Burfoot turned the car at a left-hand street, and then turned left again, so terra coin coinmarketcapthat he was returning the way he came. After the second turn, he slowed down, so that, when Irene's taxi followed him, he was only a short distance ahead.
"Suppose I should stake you for the present, and put you in witha good crowd. All you would have to do would be to answeradvertisements for servant girls. I will see that you have thebest of references. Then, when you get in with the right people,you will open the front door some night and let in the gang. Ofcourse, you will make a get-away when they do, and get your bitas well."There flashed still another of the swift, sly glances, and thelips of the girl parted as if she would speak. But she did not;only, her head sagged even lower on her breast, and the shrunkenform grew yet more shrunken. Mary, watching closely, saw thesesigns, and in the same instant a change came over her. Wherebefore there had been an underlying suggestion of hardness, therewas now a womanly warmth of genuine sympathy.ethereum etf launch"It doesn't suit you?" she said, very softly. "Good! I was inhopes it wouldn't. So, here's another plan." Her voice hadbecome very winning. "Suppose you could go West--some placewhere you would have a fair chance, with money enough so youcould live like a human being till you got a start?"There came a tensing of the relaxed form, and the head lifted alittle so that the girl could look at her questioner. And, thistime, the glance, though of the briefest, was less furtive.
"I will give you that chance," Mary said simply, "if you reallywant it."That speech was like a current of strength to the wretched girl.She sat suddenly erect, and her words came eagerly."Oh, I do!" And now her hungry gaze remained fast on the face ofthe woman who offered her salvation.Mary sprang up and moved a step toward the girl who continued tostare at her, fascinated. She was now all wholesome. The memoryof her own wrongs surged in her during this moment only to makeher more appreciative of the blessedness of seemly life. She wasmoved to a divine compassion over this waif for whom she mightprove a beneficent providence. There was profound conviction inthe emphasis with which she spoke her warning."Then I have just one thing to say to you first. If you aregoing to live straight, start straight, and then go through withit. Do you know what that means?""You mean, keep straight all the time?" The girl spoke with aforce drawn from the other's strength.
"I mean more than that," Mary went on earnestly. "I mean, forgetthat you were ever in prison. I don't know what you have done--Idon't think I care. But whatever it was, you have paid for it--apretty big price, too." Into these last words there crept thepathos of one who knew. The sympathy of it stirred the listenerto fearful memories."I have, I have!" The thin voice broke, wailing.Besides, he felt himself somehow responsible. He had given backto her the gift of life, which she had rejected. Surely, he hadthe right to know the truth.
It seemed that Mary believed her confidence his due, for she toldhim the fact."I have been working and scheming for nearly a year to do it,"she said, with a hardening of her face that spoke of indomitableresolve. "Now, it's done." A vindictive gleam shot from herviolet eyes as she added: "It's only the beginning, too."Garson, with the keen perspicacity that had made him a successfulcriminal without a single conviction to mar his record, hadseized the implication in her statement, and now put it in words."Then, you won't leave us? We're going on as we were before?"The hint of dejection in his manner had vanished. "And you won'tlive with him?""Live with him?" Mary exclaimed emphatically. "Certainly not!"Aggie's neatly rounded jaw dropped in a gape of surprise that wasmost unladylike."You are going to live on in this joint with us?" shequestioned, aghast.
"Of course." The reply was given with the utmost of certainty.Aggie presented the crux of the matter.
"Where will hubby live?"There was no lessening of the bride's composure as she replied,with a little shrug."Anywhere but here."Aggie suddenly giggled. To her sense of humor there wassomething vastly diverting in this new scheme of giving bliss toa fond husband."Anywhere but here," she repeated gaily. "Oh, won't that benice--for him? Oh, yes! Oh, quite so! Oh, yes, indeed--quiteso--so!"Garson, however, was still patient in his determination toapprehend just what had come to pass."Does he understand the arrangement?" was his question.
"No, not yet," Mary admitted, without sign of embarrassment."Well," Aggie said, with another giggle, "when you do get aroundto tell him, break it to him gently."Garson was intently considering another phase of the situation,one suggested perhaps out of his own deeper sentiments."He must think a lot of you!" he said, gravely. "Don't he?"For the first time, Mary was moved to the display of a slightconfusion. She hesitated a little before her answer, and whenshe spoke it was in a lower key, a little more slowly."I--I suppose so."Aggie presented the truth more subtly than could have beenexpected from her.
"Think a lot of you? Of course he does! Thinks enough to marryyou! And believe me, kid, when a man thinks enough of you tomarry you, well, that's some thinking!"Somehow, the crude expression of this professional adventuresspenetrated to Mary's conscience, though it held in it the truthto which her conscience bore witness, to which she had tried toshut her ears.... And now from the man came something like adraught of elixir to her conscience--like the trump of doom toher scheme of vengeance.Garson spoke very softly, but with an intensity that left nodoubt as to the honesty of his purpose.
"I'd say, throw up the whole game and go to him, if you reallycare."There fell a tense silence. It was broken by Mary herself. Shespoke with a touch of haste, as if battling against somehindrance within."I married him to get even with his father," she said. "That'sall there is to it.... By the way, I expect Dick will be here ina minute or two. When he comes, just remember not to--enlightenhim."Aggie sniffed indignantly.
"Don't worry about me, not a mite. Whenever it's really wanted,I'm always there with a full line of that lady stuff."Thereupon, she sprang up, and proceeded to give her conception ofthe proper welcoming of the happy bridegroom. The performancewas amusing enough in itself, but for some reason it movedneither of the two for whom it was rendered to more thanperfunctory approval. The fact had no depressing effect on theperformer, however, and it was only the coming of the maid thatput her lively sallies to an end."Mr. Gilder," Fannie announced.Mary put a question with so much of energy that Garson beganfinally to understand the depth of her vindictive feeling."Any one with him?""No, Miss Turner," the maid answered."Have him come in," Mary ordered.Garson felt that he would be better away for the sake of thenewly married pair at least, if not for his own. He made hastyexcuses and went out on the heels of the maid. Aggie, however,consulting only her own wishes in the matter, had no thought offlight, and, if the truth be told, Mary was glad of thesustaining presence of another woman.
She got up slowly, and stood silent, while Aggie regarded hercuriously. Even to the insensitive observer, there was somethingstrange in the atmosphere.... A moment later the bridegroomentered.He was still clean-cut and wholesome. Some sons of wealthyfathers are not, after four years experience of the white lightsof town. And the lines of his face were firmer, better in everyway. It seemed, indeed, that here was some one of a resolutecharacter, not to be wasted on the trivial and gross things. Inan instant, he had gone to her, had caught her in his arms with,"Hello, dear!" smothered in the kiss he implanted on her lips.
Mary strove vainly to free herself."Don't, oh, don't!" she gasped.
Dick Gilder released his wife from his arms and smiled thebeatific smile of the newly-wed."Why not?" he demanded, with a smile, a smile calm, triumphant,masterful.
"Agnes!" ... It was the sole pretext to which Mary could turn fora momentary relief.The bridegroom faced about, and perceived Agnes, who stoodclosely watching the meeting between husband and wife. He madean excellent formal bow of the sort that one learns only abroad,and spoke quietly."I beg your pardon, Miss Lynch, but"--a smile of perfecthappiness shone on his face--"you could hardly expect me to seeany one but Mary under the circumstances. Could you?"Aggie strove to rise to this emergency, and again took on herbest manner, speaking rather coldly."Under what circumstances?" she inquired.
The young man exclaimed joyously."Why, we were married this morning."Aggie accepted the news with fitting excitement.
"Goodness gracious! How perfectly lovely!"The bridegroom regarded her with a face that was luminous ofdelight."You bet, it's lovely!" he declared with entire conviction. Heturned to Mary, his face glowing with satisfaction.
"Mary," he said, "I have the honeymoon trip all fixed. TheMauretania sails at five in the morning, so we will----"A cold voice struck suddenly through this rhapsodizing. It wasthat of the bride."Where is your father?" she asked, without any trace of emotion.
The bridegroom stopped short, and a deep blush spread itself overhis boyish face. His tone was filled full to overflowing withcompunction as he answered."Oh, Lord! I had forgotten all about Dad." He beamed on Marywith a smile half-ashamed, half-happy. "I'm awfully sorry," hesaid earnestly. "I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll send Dad awireless from the ship, then write him from Paris."But the confident tone brought no response of agreement fromMary. On the contrary, her voice was, if anything, even colderas she replied to his suggestion. She spoke with an emphasis thatbrooked no evasion."What was your promise? I told you that I wouldn't go with youuntil you had brought your father to me, and he had wished ushappiness." Dick placed his hands gently on his wife's shouldersand regarded her with a touch of indignation in his gaze."Mary," he said reproachfully, "you are not going to hold me tothat promise?"The answer was given with a decisiveness that admitted of noquestion, and there was a hardness in her face that emphasizedthe words.
"I am going to hold you to that promise, Dick."For a few seconds, the young man stared at her with troubledeyes. Then he moved impatiently, and dropped his hands from hershoulders. But his usual cheery smile came again, and heshrugged resignedly."All right, Mrs. Gilder," he said, gaily. The sound of the nameprovoked him to new pleasure. "Sounds fine, doesn't it?" hedemanded, with an uxorious air.
"Yes," Mary said, but there was no enthusiasm in her tone.The husband went on speaking with no apparent heed of his wife'sindifference.
"You pack up what things you need, girlie," he directed. "Just afew--because they sell clothes in Paris. And they are some class,believe me! And meantime, I'll run down to Dad's office, and havehim back here in half an hour. You will be all ready, won'tyou?"Mary answered quickly, with a little catching of her breath, butstill coldly."Yes, yes, I'll be ready. Go and bring your father.""You bet I will," Dick cried heartily. He would have taken herin his arms again, but she evaded the caress. "What's thematter?" he demanded, plainly at a loss to understand thisrepulse.