in an undertone to the experts he whispered:

"Another delusion--you see." To Dr. Zacharie he said: "Sit over there,
will you, doctor?"

"Certainly, with pleasure."

The physician rose, and, crossing the room, took Professor Bodley's seat
at back of table where Paula could not see him.

"So you are afraid of yourself?" continued the inspector.

"No--I don't mean--that," she answered quickly.

"You told Dr. Zacharie so--you told us so," interrupted Mr. Cooley

"Yes," she said slowly, "but I meant----"

She stopped, not knowing what to reply.

"Well, never mind!" smiled the inspector. Looking at her curiously, he
asked: "Why are you afraid of your uncle?"

"I don't know," she replied, hesitating. "He-- I'm afraid of him, that's
all. I can't explain why." Laughing hysterically, she went on: "I'm at a
disadvantage here. I can't seem to say even what I've said a great many

The physicians looked at each other significantly. Mr. Cooley nudged
Jimmy. The examiner went on:

"Did you tell Dr. Zacharie that you'd rather die than let your uncle get
his brother's estates?"

"I may have said so. It's very probable," answered Paula quietly.

"Did you say you'd rather he was dead?"

"No, I did not," she answered emphatically. Pointing to Dr. Zacharie she
exclaimed indignantly: "That man has twisted my words! He'd ask me
questions, and I'd answer them without thinking."

"Oh!" sneered Mr. Cooley. "Then you might have said it and have
forgotten that you said it?"

"Yes, I might," she said falteringly. "But I--I don't think it's fair
to--to--to---- It isn't fair----"

"Naturally she would deny it," suggested Dr. Zacharie in an undertone to
the other physicians.

"Of course," chimed in Mr. Cooley. "I think we've established the facts
that she fears him, hates him, and wishes he was dead. That alone is
ground enough for our application."

Suddenly there was a commotion in the hall outside. The door was flung
open and Tod appeared, cool and self-possessed.

"Thank God!" exclaimed Paula, overjoyed.

"Hello, everybody!" grinned Tod. "Why, I didn't know you were giving a
party, Miss Marsh!"

"What do you want here?" demanded Jimmy, trying to prevent his stepson's
further entrance.

But Paula jumped up and ran eagerly to greet him. Never had he been so
welcome. In one instant her anxiety and apprehension had disappeared.
Her manner was entirely changed. Smiling, she extended her hand:

"I'm so glad to see you, Mr. Chase--so glad! Won't you come in?"

Mr. Cooley frowned.

"It's impossible!" he said emphatically.

"You can't stay here," said Mr. Marsh. "Don't you see we're engaged?"

"Yes--yes--Jimmy," grinned Tod.

"You can't stay here, Mr. Chase," said Mr. Cooley sternly.

Tod looked at Paula inquiringly.

"Please don't go," she said, in an undertone.

"But he must go," said Mr. Cooley, who overheard.

Tod laughed, and, going to a side table, laid down his hat and cane.
Coming back he said, with a careless laugh:

"My dear old Cooley, when a lady invites me to stay and that lady
happens to be the hostess, one doesn't need any lawyer's advice on the
subject--one simply stays."

He looked across at the table where the commission were sitting, and,
surprised to see them, he turned to Paula for an explanation.

"What's the game?" he asked. "I don't see any chips--can I get in? Say,
this looks like a nice little party, Miss Marsh. I'm awfully glad I

Mr. Marsh, who was fast losing his temper, went up to him and took him

"Now, Tod," he said angrily, "you must really go! Don't you understand
this is a--a--very sad---- Please go at once."

"Behave yourself, Jimmy," laughed Tod, shaking his stepfather off.

"Damn!" ejaculated Jimmy.

"Young man," said Mr. Cooley sternly, "this is very serious--believe

Tod grinned.

"That's the trouble with you, Cooley. You take things too seriously."

"But this is serious, sir," thundered the lawyer.

"All right-- I'll be serious, too," retorted the young man. "What's the

"Your son?" inquired Dr. McMutrie blandly.

"My wife's son," replied Jimmy sourly.

The examiner rose.

"Just a moment, sir," he said.

Drawing Tod aside, he crossed the room with him, conversing in a
whisper, while the others watched in silence, Paula in an agony of
suspense. Suddenly the young man started and exclaimed:

"Good Lord! No--no--no--not for a moment. It's a lie!"

For all reply Dr. McMutrie handed the young man his visiting card.

"I don't care a d----" cried Tod wrath fully. "Excuse me, sir--excuse
me--I'll--I'll--well, I'll be-- Pardon me, won't you, sir? My feelings
got away with me."

The examiner bowed and returned to his seat.

"You'd better go home, Todhunter," said Jimmy, severely.

"No, James," retorted his stepson calmly. "I think I'll stay here."

"But this is a private commission, sir!" roared Mr. Cooley angrily.

"Well, let's make it public," retorted Tod quickly. Turning to Paula, he
said: "Would you like me to stay here, Miss Marsh?"

"Oh--please--please!" she said imploringly.

"It's impossible!" shouted the lawyer angrily. "I object."

"Nothing is impossible when a lady requests it," rejoined Tod
determinedly. "Go on with the examination! I'm going to stay--don't
trouble, Cooley--I'll find a chair."

He looked around and took a seat near the fireplace. Mr. Cooley, unable
to control himself, moved towards him with threatening gesture. In
another moment he would have attempted to eject him forcibly, but Jimmy
restrained him:

"Better let him stay," he whispered.

"Very well," grumbled the lawyer, "but young man--perfect silence!"

"Go on now," grinned Tod, "go on--never mind me."

The examiner resumed the questioning:

"Miss Marsh--you have stated on several occasions that when you came in
for your father's estate you would give large sums of money to various


"Did you say you were going to"--he stopped and looked at a paper in his
hand. Reading, he went on--"found an institution for the development of
the psychic self in animals?"

"No!" she replied, with an emphatic shake of her head.

Dr. Zacharie threw up his hands with a gesture meant to express utter
disbelief in her denial.

"The money," went on Paula, "was to be expended for the prevention of
animal torture in the name of science."

Mr. Cooley now took a hand in the cross-examination.

"Isn't it a fact," he demanded, "that all these large bequests to
societies for the psychic development of monkies or mice or old ladies,
as the case may be, were made for the express purpose of preventing your
Uncle James and his family from participating in the enjoyment of the
family estate?"

"Exactly," answered Paula calmly.

Mr. Cooley gave vent to a noisy chuckle. Turning to Dr. McMutrie, he

"Ah! That establishes irresponsibility."

"Quite so--quite so," chimed in Professor Bodley, trying to look alert
by peering over his spectacles.

But the lawyer's interference only earned for him a well-merited rebuke
from the head of the commission. Frigidly the examiner said:

"I prefer to draw my own conclusions, Mr. Cooley." Turning again to
Paula, he went on: "You left your church a year ago--why?"

"Because Mr. James Marsh is one of its chief pillars," she replied
spiritedly. "He prays the loudest and receives the most homage----"

Tod laughed outright.

"That's rather rough on you, Jimmy!"

Mr. Cooley glared at him.

"Silence, sir!" he thundered.

"How dare you!" exclaimed Jimmy, in a fierce undertone.

The lawyer tried to impress on the physicians the importance of the
girl's replies.

"The illusion of imaginary wrongs," he said, "must have taken a terrible
hold on her when it compels her to give up her religion."

"I did not give up my religion," protested Paula quickly. "I gave up a
church that countenanced hypocrisy."

"You said," interrupted the examiner, "that the law of compensation will
punish him. What is the law of compensation?"

"It's the pit a man digs for others--and falls into himself."

"And if the law of compensation fails," interposed Mr. Cooley, "you'll
undertake Uncle James' punishment yourself--eh?"

"Mr. Cooley--I must insist!" cried the examiner angrily.

Paula was rapidly becoming more and more hysterical. With growing
exaltation she cried:

"Yes, I will--of that you may rest assured!"

Mr. Cooley, with an expression of triumph on his coarse face, looked
toward the examiner.

"The law would construe that answer as a threat, sir."

Professor Bodley leaned forward to ask a question:

"How would you punish him, young lady?"

The girl shook her head.

"I don't know--it will come to me."

"She will hear a voice within, eh?" laughed Dr. Zacharie.

"Ah--so you hear voices?" demanded the examiner.

"Oh, yes, she does," said Dr. Zacharie.

"We all hear voices within," said Paula seriously.

She stopped speaking. The men all looked at each other significantly.
Then she went on:

"Something tells us to do this or that, and we obey. We obey
blindly--instinctively. Men call it reason, but it's only intuition."

Suddenly the girl became confused, as if conscious of being closely
watched. Slowly, as if impelled by some superior mental force, she
turned around until she found herself face to face with Dr. Zacharie,
who was once more fixing her with his steady gaze. Again she shuddered,
and, recoiling from him with a look of horror, for a moment stood as if
transfixed. Then she turned mutely to Mrs. Parkes, as if instinctively
seeking the protection of one of her own sex. In a hoarse, nervous
whisper, she cried:

"I'm afraid! I'm afraid! I don't understand myself! If I stay here I
shall say things I don't mean! That man is putting thoughts into my
mind--thoughts that are not my own. I don't seem to be able to say what
I want to say. I won't stay here any longer----"

She tried to rise from her chair, but her limbs failed her.

"I can't. I don't seem able to move. Don't let them speak to me again.
I'm afraid! I'm afraid!"

Mrs. Parkes tried to soothe her.

"Oh, Miss Paula--Miss Paula--don't give way!" she cried.

"I know it's foolish," moaned the young girl, "but I can't help it. It's
got on my nerves at last, and I---- Let me go while I can still act of
my own will."

Suddenly she rose to her feet, angry and defiant. Facing her judges
boldly, she almost shouted:

"I won't stay here! I won't stay to be questioned until I don't know
what I'm saying."

With the dignity of an offended queen, she made a step in the direction
of her room. But Mr. Cooley, on the alert, quickly advanced and placed
his large hulk in her path.

"One moment, Miss Marsh, you can't leave until----"

Tod, who had often distinguished himself on the football field, promptly
went into action. Bringing his old tactics into play, he rammed the
lawyer in the stomach with a bump that nearly doubled him up.

"Oh, yes, she can!" he exclaimed. "What's the matter with you, Cooley?
Can't you see the lady is tired and confused?"

"She can't go," said the lawyer, gasping for wind.

"No, she really can't!" piped Jimmy, scandalized at Tod's behavior,
"until these gentlemen have signified----"

"Well, she is going, all right," said Tod determinedly. Planting himself
before the other men, he effectually blocked the way until Paula was
safe back in her room and had shut the door.

"I had still one or two questions I want to ask!" cried Professor
Bodley, in an injured tone.

"I'll fetch her back!" said Dr. Zacharie, advancing toward the bedroom.

"Yes, and I!" chimed in Jimmy.

"Come on!" roared the outraged Cooley.

The men made a concerted movement in the direction of the ward's place
of refuge. Tod, white with rage, threw himself before the door:

"In the name of the law!" said Cooley.

"Damn the law!" retorted Tod.

"In justice to my claim!" exclaimed Jimmy.

"These men of science," said Mr. Cooley, in a tone of injured innocence,
"are actuated only by motives of pure----"

"So am I, so are you, so are we all," cried Tod impatiently. "But I warn
you, you've gone far enough. You've frightened this poor girl into such
a state that she's not responsible for anything she says, and you've got
me so worked up I'm not responsible for what I do."

Dr. Zacharie advanced threateningly. Assuming his sternest manner, he

"Sir--I shall not allow you to--to interfere----"

Tod, thoroughly exasperated, looked as though he would rather enjoy a
personal encounter with the physician.

"You won't allow--you--you----"

He leaped forward, but Cooley restrained him. Jimmy pulled Dr. Zacharie

"Don't use any force, doctor."

"Please don't--please don't!" cried Tod sarcastically.

"He's an amateur champion athlete," whispered Jimmy into the doctor's
ear, "and I don't want you to get hurt."

"He is a ruffian!" retorted Dr. Zacharie angrily.

Leaving them, he joined the Examiner and Professor Bodley, who were
talking earnestly in a group by themselves.

"Do you know, young man," said Mr. Cooley severely, "that this is
contempt of court?"

"If you're the court, it is!"

Shrugging his shoulders disdainfully, the lawyer joined the doctors at
the table. After a quick, anxious glance in their direction, Tod turned
to Mrs. Parkes. Pointing to Paula's door, he said in a whisper:

"Can you get to Miss Marsh without going through that door?"

"Yes, through my room," she replied, in the same tone.

Unobserved by the others, Tod quickly scribbled a few lines on a piece
of paper and handed it to her.

"Give her this note. Tell her to---- No--never mind-- I don't want them
to see her. Don't ask any questions, but do just as I tell you. She
will understand----"

The landlady hesitated. She stood in considerable awe of Mr. Cooley's
wrath, and was not quite sure that Tod's request would receive his
sanction. The young man pushed her toward the door.

"Go quick! You're wasting time."

"All right, sir, I'll go."

Profiting by Mr. Cooley's back being turned, she slipped out of the
room. No one noticed her departure. All were talking at the same time.
The lawyer, conversing in a low tone with Jimmy, was impatient to bring
matters to a head. Turning to the commission he demanded:

"Well, gentlemen, what is your decision?"

"I have expressed my opinion," said Dr. Zacharie calmly.

"Yes," said the examiner hesitatingly. "What do you think, Professor?"

"I'd like to study the case a little more," answered Dr. Bodley. "It has
a great many points of interest." Ticking off with his fingers, he went
on: "A self-evident delusion--a possible--and sporadic indications of
general derangement."

"But there's no absolute evidence of derangement," objected the

"You can never tell what may develop," insisted Professor Bodley.

"Quite true," said Dr. Zacharie, quickly rubbing his hands.

"Of course," remarked the examiner sagely, "that applies to any of us."

"My client must be protected," insisted Mr. Cooley, "prevention is a
d---- sight better than cure--that's scientific, isn't it?"

"Not quite the way you express it, Mr. Cooley," replied the examiner
dryly. "I confess I'd like to see her again, she's an interesting

"Quite so--quite so," puffed Professor Bodley bombastically. "She ought
to be watched--no doubt about that--and I haven't the slightest
hesitation in recommending that she be sent to Sea Rest, Tocquencke----"

"For a few months, at least," put in Dr. Zacharie.

"A splendid idea!" exclaimed Mr. Cooley, rubbing his hands. "You can
watch the case together-- I'll retain you both. It's not a question of
fees--any sum you ask is yours. Mr. Marsh is most anxious to do all he
can for her."

The doctors looked at Jimmy, who nodded acquiescence. Mr. Cooley

"Take her under your own charge, gentlemen. Of course, her counsel will
get out a habeas corpus and make all possible effort to obstruct
justice, but, in the meantime, she goes to Sea Rest. Will you make out
the certificate?"

"Very well," said Professor Bodley pompously. Turning to the examiner,
he asked: "Have you any objection, doctor?"

The examiner shrugged his shoulders.

"No, no; no positive objection--merely a natural disinclination to jump
hastily at conclusions." Looking toward Dr. Zacharie, he said:

"You are positive, doctor?"


"And you, Professor?" he asked, looking at Professor Bodley.

"Not exactly positive," replied the Professor, "but I think we shall be
on the safe side if we study the case for a few weeks."

"For a few weeks? Very well, I'll make out the certificate."

The examiner produced blanks, and Mr. Cooley got busy getting pens and
ink. While he was thus engaged Mrs. Parkes reëntered. An affirmative
sign of the head assured Tod that the message was delivered.

"You'd better telephone up to Tocquencke that you're coming," said the
examiner, as he made out the certificate.

"That's already arranged for," Mr. Cooley said, beaming with
satisfaction. "She's to have the best suite of rooms, the best
attendance, everything that the most lavish expenditure can purchase.
Oh, she will be well taken care of. By the way, Dr. Zacharie, I'm going
to recommend your nomination for Health Officer of this Port, and if the
Big Chief Cooley recommends anything it's '_un fait accompli_.' as the
girls from Paris say; in other words, a sure thing."

"Thank you, counsellor," said Dr. Zacharie, bowing and handing him the

"Thank you. Now, madam," smirked Mr. Cooley, turning to Mrs. Parkes and
scarcely able to contain his satisfaction, "will you please tell Miss
Marsh that we're waiting for her?"

The landlady crossed the parlor and entered Paula's room, while the
lawyer, with a chuckle, showed Jimmy the certificate.

"This simplifies matters, eh?" said Mr. Cooley, with a broad grin.

"It's taken a long time, Counsellor."

"Great bodies move slowly, James, but they move."

Suddenly Mrs. Parkes reappeared precipitately, her manner all flustered.

"Is she ready?" demanded the lawyer.

"She's gone, sir," replied Mrs. Parkes, in consternation.

"Gone--where?" roared Mr. Cooley.

"I think she's gone over to Jersey to get married, Bascom," said Tod,
with a grin.

"Quick!" cried Mr. Cooley. "She can't be gone far. My automobile is

Cooley went out hurriedly, followed by Jimmy.


Completely dazed, quite ignorant as to where she was going, hardly
knowing where she was, so quickly had events followed each other, Paula
found herself on the upper deck of a ferryboat which was churning its
way out of the New York slip, bound for Jersey City. At her side stood
Tod, whose eyes, assisted by a powerful fieldglass, were riveted on the
now fast-receding ferryhouse, trying to distinguish among the belated
arrivals who had rushed up at the last minute, only to miss the boat,
the disappointed faces of Mr. Cooley and Jimmy Marsh.

The day was superb, and in the swirling river, tinted a glorious blue by
the bright sunshine, flocks of white seagulls rode buoyantly on the
dancing waves. A magnificent view was before them. Ahead lay New Jersey
and the wide stretch of land-locked water which forms Manhattan's
matchless harbor. Close by, on the left, Governor's Island appeared as a
splotch of inviting green in the blue expanse; farther South soared the
noble figure of Liberty holding aloft the torch that enlightens the
world. Away to the East smiled the green hills of Staten Island, and
farther on were the fortified Narrows and Sandy Hook, with the open sea

The ever-busy river was literally alive with craft of every kind. The
swift ferryboats hurrying from shore to shore, the countless little
tugs, puffing and whistling as they darted, mosquito-like, here and
there, graceful sailing vessels staggering along under clouds of canvas,
stately ocean liners passing majestically out to sea--all this made up a
spectacle of which the eye could never tire.

But both Paula and her escort were too much preoccupied to pay proper
attention to the beauty of their surroundings. The eyes of both were
turned anxiously in the direction of the receding shore.

"It's all right!" said Tod reassuringly, as he lowered the glass. "I
don't see anything of them."

"Thank God for that!" exclaimed his companion, making a great effort to
control her agitation.

"But that Cooley's certainly a bird!" went on the young man. "He guessed
that it was I who put up the job on him. He knew that he could find you
quickest by keeping close at my heels, so he and Jimmy jumped into a red
taxi and shadowed my machine. I threw on all the speed I could, trying
to get away. I went like the very mischief. I knocked over a fruit stand
and nearly killed a policeman. But I couldn't shake them off. The red
taxi was close behind me all the time. Just as I got near to the ferry
the man was raising the draw. I yelled and shook a five-spot in his
face. It worked like a charm. He lowered the drawbridge again, and I
shot across."

His companion gave him a look in which gratitude and admiration mingled.

"How clever you are!" she smiled. "I should never have got away but for
you. I was terribly frightened. When Mrs. Parkes came in and handed me
your note I could have hugged her. I did not lose a minute, but put on
my hat and ran downstairs. Harry Parkes hailed a cab for me, and I
reached the ferry a few minutes before you arrived. I can't tell you how
glad I was to get away. What did those horrible men want with me?"

He made no answer, hardly knowing what answer to make. How could he tell
this intelligent, high-spirited girl, whose mental faculties were every
bit as sound and keen as his own, that her unnatural uncle had sworn out
an affidavit, committing her to the horrors of an insane asylum? The
very idea of it was monstrous. Pretending that he had not heard the
question, he directed Paula's attention to a schooner heavily laden
with lumber which was coming down the river on the swift ebb tide. It
was a pretty sight to see how gracefully she cut through the water.
Notwithstanding the fact that she had only sail for motor power, the
craft was going very fast, and Tod began to speculate idly whether their
ferryboat would cross the stranger's bow or slow down to pass under her
stern. But his companion, preoccupied with more serious thoughts, was
not to be put off.

"Tell me," she repeated anxiously, "what did those horrid men want with
me? What right had they to catechise me as they did?" He remained
silent, and appealingly she went on: "Please don't hide anything from
me. I want to know the truth."

He still hesitated. It was incredible of belief--too infamous a
proceeding. Yet Cooley and his stepfather were acting well within the
law. It was plainly a conspiracy to do this poor girl out of her rights,
yet those scoundrels had the sanction of the Court for the action they
were taking. After all, why should he hide anything from her? She would
soon learn the terrible truth. It was his duty to let her know
everything, so she might be forearmed.

His silence only alarmed her the more.

"It must be something serious," she exclaimed, "or you would tell me.
What did those dreadful men want of me?" Peremptorily she said: "I wish
you to tell me. I appeal to your honor as a man."

No longer able to restrain himself, Tod burst out:

"Pardon me if I express myself too emphatically, Miss Marsh, but I just
can't keep it in any longer. You are the victim of as damnable a plot as
was ever hatched outside of Hell! Your uncle, desperate at the nearness
of your attaining your majority, wants to put you in a place where you
will be powerless to interfere with his plans. Alleging that you are
highly excitable and not responsible for your actions, they have secured
from the Court an order committing you to the Tocquencke Asylum."

"Not that--my God! Not that!"

The young girl turned white as death, and with an exclamation of horror
collapsed onto the seat. Her entire body trembled like a leaf.

"What have I done," she moaned, "that I should be persecuted in this
way?" Looking up at her companion, her eyes filled with tears, she
demanded: "Is it possible that they have the right--does the law give my
uncle this power over me?"

He nodded affirmatively.

"Unfortunately it does," he replied. "The law is all wrong, but it's the
law. All your uncle has to do is to secure the affidavit of two
physicians that you are insane. You may be perfectly sane, but if it
pleases these physicians to conclude otherwise you can be committed to
an asylum."

"Then no one is safe!" cried the girl. "Any relative wishing, for
reasons of his own, to get you out of the way could bribe two
unscrupulous physicians and deprive you of your liberty!"

"Certainly," rejoined the young man. "There have been many cases of the
sort. The process is very simple. In case the person can be made out as
violently insane so as liable to do injury to some one, two physicians
are called upon to examine the person and to make the necessary
affidavit. Then on the petition of anybody interested in the
person--your uncle, for instance--a Court can at once, on the statement
of the physicians, commit the person to an asylum."

"Horrible!" cried Paula. "And these things can happen in free America?
Surely there is some remedy?"

"Yes," he replied. "Anybody interested in the person, like a father,
brother, next friend, or anybody else, can apply at any time they see
fit, to a Judge of the Supreme Court, on a _habeas corpus_, and have the
question of the sanity of the person tested. This may be done in open
Court by a Judge, or he can send it to a referee, if he sees fit, where
the proceedings are lengthy. This judge decides whether the person is
sane or not. Of course if they had succeeded in putting you in the
asylum Mr. Ricaby would have immediately applied for a _habeas corpus_."

Paula grew silent. How she wished herself back in Paris! It was all on
account of that wretched inheritance! How she regretted having come to
America to claim it! If she was nervous, who could wonder at it? The
manoeuvres of her Uncle James, Mr. Cooley, and Dr. Zacharie were
enough to unnerve any one. If they put her in an asylum, she would go
really mad. She had heard and read so much of the terrors of private
insane asylums. It was nothing but a living death. The horror of it
seized upon her. Shaken by a sudden nervous trembling, she exclaimed

"Don't let them take me, Mr. Chase! Please don't let them take me away!"

Tod put his arm around her sympathetically. He felt sorrier for her than
he dare show. Never so much as now did he realize the place which this
girl had taken in his life. Was it love? He did not know, but he
certainly was more attracted to her than to any girl he had ever known.

"No--no," he said reassuringly. "You're safe from them now. The Court
order which they have secured is only good in New York State. In a few
more minutes we shall be in New Jersey. They can't touch you there."

"But afterward?" she asked. "What are we going to do when we get to

Tod grinned.

"I haven't the remotest idea," he answered. "All I thought was getting
away from those land sharks!"

"But I must go somewhere," insisted Paula, who was beginning to feel
uneasy, now that the first excitement of the escape was over. Until now
she had not had a moment's leisure in which to think matters over

"The important thing," said Tod decisively, "is to keep away from
Messrs. Cooley, Marsh & Company. They must not know where you are. The
best you can do is to go to Philadelphia, and engage rooms for an
indefinite period at the Bellevue-Stratford. When I've seen you
comfortably settled there I'll leave you and come back here to find Mr.
Ricaby. Your lawyer must take immediate legal steps to have the
committal order vacated on the ground of criminal conspiracy."

"But how can I go to Philadelphia in this?" cried Paula, looking down in
dismay at the simple house dress she was wearing. "I had no time to
change. Why, I haven't even a toothbrush!"

"Oh, that's nothing," rejoined Tod, with calm unconcern. "You can buy
'em by the dozen in Philadelphia. The main thing is to get you away as
quickly as possible from the dangerous proximity of Mr. Cooley."

"Look out! Look out, there!"

A sudden warning shout from the group of passengers gathered in the fore
part of the boat, followed by a succession of shrill blasts from the
ferryboat's whistle, made them jump up with a start. They had been so
busy talking that they had not paid much heed to what was going on
around them. What they saw was sufficiently alarming.

The lumber craft, going fast with the strong tide, and having, in any
case, the right of way, was close upon them. The pilot of the ferryboat,
miscalculating the distance that separated one vessel from the other,
put on speed and attempted to cross the schooner's bow. But it was too
late. He had not taken into account the strength of the tide. The
surrounding water was lashed into white foam as the ferryboat made
frantic efforts to escape the impending blow. But a collision amidships
was inevitable. The lumber boat came rushing on with the speed of an
express locomotive. Then the pilot did the only thing he could do. To
escape a blow, which, if well delivered, would have sent the ferryboat
and its two hundred passengers to the bottom of the river, he gave his
steering wheel a few quick twists. The ferryboat, obediently answering
the helm, swung round, while the lumber craft, a mass of black and white
sail cloth, bore down rapidly and seemed about to overwhelm and crush
them. Women screamed, men shouted and tore down the racks containing the
life belts. Deckhands ran excitedly about. The whistle was kept going
continuously. For a few panicky moments pandemonium reigned.

"Good God!" cried Tod, snatching up a life belt. "It's an accident.
Come, quick!"

But before Paula could move a step or even make reply there came a
terrible shock, followed by the sound of smashing glass and the
splintering of wood. Officers and deckhands ran about quieting the
passengers, many of whom, seized by a frenzy of fear, were ready to jump
into the water. The more self-possessed ones cried out:

"Keep cool! There is no danger."

Slowly the two boats drew apart and swung clear. Then it was seen that
the ferryboat's injuries were merely superficial. The blow, fortunately,
was only a glancing one. No damage had been done below the water line.
The paddlebox was smashed to smithereens, and this was a serious enough
mishap, for it left the ferryboat completely helpless, drifting with the
tide. The whistle blew continuously, summoning assistance from the
shore, and the schooner, seeing it could be of no assistance, proceeded
down the stream.

"We're lucky it's no worse!" cried Tod, as he returned, after a tour of
inspection, to where Paula was sitting. "We'll have to drift about a bit
until they come and tow us into the Jersey City slip."

A deckhand who was passing heard the remark.

"Guess again!" he snickered. "Jersey nothing! It's New York we're going
back to. See--they're after comin' out for us now."

With a jerk of his thumb he pointed to the Manhattan shore. A powerful
tug had already left the New York slip and was puffing in their

"Back to New York!" exclaimed Tod and Paula, in startled unison.

This outcome to their adventure they had certainly not foreseen. To be
taken ignominiously back and made to walk right in the arms of their
pursuers was something they hardly expected. Consternation was plainly
written on the faces of both. Tod was not easily excited, but this
_contretemps_ was too much even for his self-composure. Addressing the
deckhand, he cried excitedly:

"We can't go back to New York! It's out of the question! I'll go and see
the captain."

The man grinned.

"I guess I'd leave the Cap'n alone, if I was yer," he said, with a dry
chuckle. "He's thunderin' mad over the smash-up. There's no tellin' what
he might do ter yer."

"But you don't understand," burst out Tod, with renewed energy. "There's
a reason why this lady and I can't go back to New York. There are people
there whom we're most anxious to avoid. We must get over to New Jersey
without further delay. Can't you hail a passing tug for us, or lower a
boat? I'll make it worth your while--see!"

He drew from his pocket a roll of money. The man laughed and shook his

"Pair of runaways, eh? Goin' ter git spliced in Jersey?" With an
impudent stare at Paula, he added, with a laugh: "I don't blame yer. The
gal's pretty, all right. But there's nothin' doin'. I don't want to lose
me job. I guess it's New York fer yours, all right. Here comes the tug

He ran forward just as the rescuing tug, puffing and snorting, came
alongside. A rope was thrown up and made fast, and the tow back to the
city began.

"Confound the fellow's impudence!" said Tod savagely. "If I wasn't in
such a fix I'd punch his head."

Paula, pale and anxious, laid her hand on his arm.

"Never mind him!" she said. "What are we going to do about the others?
That is more serious."

Tod, silent and thoughtful, was racking his brain to find some way out
of this new dilemma. Yet there was nothing to be done. The accident had
been noticed from the shore. Every one knew they must come back. They
were trapped like two naughty children who had been caught playing
truant from school. A nice laugh Cooley and Jimmy would have on him!
Suddenly he turned to Paula.

"We've only one chance left," he said quickly, "and it's a very slim
one. Come down to the lower deck. We'll get into the machine. Directly
the boat touches the dock and the bridge is lowered, I'll let her go for
all she's worth. There's a chance that in the general excitement we may
be able to get past them. Come!"

It was a forlorn hope at best, but a drowning man will clutch at a
straw. Slowly, like a limping, living thing, the helpless ferryboat
entered the New York slip, pushed and coaxed into its berth by the
rescuing tug. A large crowd of curious sightseers, gathered on the dock,
followed the manoeuvres with interest. As Tod sat at the wheel of his
machine, his frightened companion by his side, ready to dash forward the
moment the boat was made fast, he scanned eagerly the sea of faces
turned toward them. There was no sign of the enemy. Apparently the coast
was clear. There was a bump as the boat reached the dock and a rattle of
chains as the deckhands made fast. The drawbridge came down. Tod pulled
the starting lever, and the machine shot forward. At that instant
several police officers and a number of men, among whom Tod recognized
Mr. Cooley and Jimmy Marsh, ran into the middle of the road and barred
the way. A policeman held up his hand to Tod to stop.

Paula gave a little scream, while Tod let loose a flow of unprintable
profanity. Mr. Cooley ran up to the car, his fat, bloated face congested
with a combination of anger and triumph.

"Stop that car," he roared, "or I'll send you up for contempt of court!"

Yielding to superior forces, Tod stopped the machine. Mr. Cooley came
up with a police officer. Pointing at Paula, the lawyer cried:

"That's the young lady. She is attempting to evade an order of the
Court." Producing a legal paper, he added: "Here is the order committing
her to my custody."

Paula again screamed and clung to her companion. The policeman, puzzled,
glanced at the Court order. A crowd began to gather. Finally the
officer, addressing Paula, said respectfully:

"Do you acknowledge that you are Paula Marsh, the person named in this

White as a sheet, ready to swoon from terror, the girl nodded faintly:


"Then you must go with this man," said the officer, pointing to Mr.

"No, no! I won't-- I won't!" she cried, clinging to Tod's arm.

"You had better go with him," he whispered gently. "It's best to avoid a
scene. It won't be for long. Leave it to me. We'll soon get you out
again. I'll see Ricaby at once, and to-morrow we'll swear out a _habeas
corpus_. You'd better go quietly with him."

With an unobserved pressure of the hand, which he felt was returned,
Tod silently said good-by. Paula slowly descended from the automobile.
Turning to Mr. Cooley, she said, in a deliberate, dignified manner:

"Very well, Mr. Cooley, I am ready to accompany you."


Among the unspeakable crimes which man, in the name of humanity, has
perpetrated against his fellow man, none has been more gruesome, more
merciless, more fiendishly cruel than the abuse of the private

There is a hazy notion in the public mind that the private insane
asylum, the horrors of which were so vividly depicted by Charles Reade,
Edgar Allan Poe, and other writers, are things of the barbarous past,
and that in our own enlightened, humane, practical twentieth century,
when the liberty of the individual was never so jealously safe-guarded,
it would be impossible for any unscrupulous person, actuated by
interested motives of his own, to "railroad" a perfectly sane relative
to an institution, and retain him there indefinitely against his or her
will. The startling truth, however, is that, under our present lunacy
system, nothing is easier.

The infamous madhouses of half a century ago, with their secret
dungeons, their living skeletons rattling in chains, their brutal
keepers who tickled the soles of hapless inmates' feet to drive them
into hysterics in anticipation of the annual perfunctory visit of the
State examiners in lunacy, have, it is true been driven out of business;
the existing sanitariums are now more or less under rigid State control,
yet this official supervision is not always adequate protection against
misrepresentation and fraud. By the free expenditure of money and with
the coöperation of unscrupulous physicians, foul wrongs are frequently
inflicted on the most innocent and unoffensive people. At the present
moment it is not only possible for scheming persons, interested in
getting a relative safely out of the way, to accomplish their sinister
purpose, but each year in the United States dozens of perfectly sane
persons are actually incarcerated in private asylums scattered over the

The medical superintendent of a prominent State hospital, in a paper
read recently before the Bar Association practically admitted the truth
of this. At the same time, reviewing the laws bearing upon the
commitment and discharge of the criminally insane, he proposed certain
changes suggested by the actual operation of the present laws. He also
drew attention to a statement made by the _Medical Record_ to the effect
that, only a short time since, no fewer than fourteen persons were
committed to one small institution by juries in a single year and every
one of them was found later to be sane, and had to be discharged. The
superintendent very properly insisted that there should be some
modification of the present law whereby lunatics, accused of serious
crimes against the person and especially those committing murder, should
be dealt with by a tribunal having fixed, continuous responsibility, and
that a jury of laymen should not be allowed to decide regarding the
mental condition of any person with a view to his commitment to an
asylum for the insane or to his discharge therefrom.

The abuses possible under the present loose system are only too obvious,
the opportunity offered to fraud and crime only too apparent. Putting
troublesome relatives in lunatic asylums might be considered an easy way
of getting rid of them by those who are too tender-hearted or too
cowardly to murder them outright. It is scarcely more merciful.
Frequently the request for incarceration is not brought before a court
or jury at all. A commission of insanity experts is summoned by the
alleged lunatic's relatives, and if they are satisfied that the patient
is of unsound mind they sign a paper committing him or her to some
institution. Sometimes the signature of one physician only is
sufficient, and in fraudulent cases, where the persons calling in the
physicians are keenly interested in the result, everything is done to
make out a _bona-fide_ case, and prove the patient out of his or her
mind. Harried, nervous, fearful of everybody and everything, the
slightest lapse from control or commonplace speech is used for the
patient's undoing.

The mental anguish and actual suffering that a sane person must
necessarily undergo when suddenly deprived of his liberty and brutally
incarcerated in some lugubrious, lonely sanitarium can better be
imagined than described. To know that one is in perfect health and yet
compelled to associate with poor creatures whose minds are really
shattered, forced to listen to their senseless chatter all day and to
hear their blood-curdling screams all night, to be under constant
surveillance, an object of distrust and pity, subject to a severe and
humiliating discipline, punished by the dreaded cold-water douche when
refractory--all this is enough to make a madman of the sanest person.
And when, added to these horrors, the unfortunate victim sees himself
deserted by all, deprived of means to employ a lawyer, knowing that the
enemies responsible for his misfortune are squandering his money and
profiting by his misery, is it a wonder that in a moment of
discouragement and desperation he abandons hope and does away with
himself? Then the indifferent world sagely wags its head and accepts
without questioning the coroner's verdict: "Killed by his own hand in a
fit of suicidal mania."

Among the larger private insane asylums in New York State, the
institution "Sea Rest" at Tocquencke, bore a fairly good reputation.
That is to say, the skirts of the management had been kept relatively
free from scandal, and suicides were of comparatively rare occurrence.
The institution, under the direction of Superintendent Spencer, was
pleasantly situated on Long Island, overlooking the Sound, and catered
almost exclusively to a wealthy class of patients who, for one reason or
another, found themselves compelled to take the "rest cure."

One morning, about three weeks after Mr. Cooley's spectacular arrest of
the runaways at the Jersey ferry, Superintendent Spencer was seated at
his desk in the general reception room at "Sea Rest," dictating reports
to a young woman stenographer. There was little about the surroundings
to suggest the sinister character of the place. Only the heavily barred
windows, overlooking the grounds enclosed by high walls, and the massive
doors fitted with ponderous bolts and locks suggested that padded cells
with wild-eyed inmates might be found in some other part of the
establishment. Otherwise it was an ordinary, everyday business office.
The large desk near the window was covered with ledgers and papers,
while close at hand was a telephone and clicking typewriter. To the left
of the desk a small, narrow door led to the wards. On the right a heavy
door opened on the vestibule and grounds.

The superintendent himself was a clean-shaven man of about thirty-five.
Alert-looking and well groomed, he had the energetic manner of the
successful business man. Mechanically, as if it were a matter of
tiresome routine, to be hurried through as speedily as possible, he went
on dictating in a monotonous tone:

"Report on Miss Manderson's case. Attendant, Miss Hadley; physician, Dr.
Bently. Patient's demand for stimulants decreasing, but she calls
constantly for bridge-playing companions. Patient generally
cheerful--will not retire till 3 A. M. Six packages of cigarettes in her

Buzz! buzz! A disc fell down on the indicator on the wall, disclosing a

The superintendent turned quickly and, glancing at the indicator,
pressed a button in his desk. This released a bolt in the door leading
to the outer hall, a safeguard necessary to prevent reckless patients
from wandering outside to help themselves without permission to the
fresh air. The big door swung open and an old man, bent with age,

"Ah, Collins--I wanted to see you!" said the superintendent sharply.

Seized with an attack of coughing, the old man could not reply at once.
For thirty years he had been an inmate. When a man is going on eighty,
he is not as vigorous as he once was. Formerly a waiter at Delmonico's,
he found the pace too swift. His mind gave way, and a rich patron,
pitying his condition, sent him to "Sea Rest." For a long time now he
had been cured, but, broken in spirit, he found he could not return to
the old life, so he had remained at the asylum in the capacity of

"Yes--sir," he gasped, between spasms of coughing.

The superintendent looked at him severely:

"Collins, did you buy six packets of cigarettes for Miss Manderson?"

The old man cowered. He was afraid of the superintendent. He had reason
to dread those cold douches.

"No, sir," he replied, trembling.

"Are you sure?" demanded the superintendent.

"Yes, sir," answered the old man hesitatingly, his eyes on the floor.

"Look at me," thundered the superintendent.

"Yes, sir."

He looked up timidly and shook his head.

"Don't you know," almost shouted the superintendent, "that she has come
to 'Sea Rest' to recuperate from an overdose of social life, and that
she must not smoke?"

"Yes, sir."

"You've been a waiter all your life, Collins--and I'm afraid that the
old instinct to take tips is too strong."

"It's hard to refuse sometimes, sir," replied the old man, his knees
shaking, "but I manage to overcome my feelings--occasionally."

The indicator again rang. The superintendent turned.

"It's the front door," he said, with a gesture to go and answer the

"It's Dr. Bently, sir," rejoined the old man.

As Collins went to open the outside door, the superintendent turned to
the stenographer.

"Make a note in your report suggesting that Miss Manderson's money be
taken from her while she is an inmate of the sanitarium."

"Yes, sir."

The superintendent took up another paper.

"Report on Mr. Jeliffe's case. Attendant, James Hurst; physician, Dr.
Macdonald. Same as previous report."

Suddenly the small, narrow door on the left opened and the head female
attendant, dressed in a gray uniform with white cap and apron, entered.
She was a big, muscular-looking woman, the kind of person one might
expect to find in her particular business, a woman who looked capable of
meeting, single-handed, any emergency that might arise. Her face was
hard and unsympathetic, yet it belied her real character, for, as asylum
nurses go, she was kind to the patients under her care.

"Well, Mrs. Johnson, what is it?" exclaimed the superintendent testily,
annoyed at the many interruptions.

"Miss Marsh wants to see you, sir."

"Not to-day, Mrs. Johnson. I have seventy reports to make out, and I'm
only half through. What does she want to see me about? Same thing, I

"She insists that she is being unlawfully detained here, and she wants
to go."

"Of course--of course," exclaimed the superintendent impatiently. "In
the short time that she's been here her case has received more attention
than any in my experience. What with doctors, and lawyers, and newspaper
men, I'm hounded to death about her. Tell her that she can't be
permitted to go without an order of release from a physician. The State
demands that. You know it as well as I do and yet you waste my time
every few hours. Tell her that her _habeas corpus_ case comes up next

He returned to his papers with an impatient gesture, as if he dismissed
the matter from his mind, but the attendant still remained. Hesitatingly
she said:

"She's so unhappy! She cries so constantly that I--I wish you'd see her,
Mr. Spencer--if only to satisfy her. What can I do?"

The superintendent looked up from his work and glared at his head nurse,
as if amazed at her obstinacy. Coldly, deliberately, he said:

"Mrs. Johnson, I'm afraid you are wasting a lot of sympathy on this
case. This patient was caught by her guardian at the Jersey City ferry,
in the act of eloping. She's mad as a March hare. Her certificate is
signed by three of the most eminent physicians in the country, and her
application for release is opposed by the biggest lawyer in New
York--Bascom Cooley. There is no question about her mental condition."

Turning once more to his desk, he resumed dictating:

"Report on Mr. Jeliffe's case----"

The attendant still lingered.

"Well, sir," she said hesitatingly, "will you send a telegram to Mr.
Ricaby, her lawyer, asking him to come up."

"He was here yesterday, wasn't he?" snapped the superintendent.

"She is most anxious to see him," persisted the nurse.

The superintendent frowned. This obstinacy was very annoying. Still, he
dare not refuse such a simple request.

"I'll see what Dr. Zacharie says," he said curtly. "His instructions
were that she must not be excited or annoyed by visitors."

"Very well, sir," said the nurse respectfully, as she went out again
through the little door.

The superintendent resumed his work.

"Have you made out the report on Miss Marsh's case?"

"Yes, sir."

The stenographer was busy searching through a mass of papers when
Collins reappeared.

"Will you see Dr. Zacharie, sir?" inquired the old man.

"Yes--show him in," replied the superintendent.

Collins half opened the door and Dr. Zacharie entered, full of
authority. Like most charlatans who find it necessary to deceive the
world, the physician tried to cover up his shortcomings by noisy
bluster. Advancing to the desk, his chest inflated with self-importance,
he greeted Mr. Spencer in a patronizing tone:

"Good morning, Mr. Spencer. Well, how is she to-day?"

The superintendent shook his head, as if much discouraged.

"Rather restless, I should say." Handing a paper to the physician, he
added: "Here's the report."

Dr. Zacharie took the report and hastily scanned it.

"Ah, well!" he muttered, "it is to be expected."

"Will you see her?" inquired the superintendent.

"No; it--it is not necessary just yet. There is to be a consultation
to-day. Dr. McMutrie and Professor Bodley will be here presently--also
Mr. Cooley."

"Her _habeas corpus_ comes up on Friday, I believe," said the
superintendent politely. Mr. Spencer always made it a rule to stand in
well with the visiting physicians.

Dr. Zacharie frowned.

"Yes, a jury of illiterate ignoramuses to decide a scientific question!
Ah, such laws in this country!" He stopped and read aloud from the
report: "Cries constantly--sits silent and moody for hours." Looking up,
he said: "Poor girl, she--she seems to be conscious of her position at
times--she talks much, eh?"

At that moment old Collins reappeared.

"Mr. Ricaby wishes to see Miss Marsh," he said.

The superintendent made a gesture in the direction of the wards.

"Tell Mrs. Johnson to bring her here." As the old attendant went to obey
the order, the superintendent turned to Dr. Zacharie: "Will you wait,
doctor?" he asked.

The other quickly shook his head.

"No," he said. "I don't like that fellow Ricaby. He has a stupid idea
that we are opposed to him. May I take this report? I would like to show
it to my colleagues when they come."

"Certainly, certainly," replied the other.

He rose from his desk, indicating by a nod to his stenographer that
there would be no further dictation. As the secretary gathered her
papers the bell rang.

"There's the luncheon bell," said the superintendent. Addressing Dr.
Zacharie: "Won't you join us?"

"No, thanks," replied the physician. "Send us a copy of the other
reports, will you? We shall need them on Friday."

Buzz! buzz!

Mr. Spencer touched a button and the big doors swung wide open, giving
admittance to Mr. Ricaby, who, pale and anxious-looking, advanced
quickly into the office. As he came in Dr. Zacharie, a sneer on his
lips, made a formal salutation, but it was not returned. Ignoring the
physician's presence entirely, the lawyer made his way straight to the
superintendent's desk:

"I wish to see my client, Miss Marsh," he said, in a firm voice that
would brook no refusal.

Dr. Zacharie gave a contemptuous shrug of his shoulders and, with a
significant smile at the superintendent, went away.

"I have sent for Miss Marsh," said the superintendent coldly.

"Thank you," replied the lawyer curtly.

The air was full of hostility. The superintendent stood in silence at
his desk putting away his papers. Mr. Ricaby, taking a seat uninvited,
looked around him and shuddered as he thought of the poor girl whose
rescue from this dreadful place he was moving heaven and earth to
effect. After a few minutes' wait Collins reappeared. Addressing the
superintendent, he said:

"Miss Marsh will be here directly, sir."

"Very well," growled the other. "They can have this room."

"Yes, sir."

"Who is on watch duty to-day?" demanded the superintendent.

"Lockwood at the front gates, sir, and Medwinter patrolling."

"Very well," said the superintendent airily. "If you want me I'm at

Then, without so much as a glance at the lawyer, he closed his desk lid
with a bang and left the office.

Mr. Ricaby waited anxiously for the coming of his client. All voices and
sounds had died away, and a heavy, sinister silence fell upon the entire
building. There was something unnatural about the dead calm. Suddenly
there was a scream of terror, followed by peals of hysterical laughter.
Then all was silence again. In spite of himself the lawyer felt
uncomfortable. He shuddered as he realized what Paula had suffered in
such a place. The quiet now was uncanny and oppressive. All one heard
was the loud ticking of the office clock and the stealthy walk of old
Collins, who, gliding about the room in his noiseless felt slippers,
halted every now and then to glance in the direction of the visitor.
Like most persons of weak mind, he was easily excited by the appearance
of a new face. Indeed, strangers at "Sea Rest" were enough of a novelty
to excite interest. With the physicians and regular callers the inmates
were familiar enough, but the sight of a stranger revived in their
debilitated minds old recollections, thoughts of the outer world, a
world of sunshine, joy, and liberty of which they themselves had once
been a part and which they had abandoned all hope of ever seeing again.
At last, unable to control his curiosity any longer, the old man stopped
in front of the lawyer and inquired respectfully:

"Can I get you anything, sir?"

"No, thanks," replied Mr. Ricaby. There was something in the appearance
of the old man that interested him, and kindly he asked: "How long have
you been here?"

"Nearly ten years, sir--on and off. I was an inmate here, sir, when Dr.
Spencer--Mr. Spencer's father--was the proprietor."

"Are you still a--a--an inmate?"

"No, sir--not so to speak. I'm a waiter, sir--my old profession. After I
got better I went back to my old position at Delmonico's, but I couldn't
stand the excitement. You wouldn't believe it, sir, but waiters are
frightfully tried. We've got to know just what people want, who don't
know what they want themselves, and who complain if we make the
slightest mistake. Don't they make mistakes, too? Don't they point with
their knives and forks while they talk in a vulgar, loud voice with
their mouths full of food? Don't they put vinegar on their oysters and
ice in their claret? Don't they drink champagne with fish? Don't they
expect a half portion to be enough for two? And, cruellest act of all,
they talk to us in a language they call French. They blame us when the
cashier makes mistakes. They blame us when the cook makes mistakes. They
blame us when their own digestions make mistakes. They forget that we're
human. And, I tell you, sir, it gets on our nerves at last. It's bound
to." Suddenly the electric indicator buzzed loudly. The old man started
nervously and glanced up.

"It's the dining room, sir. Excuse me, sir."

Before he could obey the summons a bell sounded violently from the same

"All right--all right," he cried. "I heard it the first time."

He toddled off, grumbling. A moment later the small, narrow door opened
and Mrs. Johnson, the head attendant, entered, followed by Paula.


Every minute of the day and night, for three long, weary weeks, that had
seemed like years, Paula had prayed for deliverance from what was little
better than a living death. At first, when she was brought to the asylum
she thought she would go really mad. The first glimpse of the barred
windows, the bolted doors and padded cells filled her with terror. She
became hysterical, and for two days could not be pacified. She refused
all nourishment, and, unable to sleep, passed her time pacing up and
down her room. The superintendent and nurses fully believed that she was
insane, and the symptoms she displayed being common in patients, no heed
was paid to them or to her protests. Gradually, seeing the futility of
tears and resistance, the girl grew quieter, and calmly began to look
forward to the moment when the horrid nightmare would be at an end, and
she would be set free. She knew that Mr. Ricaby and Tod were exhausting
every legal resource to procure her liberty and that an order for her
release was only a question of time. But the long, agonizing wait, the
knowledge that she was the associate of, and breathed the same air as
wretched, demented beings whose one hope of deliverance was a speedy
death, was more than she could bear. Of Dr. Zacharie she had,
fortunately, seen very little. Only once since her incarceration had the
physician attempted to visit her professionally, and then she was seized
with such a violent attack of hysteria that the nurse, alarmed, begged
him to retire.

All this anxiety and mental distress could not have failed to affect her
general health, and Mr. Ricaby was startled when he caught sight of the
girl's pale, wan face, with its traces of suffering. She smiled faintly
when she saw him, and, as he darted forward, extended a thin, emaciated

"Oh, Mr. Ricaby, I'm so glad, so glad to see you!" she said weakly. "I
didn't expect you to-day."

Shocked by her appearance, the lawyer was too much agitated at first to
answer. Controlling himself with an effort, he asked in a low tone:

"How are you? Have they been kind to you?"

Paula made no answer. Looking over her shoulder in a frightened kind of
way, she said in a whisper:

"Tell that woman to go away."

He turned to the attendant.

"Will you please leave us?" he said politely.

Mrs. Johnson hesitated. It was against the rules to let the patient out
of her sight. Shaking her head doubtfully, she said:

"I'm supposed to---- You see, sir, I'm responsible for the young lady.
But I'll go. It will be all right, I am sure. If you want me I shall be
in there." Pointing to the entrance to the wards, she opened the door
and quietly disappeared.

"She's a good woman," said Paula. "She's very kind and obliging. But she
follows me everywhere. If I could forget my position even for a moment,
the constant presence of that woman would remind me. Oh, it's so hard to

"But she's kind, you say--and obliging. That's something, isn't it?"
said Mr. Ricaby encouragingly.

"Yes, it's something," replied the girl. She laughed bitterly as she
went on: "They're all kind and considerate, Mr. Ricaby, but it's their
very kindness and consideration that hurts me most. They look at me with
such sympathy and pity. I can read their very thoughts. They seem to
say: 'Poor thing, you have no mind. You can't think as we do.' And they
treat me as tenderly as they would a child. They try to amuse me and
comfort me. They give me everything I ask for--everything, except my
liberty. I demand my liberty. It won't be long now. The case comes up
the day after to-morrow, doesn't it?"

The lawyer looked away. Awkwardly he replied:

"No, Paula; it's postponed for a week."

"What!" she cried, in dismay. "Postponed--postponed! Oh!"

"If we'd been successful in getting Senator Wratchett," he explained,
"Cooley never would have obtained a stay of proceedings. But Wratchett
says he is not prepared."

"And until he is prepared I must stay here?" she cried, in

"The time will soon pass," he replied soothingly.

The girl walked nervously up and down the floor. Turning quickly on the
lawyer, she exclaimed, with angry vehemence:

"Soon pass! Soon pass! Do you realize what it means to stay in this
dreadful place another whole week? To meet only men and women who regard
you with pity and curiosity--as--as hopelessly unfit to go into the
outer world? Their very kindness and consideration is a mockery. Another
week? Seven long days, seven endless nights? I can't sleep, I only get
fitful snatches of oblivion during which my dreams are worse than the
awakening. I've been here only three weeks and it seems like a
lifetime--a lifetime. The companionship of that woman for another week!"
Hysterically she cried: "I can't do it, Mr. Ricaby, I can't do it! You
must take me away from here!"

The lawyer made no reply. Then, as if suddenly actuated by a determined
resolution, he went up to the window overlooking the grounds and glanced
out. Perhaps there might be a chance to get away. But when he noted the
precipitous stone walls and the man on guard at the locked iron gates,
he was convinced of the futility of any such attempt. It would only
injure her cause. Shaking his head, he returned to where Paula stood.

"It isn't possible," he said, in an undertone. "That woman is behind the
door. A man is over at the gate. No, that's not the way. If you go at
all it must be through the front door, with head erect."

With a gesture of discouragement, Paula sank down on a chair.

"I can't stand it any longer," she cried, her face streaming with tears,
"it's unbearable--simply unbearable! Did you ever try to count the time
away? The first day I was here I determined not to think of my position.
I counted the seconds. I counted one, two, three, four, five
thousand--counted until I became exhausted. I thought I'd counted for
hours, but I found that barely one little hour had passed--one little
hour--and that the more I tried to forget my position the more
intolerable it became."

Almost beside himself, not knowing what to suggest next, the lawyer
strode nervously up and down the room. Each word she uttered was a
stinging reproach and a knife thrust in his heart. Yet could he do more
than he was doing? Stopping in front of her, he seized her burning hands
and held them firmly in his own.

"Paula--Paula!" he cried appealingly, "for God's sake don't go on that
way! I can't stand it. Try, try to bear up. The sun is shining somewhere
behind these clouds--if we could only see it! This darkness will only
last for a few days--a few hours--and then----"

"And then," she echoed with a hollow, mocking laugh. "Sometimes, when I
think of the frightful ordeal I shall be compelled to go through to
prove that I am entitled to my freedom, I--I feel unequal to the task--
I'm--I'm afraid--afraid----"

"You'll be all right--you'll come out triumphant!"

She shook her head doubtfully.

"How can I tell that I shall be able to convince these strangers? They
don't know me as--as you do. Suppose I don't make a good impression.
Suppose that the answers I make to their questions are not--not what
they consider intelligent. Suppose I become confused and lose control of
myself as I did before--what then?"

He held out his hand deprecatingly.


"What then?" she demanded plaintively.

"It's impossible!" he answered. Entreatingly he went on: "Oh, Paula! for
God's sake don't let these gloomy thoughts get hold of your mind!"

"But they do get into my mind," she went on hoarsely. "How can I tell
for certain that these strange men who will be called upon to decide
finally--will decide in my favor? They may mean to do what is right, but
do they know? It's the uncertainty that makes my position here so
intolerable--the dreadful uncertainty. If I thought that when my case
did come up I would walk out of court a free woman, I'd try and bear
this temporary restraint--but it's the horrible uncertainty--the
suspense--the anxiety that's gnawing at me--the secret dread that
constant contact with these people may make me one of them----"

"Don't say that," he interrupted.

"But it's true," she insisted. "That's why I must go away from here at

"Yes, but how--how?" he demanded.

"I don't know."

There was a deep silence. Neither spoke. Helpless, crushed by the law's
heavy hand, with hardly a ray of hope ahead, both sat stunned by the
calamity which had overtaken them. All at once their reverie was
disturbed by the sound of approaching footsteps. The big door opened and
Collins appeared. Addressing the lawyer, the old waiter said:

"There's a gentleman in the visitors' room--a Mr. Chase, sir. He's come
up from New York specially to see you, sir. When I told him you were
talking with the young lady--he--he made me promise him to bring him to
see her, too. He has no permit, but I've waited on him scores of times
at Del's, and he was always so liberal, that I couldn't refuse him.
Shall I bring him here, sir? And would you mind taking the
responsibility--if any question is raised?"

Paula rose, a flush of pleasure reddening her pale cheeks.

"Oh, please, Mr. Ricaby, I do so want to see him," she cried.

"I had better see him alone, Paula," objected the lawyer.

"But I want to see him," she insisted.

Mr. Ricaby nodded to Collins.

"Very well; tell him to come in."

The old man disappeared, and the attorney turned to his client. There
was a tone of reproach in his voice as he said:

"How glad you are to see this man, Paula!"

"Yes; I--I----" she stammered.

"You don't stop to think," rejoined her companion bitterly, "that his
family is the cause of your present predicament. You might say it is his

"His mother's fault, perhaps, but not his," corrected Paula quickly.
"You don't like him--you never liked him. Yet he is my friend--the one
friend I feel I can depend upon besides yourself. Won't you try and like
him for my sake?"

The lawyer shook his head. Doggedly he replied:

"If I don't like him that is my affair. I don't see why you should take
it so much to heart."

"Well, don't--don't say anything to him, will you?"

"No, no, of course not. I only wish I could share your good opinion of

Paula was about to reply, when they heard the noise of approaching
footsteps. The next instant Tod came in, beaming over with high

"Hello, people! hello!" he cried heartily.

His jocular manner and hearty greeting might lead one to think that it
was a pleasure jaunt rather than a sympathy call on an inmate which had
brought him to the asylum. Not understanding his gaiety, Paula and the
lawyer stared at him in amazement. It was the first time that Paula had
seen him since they were parted so unceremoniously at the ferry, and she
thought he might show a little more concern.

"How are you, Mr. Ricaby?" he said cheerily. "Miss Paula, I never saw
you looking better!" Looking around curiously, he went on
enthusiastically: "Do you know this is a great little place up here?
Gee, the scenery is great!--finest view of Long Island Sound I ever saw.
Well, they got us at the ferry, didn't they? If the blamed old boat
hadn't broken down they'd never have caught us, would they?"

"It was very good of you to come to see me," said Paula, somewhat

He stared at her in well-feigned astonishment.

"To see you?" he exclaimed. "Why, I'm up here for my own health. Mother
is with me. She wants to see you. You know I'm going to spend a couple
of weeks here and rest up. I've just looked the place over and I tell
you it beats all your summer hotels to a standstill. No bands of music,
no bridge parties for mother, no late suppers for me, no late hours, not
even a golf link! Oh, it's just the place for me. I'm glad I came--I'm
all run down, and I--I need----"

Suddenly he noticed Paula's pale face and traces of recent weeping. He
stopped chattering and for the first time looked serious. But the girl
was not deceived. She knew that his apparent carelessness was only
make-believe. With a forced smile, she said:

"You're trying to cheer me up."

"Why shouldn't I?" he laughed. "Don't you deserve it?"

Mr. Ricaby was impatient to hear what news the young man had brought.

"You came to see me?" he interrupted anxiously.

"Incidentally, yes," smiled Tod.

"How did you know I was here?" demanded the lawyer.

"Missed you at your office. Listen, we'll just talk business a few
minutes, Miss Marsh, and then devote ourselves to the enjoyment of the
place. Gee, what air! what ozone! what trees----" Suddenly stopping, he
scratched his hand vigorously. "And what mosquitoes! Now, in the first
place, Ricaby, I'm your witness--you can depend on me. I can prove that
Jimmy needed money--and that he was compelled to resort to desperate
means to raise it."

The lawyer looked at him keenly.

"Are you aware," he said, "that it will involve your mother?"

"Your mother!" cried Paula, astonished. "Oh, no! You--can't do that. Oh,
Tod, your mother!"

"She's all right," cried the young man. "She has left Jimmy----"

"Left him!" cried Mr. Ricaby.

"Yes, left him for good and all! I explained his dastardly conduct to
her, and when I refused to live in the same house with him, she said:
'If you won't live with him, neither will I.' So she just left him, and
if I can help it she'll never go back to him. You can count on mother
and me, and I think that between us we ought to bottle up Jimmy and Mr.

The lawyer held out his hand.

"I've done you a wrong, Mr. Chase, but I--you'll forgive me, won't you?"

"Don't speak of it," laughed Tod good-humoredly.

"You may be of great value," went on the lawyer hastily. "Of course, it
depends on what kind of evidence you have. What proof have you?"

"The best of proof," replied the young man mysteriously, "but don't let
us bother her with it-- I'll show you my proofs later on."

Mr. Ricaby's face brightened. Perhaps they might yet be able to trap the
wily Cooley, after all. Thoughtfully he said:

"If you could persuade your mother to furnish us with some evidence of
his intention to defraud----"

Paula protested.

"Oh, don't ask him to do that! Betray his own mother," she exclaimed.
"It seems so--so--unnatural!"

Tod laughed. Looking at the girl fondly, he said:

"Paula, for your sake I'd--I'd commit every crime on the calendar!
Anything short of murder goes with me. Desperate diseases require
desperate remedies. My stepfather and Bascom Cooley are the most
desperate diseases I've ever encountered." Looking out of the window, he
continued, with pretended enthusiasm: "Gee! but this is a lovely spot!
Look at that sunlight shimmering on the water! This air is like the
cocktail that exuberates but does not intoxicate! I'll be writing poetry
if I stay here long."

The door leading to the wards suddenly opened and Mrs. Johnson
appeared. Advancing toward Paula, she said:

"Dr. Zacharie thinks it advisable for you to rest before the others see
you. Come, Miss Marsh."

She took her patient by the arm, but Paula, made bolder by the presence
of friends, shook her off:

"I don't wish to go," she avowed decisively.

"Does Dr. Zacharie know we're here?" demanded Tod, turning to the

"Yes," rejoined the other.

"You had better come, miss," said the attendant firmly.

Paula looked at Mr. Ricaby and Tod helplessly.

"You won't go away until--until---- Don't leave me here alone--will

"Leave you?" echoed Tod. "Certainly not. I'm going to get mother. Why,
I'm a fixture here--hotel picked out--baggage unpacked--rooms taken for
a month ahead."

"A month? Why, you said two weeks!" cried the girl, delighted at the
thought that she would have his company so long.

"Did I?" he grinned. "Well, you see, the place grows on me."

"Come, miss," said the attendant impatiently.

"You are sure you won't go?" said Paula, addressing Tod.

"I'm sure," he said. "If I go, you go with me."


Paula gave him a long look of gratitude, and, with a sigh of
resignation, left the office in company with the head attendant. As soon
as the women had disappeared Tod's gaiety of manner underwent a sudden
change. Gulping down a dry sob, he broke down completely, and, throwing
himself on to a chair, covered his face with his two hands.

"Oh, the damned scoundrels!" he cried, with a vehemence that astonished
the lawyer, who had little suspected so much feeling in a youth
apparently so flippant. "To think," went on the young man, "that they
dare do such a cruel thing as this! How I wish I had them both in a
twenty-four-foot ring--if I wouldn't give them what they deserved!"

Mr. Ricaby was anxious to hear what his companion had to impart to him.

"Now, tell me," he said impatiently, "what proofs have you got?"

"I have no absolute proof," replied the other. "Only a very strong

"But I thought you said you had proofs?" cried the lawyer, disappointed.

"I said that to comfort her. I have no absolute proofs. I am just as
much stumped for an idea as to what course to take as you are. But the
girl can't stay any longer in this place--that is certain. I have a
plan that may work out all right."

"What is it?" demanded the other.

"Just a minute," replied Tod. "I want to telephone mother to come over.
She may be able to help us."

Going to the telephone, he picked up the receiver. In a tone of
irritation, the lawyer said:

"Then all that talk about your baggage and room----"

"All hot air," nodded the other. "I had to say something--or I'd have
broken down. What's the number of the hotel?"

"207 Tocquencke," replied the lawyer. Looking at the young man, he went
on: "You're a peculiar fellow, Chase."

"Yes, I know," said the other indifferently. "Give me 207, and get Mrs.
James Marsh on the 'phone. Hello--yes--will you please tell her to come
over to 'Sea Rest' at once and ask for Mr. Chase? Yes, thank you."

Turning to the lawyer he went on:

"It unnerves me to see her in this place--locked in with a bunch of dips
and nervous wrecks--compelled to come and go at their call. By God! it's
awful, and to think I have to sit here powerless to move a finger on her
behalf!" Scornfully he added: "You're a nice lawyer, or she wouldn't
have stayed here twenty-four hours! Can't we dope out something--are we
going to let them cook up all those schemes while we sit back and watch

"I am doing everything I can," replied Mr. Ricaby calmly. "Our case
comes up next week----"

"Next week!" cried Tod. "She'll be a nervous wreck by then! Can't you
see how worried she is? We must get her out of this place at once--if we
have to break out with a jimmy. Jimmy! I wish I had him here, I'd wring
his neck!"

The lawyer looked at his companion in grave silence. Then he said

"You think a great deal of Miss Marsh, don't you?"

"Think a great deal of her?" exclaimed Tod. "Ha! ha! The truth of the
matter is that I-- Ricaby-- I-- I-- I'd marry her to-morrow--if--if
she'd have me!"

Mr. Ricaby turned pale. Only by a great effort was he able to control
himself. Yet by what right could he interfere? Paula cared more for this
man than she admitted. He felt that. Why should he selfishly stand
between them? Was that worthy of one who prided himself on his altruism?

"You would marry her?" he cried hoarsely.

Not noticing his companion's agitation, unaware of the pain he was
inflicting, Tod went on:

"Yes, a fine position, ain't it? The first girl I really cared for
locked up in a--in a--well, we'll call it a sanitarium. In order to get
out she's got to face a public trial to prove she ought not to be there
for the rest of her life. How many experts have we on our side?"

"Fifteen!" replied Mr. Ricaby.

"Why don't you get fifty?" cried the young man heatedly. "You can bet
that Cooley will have a raft of 'em. Don't take any chances."

"I'm not going to," replied the lawyer quickly. "I've engaged two of the
most eminent counsel in the country. They will represent us at the
public examination."

Tod's jaw closed with an angry click and his face grew resolute and
determined. Clenching his fists, he exclaimed:

"Ricaby, we must prevent that public examination somehow or other. Can
you see her facing a crowded court, packed full of curiosity seekers,
answering a lot of humbug experts who are paid to prove anything you
lawyers want them to prove--the slurs, the innuendos--the insinuations!
You know what they said about her father. Well, they'll rake up all that
stuff again. If that doesn't break her down, nothing will. We've got to
save her that ordeal-- Ricaby, we must."

"I'm afraid it's impossible," objected the lawyer "We must comply with
the law."

The young man laughed scornfully.

"The law be d----d!" he exclaimed. "Law is hell, isn't it? It's worse
than war, at least, you're not fighting in the dark all the time."

"You're right!" replied the other. "War is fought with weapons--fairly,
face to face. This legal strife is combat with hypocrisy--cunning deceit
and low political trickery!"

"Well," cried Tod, "we must fight them in the same way! I've got a
plan--by Jove! I think it will work."

"What is it?" said the other eagerly.

"Just this," said the younger man, drawing closer. Glancing hastily
around to make sure there were no eavesdroppers present, he said, in a
low tone:

"For the last three weeks I've had Cooley watched. I know more about him
than he imagines. If I choose to, I could ruin him. I know now where he
gets his influence and what he pays for it. I have employed a detective
agency. Sleuths have shadowed Cooley and looked up the record of Dr.
Zacharie. There is just a fighting chance that we may be able to prove

The lawyer looked skeptical. Shaking his head, he replied:

"Unless you have absolute proof it will avail nothing. It would mean
more endless trouble and litigation, and your charges against these men
might come back like a boomerang on our own heads."

The young man grinned shrewdly.

"I have no intention of making complaint to the district attorney. But
with the information in our hands we can make both Cooley and Dr.
Zacharie believe that we mean business. We can frighten them into
thinking that we're going to make a public exposé. Cooley is too deeply
involved with the System to run any such chances, and I don't suppose
Dr. Zacharie has any particular yearning to be put behind prison bars. I
shall lead them to think that we know more than we do, and if I am able
to gain Jimmy over, as I think I can, by threats or otherwise, the
battle is won. We shall soon see the last of Mr. Cooley, and Miss Paula
will go free to enjoy the Marsh millions."

"Hush!" said the lawyer warningly. "Some one is coming!"

The big door flung open, and Collins entered, followed by the
superintendent, Jimmy Marsh, Mr. Cooley, and Professor Bodley.


As the gentlemen came in the superintendent was chatting affably with
Mr. Cooley, approving everything he said, and laughing loudly at his
witticisms, with the forced, artificial cordiality of the man anxious to
please. The big lawyer was too influential a personage not to be worth
cultivating, and there was no telling when he might prove very useful.
Neither of them paid the slightest attention to Tod or Mr. Ricaby, who,
anxious to avoid, for the present at least, the slightest excuse for
friction, withdrew to the farther end of the office.

Waving the others to seats, the superintendent called his aged

"Collins, take Professor Bodley to Parlor B."

"Very good, sir."

"Isn't Zacharie here yet?" demanded the Professor.

"Yes, doctor," replied the superintendent civilly. "He's stopping here
for a few days."

"Ah, yes--a very conscientious man!" exclaimed the professor. Prattling
on, he said: "Well, it's a pleasant place! How is the young lady?"

The superintendent shrugged his shoulders.

"About the same, doctor, about the same--no change to speak of."

"Hum! ha! yes!" muttered the professor. "Too bad--too bad!"

The superintendent turned again to Mr. Cooley. In an undertone he said:

"The reports are upstairs, counsellor."

"But McMutrie isn't here yet," growled Cooley, glancing around with a
frown. "That's the trouble with these successful men. They never have
time to keep their appointments."

"I keep my appointments, sir!" snapped the professor peevishly.

"Oh, yes--you do," sneered the lawyer. "Where's Zacharie?"

"Waiting for you upstairs," replied the superintendent, pointing to the

"Parlor B--this way, gentlemen!" called out Collins.

Mr. Cooley approached the superintendent.

"Get McMutrie on the 'phone," he said impatiently. "Tell him that we're
all waiting. And send Miss Marsh up to us as soon as he arrives."

Professor Bodley left the office escorted by the old attendant, and
Cooley was about to follow when Mr. Ricaby, who had been watching his
opportunity, quickly stepped forward.

"Mr. Cooley," he said firmly, "I wish to be present at the examination
of Miss Marsh."

The big lawyer halted and stared at his opponent contemptuously. Without
a word he looked at him from head to foot. Finally he sneered:

"That's not necessary. It's only an informal examination--a private
interview for the benefit of our witnesses. We can't have anyone present
but those experts interested on behalf of James Marsh--her uncle and
special administrator of the estate."

"I demand to be present," insisted Mr. Ricaby, raising his voice
angrily. "It's my client's right, and you know it!"

Cooley shook his head disdainfully.

"I'm sorry," he sneered, "but I can't accommodate you." Scornfully he
went on: "Why should we outline our plan of operation to you fellows?
The girl's here for her own good, and this _habeas corpus_ business of
yours is opposing the order of the court. If you want to see her, you
can see her, but not while we are present."

"It's an outrage!" exclaimed Mr. Ricaby indignantly.

"An outrage?" echoed Mr. Cooley, elevating his bushy eyebrows in mock
surprise. "Why, you saw Miss Marsh this morning, didn't you?" Turning to
the superintendent, he asked: "Didn't you so inform me, Mr. Spencer?"

"Yes, counsellor," replied the superintendent, with a grin.

"Well, what more do you want?" sneered Cooley.

"I demand to be present!" insisted Mr. Ricaby, who was becoming more
angry every minute. "The Constitution of the United States

Mr. Cooley laughed outright:

"Now, Ricaby, don't let's have any more of this high falutin' nonsense
about constitutional rights and curtailments of liberty and all that
rot! Keep that for the courts. Miss Marsh is at liberty to come and go
as she pleases. But just at present she is engaged. See?" Rudely turning
his back on his interlocutor, he said to Mr. Spencer: "Send McMutrie up
as soon as he arrives."

"Very well, counsellor," replied the superintendent, bowing

With a loud snort of defiance, Mr. Cooley turned on his heel and made
his way upstairs. Mr. Ricaby, pale with suppressed wrath, quickly turned
to Tod:

"Is your machine at the hotel?" he demanded hoarsely.

"Yes," replied the other.

"Let me have it," said the lawyer. "I'll run up to town, I'll find a
Supreme Court judge and get permission to be present at the examination.
Is it a fast machine?"

"Seventy--that's all!" replied the young man laconically.

"All right!" said the lawyer excitedly. "Come and tell the chauffeur to
take me to town as fast as he can go. When I get back we'll tackle
Cooley together."

"Right you are!" cried Tod enthusiastically.

He was about to leave the office, when suddenly, through the window, he
saw a lady and gentleman in the grounds making their way toward the

"Hello!" he exclaimed, in astonishment. "It's mother."

A moment later Mrs. Marsh, elegantly dressed in the latest fashion,
entered, together with Dr. McMutrie. Tod hurried forward to greet her.

"Hello, mother!" he cried. "Did you leave the machine outside?"

"Certainly-- I didn't bring it in with me, you silly boy," she laughed.
Surprised at his flustered manner, she demanded: "Why are you so
excited--what's the matter?"

Quickly Tod introduced them.

"Mr. Ricaby--my mother! No time to explain." Quickly taking hold of the
lawyer's arm, he said: "Come--we don't have to go far for the machine,
it's outside. You'll be there and back before you know it. Then we'll
give Cooley the time of his life!"

He ran out of the office, followed in more dignified fashion by Mr.
Ricaby. While Mrs. Marsh stood looking after them in blank astonishment,
trying to guess the reason for this hasty departure, Dr. McMutrie calmly
drew off his gloves, and, approaching the desk, saluted the

"Good morning, Mr. Spencer," he said blandly.

"Good morning, doctor," replied the superintendent, bowing. "They're
waiting for you impatiently upstairs, sir."

The examiner in lunacy turned and looked at Mrs. Marsh, who was still
watching Tod and Mr. Ricaby as they hurried through the grounds.

"That's my son!" she smiled. "The most extraordinary boy you ever met."

Dr. McMutrie smiled.

"Yes," he answered dryly, "it seems to me that we've met before. I
think--when I was first called into this case."

"Oh, yes, Tod told me," she replied quickly. Then she went on: "Doctor,
it was very good of you to bring me in here. They wouldn't have let me
in, but for you. I am very anxious to see my niece----"

"Yes, it is a very interesting case--very interesting, indeed," said the
examiner, with a grave shake of the head. Thoughtfully he added:
"Sometimes I have my doubts----"

"About her sanity?" she demanded, reddening.

He nodded gravely.

"Really, doctor?" she exclaimed, in well-feigned astonishment. "Then why
should she be in such a place as this?"

The physician made no reply, but, turning to the superintendent, handed
him a bundle of administration papers, which the latter proceeded to
read. Mrs. Marsh quietly took a seat, awaiting her opportunity when she
could approach the desk and request that Paula be sent for.

It was not without a severe struggle with her conscience that Mrs. Marsh
had summoned up courage to come to "Sea Rest." While in a sense she was
privy to the conspiracy which had robbed her niece of her liberty, she
had known only vaguely what Jimmy and Cooley were doing. They were
fighting for the control of the Marsh millions, that was all she cared
to know. If her niece, who had come to America uninvited, got the worst
of it, that was her affair. It was Tod who had awakened her to the full
enormity of the crime which her husband and the lawyer had committed,
and after that her conscience knew no peace. Mrs. Marsh was not a bad
woman at heart. She was vain and luxury-loving, she had been weak and
foolish, and she had allowed herself to be governed, to a great extent,
by Jimmy's loose code of morals. But she was not utterly depraved. Ever
since the day she married Jimmy, she had known that her husband was
unscrupulous, but that he would go as far as this she had never dreamed.
While she might have overlooked his less important peccadilloes, she was
determined not to follow him further in his course of crime. They were
in a desperate predicament for money, but that made no difference. She
would rather sell everything she had in the world and be reduced to
beggary rather than remain an accomplice in such a diabolical action as
subjecting a perfectly sane young girl to the horrors of a lunatic
asylum. Already she had had a stormy scene with Jimmy. She told him
plainly that she had done with him, that she despised him and would
leave him forever. And now, at Tod's earnest entreaties, she had come
herself to "Sea Rest" to find out what she could do to right a great
wrong and help the poor motherless girl who was the victim of two

She was thus absorbed in her reflections when a loud chuckle close by
her ear caused her to look up with a start. It was Tod who had returned
after seeing Mr. Ricaby off. With a chortle of satisfaction, he said:

"He's gone! If they don't hit a tree and break their necks he ought to
be back in half an hour." Surprised to find his mother still sitting
there, he demanded: "Haven't you seen Paula yet?"

"No," she answered. "I was waiting until the gentleman at the desk had
time to attend to me."

But Tod was not of the kind who waits for the convenience of others.
Striding boldly to the desk, he said, in a tone of authority:

"Mr. Spencer, will you please send for Miss Marsh? My mother wishes to
see her at once."

The superintendent, who was busy going over some papers with Dr.
McMutrie, looked up at this interruption and frowned.

"Impossible," he snapped. "The patient can't be seen to-day."

"But this lady is Miss Marsh's aunt," persisted Tod, not to be put off
so easily.

The superintendent suddenly became more polite.

"Are you Mrs. James Marsh?" he asked, looking more closely at the

"Yes," she answered.

Taking up the telephone to communicate with the ward, he said:

"Well, I'll see, but I'm afraid----"

"If he succeeds," laughed Tod, "it will be the first time your
relationship to Jimmy has been of the slightest advantage."

"Won't you help us, Dr. McMutrie?" pleaded Mrs. Marsh. "We're so anxious
to see her! That will be the second time you've come to our rescue.
Don't say no. Let us see her, there's a dear man! If you insist, they
can't refuse----"

The examiner turned to the superintendent.

"I don't see why Mrs. Marsh should not see her niece. Send for her, Mr.

The superintendent hesitated.

"Mr. Cooley's orders were very positive," he replied.

"Never mind Cooley's orders," retorted the other. "The young lady is
under my charge. Have her sent here at once. Is Professor Bodley here?"


The superintendent went out to obey the order, and the examiner turned
to the others.

"Hum!" he smiled significantly. "I think I had better go and send her
here myself." As he turned to go he bowed and said: "I shall see you
again, I hope."

"I hope so," smiled Mrs. Marsh graciously. "We dine at the hotel at
seven-thirty. Won't you join us?"

Dr. McMutrie bowed.

"You are very good."

With another ceremonious salute, he opened the door leading to the
female ward and disappeared.

"Honestly, mother," gasped Tod, "you take my breath away. You've seen
that man only once, and yet you call him 'dear man' and squeeze his arm
and all that kind of thing. He must think you're crazy."

"I wish you wouldn't be so critical, son," replied his mother, with mock
severity. "We were asking a favor. It is no time to be freezingly

"Freezingly formal?" echoed the young man. "Why, you've invited him to

"Well, you shall chaperon us," she answered, laughing. More seriously
she went on: "Besides, I had an object! Your stepfather, Mr. Marsh, has
followed me here!"

"Jimmy?" cried Tod, surprised. "Did you see him?"

"No, he came to the hotel and tried to force his way in. I refused to
see him, but he wouldn't go, so I called the porter and had him removed
from the door of my rooms."

Tod rubbed his hands gleefully.

"Good!" he cried joyfully. "That's bully!"

"He acted like a madman," went on his mother. "He said he was sorry and
would make any amends if only I would forgive him, but I wouldn't

"I told you what you might expect with a man of that kind. I don't see
how you ever married him. I ought to have kicked him downstairs when he
first patted me on the head and called me sonny boy."

"To think," wailed Mrs. Marsh, "that his millions consisted of the
property left to this poor girl by her father. My whole life wasted----"

"Oh, come now, mother," protested Tod, "not your whole life! You lived
happily with my father for eleven years."

"I mean--my widowhood has been wasted," replied his mother, with a sigh.

Further conversation was interrupted by the entrance of old man Collins,
who, going to the desk, gathered pen, ink, and paper and then made his
way solemnly upstairs. He had no sooner disappeared than the door of the
female ward opened and Mrs. Johnson appeared. Addressing Mrs. Marsh,
she said respectfully:

"If you will step this way, madam, you can see Miss Marsh for a few

"That's Paula's nurse," whispered Tod.

He also rose and went toward the ward with his mother, but the nurse
held up her hand.

"Not you, sir, only the lady," she said.

"There's no danger, is there?" inquired Mrs. Marsh timidly.

"Oh, she's not very dangerous! She won't bite you!" grinned Tod

"This way, please, m'm," said the nurse.

Holding the door open for the visitor, Mrs. Johnson waited until she had
entered and then closed it carefully behind her. Tod stood looking after
the two women until the door was shut in his face, then he walked over
to the window and stood gazing disconsolately out into the grounds. How
he envied his mother that brief interview with Paula. Never so much as
now did he realize how he loved her. Each day that went by without his
seeing her seemed to make his passion burn stronger. And to think that
she was kept an unwilling prisoner within these grim walls! Nervously he
began to pace the floor. When would Ricaby be back? The examination
would soon take place upstairs. They ought to corner Cooley before it
began. Would they succeed in frightening him? So preoccupied was he with
his thoughts that he did not hear anyone enter. But a cough suddenly
made him look up. The old male attendant was standing by the foot of the
staircase, looking at him:

"Say, Collins," exclaimed the young man, "can't you get me a brandy and
soda? I'm awfully dry. This place gives me the blues."

The old man shook his head violently.

"Not without a prescription, sir," he said, with a grimace.
"Temperance--oh, my God!--horrible temperance--don't ask me--don't----
I've got a little bottle upstairs. It's got a linament label on it, but
it's all right--Old Crow."

"Never mind," laughed Tod, "I'll wait till I get to the hotel."

The old man turned to go. Suddenly he stopped, and hesitatingly he said:

"Please, sir--how's the old spot----"

"What old spot?" demanded Tod.

"Why, Twenty-sixth and Broadway--Del's----"

"Oh, it's moved uptown long ago. It's Forty-fourth and Fifth Avenue

"Oh, yes-- I forgot-- Charley's dead, too, isn't he? Ah, times change.
You know, I miss the music--and the lights--the low-neck dresses and
the popping of corks, but I'll tell you a funny thing, sir. The guests
act more human-like here. Yes, they're more human. They don't blame one
for everything. If the cooking goes wrong they roast the cook, and when
they get their bills the cashier gets hell--not me. This place isn't as
black as it's painted. The only thing is, when they drink champagne at
Christmas and New Years they drink it out of tumblers. That's bad, isn't
it--that's awful bad!"

Shaking his head, he toddled out of the office.

Tod took out a cigarette and lighted it. His mother had been gone a long
time. He wondered what was keeping her and what Paula said to her.
Suddenly the ward door opened and Mrs. Marsh reappeared, her manner
greatly agitated.

"Oh, Tod!" she exclaimed excitedly, "we must get her out of this place
at once. The poor girl is nearly frightened to death! She should never
have been sent here. It's an outrage. She is perfectly rational. She's
just nervous and afraid--that's all!"

"Of course, she's all right!" retorted Tod. "We've known that right

"Yes," said his mother contritely, "we should have taken care of her
from the first, and not let her go among strangers. It's your
stepfather's fault."

"Well, what can we do to mend matters?" demanded Tod, with some

"The poor girl begged me so hard to take her to the hotel with me. I'm
so upset I---- When does her case come up?"

"In about a week," replied Tod doggedly, "and until then I'm going to
stay right here every minute of the time."

"Supposing I speak to Dr. McMutrie?" suggested his mother.

Tod shook his head.

"There's some legal process to go through. We have to get the consent of
the person who placed her here. Cooley and Jimmy alone can do it. They
must! We'll make them----"

"Hush!" cried his mother warningly. "Here's your stepfather."

James Marsh appeared at the top of the staircase, and after glancing
furtively around, as if to make sure that his wife and stepson were
alone, he slowly descended and came toward where they were standing.

He was pale and his manner was greatly agitated. Deep lines furrowed his
face as if he had passed nights without sleep. He must have been aware
that his wife and stepson were in the asylum, for he evinced no surprise
at seeing them. On the contrary, he seemed relieved. Advancing quickly
he held out his hand to his wife:

"Amelia!" he exclaimed imploringly.

"Don't address me!" said Mrs. Marsh indignantly. "Don't come near me,

"Amelia!" he repeated.

"What do you want here?" she demanded.

"There's a preliminary examination before the trial. Mr. Cooley and I
have to be present. But what has that to do with it? I want you to come
back to me."

"No!" she said positively.

"Do you mean to say you've left me for good?"

"I do! I won't listen to you while that girl remains in this dreadful

"What can I do, Amelia?" he cried, wringing his hands. "I sat up last
night--all night--waiting--hoping that you'd come back. All my anxiety
about my brother's estate has been on your account, and now you've left
me without a word. Everything I've said or done has been for your sake.
It's damned ingratitude to leave me like this!"

"It's not half what you deserve," she retorted.

He turned to his stepson:

"Tod, you can put everything right--persuade her to come back."

The young man looked at him indignantly.

"Do you think she'd go back to you after the way you've treated that
girl?" he cried hotly.

His stepfather looked aggrieved. Peevishly he said:

"Why, three physicians have attested to the fact that we are doing the
best we can for her."

"It's a damnable conspiracy!" cried Tod, with increasing fury.

"It isn't my fault," whined Jimmy. "If I'm mistaken--so are they."
Almost in a whisper, he went on: "It was Cooley's idea--his idea from
the very beginning. Of course, if she's not responsible she ought to be
watched. All I wanted him to do was to contest the will. We've gone so
far now, we've got to go on----"

Tod started eagerly forward. That was just what he wanted to know.
Quickly he said:

"So it was Cooley's idea, eh? Of course, that changes the aspect of
things. If that is so, mother, I think you may reconsider----"

"How dare you suggest such a thing?" exclaimed Mrs. Marsh indignantly.

"Everything I've done," went on Jimmy tearfully, "I've done for your
sake-- I acted for the best. It's the most ungrateful piece of

"But you said it was Cooley's idea," interrupted Tod impatiently. "Where
does he come in?"

"He gets half--half of everything," replied the other.

"Oh, he divides the estate with you, does he?"

"It was his idea from the very beginning," went on Jimmy. "I only wanted
my share of my brother's property. I'm entitled to that. Cooley urged me
on--and on--until at last we'd gone too far."

"Oh, Tod!" exclaimed Mrs. Marsh, in dismay; "it's worse than I

Sinking down on a chair she looked helplessly at the two men.

"Well, you can blame yourself, too," said Jimmy doggedly. "Your damned
extravagance is responsible for the whole business, and, if the truth
ever does come out, you won't escape--that you can gamble on!"

"My mother doesn't want to escape," retorted Tod angrily, "we are both
willing to pay the penalty for our association with you."

"Why--what are you going to do?" demanded Jimmy, in alarm.

"Going to do?" echoed Tod. "What else is there to do but tell Mr.
Ricaby what you have just told us?"

"Tell--Ricaby--you fool, do you know what he'll do?"

"Yes," replied the young man dryly. "He will probably have you and
Cooley indicted for conspiracy."

"He'll have us all indicted," exclaimed the other. "Do you think you can
share the spoils without being associated with the crime?"

"You--you wretch!" cried Mrs. Marsh. "Do you mean that we are your

"No, I don't mean that, Amelia," said Jimmy half-apologetically.
"I--I've had no sleep for forty-eight hours, and I don't know what I'm
saying. But it was all for your sake--every bit of it! You can't make me
take that back--for your sake----"

Sitting down, he covered his face with his hands. Tod went up to his

"Mother," he said eagerly, "have I your consent to--to make this matter
public? Are you willing to--risk telling the truth?"

"And go to prison, eh?" sneered Jimmy. "Fine advice!"

"The more wicked a man is, the bigger fool he is!" retorted his wife.

"Do you suppose that this matter can be kept secret?" cried Tod. "You
_are_ willing? You want to cut yourself loose from this--this
association with a scoundrel like Cooley?"

"God knows I do!" moaned Jimmy. "Oh, this is my punishment--this is my

"Then you've got one chance, Jimmy. Go upstairs and tell those people
that you demand Paula Marsh's instant release from this place."

Jimmy rose, his face white.

"No," he said. "Give me time-- I'll arrange it privately with Cooley.
Don't force me to--to--make a public exposure--for your own sakes----"

"You must not consider us," cried Tod.

"Well, you can consider me," said his mother. "I don't mind going as far
as the divorce court, but I'm not pining to go to prison."

"Mother!" cried the young man; "we must go on!"

"Of course, you're right, Tod-- I know, but--oh, the wretch to drag us
into a--a--oh, it's horrible."

There was a commotion at the front entrance. A moment later Mr. Ricaby
entered, excited and travel-stained.

"The machine broke down," he explained, "three miles out. I had to drive
back--everything goes against us--everything."

Tod pointed triumphantly to Jimmy.

"Mr. Marsh--tell Mr. Ricaby what you have just told us."

"No," said Jimmy, rising. "I'll--I'll tell Cooley. That's the best--
I'll tell him you found out. It was for your sake, Amelia--don't lose
sight of that fact--for your sake."

Quickly opening the ward door, he disappeared.


The lawyer looked in amazement from one to the other. What he had heard
was scarcely credible. He did not believe the evidence of his own ears.

"What do you mean?" he gasped.

"Just what I say," replied Tod calmly. "The fight is as good as won!
Jimmy Marsh acknowledges that he and Cooley conspired to divide Paula
Marsh's estate, and put her here to gain their ends."

Mr. Ricaby said nothing for a moment. The suddenness of this most
unexpected revelation had almost paralyzed his faculties. Could it be
possible that they had run the cunning fox to earth, that they had the
big criminal lawyer in their power? Was the astute Bascom Cooley trapped
at last? It seemed too good to believe. If it were true, then Paula was
as good as free. All their worry and anxiety was at an end. There was
nothing to prevent her walking out of the asylum at once. All that
remained to be done was the punishment of the scoundrels who by
audacious fraud and misrepresentation had put her there. Silently the
lawyer promised himself that the penalty should be the limit.

"Is it possible?" he ejaculated.

"Yes," said Tod exultingly. "Jimmy has just left here. He has gone
upstairs to see Cooley and call the whole thing off."

Mrs. Marsh, giving way to her emotions, sank down on a convenient seat
and buried her face in her daintily perfumed handkerchief.

"Oh, I'm so ashamed!" she moaned.

Tod put his arm tenderly around her. He was fond of his mother in spite
of all that had occurred to estrange him from home.

"No, dear," he said gently, "you haven't done anything to be ashamed of.
It isn't your fault. Mr. Ricaby knows that. Don't you, Ricaby?"

The lawyer looked at the weeping woman in silence. Then slowly and
gravely he said:

"I can't believe it possible that you are associated with your husband
in the commission of this crime--no-- I am ready to acquit you of that."

"What do you intend to do first?" demanded Tod anxiously.

"The lawyer remained thoughtful for a moment. Then he said:

"I want you both to remain here until I have your sworn testimony as to
the facts of the case. Then I shall proceed to have Mr. James Marsh and
Mr. Bascom Cooley arrested for criminal conspiracy!"

"It seems rather hard to make my mother testify against her own
husband," objected the younger man.

"It's perfectly disgraceful," sobbed Mrs. Marsh, "but I'll do whatever
must be done."

"Well--we won't discuss that question now," replied Mr. Ricaby hastily,
"the important thing is to get Miss Marsh out of this place as soon as

Suddenly Tod gave a wild whoop and darted towards the stairs. On the top
landing he had spied Paula standing with Dr. McMutrie by her side.

"Here she is!" he cried.

Slowly the young girl descended the winding staircase, carefully
assisted round the turns by the Examiner. She seemed weak and looked
very pale. But her face brightened as soon as she caught sight of

"Good news, Miss Paula!" exclaimed Tod breathlessly. "You will scarcely
believe it."

Mrs. Marsh, who had hastily dried her eyes, rose and went towards her
niece with arms outstretched. "Paula!" she cried. "How we have wronged

"I thought she would be more comfortable with you," smiled Dr. McMutrie.
"I'm afraid the presence of we men of science rather disconcerts her."

Paula, who was now leaning on the arm of the supremely contented Tod,
smiled gratefully:

"You are very kind, doctor--I--thank you. It does oppress me when I see
so many people who are not--not kindly disposed. I'm glad to be
here--with my friends."

While Tod talked in an eager undertone with Paula, Dr. McMutrie took Mr.
Ricaby and Mrs. Marsh aside.

"The girl's all right," he said. "She's suffering from intense
nervousness, that's all! While we were questioning her Mr. Marsh came
into the room and took Mr. Cooley away--so I thought I'd bring her down
here until she's wanted. By the way, Mrs. Marsh, did you select Dr.
Zacharie to attend your niece?"

"No--I certainly did not!" she replied positively.

The examiner hesitated and coughed as if unwilling to express his frank
opinion of Mr. Cooley's physician.

"He is certainly a most peculiar man-- I--don't agree with him at all.
He's essentially too drastic, and I don't think he understands. Do you
know who did engage him?"

"Yes--I think----"

She stopped suddenly, seeing that Mr. Ricaby was signalling her to
remain silent.

"Well, I must get back," said Dr. McMutrie, rising. "You had better stay
here. I don't approve of your niece remaining at Tocquencke, Mrs. Marsh,
and I am going to say so. She ought never to have come----"

With a courteous bow to Mrs. Marsh and the others, he turned and left
the office.

"Did you tell him?" demanded Tod eagerly, when he was out of earshot.

"No," replied the lawyer quickly, "we'll tell no one. I don't want the
scoundrel to escape."

"I've told Miss Paula everything," said Tod gaily. Jokingly, he added:
"Would you believe it? She's sorry to leave Sea Rest!"

Paula laughed, a frank, girlish peal of merriment unclouded by care or
anxiety. It was the first laugh since she had come to the asylum, and
she was surprised how good it felt. Her eyes sparkled with new joy and
happiness. Thank God! Her troubles were at an end. Freedom was now only
a question of minutes. The terrible nightmare was over, a thing of the
past. No more would she be terrified by the sight of padded cells or
haunted by Dr. Zacharie's cruel, diabolical smile. And as she clung more
tightly to Tod's arm she thought with gratitude in her heart how true
and devoted a friend he had been through all these dark days. But for
him, her uncle and Mr. Cooley might have succeeded in their design, they
might have kept her confined in the asylum for years. The outside world
would never have known or cared. She might have died there and no one
been the wiser. She felt sorry for Mrs. Marsh, for she believed in the
sincerity of the woman's repentance. Besides, she was ready to forgive
her anything. Was she not the mother of the one being she loved better
than anyone in the world?

Turning to Mrs. Marsh, she said with a sympathetic smile:

"It's fortunate for me--but is hard for you, isn't it?"

"Oh, never mind me," murmured Mrs. Marsh, averting her face. "You did
not deserve to suffer. I do."

"Dr. McMutrie has been very kind," went on Paula; "he seemed to realize
instinctively that Dr. Zacharie was against me. That fact alone enlisted
his sympathy."

"Yes, my dear," said Mrs. Marsh, who had somewhat recovered from her
agitation, "Dr. McMutrie is an exceptionally nice man. One doesn't often
meet such men nowadays." With a mischievous glance at Tod, she added:
"He's almost as nice as my son, don't you think so, Paula?"

Understanding her meaning, the girl blushed, and the alert Tod, quick to
seize the psychological moment, thought this as good a time as any to
put to words what his eyes had already told her eloquently enough:

"Paula," he whispered, "I----"

"Hush!" said Mr. Ricaby warningly. "Here's Mr. Cooley!"

Bascom Cooley, head erect and defiant as ever, came slowly down the
stairs and glared savagely at each individual member of the group
gathered in the office waiting for him. He knew that he was checkmated,
that his reign of terror was ended, that the Marsh millions had slipped
out of his grasp, but still he would not acknowledge defeat. They
thought they had trapped him, did they? Well, he would show them that
the old fox was too cunning for them. He stood in silence, waiting for
someone to speak. Finally, Mr. Ricaby stepped forward. His face was
pale, but his voice firm as he said:

"Bascom Cooley, I suppose Mr. Marsh has already told you that we know.
There is no use mincing matters. You and James Marsh will have to answer
to the proper authorities for as damnable and wicked a criminal
conspiracy as was ever plotted in the history of the State. In your
greed for gold you have deliberately done a great wrong. You have
committed subornation of perjury, you have wilfully concocted and
distorted evidence, all for the sordid miserable purpose of securing
dishonestly the control of funds belonging to another. Believing that
your political influence would hold you immune, you have outraged every
law of order and decency. You have robbed both the public and the
individual. You have become rich on the sufferings of those you have
victimized. There is hardly a crime in the calendar that may not be laid
at your door. Your past career is a matter of public record. Until now
you have gone scot-free. People knew of your misdeeds, your turpitudes
were a matter of common gossip, but everybody was afraid of you, afraid
to denounce you. They lacked proof. But now it is different. We have the
proofs at last. To-morrow your disgrace will be blazoned forth in
flaming 'scareheads' on the front page of every newspaper in the land.
You are a contemptible person--not worthy to be called a man! You are a
disgrace to the profession of which I myself have the honor to be an
humble member. But your day of reckoning is close at hand. In the case
of this poor unfortunate girl your greed has overreached itself. You
went too far--so far that, at last, your fellow conspirator refused to
follow you any longer. He has turned State's evidence. He will help
convict you and put you behind the bars!"

Mr. Ricaby halted a moment, for sheer want of breath. The bystanders,
trembling with excitement, crowded eagerly around, closely watching the
chief figures in this sensational denunciation. They expected that the
burly lawyer, rendered furious by all these insults, would attack his
opponent. Physically he was more than a match for Mr. Ricaby, and the
latter certainly had not spared his words. But there was no fight in
Bascom Cooley. On his pasty white, bloated face, the sweat stood out
like glistening beads. His fat, swine-like mouth quivered as, with
clenched fists, he replied hoarsely:

"What the h--ll are you talking about? Who'll believe all that rubbish?
What proofs have you got?"

Thus challenged, Mr. Ricaby returned to the attack.

"Proofs?" he almost shouted. "We've got all the proofs any jury will
want. Not only shall we have the sworn testimony of James Marsh, your
accomplice, but we have had you yourself shadowed. Yes, Mr. Cooley, we
have had detectives on your track. Unknown to you, unsuspected by you,
our men have watched your every movement for weeks past. You have not
made a call, you have not sent a message without it being instantly
faithfully reported to me. We know now who your political friends are,
we know so well that they will not dare come to your rescue, for if they
have the temerity to interfere in your just punishment, we will ruin
them as well. They shall share in your downfall. Corrupt servants of the
public, they have accepted your bribes and they shall share your fate!"

Mr. Cooley grew whiter and visibly more nervous. His defiant manner had
completely disappeared. His attitude was more humble and conciliatory.
Shuffling his feet nervously on the floor, he said:

"I don't see why there should be any misunderstanding. I am ready to
make amends for any inconvenience I may have caused Miss Marsh. My
client, Mr. James Marsh, has informed me of his intentions to withdraw
all opposition to your writ of _habeas corpus_.

"Miss Paula may go when she pleases--the authorities have instructions.
Furthermore, it is Mr. Marsh's intention to withdraw from the
guardianship of his niece--and to return to her the estate
intact--intact--with interest if she asks it."

He stopped and looked around for approval, but everybody was dumb. A
dead silence reigned. He went on:

"As to the question of conspiracy--criminal conspiracy--let me remind my
client's wife----"

Mrs. Marsh started nervously.

"Yes, madam," he said, pointing his finger at her. "You and your son
both! If Mr. Marsh and I go to prison you will go with us. If we are
guilty so are you. If my unfortunate client has made any remarks about
me they are insinuations based on motives of self-interest-- Now, I've
warned you--Ricaby--you young reformers must learn to let sleeping dogs
lie. Conspiracy is an edged tool--it not only cuts both ways, but
sometimes it cuts the hand that holds it."

Turning to Mr. Ricaby, he continued:

"Go to the district attorney, have me indicted, but if you do I swear to
God that I'll tell some truths about this woman's husband that will make
her regret her action. Do your worst, Mr. Ricaby. Now I have the honor
to wish you all good day!"

Turning on his heel, he took his departure. No one attempted to stop
him, all rejoiced to see him go. Paula turned to Mrs. Marsh who,
overcome with emotion, was weeping bitterly. Tod putting his arm around
her, attempted to comfort her, while Paula knelt by her side.

"In order to protect themselves," said Paula gently, "these men have
accused you. We can't reach them without hurting you. Isn't that what
Mr. Cooley meant, Mr. Ricaby?"

"Yes," replied the lawyer grimly.

"They will accuse you of conspiring with them, too! Oh, that's

"We'll be all right, Paula," said Tod reassuringly.

"Yes, but they may believe this man Cooley. They may believe my uncle.
They may put your mother in prison!"

"We must prosecute them, Paula," insisted Mr. Ricaby. "We cannot
compound a felony even if----"

"Yes," she retorted, "but why should the innocent suffer for the guilty?
Why should--Tod----Why should he suffer? No, I won't appear against
them-- I refuse! Do you hear, Mr. Ricaby, I won't!"

"They can't do anything to us, Paula," said Tod. "We shall be all right.
They must be punished as a warning to others-- I don't feel so hard
against Marsh--but Cooley--he's the real criminal."

"He must go to prison," insisted Mr. Ricaby. "Marsh is only a
figurehead--but Cooley represents the System--an iniquitous organization
of crooks----"

"What do I care for the System and warning to others if he is to suffer,
too?" retorted Paula. "No, I--I care only for----"

She stopped suddenly, and her face flushed and then turned pale. She
realized that she was betraying herself, but Tod had heard the
exclamation. Silently he pressed her hand and she returned the pressure.
Without exchanging a word they understood each other.

"Mr. Chase," said Mr. Ricaby, "will you pardon me a moment? I wish to
speak to Miss Marsh alone."

"Certainly," he replied. "Come, mother, we'll prosecute those men, and
she will appear against wait out there----"

"Do whatever you think is right, Mr. Ricaby," said Mrs. Marsh.

"Whatever is right," he echoed; "that shall be to them----"

When they had disappeared, Paula said quickly:

"No, I will not-- I refuse."

"You must!" insisted the lawyer, unwilling to be balked of his prey now
in his hour of triumph.

"No," she said firmly, "it's only revenge you want--revenge--on----"

"Revenge on whom?" he demanded.

"You hated him from the very first," she cried.

"Hated whom?"


"Always that man!" cried the lawyer impatiently. "You think of no one
else. Ah, you love him! Tell me the truth, Paula, I can bear it now. You
love him!"

The young girl was silent for a moment and then, in a tone so low as to
be almost inaudible, she replied:

"Yes, I love him."

The lawyer bowed his head. There was nothing more to be said. He could
only accept the inevitable.

"I see now why I always mistrusted him," he said bitterly. "But I never
hated him, Paula. If he is the man I take him to be, he'll insist on my
showing up this rotten system which is a blight on our fair land." Going
to the door, he called out:

"Mr. Chase!"

The young man reëntered, his face wreathed in smiles.

"My machine is outside," he said cheerily, "the chauffeur has fixed it
all right. Paula, it is all settled! You are coming home with us, with
mother and--me!"

"Going home?--yes," she replied tenderly.

Mr. Ricaby, making an effort to control his feelings, pretended to be
busy with some papers at the desk. Turning to Tod, he said:

"I will at once see about getting Miss Marsh's certificate of discharge
from this place. Talk to her while I am gone. She's worrying because you
are involved in this matter." With a sigh he added: "If she only thought
of me as much as she does of you----"

He shook his head sadly and left the office. Tod turned to his

"Paula," he said tenderly, "there is something I've wanted for a long
time to tell you----"

"No--not here," she smiled.

"That's right," he laughed. "Not here--but where?"

"At home," she said, in a low voice.

He put his arms around her.

"My machine's at the door--we'll start right now."




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