Mademoiselle Lucie, the French lady detective


previous item | next item

Citation
Mademoiselle Lucie, the French lady detective

Material Information

Title:
Mademoiselle Lucie, the French lady detective
Series Title:
Old Sleuth library
Creator:
Old Sleuth
Place of Publication:
New York, New York
Publisher:
George Munro's Sons
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
32 p. ; 32 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels ( lcsh )
Detective and mystery stories ( lcsh )
Bankers -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Gambling -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
Resource Identifier:
031789629 ( ALEPH )
847856684 ( OCLC )
O13-00016 ( USFLDC DOI )
o13.16 ( USFLDC Handle )

Postcard Information

Format:
serial

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text

PAGE 1

I No. 99. BY "OLD SLEUTH. A SEilIES OF 'l'HE THIULLING DE'l'E C 'l'IVE STO I UES EVER PUBLISHED j SINCLE l f NUMBER. f GEOHGE MUNHO'S SONS PlJBL l SllEUS, Nos 17 to 27 V.&.Nn1twA.TK1t STmcrr. Nsw YonE.. j PRICE l 1 5 CENTS, f Vol.V . Copy right, 1904. by Geo r ge ---------------j. Mademoiselle Lucie, HE FRENCH LA DY DETECTIVE...:BY "OLD SLEUTH." I i t .r .I NEW YO R K: GEORGE MUNRO S SONS, PUBLISHERS, 17 To 27 VANDEWATER STREET. /

PAGE 2

GEORGE MUNRO'S SO'.N'S' ... Old. Sleuth EED"O"'CED TO ES CENTS :::E:ACE: .A Series of the Most Thrilling Detective Stories Ever Published! The books in THE OLD SLEUTH LIBRARY contain twice as much reading matter as any other five-cent Library. b 1'0, PRICE. NO. PRIC11C, 1 Old Sleuth, the DeteotlYe......... .. ........ .... 5c 35 Old Puritan. the Old-Time Yankee Detective.... 5c 2 The King ot the Detectives...................... :;c 36 Manfred' s Quest; or, The Mystery or a Trunk. 5c 3 Old Sleuth's Triumph ......... ................ 5c 37 Tom Thumb: or, The Wonderful Boy Detective. 5c 4 Under a Million Disguises,.................... .. 5c 38 Old Ironsides Abroad....... . ............. . ... 5c Ii Nil!'ht Scenes lo New York ...................... 5c 39 Little Black 'fom; or, The Adventures of a Mis 6 Old Electricity, the Lightning Detective........ 5c chieYous Darky.... . . ... .. .. . . . . .. .. 5c 7 The Shadow Detective .......................... 5c 40 Old Ironsides Among the Cowboys .............. 5c 8 RedLlght Will, the River Detectivl! ............ 5c 41 mack Tom in Search of a Father; or, the Further 9 Iron Burgess. the Government Detective........ 5c Adventures of a Mischievous Darky... ...... 5c JO The Brigands ot New York ... .................. 5c 42 Bonanza Bardie; or, the Treasure ot the Rockies. 5c 11 Tracked by a Ventriloquist..... ............... 5c 43 Old Trantorm, the Secret Special Detective..... 5c 12 The Twin Shadowers............................. 5c 44 '!'he Kinp: or the Shadowers .... ,.. .. .. .. .. .. .. 5c 13 The French Detective............ ................ 5c 45 Gasparoni. the Italian Detective; or, Hideand-NO. PR! 67 Ebeon the Detective ............................ .. 68 Old Ironsides at His Best ....................... 69 Archie the Wonder ........................... .. 70 The Red Detective ............................. 71 Ranleagh, the Lightning Irish Detective ........ 72 Stealthy Brock, the Detootivll .................. .. 73 Phenomenal Joe .................. ............ .. 74 Lord Harry .............. ..................... .. 75 The Silent Terror ..................... . ........ 76 Long Shadow, the Detective .................. .. 77 '!'he Veiled B.auty ............................. 78 Old Sleuth iu Philadelphia ..................... .. 79 Gypy Frank, The Long-Trail Detective ........ 14 Biiiy Wayne. the St. Louis Detective........... 5c Seek in New York ............................ 5c 00 'fhe Giant Detective' s Last" Shadow" ......... 15 The New York Detective...... ................. lie 46 Old Sleuth' Luck .............................. 5c 81 Billy Mischief; or, Always on Deck ............. 5c 82 Variety Jack ....... ..... ....................... 16 O'Neil McDarraj!'h, the Detective..... .. ... .. .. 5c 47 The Irish Detective ............................. .. 17 Old Sleuth In Harness Again .................... 5c 48 Down in a Coal Mine ........................... .. 5c Sa Dasha way Tom, the All-Round Detective ....... 18 'l'he Lady ... .. . 5c 49 Faithful Mike, the Irish Hero .......... ......... 5c 'l4 Mephisto; or, The Razzle-Dazzle Detective ... .. 19 The Yankee Detective ........................... 5c 50 SilverTom_the Detective; or, Link by Link .... .. 5c 85 Detective Jack, the Wizard.......... ......... 20 The Fastest Boy in New York .................. 5c 51 The Duke ot New York ......................... 21 Black Raven, the Georgia Detective............ 5c / 52 Jack Gameway; or, A Western Boy In New York. 5c 86 Young Tbrashall; or. Waxey, the Phenomenal 187 tii"i; K:;,iciierbocke; :0;; 22 Nigbt-hawk, the Mounted Detective............ 5c 1i3 All Round New York ...... .... ................. 23 The Gypsy Detective.... .. .. .... .. .. .......... 5c 54 Old Ironsides in New York ..................... 5c tective ....................................... 24 The Mysteries and Miseries of New York .. ... 5c 55 Jack Rippie and His Talking Dog ............ 25 Old Terrible.................. .................... 5c 56 Billy Joyce, the Government Detective ....... 26 'l'he Smugglers ot New York Bay............ .. 5c 1;7 Badger and His Shadow ....................... .. 5c 88 Old Baldy, the Weird Detective ............... 5c 89 Sleuth, the King of all DetectiTes ........ 5c 90 Louis Ford; or, The Great Myst<>ry Solved ..... 27 the Magic Trick Detective............ 5c 58 Darral tbe Detective ............................ .. 28 Mura, the Western Lady Detective.............. 5c 59 Old Sleuth, Badger & Co ........................ 5c 91 Young Velvet, the Magic Disguise Detective .. 5c 92 Phil Tremaine's Greatest Detective Feat ........ 29 Mone. Armand: or, The French Detective In 60 Old Phenomenal ...... ......................... 5c 93 Daring 'l'om Cary ............................... New York... .. .. .. .. ... .. .. .. .. .. .......... 5c 61 A Golden Curse ................................ 5c 94 The American Monte-Cristo .................... .. SO I.ady Kate, the Dashing Female Detective -.. 5c 62 '!'he Mysterious Murder ....... 5c 95 On Their Track ................................. 31 Hamnd the Detective.. .......................... 5c 63 Monte-Cristo Ben ................................ 5c 96 The Omnipresent Avenger ..................... 32 The Giant Detective in France .................. 5c 64 The Bowery Detective ........................ .. 5c 97 Tragedy and Strategy.... . . .. . .. . .. ...... 33 The American Detective In Russia ... ..... .... 5c 65 The Boy Detective......... ................. .. 114 The Dutch Detective.... ...... .................. 5c 6li Detective Thrash, the Man-Trapper .......... 5c 98 A Threefold Mystery .......................... .. 5c 99 Mademoiselle Lucie ............................ ; The foregoing works are for sale by all newsdealers at 5 cents each, or will be sent to any address, postage paid, on receipt o -cents per copy, or five for 25 cents, by the publishers. Address GEORGE MUNRO'S SONS, Munro's Publisbing House, P. 0. Box 1781. THE BOOK OF ETIOUETTE. With Handaome Lithographed Cover. PRICE 10 CENTS. This book Is a guide to l!'OOd manners and the ways of fashionable society, a complete hand-book of behav ior: containinl!' all the polite observances ormodern life; the etiquette of engagements anct marriages; the manners and training ot children; the arts of conversation ancl polite letterwritinl!'; invitations to dinners, evening patties and entertainments of all descriptions; table manners, etiquette of visits and public places; how to serve breakfasts, luncbeons, dinners, and teas; how to dress, travel. shop, anrl behave at hote ls an
PAGE 3

No. 99. t .. : BY "OLD SLEUTH." A SERIES OF THE MOST THRILLING DETECTIVE STORIES EVER PUBLISHED. j SINCLE l l NUMBER. f GEORGE MUNRO'S SONS, PUBLISHERS, Nos. 17 to Z7 VANDEWATER STREET, NEW Yom;;. Cop y right 1904, by G eorge Munro's Sons. Mademoiselle j PRICE l l G CENTS, f Lucie, FRENCH LADY . BY "OLD SLEUTH." CHAPTER I "TAKE that, and that!" The words came from beneath a veil. A. seemingly delicate arm w as twice raised alof t and as quickly descended, and two men fell to the ground. Severa l t r agic and startling incidents Jed up to the scene with w h ich we open our narrative, and these will be unfolded as the story proceeds, while the immediate series of incidents which termi nated as described were as follows: A veiled l ady came forth from a fiat ho use located in the upper p a r t of New York City. Upon gaining the street, she looked around f urtivel y for a moment, and then started off at a rapid pace. The veiled woman had seen no one, and ye t two men were laying l ow, and saw her i ssue from the house. A s she started off up the street, one of the men sa i d to the other : T here she goes! And it's pennies to dollars she has the docum ent on her person. Now is our time!" The men s e parated, but both started to follow the veiled woman. It was early in tlie evening of a clear, cold night. The woman, 11s intimated, had not seen the two men when she first s t arted from the house; but she had not traveled far ere an ex cl amation betrayed the fact that she had speedily become aware of t he iact that she was being followed. S h e was a plucky and nervy woman, as will be recognized when ou r readers learn more of her qualities I t's strange," she muttered, "how those men got on my tmck, a nd it i s very unfortunate. But let them have a care! I am but a w oman, but i t may go hard with tI,iem if they seek to molest me. T he lady made several turns and changes i n her course, but real i zed that the men were still fo ll owing her, and finally she muttered : I t will not do ; I must return to my r ooms. I will surely be saf e there, and I will try again some other time One thin9 is cer ta in: I know what they are after. They shall not succeed She d id start to return to her apartment, and bad proceeded but a few steps when the two men suddenly joined forces and approach ed h e r "Good-evening, miss," said one of them, as he drew close to her and pro j ected his ugly face close to her face. How dare yon speak to me?" We've a little b usiness with you." "It's false. You two men are ruffians You have been follow in g me. I will summon assistance and have you both arrested." The men l aughed, and one of them said: Do you hear what she says, Curley? She is going to summon assista nce and have us arrested." "Do you want an officer, miss?" demanded the fellow who had been a d dressed as Curley. "I w ill summon an officer," said the woman. "You can do so, miss, and you needn't holler very loud; an of ficer i s at hand." A.s th e m an spo k e, he threw back the lapel of h i s coat and displayed a ba d ge. "Oh, th a t is y our game!" said the woman in a determined tone. "l ha v e an ord e r to arrest you, miss The two men stepped close to the veiled w oman. She carried in lier hand a small net-work ret i c u le, and one of the men made a dash to seize it; and it was then the woman dea l t tlie b l ows descri b ed in the opening paragraph of ou r narrative. As the two men fell to the ground she moved rapidly away, and a short time later reentered the tlat house from which she had issued w h en the two men started upon her trail. Upon enter i ng the ho use s h e ascended the stairs to a suite of rooi;is on the top entered the front apartment, and was met by a fair-faced, beautifu l young l ady about twenty yea r s of age ''Well, I am back my exc)aimed the veiled lady. As she spoke she cast aside her ve il. The face was not striki n gly handsome, but it was a remarkab l e one in some respects and the eyes were trul y beautiful. But the general contour of the' face was plain, save in its marvelous express i on of w ill and intelligence. Did you succeed?" asked the younge r woman anxiously. "No; I was fo ll owed by two me n They made an attemp t to ro b me of my reticule, and I was compelled to knock them both down." The younger woman started back in surprise and excla i med: You knocked them down?" "Yes, I did, and I'll do it over again; a n d, i f need be, I'll shoot them down. They shall learn, Agnes, that, although a w o man I have the will and determ i nation of a man." "Oh, what shall we do, Lucie?" moaned the fair Agnes. "What sha ll we do? We will solve this myste r y We will de f y and eventually overmatch those schemers. For, my dear child, I believe more firmly than ever that there is a deeper mystery and greater villainy in all this affa i r than you dare suspect. I will say nothing further now; but I will prove my words." "But you will be arrested, and theawhat w ill I do?" "No; you need not fear. They will not dare to have me arrest ed They hope to get that paper, but they never will." A moment Agnes remained silent and then she said: "I will return to my country home; I will not permit you to en counter these perils in my, behalf." "Listen to me, Agnes. Nothing :vould be gained by your retir rng from the fie ld. Those people will pursue you. Thelr schemes are so l ong as you live. You can not escape from them. They will follow you wherever yon go. As long as you live the y can never g e t legal possession of that estate. They must either prove you a ".ile woman-an outcast-o; kill you They are pre pared to. do either, but they shall do neither. I am but a woma n but I will. a match for them. I a certain suspicion. That susp1c1on, if proven to be a truth, promises not only their de feat, but. and happiness We will stay right here and fight this thrng out, and I will wrn yes my dear I will win There i s a life besides your own at stake. But hark 1tbere is one ascending the stairs! You h i de. Let me face the rascals; I d o not fear them." CHAPTER II. MADEMOISELLE LUCIE was known to a few people as a l a d y art i st, and she was known as Mademoiselle L u cie only. It was kno w n

PAGE 4

that she came from Paris. She said very little about herself, even to the few whom she knew as passing friends. No one knew her real name. She merely passed M Mademoiselle Lucie. '!'here was a mystery about her. She was about twenty-five years of age. and a very accomplished woman. She was a linguist, and appeared to have enjoyed a great experience as a traveler. She had suddenly appeared in New York, bad secured rooms iu nn npartment house, which she furnished very comfortably, and devoted her time to paiuting, and her rooms were aUorued with many very beautiful speci1nens of her handiwork. She had been known to sell a few paintings, nod it was through these transactions that she made the .acquaintance of the few people who knew her. As a rule she kept very much to herself, ant! Appeared to be very independent and selfreliant. She rurely had any company, and the few who occasionally called upon her were latly patrons wi10 pur chased her paintings. She dressed plainly, but tastefully and neat ly. She weut out at all bours, frequently visiting the opera 1u1d theater, and always alone. $he was a very charming and fascina ting woman, one of the few who, lacki.ng special featured beauty, possess illuminated which l>y their expressions are so captivating. In the street, as a rule, she went veiled; ut 'ivhen occasion de manded it, moved about with her striking face revealed, proving that she was not seeking concealment by veiling herself. One night she was returning from the opern afoot, and when pass ing through u great thoroughfare she came upon a girlish figure against the rail of an elegant mansion. There were two lights m front of the house, and under their glare mademoiselle hud a passinS" glimpse of the girl's face. She saw written upon it a look of despmr and anguish and exhaustion. She passed on, but after having gone a few steps she halted. That fair face haunted her; its look of sorrow and distress ar "uset.l all her sympathies. She determined to turn back and speak to the poor creature. As Mademoiselle Lucie turned the girl had started to move away, nnd the Frt;nch woman hastened toward her, aud overtaking her, laid her hand lightly on the stranger's arm and said, in a voice rich in sympathy: "You arc in trouble. Can I be of any service to you?" :Mademoiselle Lucic upon coming closer was enabled to discern that the face of the sufiering e:irl was not only delicate, pure, and refined, but wondrously heautlful. "Thank you, no," came the answer to mademoiselle's question. 'But you appear to l>e in distress. I may be nble to help you." ''Kn tlwnk you," again came the answer; but tears followed the wort!s. Come, t ell me your trouble. Take my arm and wa)k along 'dth me. I will accompany you to your home. You seem to be very weak." 'With a look of terror upon her beautiful face the distressed mnid eu exclaimed: "I ham no home. I am penniless and homeless. Oh, I wish I were dead!" Penniless and homeless! A fearful admission to come from a well dressed, beautiful girl at the midnight hour in a great city. "Excu&e me; but it seems very strauge that you should have no home." '!'is true; but please go away and leave me to my sorrow." "But what will you do ? There came a frightened look to the beautiful face and iu a plead ing tone its owner answered: "Please leave me and go your way." "Very well; I am sorry you will not trust me Good-night." I thank you for your expressions of sympathy but you can not aid me; no one can aid me; L>ut it will be all soon-yes, I will soon have a home where I will no more be turned adrift." It was evident to :Mademois e lle Lucie that the fair girl was speak iug half uucousciousl)', and she said: "I nm sorry for you. I hope all will come right. Good-night." llfademoisclle Lucie turnetl away, and the poor, distressed girl marched on with weary steps. A weird suspicion crossed the French woman s mind. Those words, "I will soon have a home," struck upon her with ominous significance. 8he turned and walked away, as stated; but now she determined to follow and watch the movements of the beautiful and distressed stranger, and after following her a block or two her sus picious were coufirmod. She saw that the poor girl was 1nakiug directly toward the river. It seemed a singular and remarkable thing that one so beautiful 1lnd so helpless shoult.l have pa s sed along at such au hour without encounterin)! molestation; but so it happened Not even a police man was met as the girl staggered wearily onward toward the river. "I do not know," l\ladcmoi s elle Lucie muttered. "It may IJc as well to let her carry out her design. It will soon be over, and she may not be saved to a life of misery and sin. It may ue well. But no; if I permit her to carry out her design I will be a murderess morally. I pity her. Possibly, under the same circumstances, I would out to plunge into the dark waters. certainly possessed wonderful strength for a woman, for she dragged the frantic girl back with ease, and then exclaimed: "No, no; you shall not seek a home in the river!" The rescued girl, once dragged back from the string-piece to the pier, said, in a low tone: "Why do you interfere with me?" "My poor girl, what would you do?" "Seek rest-rest!'" "Answer me one question: Are you a guilty woman?" "A guilty woman t' repeated the rescued girl in a firm voice; and then she supplemented it by asking: "Arc you?" "No, no, my dear child!"' "Then I am not; I nm as guiltless as yourself; but I nm unfortu nate Oh, please let me gol In a moment it would have been all over, and I should have been at rest." "You arc young and beautiful: why should you die?" "I am unfortunate." "Live and repent; it is never too late." There came a startled look in the eyes of the would-be self-murderess; her beautiful orl>s opened wide, and she said, in a low tone: You misunderstand me." "You said you were unfortunate." "I am; but not as you think. \\'ill you go with me to my home?" asked l\Iademo iselle Lucie. "Why should I go? No, no! Please leave me." "If I were to leave you I would be even more guilty than your self. You must go with me." "l can not go with you." "You must go with me, or I shall be compelled to hand you over to the police. It is my duty to do so." There came a look of terror to the face of the poor girl, and she murmured: "No, no; do not do that! You arc a woman. You will not be so cruel as to hand me over to the police." Entered according to Act or Congres, in the year 1899, by Gxonox ?ilusno's Sosa, in the ofllce or tile Librarian or Congress, Washington, D. 0.

PAGE 5

"I must do my duty'. You must go with me, or I will be com pelled to do as I threaten." "Will you not pity me?" asked the girl, in tones of anguish. "I do pity you, my poor child; and is because I pity you that I insist upon your accompanying me to my home." "Oh, what shall I do?1 exclaimed the mad girl. "You are unable to take care of yourself at present," said made moiselle, persuadingly. "I live alone, and would be glad to l1ave you spend a few days with me ; and in the meantime you can decide upon your futu.re course. At any rate, if you refuse to go with me I shall summon an officer and place you in his charge. It is my duty to do so." "No, no; rather than thllt, I will go with you," said the girl. "Take my arm. You are weak and need support." The poor girl appeared to have lost all will-power, and she meek-ly obeyed As mademoiselle started with her she said: "You need not fear. I live alone, as I told you. No one will meet you, and you shall tell me your story. I can give you a home until somet}ling shall be decided upon." "I can do nothing I am helpless. I pursueartment, and said: "Thank Heaven we are safe at last!" The speaker, while making the remark above quoted. had her eyes fixed upon her companion, and she had made a discovery; but she said nothing, only deciding upon a ce1: tain course of action in her own mind. "Now take a scat and make yourself at home," said the made moiselle, "while I prepare a cup of tea. I know you are exhausted and need some refreshment." Oh, no, I do not need any refreshment; and if I did, it would be ridiculous to attempt to prepare it at this hour!" "I always take a cu p of warm tea before retiring. I should pre pare it for mys elf, if not for xirn; so sit down and mnke yourself at home a nd I will soon h ave it ready. Let me tell you that you are perfectly welcome here ; in fact, our m eet ing is providential, and you will find it so before long; so be at home." The guest sat down and was interestedly looking around while her strange friend set about preparing the tea. It was soon ready on the table, with a few dainty-looking crackers, and the guest did not r rquire much urging to sit down and partake. "I will tell you about myself," sai one so sympathetic as her new found friend, and she said: "Do not press me to tell my story." "Please do; I have told you mine. I nm satisfied all you need is the friend I can prove myself to he This is to be your home. I have saved your life, even against yourself Having saved your life, I have a claim upon you. Come; tell me your story." -----

PAGE 6

Then: was a moment's silence, during which Agne.; seemed to be the question with herself. At length she said: "I will tell you my strange history." CHAPTER IV. MADEMOISELLE LUCIE smiled when Agnes declared that she would tell her story. She recognized how skillfully she had man aged to draw the narrative out, and although it was well on toward daylight, she was prepared to listen. "There is a strange similarity between your experleuces and mine," Agnes began. "My father was a farmer; my mother was the daughter of a clergymnn, and a well-educated woman, and they were devotedly attached to each other. I was an only child. My mother died when I was in my fourteenth year She had devoted a great deal of time to my instruction, and I was educated far in ad vance of my years. When my mother died my father became hope less and took little interest in tile farm. He never had been very suc cessful, and it required hard work and the c losest attention to de tails to make a living out of the farm. After my mother 's death things went to bad, arnl the mortag e whi c h had always sto?d against e farm was foreclosed, and papa and I were adnft penuile We came to New York, and I secured a pos1t1on as a teacher through the influenc e of a c lergyman who had known and loved my grandfather, and all looked well for us, when one day my father was run over l.Jy a street car and killed and I was left alone in the world." How unfortunate!" interrupted Mademoiselle Lucie. "Yes; it seems as thou g h my life were 10 be crowned with mis fortune. Then came the semi-anuual examinations in our school, in which I took part. A lady who was preseut snw me and ap pear e d to take n fancy to me. She was a wealthy lady and s he in vited me to visit her at h e r h o me and one eveuiug she asked me to be present at a dance and r ecepl ion This was more th an a year after mv father's denth, and when I was j1L5t uineteen. At this r e ception'! met a hRndsome young man, and-'-" Here Agnes broke down and commenced to weep. M ade mois e lle waited for her to conquer her agitation, and a t length the story was resumed . "This young man asked me to dance with him I declined He persisted, and at length I yield ed After the dance we promenad ed The young mau appeared to be very much taken with me. He was courteous and kind, and I suspected that he imagil1ed I was some great lady. I really wished that I was a great lady, for I was charmed with the young man ; but I knew that sooner or later he would learn that I was a poor farmer's daughter and a school teacher, and I determined to tell the true facts at once. This is the first graud reception I ever attended,' I said. "Indeed!' he responded. "Yes,' I said I am a school-teacher. 111rs. H--appears to have taken a kiudly interest in me and invited me here to-night. I am glad that I came, but I do not think I shall ever accept another invitation, and it is not likely I shall ever receive one.' "The young man changed the subject RS quickly as politeness permitted, and we chatted on about other subjects. Having made a clean breast of it, as the saying is, I abandoned myself to the en joyments of the hour_ We danced together several times during the evening, and at the conclusion of the reception the young man re quested permission to accompany me to my home. I at first pro tested; but he persisted, and I finally yielded. He accompanied me to my home, which was a large boardrng-house. On the followiug day he met me as I came fort11 from school. He pretended that the meeting was accidental; but I knew better. Of course, I was flat tered and pleased; but after leaving him I began to consider the of further acquaiutance, and I determined not to permit him to visit me again or act as my escort. It is easy to resolve, but it is sometimes difficult to carry out your resolution." "Yes," Interrupted the mademoiselle; "when the resolution is on the part of a young and innocent girl concerning a young and handsome man." "A few days passed," resumed Agnes, "and he met me again. I then protested against his accompanying me ; I.mt he persisted, and I yielded, declaring that it must be for the last time. He disre garded my commands, aud a few days later met me aga in. I was resolved to be firm, and turned away from him. He followed me, and pleaded to be allowed to walk with me 'just this once,' as he put it; and again I yielded." "Fatal step!" exclaimed the mademoiselle, involuntarily. "''Par don me; proceed with you story." l think you misapprehend," continued Agnes a lovely smile suffu s ing her beautiful face. "Wait until my narrative is con cluded." The smile of Agnes was met by one on the face of the mademoi selle, and she said: "I hope I do misapprehend. Proceed." "I was compelled to permit him to accompany me, he pleaded so hard; and then he told me his story. He said that he was an or phan, and that he was rich; that the only r e lative he had in the world was a step-sister. He said that she was a worldly wom an, -devoted to fashion, He said that she was married to a man whom she worshiped-a man who was everything u11worthy-a spendthrift and a gambler. He said he lived with his sister, and that his home was not pleasant, and he added: I desire to establish a home of my own. There is no reason why I should not do so. I am twenty-eight years old-getting to be a bachelor. I hate society life and society women. I have been looking for a sincere, refined, sensible, companionable young lady. I have met you, and I desire you to become my wife .'" "And was he sincere?" asked Mademoiselle Lucie, in an eager tone. "Let me proceed," said Agnes. "I protested; but he told me he had made inquiries about me and knew my whole history, and that he would consider himself the happiest man on earth if he could win me for his bride." "And what did you say?" broke forth the mademoiselle, as if un-able to restrain her interest in Agnes's romantic narrative. "I told him he must uever speak to me again." "'And why?' he demanded. 'I can never become your wife,' 'I answered. "we had Ileen walking toward my home, and he said: "Will you walk with me in the park?' "'No,' I replied; I must go home.' There came a sad look to his face. As I told you, he was a very handsome man, and he had a refined and delicate face, and an expression of truth and sincerity. I was touched, and I added: 'It is not well that we should spend any more time together.' 'Listen to me,' he pleaded: 'I have made you the most compli mentary offer a man can make to a woman. You can refuse my offer; but you at least owe me a little con s ideration. I am deeply di s appointed; iudeed I shall never recover from my disappoint ment. I shall go away. It will be many years before I return again to New York. We may never meet again. I have done my self no di sc redit in asking you to IJecome my wife. There is no reason why I should not have d o ne so. I have told you that I am rich. Illy age warrants me iu seeking a wife. You are the lady of my choice. Having l ea rned during our short acquaintance to love you, I shall never love another. "You n ee d not fear that I will ever annoy you: you need not fear th at I will follow you up and pre ss my suit. No; I have mis l e d myself. I thought my ofier would give you pleasure. I see it gives you pain. You do not fully und e rstand me or my position. But do come aud wnlk with m e a little way.'" "How skillfully he pleaded!" exclaime<;l the mademoiselle. H e was sincere," d ec lared Agne s in firm tones "and meant every word he sa id I was pleased with him ; but I did not discover how d ee p an impression he had made upon my heart until he spoke of going away and never seeing me more. I could not restrain my self; I could not part with him thus, and I consented to walk with him and later on I said: "Do not go away yet.' Ca n you give me hope?' he demar!P.ed, eagerly. "Give me time to think,' I said. f had just spoken-we were crossing the main driveway of the park-wheu a carriage whirled by us. I saw a Vloman leaning forward aud at me and my companiou. He did not see the woman H&was mtently listening to me. We then proceeded to my home, where we parted, with a promise on my art to meet him again." "Ahl" sighe the mademoiselle; "there is where you laid the foundation of your troubles.'' "Alas, that i s so, mademoiselle! That night a lady called to see me at my boarding-house. I had never seen her before. She was deeply agitated, and she made a most startling statement. She said: A young man named Raymond Tift is paying you attentions. I bid you beware of him; never see him again. I can not explain, but you are in great peril. He is a wicked man, and means you harm. No matter how sincerely he may seem to talk, I bid you be ware! His victims can be counted by the dozen.' "The woman, who sat closely veiled during the interview, did not permit me to make any reply, but arose and left me with her wild word\; of warning riuging in my ears. A.las, I was very un happy! I had feared and dreaded just the revelation that had come to me so quickly. On the day following I met Raymond Tift, and I was co ld and bitter t.oward him, and I said to him: I have reached a decision. You must never speak to me again, not even as an acquaintance. I am a poor girl; all that I have ls my character ; if I have not lost it already I am thankful.' "In my feeling of disappointment and indignation I went beyond myself in the plamness of my speech. He was greatly surprised at my demeauor toward him, and he exclaimed: Merciful Heaven, can it be possible? Agnes, you may dismiss me if you please, but you must hear me, and you must answer one question truthfully. I see it all. Some one has visited you and has traduced me.' "His readiness in discerning what had occurred appeared to me to confirm the warning of the veiled woman, and I said: "Then you expected some one to visit me?' '"No,' he replied; 'I did not expect any one would visit you; but it is evident that some one has done so.' "Yes, some one has visited me,' I said. "'And what was cha r ged against me?' he asked. I will not repeat it,' I answered. "IYou were evidently left with the impression that I am a bad man. Is it not so?' "'Yes.' 'Would you know the party who visited you were you to see her again?' l would not; she was veiled.' "'Would you r ecog uize her voice?' "Yes, I think I would.' I wish you had seen her face,' he said. 'It would have made my chance of vindication much easier. But, mark me, Agnes; I am entitled to a vindication. Whatever may have been said against me is a series of falsehoods. You are too just to allow me to rest under false charges. Say you will permit me to prove that I have been maligued?' W c had better let the matter drop right here,' I replied. 'I will not permit the matter to drop here. Had you dismissed me of your own volition I would have snid "Yea." But when my character has been assailed, I say" Nay." It is my duty to prove to you that I am an honorable man; and I will do it in the most positive manner ; and you shall, you must, permit me to do so.' -

PAGE 7

"I was bewildered; I did not know what to say or do. There was a period of painful silence. Suddenly he said: "'Agnes, I know who your visitor was. It was my sister; and were her statements true, she would be the last one to declare the facts.'" CHAPTER V. "THERE was deep significance in that suggestion," remarked :Mademoiselle Lucie. "Yes; I saw the force of his declaration," assented Agnes. "If it was his sister who visited you and maligned him, a motive could be established at once.'' "Yes; he urged upon me the fact that when he proved my visitor was his sister, her statements would stand as very doubtful. He wanted me to employ a friend to investigate his character 'I belong to an old family,' he said. 'I hll.ve lived in New York all my life, save when abroad at college. It can easily be proven whether or not those charges are true.' 'Does your sister know of your acquaintance with me?' I asked. 'I did not know that she did; but it would appear now that she does. Remember she is only my step-sister, otherwise I would not make the statement I propose to make to you. My sister's husband has squandered nearly all her estate, ancl she is largely indebted to me. l hold a mortgage on all her possessions. I would not have taken the lien were it not for the spendthrift character of her lms band; but there is another motive for her not wishing me to get married. She is the residuary leon us, and I wished to talk with you :alone. Your husband has asked me to sign certain papers, Jane, releasing certain properties. I th<;mght I would talk the matter over -with yon before l refused to grant his request. You will not refuse, Raymond?' she cried. "'Yes, I shall refuse, nnd I will give you my reasons. "He did give her his reasons, which I will not repeat. She urged :and protested, but he was and finally he said: "'Jane, yon are my bitter enemy.' 'Why, what do you mean, Raymond?' ""'Just what I say.' 'My dear brother, you are mad, or else some one has been ma. 1igning me!' she exclaimed. "'No; it is the other way about; you hq,ve been maligning me.' What in the world do you mean, Raymond?' "'Just what I say. And now tell me: how did you discover that -:I acquainted with a young lady named Agnes Pratt?' "The woman was greatly agitated. I was in a position where I <:ould not only hear but see, and I saw the expression of blank amazement that overspread her face. She was a pretty woman, but .she had cold, st.eely eyes, and a wicked look. A moment she was _greatly disconcerted, but quickly recovering herself, she said: 'Ah, I see now! Raymond, I love you as devotedly as though :you were my own brother instead of my step-brother, and I am anx -ious to see you happily married. The strnnge provisions of your father's will does not influence me; but I do not wish to see )'Oll .made the victim of a designing woman.' "'You are very kind; but you have not answered my question.' I will answer it. I accidentally learned that you were paying :attentions to a vile creature.' ''My blood boiled when I heard the woman speak in this manner," ;aaid Agnes, almost overcome with emotion, "and I felt like rushing _into the room and c
PAGE 8

8 MADEMOISELLE LUCIE. "What a dramatic seene it must have been!" said Mademoiselle Lucie. "Yes, it was a dramatic scene, and would to mercy it had ended there! But no; the dark est chapters of my experience were yet to come. The woman swept from the room, and after she had gone Raymond turned to me und asked: "'.Agnes, are you convinced now that I am an honorable man?' "I wns; and I could not do aught else than answer 'I am.' .And now that you r ecogn iz e that wom an's motive you can no longer doubt my love and the purity of my affection.' 'I do not,' I said. "Then why should I go away? I love you, Agnes,' he said. "The sincerity of his declaration was not to be doubted, and I could not refrain from answering: And I love you, Raymond.' "1Ie clasped me in his arms and kissed me; then he said: "'Agnes, my darling, I mus t speak plainly now You heard the last words that woman spoke I did not fully realize the compro mising position I was placing you in when I brought you here; but ; I reali1.e it now. You must become my wife at once, Agnes, and we will silence her slanderous tongue.' 'No, no!' I cried. 'We can not marry yet.' ,;: "'We will, this very day, this very hour, if possible.' 1 'Raymond, you are mad.' 'No, I am not mad. 8omething has occurred which I did not foresee. It is necessary for your honor and mine that we be mar ried at once-l>efore we lenvc this house. You have no friends to consult; neith e r have I. We are to marr,v some day; why not marry at once? Indeed we must. We will, Jn open day, right here be fore witnesses, and before the whole world I will declare you my wife.' "I did not know what to say or do. I was excited and unable to argue with Raymond. He rang the bell and summoned the clerk of the h otel, and said to him: 'Bring a cl e rgyman h ere at once.' "The clerk went away and r el.urned a short time l ate r with a dig nified looking gent l e man who announced himself as a clergyman. Raymond t o ld him we were to be married. The clergyman asked a few questions. Raymond made rapid explanations in a low tone, and the man agreed to perform the ceremony. I did not seem to have the power to make any resistance whatever to thefie proceed"\'le t ook our place before the clergyman, and I became the wife of Raymond Tift. "The clerg_vman h ad a blank certificate. Raymond in s i sted that it should be filled out and given to me. The c l ergy man did as com manded. The clerk of the liptel s i gned iL as a witness. A carriage was called and we drove strrught to a l awyer's office, where my hus band made a will. The document was properly witnessed. I was mad e the heir to all his property." "Did he show the marriage certificate when he signed the will?'' asked the m ademoiselle. "No; it was in my possession; nothing was said about showing H. After the signing of the will, Raymond drove me to my board ing-l1ouse. He hid rnc gather together a ll rny possessions, saying that in an l1our he would call for me. He went away after kissing me, and I have nev e r seen him in life from that hour to this.'' Th. ere followed a silence, by Mademoiselle Lucie, who said: "I sec you think he is dead." "Yes, be is dead,' said Agnes. "And I think I remember the circumstances. His body was found floating in the river?" "Yes." "Did you proclaim yourself his wife?" "I did; and was refused admission to bis house.'' "Did you ever see his de a d body? "Yes; at the grave. I went there disguised. I watched my op portunity, and when the coffin was opened I stole forward and glanced at his dead face. I am sorry now that I ever did, for it was not recognizable." Mademoiselle Lucie smiled in a peculiar manner and asked: "Are you sure it was bis face?" A bewildered look overspread Agnes's face: but at length the full force of the mademoiselle's suggestion seemed to strike her, and in deeply agitated tones she said: What do you mean?" "I believe it wa. s not liis face !" exclaimed th e mademoiselle. After the startling declaration of the mademoiselle there followed a long interval of silence. The beautiful Agnes was speechless through h e r extreme agitation. 8he finally regained control of her self, and, in a husky voice, inquired: "Did you know my husband 1" I never eaw him.'' "What reason have you for saying that it was not bis face?" "You will rem e mber I told you I was a sort of female detective. For eight years I have studied along these Jines a great de al, and I have become an expert in the study of incidents. I can group con trasting incidents and reason out the bearing of one upon the other. I reach conclu s ions through lo g ical deductions. Whil e listening to your narrative I have been weighing the facts comparing the inci dents, and I have reached a conclusion; and my conclusion is that your husband still lives, and that he is either a victim of murder, or a villain, or-" Mademoiselle Lucie stopped, as though it would not be best to express all the suspicions she had deduced from Agnes's narrative. "Or what?" asked .A.gn!B. I will not say now; but I am satisfied it was not your husband's face you beheld in that coffin.'' "Then you really believe he still lives?" "It is possihle "Then do you think he has deserted me?" j "No, I do not believe he has deserted you. Now, Agnes, I wish to ask you a few questions. Control your agitation, and when yon have answered all my interrogations I may have something very en couraging to say to you. How long was 1t after your marriage that. your husband left you?" "Within four hours, I should sny.'' "And when he left you, what did be say?" He told me to gather my things together, and in an hour he would call for me.'' "You are satisfied he was a perfectly sane man?" "He was one of the most calm and level-headed of men. You can judge by the manner in which he proved his character to me." "Who has possession of the will which your husband had drawn up in your favor after your marriage?" "The lawyer who drew it up.'' Who witnessed the will?" "The lawyer's clerk." ".And your marriage certificate?" "I have that." "After your busbaud's death you claimed to lie his wife?' "Yes." "To whom did you to make the claim?" "I went first to his sister.'' ".And how did she receive you?" "She laughed in my face, and denounced me as a vile Impostor. "Did you tell her you had the marriage certificate?" "I did.'' "Did you show her the certificate?" "No; I was afraid to do so. She was so furious I was afraid she might destroy it "Did s he ask to see it?" Yes; and I was about to sh ow it to her ; but her eagerness so. alarmed me that I told her the certificate was at home Had I not told h er this untruth I believe she would have assaulted me and torn it from me. She also came to my house and demanded to see it; but I told her I had put it in the c ustody of a friend." "You are su re you st ill have it?" "Yes, I am sure." "Did you ever visit the lawyer who drew up the will?" "I did. He l aug h ed at me, and told me the will was worthless_ He said I was not Raymond's wife; th at he had no right to make a.. will; that the property went to tli e r esiduary legatee.'' "Was the will ever presented for probate?" "No; that will was never presented; but I saw hy th e papers that. the original will h ad l1een presented, and under its provisions my husband's sister, J ane F outita in, had entered into possession of the property as residuary l egatee." "Did you ever consult another lawyer?" "No; r did not dare do so.'' "Why not?" "lily life is in danger. I have l>een pursued almost hourly, and I have been threatened with bodily liar m unless 1 give up my mar ria ge cert ificatc." "What propositions have they made you?" Well, not long ago a man called on me and offered m e ten. thousand dollars in cash to surrender the certificate. I refused t<> do so.'' "And since then?" "I h ave managed to elude them But I know they have been searching for me. Yesterday they discovered my whereabouts and I fled. I wand ere d around for hours, then despair seized me and I determined to die. You inter posed. I am glad you did. With your help, I know what to do.'' "What will yon do?" I will r et urn to the town where I was born.'' "You will do no such thing," said Mademoiselle Lucie. "You will make your home with me I will take up your case. I am sati sfied that you arc the victim of a conspiracy. 1 will prove a match. for that woman Jn.ne Fountain. I have had experience. I can con trol influences of which they do not dream. And now, Agnes, I will promise you some very remarkable revelations within the next. ten days.'' CHAPTER VII. IT was well on toward daylight when the mademoiselle persuacied Agnes to retire ; and after bidding her good-night, the French. woman muttered: "I fear her. I will watch awhile.'' Mademoiselle Lucie did watch, and soon had the satisfaction of knowing that her beau.fiful charge was sleeping soundly. It was well int-0 the morning when Agnes awoke. The mademoiselle was at her side, and said, in the most cheery tones: "Good-morning, my dear. H ave you slept well?" "Y cs; I have had the best night's rest I have had in a long I am glad to h ea r thnt," sa id the mademoiselle. "But you. mu st get up now, as I have breakfast almost ready.'' L ate r, when the two ladies were seated at the breakfast the madem o isell e said: "Now, you must remember that I am your friend; and, let me add, without egotism, that you could not have found a better friend: under the circumstances. I make up in cunning wlmt I may lack fn strength. I will pro\'e an overmat c h for these conspirators I have been thinking the matter all over while you slept. I am certain tllat it is all a conspiracy, that you are being robbed; and I have still an other suspicion." "I will not Jet you interest yourself in my affairs," said "You will only draw down upon yourself the wrath of these peo ple. It is useless to attempt to combat their schemea. All I can do is to escape from them." I will interest myself In your affairs whether you permit it or not," said the mademoiselle, her eyes !lashing. "I do not feat those:

PAGE 9

-peopkl. Agnes, I mu;t speak plainly. Your proposed conduct is .cowardly. You are desertiulf your husband." Deserting my husband? ejaculated A7nes, her eyes opening :wide. "I certainlv do not understand you. "Agnes, I believe that your husband lives, and is a victim as well .1.\S yourself." "My husband Jives?" exclrdmed Agnes. "How' do you know?" "I have reached the conclusion through logical analysis. There -Is no doubt in my mind as to thetorrectness of my conclusion." The mndemoisclle proceeded und explained tile reasoning hy which she Jiacl her conclnsion, and Agnes listened with iunrnl amazement. "You shall learn to 11arn confidence in me,'.' said the mademoi selle. "We are two lone women You must decide to remain with me, to follow my 11rlviee, m1d I promi8e 10 restore you to your husband, and in so doing restore you both t-0 freedom aucl the pos session of your fortune. I nm determined, and I know 1 slrnll sue -ccecl. \Viii you promise to trust m.e? "I will." "Remember. JVe shnll meet with difficulties. It will require courage and ml\k all the compliment s You nre n beautiful woman, unu I do not wonder that your husband fell iu love with vou at first sight." "llushl" criecl Agnes. "Now, my clear, you will remnin here. If nny one calls yon can suy that I wlll not tJe home this afternoon: und should one of my Yery inquisitive lady prLtrons call you c-nn tell her you are my pupil. And now, my tlear, a kiss nml for a little while." Mademoiselle Lucie lu1d n well-defined purpose in her mind. She detern1i11ed to commence ut. the \ cry bottom of the mystery and work up in IHr She proceeded direct to the home of Mrs. Jane Fountain. lt proved to be a m:lgnificent and Mademoiselle Lucie walked past I.lie mnnsion revernl times, taking it in lu nll its bcnr ings, and finally she uscended the great stone stoop and rang the bell. A Frencl1m11n opened the door. "Is Mrs. Fountain at home?" ., 1 "She is; but $he Is engaged 11t present. You must call later:'' "I must see her at onee," said the mademoiselle, speaking in French. "Go lcll her a Indy wis.hcs to see her." The man pleused. Uc recognized that the queer-looking Yil! ltor was a fellow co11ntrywoma11, aud he S11id: "I do not tl1ink she will see you, hut I will nsk her" The man opened the door, and was admittl!!i into the reception-room nt. one side of the hall. The man llS{'Cncled the g rnnd staircMe. and thll visitor rnn ncross the bnll to the parlor, and thenC'e to Ille librnry. She found an nl bum, opened it. nncl saw that it cont1Llll(' d what were undoubtedly family pholop:raphs. She rapidly turned the pages, and at lei1gth .came to the iclurc of a handsome young man. She tore the card from the album, put it In her pocket, and hastened back to the reception-room, which she reached just in time; as an Instant later the servant reappeared. 'The madam will not see you this morning." "I am very sorry. When cnn I see her?" "Come tins afternoon, about three o'clock." The mademoiselle was shown from the house I 'reckon that was well done," she muttered to herself after she reached the street, "nnd I believe I have got the right picture. l will play a tric'k now that wlll puzzle them all. Yes, yes, madame, I will come to see you agnin, but not to-day, nor to-morrow; and I will make you quake when I do come." The mademoiselle went directly down town. She proceeded to a. large office building. She studied the directory, and finally mut tered: "Ah, !1erc is my nianr' The mndemoiselle entered the. elevator and was carried to the top floor of the great building. She went along to an office in the rear, on the door of wbich was a sign reading "Conrad Haas, Att.orney and Counselor at Law." She entered the outer office, and seeing ne> one there passed on ton rear roora. where she beheld a shrewdfaced man sitting at a desk. The man was busy, but when his visitor made n slight noise he turned. "Is lri'ls Mr. Conrad Haas?" ''That is mv name." The mnden1oiselle sat clown, threw aside her veil, and fixed her eyes on the lawyer. The latter submitted a moment to the gaze, and then demanded in a sharp tone: "Well, what is your business?" 1 The mademoiselle made no answer, but drew from bor pocket a different pair of glasses, deliberately adjusted them, and agnin fixed her eyes on the lawyer. The latter appeared annoyed, and said in a sharp tone: "Have you business to transact with me?" "Yes, sir." "Please state the nature of your business." "Wnit; I am studying." "What are you studying, pray?" "Your face The lawyer started. "You are a queer lady. Why do you study .. my facer I wish to see if you ltrc honest." The lawyer smiled and said: "I nm sorry that is not pntent nt a glance." "I nm afraid a long study would not lead to that conclusion." 'l'he lawyer again smiled. Ile saw he hnd a queer customer, but was not disposed to be angry. He was amused, and said: I claim to be an honest man, mndnme." "Then why don't you act honestly?" came the pertinent question. CHAPTER VIII. T11E l3wyer WM not disposed to take the snlly in good humor. The woman evideu.tly referrcd"io some past_transaction of his, and be said: "Madame, my time is precious. Wl1y :clo you not nnmc your business, if you have any business with me?'' Do you speak German?" "l do." "You were born Germany?" "l was born in New York. J\Iy parents came here from Ger many. But r can .not see how these facts concern you. Please state your business," said the lawyer, impntiently. "You drew up a will for Rnymond Tift?" The lawyer gave a start and there came over him a complete change in demeanor. His fnee hardened and he beenme stiff and formal. He was settling down to business. 11.nd he answered, slowly: "I drew up a paper for the late Mr. Tift." "The paper was his will?" "Not legally. But, madnme, who are you, and what interest have you: in this affuir?" "We will .come to that later on. You admit drawing up a will'?" "I aumit drawing up what purported to be a will. The young man had no aut.hority to bequeath the property. It did not belong to him. He might as well have bequeathed the moon as to have bequenthecl nny of the property mentioned In the pnper I drew up." "What right had you to rlecide on its J .. galit.y? Why did you not present it for probate nnd let the courts decide u.s lo its legality?" The lnwver winccu. "J do not propose to discuss that matter with you." "You would prefer lo discuss it before the surrogate?" Again the lawyer winced. Will you tell me wll!'ther or not you are a p'{irty at iuterest?" "I am; and you have m11cle yourself liable by the suppression of a lust will and testament, and you know it." The lifwyer turned pnle. "It not n Inst will and testament in the eyes of the law." "'!'hat is your decision; but the surrogate may decide differently. There is ahsolnte proof of the existence of that paper." "I beg your pardon, the paper is not in existence." \Vhere is it?" "It wns destroyed." "By whom?" "By Haymond Tift himself.'' "\Yhen?" "The
PAGE 10

io MAD"EMOISELLE LUCIK solute proof that the will was drawn, signed, and witnessed. Can you prove that the will was destroyed the day after it was signed by by the signer himself?" "I can ) "Then a ghost 'Came here and destroyed it." 1 The lawyer glared. l ",What do you mean, madame?" "I mean it was proven that the signer of tliat will died the same say and the mademoiselle went on : You said the will was destroyed on the fourteenth. You now say it was destroyed on the thirteenth. I will prove it wa.S n o t destoyed on .the latter date.'' "By whom will you prove it?" "The witness to the will!" w as the startling answer. The face of the lawyer blan c hed, for a 'moment be was si l en t;. but at length he exclaimed: "I think I kaow the source o f your information, and it i s all as-false as hell "I reckon the witness I have can t e ll a great d e al coneern i n g your doings. He may prove bis character and force you to proof as to yours ; and we may bring out some strange developments. & you had better be very careful. Your veracity in court niay be di s counted "Curse you! I wish I knew who you are. I believe y o u are here in disguise "Oh, you do?" A moment the lawyer looked steadily at the old lady as if study ing her carefully; then a light broke over his face, and he said : "This is a nice little game, Percy Black! I know you now! Mademoiselle Lucie laughed She bad got the name of the clerk ; and what was more, she bad piped down to tl1e strained relati o n s existing between the late clerk and his employe1'. "You may laugh, but I know you "You' re a fool, Haas e x c l a im e d the mademoiselle. "Be c a reful what y o u say !" "Oh, I am alway s ca re ful You think I am a man in disguis e See there!" The mademoi s elle raiserl. h e r s kirt a few inches and thrust for ward a dainty little foot and said: "If Percy Black will we a r th e s ho e on that foot for one sec ond I will back out of thi s c as e and l e t your villainy go on. 'Die lawyer glanced at the dainty little foot and saw that h e h a d indeed made a mi s take, and he s aid : Yes, you are a woman ; but you are disguised,. all the s a me." "That is my business." "You will not tell me who you are?' " I will tell you nothing." "We shall see," said th e lawy e r ; a nd lie sudtlenly leaped a c r o s s the intervenin g space and s o ught to gr a sp the old lady. But the lattCI' quickly rose t o her fee t and dealt the lawy e r a blow with a my s t e riou s ins trum ent, a nd he fell back in hi s ch a ir m o ment a rily stunned Th e mad e moiselle thought her vi sit bad bee n eminently satisfa c tory a nd s he h a stily left the office In a moment the lawy e r recovered, aud he ran to the hall; bu t. h is vi s itor had disappeared aJltj he returned to his office muttering : "Great guns! Thi s is a mos t mysterious affair!" A few moments later JI.Ir. H aas put on hi s hat nnd telling the office boy who h a d jus t returned from an errand, that he would be back in a c oupl e of hour s l e ft the office. Fifteen minutes later the lawyer appeared at the residen c e o f Mrs Fountain He was admitted, and the servant ascended tlie and announced bis presence l\lrs. Fountain was pre paring t-0 g o out, and when the lawyer s card was handed to her she uttere d an impatient exclamation and said : "That fellow is a nuisance! I have no further use for him I wi s h h e were out of the way I will dispose of him at once. llirs. Fountain dcscened the stairs. She was prepared to express lier displeasure; but she beheld the lawyer pacing tlle floor to and: j J ,

PAGE 11

I MADEMOISELLE LUCIE. I I . fro, and the instant she glanced at his face she saw that something very important had occurred. Well, Mr. Haas, I am glad to see you. What is the occasion of your visit? You appear excited." "And you are calm, madame?" "Perfectly calm, sir." "I am glad to hear it. But very soon, perhaps, you may be as excited as I am." What has happened, sir?" "The devil's to pay, madame; that is the lvng and shc,rt of it!" "Well, explain yourself as quickly as you can, for I have but lit tle time to spare, as I have a pressing engagement." "I you will defer your visit, madame." The fact was the lawyer was somewhat pleased at the turn affairs had taken, as far as )\lrs. Fountain was concerned, fotthe woman had treated him rather cavalierly the last few times he had seen her. "Please explaio, sir." There was a little tremor in the woman's tones. "Is your husband at home?" I believe he is." "You had better summon him here." "He fs not weli. and I do not wish to disturb him. You can state your business to me." "Very well; but it \VOUld be better to have your husband here." '"Why "He has a good Mad. We will need a_good lev l head now." But we depend a great deal upon you." "I am in peril-the fact is, we are all in peril." "Well, what is i.t?" "They are onto us; they are onto our whole scheme." "Who is onto us?" "Some one who knows just what they are about. We must make some move to checkmate them, or we will all be in jail inside of two days." "Will you tell me just what you mean?" "I will pre8"lntly," the lawyer answered, slowly as though gath ering his wits together. CHAPTER IX. A MOMENT the lawyer hesitated, and then said: "As I said, some one is onto our whole scheme." Mrs. Fountain looked at the lawyer with a seemingly puzzled ex pression on her face and said : "Your langage is somewhat obscure to me, sir. I do not understand what you mean when you say ou1 whole scheme. I know of no scheme. Oh, you don't! Let me ask you a question: When tile body of Raymond Tift was found, and the inquest was held, what was proven?" It was pr.oven that he died before the time that his marriage was supposed to have taken place. I was very particular in procuring that evidence," said Mrs. Fountain, smiling. "Great Scott! They've got me! I swore that Haymond came to my office and destroyed that will on the fourteenth of the month." "What difference does it make what you swore to, sir?" "It makes this difference: the drawing up of the will can be proven." "It can be?" Yes. And you, madame, brought about the quarrel that made Percy Black our enemy." "We have nothing to fear from Percy Black." "He has managed to tell his story, all the same." Mrs. Fountain seemed to h;ive )Jecome suddenly awakened to a realization of the fact that something 6f serious import had occurred. She became very much interested, and asked: "Mr. Hans, will you please tell me what has occurred?" The lawyer proceeded and related in detail all that had happened in his office. Mrs. Fountain listened with distended,eyes, and when the lawyer had concluded she exclaimi;d: You are a fool! That disguised woman was that creature who claims to be :Mrs. Tift. Why did you not unmask her?" "At first I tl1ought it was Percy Black in disguise, and I accused lier of being him. When she showed me a foot no larger than that of a Chinese girl, I then suspected it might be the self-styled 'Mrs. Tift. I tried to pull off her mask, and was knocked down as easily as though I had been a glass jar on a shelf, and the woman suddenly disappeared." "This Is indeed alarming," said Mrs. Fountain. "Who could the woman have been?" I am sure it was not Agnes Tift." What do mean? How dare you say Agnes Tift, sir?" "She may prove herself to be Mrs. Agnes Tift. I tell you the affair has an ominous look." "Mr. Haas, I told you some time ago that it was necessary to get possession of that certificate." "I believe now I hat it 1s necessary." "We must lmve it." "How can we get it?" "Secure the services of two or three men who will get it at any price." "l will do so." "You must also ascertain the identity of the creature who called on you. Spare no money to accomplish these objects." I will make the attempt." "She may visit you again." "Quite likely." "Secure a shadow; man at your heels whereyer you go night or day." "I will." "We must secure the woman and obtain :tat paper." "We will if we can." "We will then follow your original advice and present the will in court and prove its invalidity." "Yes; we should have done that in the first place." "We can do it n"ow." Only at great risk now. You forget the woman who visited my office." "We must secure her also. Now go, and get to work at once; and come here to-night and Jet me hear what you have done." The lawyer departed. He was walking along the street slowly, preoccupied by his thoughts, when a man accosted him and said: "Hello, Haas! How are you?" "Why, bow are you, Curley? You arejust the man l want to see." And you are just the man I want to see." "Then it is fortunate that we have met." "Just so. You had a strange visitor (his mornicg?" .said Curley, interrogatively. -"Yes, I did. But how did you know it?" "Oh, I abvays have an eye to business!" "How did you learn that fact?" "That's my secret. But that visit upset you a little." "Oh, no!" "Bahl I've an eye to what's going on. You can't fool me. Come ri?ht down and open up." "Wei!, you bent me, Curley!" "That's all right, Mr. Haas. I know you need me." "You are an odd fellow, Curley. But you are right; I do want you. You saw the woman, who visited me this morning?" "Yes, I did." "Would you know her again if you saw her?" I would if she appeared in the same rig." ".Ahl Then you know she was disguised?" "Yes." "How did you come to make that discovery?" "That's my secret. But do you want to find that woman?" "Yes, I do." "All right, sir. I can put you right onto her identity, I can." The lawyer knew well the character of the man Curley. He was what is known as a snide detective. He was a n active fellow, on the make, and unscrupulous in his methods. He was an inveterate gambler, and had been mixed up in a great many shady transactions in his time. Haas did not wisll to put himself altogether into the hands of the man Curley, and he said: '' I do not know as I am overanxious about ascertaining the wom an's identity. I am uot prepared to put up anything." "lf you are not p"repared to put up anything I am not prepared to give out anything; so it's all right." "But howdid you know the woman called on me?" j 'I tell you that is my secret." "You have aroused-my curiosity." "Mebbe l can 'rouse it a little more. How about Mrs. Fountain?" The lawyer gave a start. He did not know that the man Curley had any knowledge of Mrs. Fountain or the affair of Raymond Tift. You see I am a sort of wizard, Ilans." "You are fooling yourself." "That's all right; but I am not fooling you." The man made a move as though about to go away. "Hold on. Curley," said the lawyer. "Come along with me to my office. '\Ve can talk better there." "lily time is valuahle. I am onto somethi ng big. I will see you later; I've no time now." It may pay you to come, Curley. "I am a business man. I have no time to waste beating about the bush." "But I wish to talk business ":Not with me. You practically say you have no interest in your strange visitor. You do not eay that l\Irs. Fountain has any Inter est in her. I reckon I know people who are interested, and I prop<9!e to go and see them." .:'Come with me." "It will cost you fifty dollars if I go with you. My time is worth that to-day." Curley knew his advantage, and he was on the squeeze. "I will give you ten dollars, Curley." "You are very kind; but I can make more. I've some good pointers, I have." "l will make it twenty-five dollars." "I am a professional man, and I put my own value on my time." "Well, if you won't accept twenty-fl ve dollars just to go to my QJ.ftce for a little talk I've no use for you. Good-day." "Good-day," said Curley: and he again made a move to go away when a second time Haas called him back. "I've just thoug-ht of something. I may liave a job for you." "Is it worth fifty dollars." "Yes." "All right; then I am with you. But I want the dough in ad vance." "I will pay you in advance if you will agree to be perfectly frank with me." "I am always a frank man in business matters." "Come along then." They proceeded the lawyer's office, which they soon reached HaaS'bid Curley be seated, sat down himself, and said: "What do you know about the woman who called upon me this morning?" "Er-fifty dollars, please." The lawyer turned to his desk and made out a check for the amount, handed it to Curley, and repeated the question. Well, I know she called on you about the Tift case." ;._

PAGE 12

( I 12 MADEMOISELLE LUCIE. The lawyer -looked "What do you know about the Tift casef' "I've been working on it." "You've been working on it?" exclaimed the lawyer. "Yes. I've been on it over a year.'.' "That's singular. 1 didn't ktlow there was a Tift case.'' Oh, you didn't?" "No, I didn't. But pethaps you will enlight!m me about it." "I can give you fifty dollars worth, anyhow," said Curley. "This young man Tift married a pretty young girl. By his mar riage he came into possession of his property. On the of his marriage he made a will in favor of his wife, as he had a perfect 1ight to do. That same day he disappeared. His body, or, rather, t& body, was found iu the river. 1t is necessary for the residuary legatee to prove that the will is in valid. They can only do so by provini;, there was no marriage. Mrs. Fountain is the residuary leg atee. fhe woman who called on you this morning knows som!J about the case She has shaken up dry bones. You ran off to visit l\frs. Fountain. There is a high wind blowing, eh? How is that for the Ti ft case?" While talking the .man Curley fumbled the check in his hand, and when he concluded he said: "I will hold a check for as many thousands in the near future, and don t you forget it." The lawyer had in nma.zcment, and family he aske "Where did you get all this information?" "That's my business. 'You know I've got it, though, and you're knocked endways. No one can pull you folks out but me. It will cost you something for my service s thoug-h. Don't. forget that! You say you know the woman who visited me this morning?" "I know something about lier; and I also know something about your late clerk, Percy Black." "Is he the man who gave you all this false information?" "Oh. n I oaly wished to let you know that I was up in the whole husrness. I can find Black wl1en I need him. I am now go ing out on a little business, and I will return here in about an hour. During that time you can make up your mind whether you want my services or not, otherwise I may move iu anot'1er direction."' The lawyer made no attempt to detain Curley. He was pleased to know that he was going, as it would give him an opportunity to do a little thinking and planning; and he said: \ "All right, Curley. Be sure and come back.'' After Curley's departure the lawyer muttered: 'By jingcr, we are rnpidly approaphing u. crbis in this matter! CHAPTER X. THERE was a smile of satisfaction 01\ Curley s face a.s be entered the elevator and descended to the street. He walked 11long to a cer tain corner and waited. In a few minutes he was joined by a rough-looking but shrewd; faced mun. "\Veil, Joe, what clid you make out?" "I'm onto "Is here more than une of 'em?" "Yes; tbere's two; and they're all righJ." "How so?" "'Well, one">f 'em is the pnrtiest gal I ever seen in my life, and the old woman, she's a gal, too, and a hummer!" "The old one was under cover, eh?" Indeed an' she was." "Tell me all about it, Joe." The man repeated 11 remarkable story; and in order that the reader may understand it we will relate what had occurred On Mademoiselle Lucie's return to her room she found Agnes anxiously awaiting her. The matmmoisello cast aside her disguise in an adjoining room, returned to the of Agnes. and said: "Well, my child, I promised you some startling revelations, and I shall keep my promise. But first tell me if you ever saw the orig inal of that picture." Mademoisdlc Lucie .handed to Agues the photograph she bad purloined from the album in Mrs. Fountains house; and the instlnt the beautiful girl's eyes fen upon it she uttered a low cry, invol'lin tarily kissed the pictured face, and burst into tears. "Ah I made no mistake! It is the picture of-" ":My husband!" exclaimed Agnes. "Where did you get it?" "Oh th'M is a little secret! Now sit down, be perfectly calm, :i.nd to me. I told you I had certain Rusplcious in regard to your husband, and now I have evidence confirming my suspicions." "You have evidence?" '"Yes; I have what to my mind is positive evidence that tne orig-inal of that picture ls alive to-dny." "}ly husband is living?" Yes." "Then why does he stay away from me!" "That is the mystery we must solve. You can take my word for it that !tis absence is involuntary.'' "'Vho could kei'P him away from me?" 1 "Tliat is a question we must solve; but I am fully persuaded that vonr husband is not only 1i ving but faithful to you. It may be that they have furnished false testimony against your character. He mav believe you are unworthy, or there mny follow other explana tions. But one is certain: I will solve the mystery. It is .cnou!!'h to know that 'he lives and that he still loves you." "If lie loves me, wJ.1y ha.s he permitted to suffer! But for you I should be dead at this moment. And if he is living, who was buried from the house of l!rs. Fountain?" "Those are nil mysteries which we must solve. I will be frank with you: I visited Mrs. Fountain." "And did you see her?" "No; I did not care to see her; aU I desired was to secure that picture, and I got it." "And how did } OU secure it?" l\fadl'moist:lle Lucic told how she had purloined the picture. "How did you know it was the picture of &ymondf' "I did not know. I guessed at it." "And you did not see Mrs. Fountain?" "No; but I will see her in good time, and I will have a !!'reat sur prise for her. I also went to see the lawyer who drew up0the will and there I secured some very important evidence." "You did?" "Yes. I learned'that your husband entered the lawyer's office the day following his death and destroyed the will." Agnes looked puzzled, a11d the mademoiselle laughed in a pleased manner. "My hui;bantl visited that office the day after his death and de stroyed the will? I do not understand. "That's according to tbe lawyer's story, don't you sec? You "ill remember that. according to the evidence at the inquest, it was proven that Reymond Tift was seen to leap into the river from a ferry-boat on the vi:ry day of his marriage to you." Yes, it was so proven; I rem e mber. "Well, the lawyer says he { ame to his and destroyed the will the following day-the day after he was drowned! You will remember you wiire married on the thirteenth of the month; he was proven to liave committed suicide on the thirteenth, and the lawyer says he destroyed the will on the fourteenth." "How can say such a ridiculous thing?" "1t proves that they are not united in their manufactured testi mony-it proves that there bas been false swearing-it proves deep laid conspiracy-it proves that Raymond Tift is not dead." "Oh. how strange it will be If your suspicions prove correct!" "I will prove them to be correct; I am sure of that." "Where do suppose my husbaud is?" "I have a suspicion as lo where he may be ; and one other fact is assured: the will is not destroyed They know you are legally mar ried and that the property belongs to you." "But what about the clergyman and the witness?" asked Agnes "That is one of the mysteries to be solved and one which I think will be of easy solution. And now there comes the most serious part of thi s matter. A war, as it were will begln. That lawyer will sound an alarm. Those people will start out to find you and to learn who I am. It will be a great game, and I have confidence in my ability to win, and 1 welcome them OD the warpath. Agnes, have you your marriage certificate about your person?" "les." "It is not safe for you to carry that certificate around witli you At any moment you are liable to lose it. You might be murdered for the possession of that. certificate. You must not carry it with you any longer." "What can I do with it?" "It must be put in a safe place." "You can take care of it for me.'' "No; that will not do. It must be hidden." "Where can we hide it?" "I will not decide now what I will do with it, but it must not be In this room. To-night I will dispose of it." The two girls held a long consultation, and were still talking when the man Joe met his employer, Curley. We have revealed sufficient of their convers11tion, however for the reader to under stand the talk that took place between the two men as follows: "You see," said the fellow Joe, "when you put me onto t11e woman's trail I just follered her up, and she went into a big flat house, an' when she went up in the elevator I waited till it cbme down. A kid was .runnin' the elevator, an' I pumMil bim, an' found out that the woman went to the top floor. The kid showed me her door, nu' I went an' peeked through the key-hole. There was a b'>.,auty sittin' there, an' in a few minutes the old woman I had been dogt?,in' showed up in the room too, but she had shed her dis guise. 'lhe two started in an' had a long talk." The man proceeded and repeated almost word for word all the conversation that had taken place between :Mademoiselle Lucie and Agnes Curley was and wheu the,. narrative was con cluded he said: "You did it well, Joe." "Thank you, ole man." "We'll make a big haul out of this." "Count me in." "Sure." The two men parted, and Curley returned to the office o the la.w-. yer. The latter was awaiting him. "I am here again. Mr. Haas.'' "So I see," said the lawyer, suavely. "Well, we may as well down to biz." "I have been thinking over what you said to me, Curley, during your absence; and, while you have considera\ilc false information, I will admit that there is some truth 111-what you have said." "Some truth! Well, go ahead." "I may have use for you." "I think so; and I will be of some use-If we come tp terms. I am a wizard; and I'll prove it.'' "Do so." A big fraud is on hand-" "You're right," Interrupted the lawyer. Curl"y was rathertakeu aback, but be understoqcl when the lawyer proceeded and said : "There is a big frnnd on hand-an attempt to steal a fortune. A woman, backed by some scoundrels, is seeking to blackmail my cli ent, :Mrs. Fountain." Oh, that's it, eh?" There came a very significant smile to the face of Curley as he s:ild, In a bantering tone: "We will let it go at that for the present." "What do you ineah, sir?" .. 1

PAGE 13

.. MAPEMOlSELLE LUCIE. 13 "I tell you I am a wizard." "You are a very smart man C urley, and I will have use for you in our l!tJorts to defeat this bold con s piracy." "Oh, I see! And I will be well paid'/!' Yes, you will be well paid." "Could I get any more if l aid e d in carrying o ut t he c on 9pimcy ? "No." "Then we will J e t it go a t th a t . "What do you mean?'' "We will call .it. a blackmailin g s cheme." "You think you are a v e ry smnr t fe llow "You will find that I am no fool, sa id Curl e y "I c a n tell y o u something that will make your h a ir stand on end, Mr. Haas CHAPTER XI. THE lawyer was a cunning man, but he was a disadvantage. Still, he was playing the man before him just right he thought "So you can tell me s ometbing that will make my hair s tand on end, eh?" "Yes, I can . "Do so; 1 can comb it d own." 'Ire diamo d cut di a mond b e tween u s H aa s." t-"Well?" ''We may as well unders tand each other We' re both on the make. You know me pretty well, and I know you better. If w e were tQ compliment each o ther, we'd st art in to prove which was the greater rogue." 'You 11.re an odd fellow I suppose I sh a ll h a ve to indulge you. "You are trobled with the s a me oddness; but I am the better wizard and l ll prove it " So you said before I am waiting for the proof." "You ll!Hows haven't played this thing well." "Oh, you will still run o n the wrong track?" "Yes; I will run on wh a t you call the wrong track; but how wrong you were this mornin g when you told that woman that Ray mond Tift destroyed th a t will on the fourteenth of the month! The lawyer had encounter e d sev e ral surpri s es that d R y, but the words of the man Curl e y were a c tually stunning and he b etra yed his surprise. "l told you I wa s a wizard," s nid Cnrley, lnughing. D o n t ... tell we that I am on tbe w!jpng trac k when you switched off as you did "I'll give you a thousand d o llars if you will tell me how you got all this information." ..--"I wouldn t tell you for ten thousand. But, you see, I've got 'the facts and you may n s w e ll work on the squ a re with me. I am willing to let it go that there i s a _great. conspira c y on foot. Tha t's all right it suits me and makes It e a s y, you know, to work my end of it don't rub th e con s pira c y y arn in You can't play m e Now' let's g e t 1ight down to bu s iness "Yes; let's get right down t o busin e s s," repeated the lawy e r. "That will was not d e stroyed Yon d:iren t d e stroy it as long as l!rs. Tift is aliv!l; w what's the u s e of foolibg." 'Hang it, you are a wizard! I nm! And let me tell you that even if :Mrs Tift were dead you would dare tie s troy the will as lon g as the marriage certi :ficnte is in existence What you want is that marriage certificate and until you get it Mrs Fountnia is ib -gteat jeo'pardy." 'You' re a wonder, Curley "I'm simply a man of bus iness. But how much will you give for that certificate?" "I'll give a thousand dollars for it. -"Only a thousand? Why, man, it's worth many times that." She is Mrs. Tift, .and she can prove it. I'll you soipcthiug. The y ar e onto you a nd the whole game." "Who is onto us?" "The parties who have taken up this case for ::\[rs Tift; 11nd :you peo ple will have to move quick, or. tllc jig i s up. I am giving it to you s traight." "What are they onto ? ''The whole business, murder and nil." Nonsense! There bas been no murder ' :i\Iebbc not," said Curley; and a broad grin overspread his face. "Oh, no! But we'll say it's murder. That's better than the real truth," wa8 the singular declaration The lawyer was puzzled; but he, as stated knew the man he was dealing with, and he said: "1\Ieet me here two hours from now." I will be here." said Curley; and again, with n satisfied smlle upo n his face, he d e parted ,., IIaas proceeded to the home of Mrs. Fountain. He 11ad promised to report, and he certainly had some very startling news to com municate l\frs l<,ountaln met him, and her husband joined them. Andrew Fountain was a reckless man, a fellow of few words, but as desperate a character at heart as ever lived. He was what would be call e d a handsome man, but his good looks were of the loud or der. He would not lm'Ve been considered handsome by ren)ly dell cate and refined people; but those who floated around on the rim of the circle of tJie Four Hundred thought him just splendid; and it was with these people that his wife counted her intimates, and she. was accustomed to the gratulation ';What a lovely man your husb a nd is Mrs. Fount1iJ11!" "Well, what have you to report, l\Ir. Haas?" demanded Mrs. Fountain . Matters arc assuming a seriou s a s pect, madame. Our enemies appear to have lieen making preparations for what we may a grand assault I think I can defeat them, however; but it will cost money " I do no t care wh a t it costs H e re the man interpo s ed and said: "That was spoken like a woman. We do c a re what it costs This i s a conspiracy, and if w e can cru s h it out for a few hundred dollars, all right. If ifs to co s t more than a few hundred, why, I s a y, we h a d b e tter l e t it work out, that's all." "It will cos t mor e than a few lrnndred, sir, and more than a few thous a nd. It will cost a fbrtune Founta in glared and s a id: "It's a nice g a m e you arc w o rking Haa s ; but I .. just want to tell y ou it will stand you in h a nd to go s low. H aas knew the sort of man h e hurl to deal wi t h and he said: Yes, I will g o s low. I'll g e t out of the bu s iness altogeth e r I d o n t lik e it, an y h o w ; th e re' s neith e r honor n o r profit in it for me, a nd if you will come to m y offic e I will turn ov e r all the papers t o y 0 u, ttnd b e glad to get out of it. Y o u can the will and all t h e p a p e r s 1 "What do you m e an J.U:. asked the II)an Fountain in n m o r e gentle tone. "I will s peak plninly, sir. I think h a ve got the bulge on us. I think it m e ans Sta te' s prison for ll'll'. I am anxious tO-'d-rop out of it altogether, as I told yHu, and if you will come with me to my office t will turn over all the papers and get out, and you can m a n a ge the business yourself." "No need f.or you to get mad about it, Haas How m11ch do you want?" ... "Fifty thousand." "I am not mad ; bnt I am done I've been trying to advise, but my advice has been met with insinuations ns to my honesty. I will put t11e matter straight : youcan't steal a million dollars bl spend ing a few hundred We are confronted by n menacing s1tuntion .. and I will get out of it altogether, and you' cnn run the business as cheaply as suits you." ., You're "It's worth, reckon, several hundred thousand tQ certain pco pie. My price is very moderate." '' Have you got the paper?" That has nothing t6 do with It. ,How much fs it worth f" "Produce the certificate, then we'll talk price." "I can get it in a day or two." "Get It, and come here with it." "Oh, no!" ' You would be perfectly snfe in doing so. There is no legal way in which you could be compelled to surrender it. "Yon don't charge for that legal opinion, do you?" "You're a wit,". snid the lawyer, laughing. 've got my wits about me in this deal. I know you, and you know me. When we deal it will be on our mutual knowledge of each other. So don't try any smart business." "I dare not offer any sum." "Oh, no! But I've named a sum. See if it can be had. And, mind you, there mustt be no funny business The money must be guaranteed Don't fo rget that part of it. "Do you know where the woman hangs out wlit was here?" "I do; and I know more "What more do you know?" "I ca-nput my hand on Mrs. Tift." '-" The woman who came here wa's under cover?" "Yes." "W ns it Mrs. Tift?" "No." "Who wai!'it?" "Fifty dollars does not pay me for my golden goose." "I wilJ guarantee you ten thousand dollars." "For what?" -"The marriage certificate and a knowledge of the whereabOuts of Mrs. Tift, or, rather, the woman who calls J1erself Mrs. Tift." "Andy," said Mrs. Fountain, "11Ir. Haas must' not desert us '.' He will not desert us "It is not a case of desertion; it's a mattei'-of business. I've plenty to attend to without seeking to carry through this business hampered by lack of money But I am finding no fault. Mr. Fountnln is an able man. I'll give him all the points as far ns I have them nnd he can run it. l "What are the points?" asked :Mr. Fountain. '1 "The points are that some very smart people have taken up the case for .this and in Rome way they have got down to the facts. Mrs Fountain quarreled with my clerk, Percy Black, and he bas turned against us and opened up r.egotiations with the people who have taken up this girl s case. It is known that the marriage took place and that they have the certificate; and, between you and me they know that the certifi c ate is genuine. It's all right for us to sny the clerk denies the marriage; it's all right for us to say the clcrgfyman denies baving performed the marriage; but when that certificate is produced in court, nnd the evidence is also pro ._ duccd that a will was made after Raymond Tift's reputed marriage, there will be the devil to pay. The clerk will have to perjure him self. Will he do it? And may it not be possible for the other side to bny him back? Our clergyman will have to prove his Identity. Will he be able to do it? I tell you it looks bn. d for us. They have all these points; and now" that you know all about it you can do as you choose. I'll get out." "You are not to get out of the case," said l\Tr. Fountain. "Now what do you propose to do, provided we furnish all the money you want?" "I propose to get that certificate. As long as they hold that they hold a sword over your bends "Then all hinges upon that certificate?" "Yes. A nd I had made arrangements to secure it; but H will re quire a large amount of money to secure it, You tell me to go .

PAGE 14

MADEMOISELLE LUCIE. slow, and think a few hundred dollars will be> sufficient off the impending danger. So you can now do as you please. "How much money will rt requ re, Mr. Haas?" "Fifty thousand dollars." "When must the money be paid?" When the paper is delivered." "And paid to whom?" "The man who gets it." "Have you a man who can get it?" I have a man who thinks he can; and I believe he can." "We will give fifty thousand dollars for the certificate," said Fountain. CHAPTER XII. TH& lawyer, as we have was anxious to the case altogether He realized the dangerous posmon be was m, and he said: . "I will send you the man and you can conduct the negotlat10ns yourself." Mrs. Fountain here interposed said: "You can not withdraw from this case, Mr. H aas. 1' ou are a :good and faithful man, and when that is obtained you shall receive twenty-five thousand dollars nlso "Very well, madame. For you I will do what I can; but you must give me a check to work on at once-a check for a thousand dollars." The check was given and after a little more talk the lawyer de parted. At his office found the man Curley h!m. They had a long talk, and it was finally agr eed the certificate was secured Curley was to receive ten thousand dollars. Curley went out, and lat e r met his man JDe. The two arranged a plan for the out of then went to U1e where Mademmselle Lucie re sided and hud low .,,.In a short time they saw her the house. They :vere sure sh.e had the certificate in h e r possess10n. and they determmed to have rt,. even If they were compelled to drop her out and toss her body mto the river What occurred has been related. The two men were foiled. They were downed in the most mysterious manner, and the made moiselle returned to her flat, and the conversation that occurred be tween -her and Agnes has been detailed Agnes said "I will return to the country," the mademoiselle exclaimed: "You will do nothing of the kind . "It is evident we have been discovered and rt 1s known that I am here. Those people are dangerous. They will murder us both." "You need have no fear. I just enjoy this little game," said the mademoiselle, laughing. "But we must at least find another refuge. They may come to our rooms," said Agnes, featlully. "I hope they will. If they come sneaking around here they will be taught a les8on. My dear child, fear nothing and trust me. I am a match for two or three ordinary men any time. I have no fear of them at all." While the foregoing conversation was in progntss, the two men who had been downed were having a ta1k. "By heavens Joe" said Curleh, ''I can not see bow that woman ' did" put us out of the game th& way s e I "She's a devil, that' s sure." "Well, we know her now; but she'll know us. We'll beard the lioness in her den." "'Vbat do you mean?" "We must have that paper to-night while they have it about them If we let this chance slip we are beaten. Joe, we must en-ter her rooms this very night and get tlrat paper." "WUI you break into her rooms?" "I reckon we know how to do that, don't we?" "Well we've dqpe it before now." "]lfoet'me at midnight, and I'll have things all fixed." "I'm with you. I'll take any chance you will." "The risk is not rnucll. We've only a couple of women to deal with. Be sure and be on time," said Curley; and the two 11).en separated. . h Mademoiselle Lucie did not leave her room agm: mg t. Durinu the evening she was very thoughtful and &'Rid little; but well along toward midnight she remarked : "Agnes I want you to go to bed now You are a girl of n erve and courage, and if you hear a noise to-night do not move I call your name. The n run out by that door and scream with all your might. do not do so, remember, unless I cn!I your If you hear me, give an outcry, and then carry out my mstructlons. Agnes turned deathly pale and asked: I "What do you doing?" "I contemplate doing nothmg; but I am 11pprehensive some-thing may happen to-night, and I wnnt you to be prep!M'ed. . "This must not be, my friend You shall not run any risk for me. b 1 ti f "I am not going to run any risk. I 11m gomg to ave a 1t. e un, that's all. I am going to find your husbaud. I am <;Je!ernuned to rescue him and so lve this mystery. Are you not wllhng to run a little risk to save your husband's life?" Airnes stared in amHzement. "Do you really believe my husband i s 11five?" "I do and I as firmly believe that I will find him But we will not talk that now. All I desire is that you follow my instruc tions and I may accomplish a great deal to-night." Are you gomg ?" . ,, "No I shall stay nght here I will not even retire at present "Why not let me stay here with your' "No that would spoil my plans. You need have no fear, Ag nes. All you need do is lay still, and do not be and we may accomplish more than we expect this very night. "What is It you expect?" "We may receive some visitors to-night." "Do you think those men will come here?" "They may." "Why not get a policeman to remain here?" "No, no; that would upset my plans I tell you once more that you need have no fear. I am more than a match for whoever may come here." After much earnest persuasion, Agn es finally tetired to her bed, and the mademoiselle set about making certain preparations, and when all was ready she muttered : "Now let them come; I am ready to receive them." The mademoiselle bad no proof that she would receive a visit; but w1e did have a suspicion pointing in that direction, and ere the dawn of the followin g day her suspicion was confirmed. Twelve o'clock struck and the mademoiselle still sat undisturbed. One o'clock struck and her expected visitors bad not appeared. "It is possible they will not come; but I will wait all night for them. I shall not be caught napping-," s he muttered. Two o'clock struck and still the fellows she expected had not put in an appearance, and she again muttered: Really I am disappointed. I did hope they would come." The words had 11ardly escaped her lips, when a sound fell upon her ears. She rose from her seat and li stene d, and then she heard 11 very indi stinct rasping noise, and she located it at the lock of her door, and she muttered: "They are here; and now the game opens." The mad emo iselle had been s itting in what she called her art ro om. She now r et ir ed to the middle room Agnes was sleeping, or to sleep, in th e re ar room. The mademoiselle with drew from s ight, but in such a positiou that she could see into the room she bad v11cated. A few moments passed when she saw the door of the front room slowly open, and the masked fac ana head of a man was projected through the opening. The man was very slow in his movements. He looked around the room and then step ped across tbe threshold, and, after waiting and listening, advanced another foot. 'fhe mademoiselle, with a smile upon her face and a glitter in her eye, was watching every movement, and in her bands she held a coil of strong, tJiin rope. The masked man at length entered fully Into the room, closed the door behind him and for a IDDment stood gazing around. In ttw room between the two front windows, was a bureau, and on the latter was a tin box such as Is usually sed to hold papers The man's eyes fell upon the box; then, after listening a moment, he. tiptoed across the room seized thll box, and forced the lid open Some papers were revealed to bis view, and these he began to ex amine. He stood with his back toward the door of the room "'here :Mademoiselle Lucie stood watching, and so deeply interested was he in examining the contents of the box that he did not hear a step behind him. He did realize orsuspect that he had !alien into a trap. Tl,ie mademoiselle appeared at the door of the middle room. It was a critical moment. One false step and all was lost; but the ,. nerves running through that marvelous woman were like steel. Bite advanced a step or two as noiselessly as the tread of a fly upon the ceiling She was within three feet of the man. The mirror in the dressing-c11Se had been covered. It was evident the man bad not noticed, In bis eagerness, this suspicious circumstance. The woman's arms were .upraised. She made a quick movement. No thug ever threw strangling-rope with greater dexterity. The noose fell over the man's neck. He started; but It was too late. The noose tightened: he was helpless. He could neither struggle .nor make an outcry. He was at the mercy of the woman. She dragged him back, and caught him as be toppled over and let Wm go to the floor without !lOise. The fellow was black in the face. '!'be mademoiselle bound him band and foot with the greatest celer ity and he lay helpless. She removed the noose from bis neck, tore mask from llfs face, and dashed water on his bead and face, and soon be began to revive. Not a sound bad been made during the whole operation, so deftly bad it been carried through. The mademoiselle went to the do o r and listened. She turned up the gas and then flung the door wide open. She stepped into the ball and heard the sound of a fleeing step. She mn down the stairs, and when near the bottom a man's voice called out: "Stand, you scoundrel, o r I shoot!" The fellow did not stand, but flew to the street door and passed out. The ma
PAGE 15

-. ( MADEMOISELLE LUCiE. "This is the talking animal that I have captured. He and I are kl have a little chat, my dear, and I want you to hear all we say." 'The p risoner gritted his teeth in impotent rage. "Now we will begin our chat, said the mademoiselle, taunting J y, to \he helpless figure on the floor CHAPTER XIII "Ta:m first any more of his busi11eea than he can help " And this man Curley bas contracted t-0 deliver that paper?" "That' s noout the size of it, I guess." "Who is the lawyer working for?" "I don't know "And the man who sent you here Is Curley?" Yes I &m going to let you off, my man "Thank y o u." "And you need not tell Curl e y that you gave him away. " What sllall I tell him?" "Tell him anything you choose; it doe s not concern me ; but you ean deliver this me..oSage from me : they will never get that certifi -cate; and if a hair of !ti s h e ad is injure d it will go hard with tho s e wlo do the h a rm ; so l e t them go slow "And will you really let me off?" "Certa inly I will. I hnve no use for you ; but I wis h I had .ca112ht Curl e y I will set a trap for him and I will c atch him y e t." The ma de m o isell e r e l ease d th e m a n from r ope th a t boun d b im. S h e did not appear t o fea r b im a t all. Whe n he w as fre e .she sa id : . you can go ; but r e m e mb e r one thing : if y ou attempt a n y c aper s y o u w ill be a d ea d man! "I' m n o t u p to any c ap e rs, miss." The man did n o t appear t o be in a n y hurry to d e part. He lin g ered and ac ted as though there was something troubling him. At length M a demoiselle Luci e said: "Why do you not go?" "Miss, I wish you d take me into your service "Take you into my service? Why do you want to go into my :service?" Becau s e I've an idea you are going to be a winner, and I want to be on tbe winning side." "I have no use for -"I migbt be of some use to you, miss." 11How'J,, .. Wen; I am employed on the other sid11, I can stay there, and in your interest I can pick up a great deal." The mademoiselle meditated a moment and said: "I will talk to you about that some other time." I'd be as true as steel, miss. I have not been treated right on the other side "I will consider your proposition If I should conclude to ac cept it I will let you 'know. I can find you when I want you," said the mademoiselle, significantlf.' "And now go." Tho man slowly left the room Wben he bad gone, the made moiselle burst into a bearty fit of laugliter. Agnes gazed at her in astonishment . "My dear Agnes, I am laughing for jor," said the mademoiselle: "We have s truck a great blow to-nigbt.' "Why did you let that fellow go?" asked Agnes. "Why did you not call the police?" I have no use for the police. I had good reasons for letting him go . You are indeed a remarkable woman " My dear child, I am no\ V more than satisfied that all my suspi cions are c o rrect. Your husband lives. We will find bim. We will circumvent these s chemers You s hall yet be happy.' It does not seem pos s ible. " Tim e will te.11. And now my dear we must go to bed." The two ladies passed to the rear ro om, after the mademoiselle bad relocked the do o r of th e s ittin g -room Once in the rear room s he drew a pair of pi s tols and placed them under her pillow and said: "Now for some much ne e ded rest The mademol s ell e threw hers e lf upon the bed and was soon sound asleep In the meantime the f e llow Joe had made bis way to a certain all night r e sort, and th e fir s t m a n h e met on ente ring the place was Curl e y. The latt e r utt e re d au ex clam a tion of s urpri s e when be saw bi s pal. H e dre w him into a r ea r room a nd asked: W e ll old man wha t h as h a ppened ? "You ran a w a y and l e ft me, for one thing," said Joe: Yes, I did ; but I w as purs u e d "Who purs ued you? "That 1 c a n not !ell But the y !}Ad a regular detective in that house I suppo se." "I don t know about tbat ; but I've had the strangest experience a man ever went through." "Tell me about it, Joe." "I was caught. "How did ,.ou get away?" "Sbe let me go." She let you go? Was it a woman?" "Yes.,, What woman?" "Tha.one who downed us earlier in th& evei!ing." Who captured you?" "She did "Well, this gets me!" "Yes; and sbe got me "I don t understand it.Joe. "Neither do I. But she let me off, and gave me a message for you " What do you mean?" "Just what I say Yes, that woman is up to the whole business. She knows everything that's going on.'' "And she sent a message to me? What does she know about me?" "Sbe knows all about you." "What a1111 you giving me, Joe?" "I am giving it to you straight. When She set me free ; she said: -'I've a message for that snide detective, Curley.' Curley betrayed his amazement and said: .. Tell me all about it, Joe. "She told me to tell you that would never get that paper." "She must have expected us.' "Of course she did; and sbe set a trap for us. She said sbe only regretted that she had not caught you ; but she says she will get you the next time." "She will eh? But how did sbe trap you?" "We!J, I gpt into the room all ri ght.. I saw a tin box on tlie bu. reau, I said to myself 'That's what I'm after I tbougbt !'had things dead to l got the box, and was hunting for the pa per, when I go t1t. That b o x was a bait." How did you g e t .it? "Well, I didn t know mu c h for a few minutes; in fact, I don't know how l o n g I w a s uncon sc i o us; but when I came round I was bound hand a nd fo ot, and the f e m a l e devil sa t on a smiling at m e a nd she sa id : "'Well old m a n why don t y ou c a ll for help ? I didn t an s w e r a nd s h e l a u g h e d a t m e and saiq: "'I know wh a t you cam e here for."' By George," ejac ulated Curley "if y ou are t e lling tbe truth, th a t w o m a n i s a d a isy!" She s a d ais y a ll ri g bt! W e ll, t h e n sb e teased 10e a little. She t a lk e d about s e nding for the p o lic e and having me railroaded, and fina lly sh e said : . "'Well, I gue ss you are not th e fell o w I wante d to catch You are th e wrong fish. It was Curl e y I wantl)d. " S he said it was Curley s be w a nted?" "Yes ; and then s he said I could go, and she gave me the message for you ; and I tell you now sh e is onto tbe whol e bu s in ess. I learned mor e about the scheme from lier tban I ever did from you. " What did you learn?" "Well, sbe gave me several nuts to crack." "In wbat shape?" '"You telr Curley,' she said 'that if a hair of his head is injured I will hold them all responsible. Whose head did she mean?"

PAGE 16

16 MADEMOISELLE LUCIE. .. "That Is something I can not tell you. Curley meditated a moment, and then said : "She given m e a few nuts to cra c k." CHAPTER XIV. ON the afternoon of the day followin g the incidents WC have re corded, Mrs. Fountain entered the office of Lawyer Haas ::3hc was greatly excited. "Well, Mr. Haas, what has be e n accornplisliecl ?"she asked. "Nothing, madame ; and I tell you now matters look very blue." "How so?" "A very remarkable person is plttec;l again s t us. "When will you secure the certifi cate ? "I do not think we will ever secure it. Our chance Is lo s t "What chance?" "The only chance we shall prob a bly ever have to g e t it." "Your answer does not enlight e n me very muc h sir But who is the person who is pitted again s t us as you say ? "It appears to be a wom a n." "What sort of a woman?" "A perfect devil, I would c a ll h er." "And will you be beaten by a woman ?" "Well, I'd rather.;flleet a man in a game like this." "A woman called to se e me y es terd a y who a c ted rather mys t e ri ously," said Mrs Fountain. "What did she look like?" 1 "l did not sec her; but I was given to understand that she was a "1t must have been this woman. She will probably call again;" hope she will "Yes; then it will be woman aga in s t woman; arld madame, you are a very cunning pers on "Thank you But wh g i s urg in g thi s woman on l\!r. Haas ? "Tha t is s om e thing that puzz l e s me. I ca n not tell ; but one thing i s certain : she kuows nil. "What docs she kuow?" l "You can judge when I t e ll y o u t h e m essa g e s h e sent me." "Whnt WRs the messa g e?" "That I w o uld n e 1 er ge t th e certi fica te Rnd th a t if one hRir of his head was injure d e v ery one o f u s w ould be held to a terrible account '." "To whom dicl sh e a llud e whe n she sa id 'ltis h e ad?' "That i s s omething for y o u to work out, m a d a m e Mrs Fountain gre w v e r y p n le. "Do y o u know thi s wo m a n s i de n tity?" "I do uot. C a n't y o u a s c e rtain i t ? " I nm trying to do so." "And we mu s t get thitt ce rtifi cate n o m a t te r wha t means i t i s necessary to emploY, t o acco mpli s h it." "We will g e t it 1[ we c a n; but I t e ll you t h e c hances a re ag a inst ()Ur success What is to be done?" ' I have only one sugges tion to offer, madame "What is that?" The lawyer looke d around, he s itated and then said "If thjs woman is not got out of th e way the jig is up, that's all." "Why don't you g e t her out of the way then ? "That business Is not in my line, madame. "Youcanhaveitdone." 1 "You have met with better success in that directioif.'' I,' "What do you mean, sir?" "Where Is Raymond Tift?'' "You know where he is "Oh I doY" he is in his grave." "Oh, be isl Wcll1 it would be a good thing for you If this woman were in her grave also. But where is Percy ]}lack?" "I know nothing about him 1" r "What docs your husband know?" 1 "What are you binting at, "It Is stated that Percy Black was.seen-entering yo 'tl house He has not been see n since "What nonsense!" "I don't know anything about it. I am only giving you what I heard. But J OU see how the l_llatter stands." "Are you striking for more money? If so, name your terms. "I nm not si.riking for more money. I do not see clearly how I can earn what you have already promised." "You. certainly can suggest something Can't you give me some clew to this woman?" I may be able to before long; but let me tell you she is a very remm kablc woman, and we have got to be careful. 8he is an over matcl1 for two or three men. She has already proven that." "How so?" "I have of the cleverest in New York on her track ttnd she baffled him at every turn; she has made sport of him "She will not mnke E port of me. "Possibly not You may 11ave an-opportunity to measure blades with her ere loug. I thfnk it probable the woman who called on you yesterday was she, and I 11lso think it probable she will soon make you another visit so be prepared for her." "I will," said l\lrs. Fountain, emphatically. A week passed, and during that week no progress had been made by the conspirntorll. Mademoiselle Lucie had remaipcd in her rooms, and bad been busy upon some little scheme of her own She did not even permit Agnes to know what she was doing; and the beautiful Agnes meantime passed a fitful sort of existence. )3omctlmcs she was In tears. and at others she appeared to be full of cheer and hopefulness; and the latter condition always followed a talk with the mademoiselle An active man was Curley Be had sought an Interview wftb. Andrew Fountain. He had not revealed much to him, but he had promised to ac c omplis h grent results In the near future His object was t-0 learn who the woman was who J1ad baffled him so well Re did not dare make another attempt to enter her house He had twice had some experience wlth the woman, and he remem bered Joe's words: She said she wished it were you she 11ad captured." Curley was not a coward; but nil men are Impressed by t11e mys terious, and there was something very mysterious about the wom11a who was advocating th e claims of Agnes. And ne:ain, the mRn had not fully got onto th e of the Fountains. He owed them no. loyalty, and was prepar e d to work on the side of the one that prom ised the bes t pay. . Thus matters s tood when one morning l\lademolsellc Lucie called Agnes fro!n the rear room and said : "Jam going to call upon Mrs. Fountain this morning, my dear I nm g oing to try to sell her a painting ; and this is the painting As the mad e moiselle spoke she remov e d a covering from a palnt iog that st.Ood on an easel and Agnes nttored a cr.v of surprise and actu Hy fell upon her kn e es before the picture like one lost In ad miration F o r some minutes s he contemplated the picture in silenc e ; but finally she exclaimed: "It' s wonderful It is perf e ct! You are a genius! But tell how could you make so r e alistic a picture?" "I had the photoo-mph." But the color of the hair, the eyes, are so exact. And are vo u g o ing to sell thi s picture?" "Possibly," s aid the madem o i s elle, smiling. Wh,y not sell it to me?" I will present it to you a fter I h a ve used it for the one purpos e for '11. bich 1 t was paint e d L a t e r in th e day the mad e m o i s ell e g o t u p as a sort of staid old maid ca ll e d a t the h o u se o f Mrs F o untain S he carried a roll unt!r her a rm S h e ran g t h e be ll, and w hen the servant opened th e sh e sa id : I'd lik e t o see Mrs. F ounta in The s e rvant h n d r ece ived hi s ord e r s Ile had been told to admli. any w o m a n who mi ght ca ll. The mad e m o iselle was shown into th e parlor and th e s ervant a scend e d the s tairs Rnd a nnounced: "A wom a n wi s h e s to s e e you madame :Mrs. F o untain w a s a ll excit e m ent at once. "WhR t sort of a l o okin g p e rson John.? "A.n o dd l o ok i ng p e r so n m a dame. i t i s th e vet y p a 1ty I wis h t o sec th o u&"ht Mr s Founta in "An od d l o o kin g p erso n yes! That c r eature 1 s acc o mpli shed I n the wa y of d i s g ui s es!" Al o ud sh e sa id : I will se e h e r John. The se rv ant return e d to th e parl or 1md report e d that Mrs F o un tain w o ulll be d own direc tly In ih e me a ntim e s he paced to an d fro her ro o m a nd mutte r ed: "Now I must be p e rfectly c o o l a ud I mu s t al s o be prepared S he went t o a dra wer t o ok out a ivory mounted pi s tol muttering : "I do not )mow what may happen but I will be ready for her. There was a wicked g litt e r in the woman's ey e s for she was dcs. pernte. At l eng1h s he calmed her s elf sufficiently to feel able lo en ter her visitor's presence in a compo s ed manner and to the parlor. A s she entered the great room s o magnificently fur nished, he.i: face wns rather pale and her eyes glittered. "Did you wish to me?" she asked. "Yes, madnme. Mrs. Fountain t o ok a seat and fixed her eyes on her visitor, andi she mentally concluded: "Y cs, she i s disguised. She is a daring woman, no dou'bt; but she has walked into the lion s den this time." A.loud she said ; "What is your business?" , I have a picture to madame There came a sharle 'of disappointment over Mrs. Fount.aln's face She feared that it was not her !lame after all. "You have a picture to se!U "Yes, madame " Who is the artist?" I am, madame " I do not wish to buy any more 'pictures. I have a great many now --.... "That is why I came to you. It Is among those who appreciate art that I look for my customers " Whnt is the character of your painting?" "It is a portrait, madame "What use would I have for a portrait especially if I did uot know the of the picture?" "l would like to have.You look at It madame." Mademoi s elle Lucie started to unroll her bundle; but Mrs. Fountain said : "No; I do not care to look at it. I've no use for a portrlrlt." "Do not decide until you look at it." "Why do you urge me?" "I think you will be very much interested in the portrait. Let. me show it to you "Very well ; I will look at it; but I tell you I do not wish to buy I merelY. look at it to gratify you." I am very grateful, madame Mademoiselle Lucie unrolled her picture and presented it for In spection The moment Mrs. Fountain's eyes fell on the portrait> she screamed, jumped to her feet, and in tones Qf really startling agitation demanded : 'Where did you gevthat picture 1" "It is a portrait I painted myself, madame.'1 Q

PAGE 17

'I MADEMOISELLE LUCIE. You lie, woman!" came the indelicate and violent declaration. M:ademoisclte L\lcle pretended to be frightened and amazed, and she snid: "Why; madame, what is the cause of your excitement? ,.Who are you?" demanded Mrs. Fountain. "I am MisS Bray." "\Veil, whoever you arc, ;r.ou are telling me a falsehood." "Madame, bow dare you? "You schemer, tell me where you got that picture." "I tell you, madame, that I painted it." "Where did you meet the subject?" "I am not bound to tell you, 'madame; and you will excuse me. I will go away. I do not understand your conduct. I fear you arc crazy, ma.dame." "I am not cr:i.zy, and you will not away. Answer me: did you faint that portrait?" did." "From life?" "(',ertainly." "And when?" "Within the last month." The excitement of Mrs. Fountain was simply terrible to witness. "You lie!" she exclaimed. "Madame, what do mean?" "Dare ynu repeat that you painted that picture from life and within a month?" t( Yes." And you want to sell that Jiicture ?" "l do.1 "I will pay you one thousand do!Tars for that picture if you will tell me where you snw the original." "I will tell you nothin7 more than I have already tqld you, madame. I will go away.' The mademoiselle rose to go, when Mrs. Fountain, in a commanding tone, said: You shall not go n way just yet." "I will not remain unless you are less violent and explain your excitement at the mere sight of a picture." "You sa.v you painted that picture within a month and from life," said Mrs. Fountain. "That is a portrait of my brother, and J1e bas been dead over a year Dare you say now that you have not lied to me? Do you wonder at my excitement?" You are mistaken, madame." "In what way?" "This can not be a portrait of your brother; and certainly not if your brother has been dead a year, for the original of this picture is Jiving now.", The excitement of l\Irs. Fountain became so great that she almost fainted, and she cried in tones of agit1ition: "You lie, and you know you he! And now tell me where you got that picture and why you came here with it. Do you hear? Answer me at once!" "Madame,you are crazy. I will go away. I will no longer listen to your jusults. I came here to sell you a picture, not to be insulted." "No; you came here to insult me. 'Vbo are you, anyway?" "I told you my name was Miss Bray." "It is false; you nre uot telling me the truth." the mademoiselle rose from her seat as though to go. "tsi't down!" commanded :Mrs. Fountain. "No, m1idame; I shall go." The mademoiselle stepped toward the door, when }!;;.-Fountain drew her pistol Rnd exclaimed: "Sit down, you thief, or I will she>Gt yon! The mademoiselle recoiled in seeming terror. Jlladame, I shall scream for nssistnnce." "Do so. Bring the police here. I want a policeman. I will give you in charge. You are a thief! That picture was stolen from this house. I l1ave offered a large reward for it. You dare come here and claim you painted it from life when I ci>n prove the picture belongs to me and that the original is dead! And now what have you to say? Scream for the polrcc if you wish to; it's a policeman 1 want." It was a sudden inspiration thnt bad come to Mrs. Fountjlin. She had used the word "thief" without consideration; but the in stant the word escaped her lips an idea came to her and, as she was a bright woman, she acted on her idea at once. Madame," said Mademoiselle Lucie, you are laboring under a great mistake." Let me tell you one thing: yow will prove what you assert, or you will go to prison. You will explain how that picture came in to your possession, or you will be arrested at once." "You say that picture is a portrait of your brother?" "I do." "And you say your brother ls dead?" Yes; he bas been dead over a year." You say the -picture was stolen?" "Yes." "Under hat circumstances?" A woman came here and cut it out of its frame. That may be only a copy of the original, but the original was stolen. Now will you please account for your possessi<11 of the portrait?" "I have told you l paint(;ld the pict'ure." From another portrait?" "No." "From life?" "Yes." "You ,l?Crsist in that declaration?" "I do.' "Will you give me your address?" "No.'' "Why not?" "After your ridiculous charges, I will not." Mrs. Fountain summoned her servant and said to him: Send for an officer." CHAPnm xv. TIIE mademoiselle saw that the situation was becoming rather awk)Vard, and she was quick to reaijze that she bad plt1ced harself in a perilous position. She was confronted by a contingency she had not anticipated. "Madame," she said, "I trust you will rec.'111 that order." "1\'nit, John!" called Mrs. Fountain. "No'\!., miss, what have you to s11y?" she added. "I can onlv repeat, madame, that you are laboring under a grest mistake." At that instant there came a ring at the door bell, and a gee.tle man was shown into the reception-room across the hall. Mrs. Fountain went and spoke a few words to hc1 servant, and' the mademoiselle really became very un6a.!'Y She could defend herself undermost circumstances; but agamst a charge of ha\ing stolen property in hflr-'p08sesslou, that was anotaer matter. She saw the disadvantage of her position. Mrs. Fountain Wl\S a wealthy woman. It was not known what her real character-was. Ilefore the community she was n person of the highest respectability. Theo mademoiselle fully realized that Mrs. Fountain'i;i claim that the picture had been stolen would be readily believed. lt was also gen erally known that Haymond Tift was dead. His death had been legally established. The mademoiselle was, indeed, in a bad fix. Mrs. Fountain, toO', realized her advantage. Her excitement had abated and she became cool and confrclent. I have been a fool," the mademoiselle muttered. "I did not look on both sides of my scheme; I did not consider all the possi bilities." Mrs. Fountain returned to the room after a moment and said: "I am very sorry for you, miss. It possible you are inno cent of any wrong-doing in this affair, and I would be willing t<> believe it, were it not for one preposterous claim --you have made. You have declared that you p!linted that picture from )jfe. In your desire to sell it you ma;r have told a fib. I do not think now you will persist in your. claim." I dcl, nevertheless, madame "Then I tell you that you arc tlie most consummate falsifier r ever listened to. I tell you that it is iin'possible you can be telling the truth." "I am, madame.'' "And you don11t my declnrations?" ' No, madame, I do not." "Then how do you reco ncile our two statements?" "I can suggest but one solution." "And what is that? '"A case of startling resemblance.'' "If it is a case of startling resemblance, can you throw any light. upon the mystery?" "I think I can.'' The mademoiselle blindly reSolved to make up a tale. She just stepped off in the dark, so to speak, little the singular exposition that wall to follow. ."If you can throw any light on the matter it is your dutr to do so; and, what is more, your safety requires it. You must give sat isfactory proofs of your claim or go to jail. I claim the portrait was Si<>lcn. My duty will compel me to have you arrested. You are the party found in possession of the stolen property." "It is a strange story, madame." "Tell it, no matter how strange it is." "I am a professional portrait painter, madame, and I can prove my standiog by my customers in this city-many well-known people." f1i111 It is fortunate for you that yon can do so." A$ the mademoiselle proceeded the little narrative she ha.d con cocte:l grew in her mind. "Yes, madame." she repented, "I can prove tluit I am an honest person, and a profes$ional portrait painter. l tell you this in ordc1to prepare you for the really strange Rnd romantic story I am about to relate in explanation of my possession of this picture. I will say, to begin wifl1, that you are right in one respect; that painting copierl from a portrait "Ahal So you admit that?" ''Yes, madame; but a copy of a portrait I painted from life." "Oh, you still persist in that statement?" "I do. Rememller, madame, I can nro e my professional standing.'' "Very well. Proceed with your story." "One day a young lady called to see me. She was a very beau tiful young lady, but she had a sad and told me a very sad tale." Mrs. Fountain was all interest at once, and she asked "Who was the young lady?" "It does not matter, mndame." "Please describe the lady." "No, madame; I do not wish to get her into trouble.'' "What trouble can you get her into?" "Strange things have already in connection with her,. madame. Indeed, I may say her remarkable story has been con firmed in a most positive manner." Mrs. Fountain betrayed considerab le anxict.y, aurl dE>,scribcd the appearance of Agnes Tift, and asked Mademoiselle Lucie if the de scriptlon fitted J1er visitor. "I decline to answer your question," said the madem<'.Jisclle. "Ab, I see! But your refusal to answer it confirms my suspl clon. Go on with y!'ur story.'' 1

PAGE 18

18 MADEMOISELLE LUCIE. "I think I will say nothing 'further at madame. You will permit me to go. I will see you later.' "You can not put me off in tins way, miss. You have explained as yet, and you shall not go You must account for the possession of that picture or go to jail. I certainly will haVll you &rested unless your explanation is satisfactory. I have an officer .ai hand." Mademoiselle Lucie had seen the 1J1an admitted to the house. She did not believe i't was an officer; but she knew that under any circumstances she was really in great peril. "Come," said Mrs. tountain; "I insist upon hearing your story." "This young lady came to me and she told me a sad tale, as I said before. She said she had been married to a wealthy young man, that her husband had disappeared, and that it was made to appear that he was dead. She said that one night she had a dream -a very Ylvid dream-and in her dream she saw her husband, and he was calling upon her to come to his aid." Mrs. Fountain was visibly excited, and she exclaimed in a husky voice: "How ridiculous!" "It may appear so to you, madame; but me out." 00o on." \ "The beautiful young lady told me the dream made n deep im pressi on upon her mind_. and that upon the following night she had a second dream. In tlus dream she saw her husband and he spoke to he1-. He told her that he was not dead, but that he was a pris oner, and-" Mrs Fountain fell off her chair in a 'faint. The mademoiselle thou.,.ht it a good chance to get away; but a man stood i n the door way. 0 Mrs. Fountain soou revived, and the inan A servant soon after entered the room with a glass of wi-ue for his mis tress. She looked around wildly and exclaimed: "What has b'hppened ?" "You were overcome, madame. Shall I send this woman away? She seems to have annoyed you." "Woman? Oh, yes: I remember! No, John; leave the room. I have business with this woman." '!'urning to Mademoiselle Lucie she said: "I am subject to fainting spells. I remember you were telling me about a dream. Proceed with your story." "Madame, you are not well. Had I not better wait until some -Other time?" "Proceed, I say." The mademoiselle was perfectly willing to proceed. She had stumbled upon a great clew. She saw her advantage Bad felt that ii wRS her play to press it. She knew now the direction her narra tive ought to take "The second dream the yonng lady bad," resumed the mademoi -selle, "as I said before, was even more vivid than the first one. Yes, her husband spoke to her and Implored her to hasten to his rescue. Ho said he was confined in a lunatic asylum." Mrs Fountain's face was a study. It seemed as though a second time she would fall over in a f.aint; but she controlled herself by a grent effort. The mademoiselle was observing her closely, and had .
PAGE 19

MADEMOISELLE LUCIE. "I must move quickly now," she muttered. The mademoiselle soon reached her home. She found Agnes awaiting her, and she said: "My child, pack a few things quickly. We must move aw!\Y .from here temporarily." -"What has occurred?" I will tell you later on." The mademoiselle quickly changed her attire, changed her whole -appeamn ce, and hurriedly left the room, saying: I will return within half an hour. Be ready to go with me." Within half an hour the mademoiselle returned, and a cry of con sternation escaped her lips as she entered the room. Agnes packed the few things had been ordered to get together and stood by n table looking nt the portrait of Unymond Tift, which .Mademoiselle Lucie had laid there when she first came in. She ;was intently at the picture, when suddenly she was seized from behind, hanncuffs were placed upon her wrists nnd she was 100. from the room without a word having been spoli.en. She was so taken a b ack that she had not the strength to ask why the outrage was committed, no strength to protest, and she walked down the tl\i.rs in a sort of dazed condition. She was led along a few step s when her strength returned She was about to ask a question, wh e n a carriage drew up at the curb and she was forced into it. The drh-er then received his brders .and lie drove !\way . After a short drive the carriage came to a bait, Agnes was bun. died ou t, and the poor, distracted girl found herself in the station lious e. A few guestio!ls were asked, but no attention was paid to her a ns wers, and she was hustled down stnirs and put in a cell, and there left to meditate in anguish and surprise. Our r e aders will remember that Mademoiselle Lucie suddenly went thro ugh some mysterious operation thnt had caused tht'l de tective who had arrested her to fall forward, seemingly unconscious. The woman then ran from th e room and hastened to her residence. The det e ctive in the meantime had recovered. ran from the room, and, by accident, got on the track of the mademoiselle He trailed her to the house, and then, thinking he had her all right, went to telephone a confederate. While thus engaged, the made moiselle, !IS our readers know, left the house; and while she was away the detective returned to the house, located her rooms, entered them, and beheld Agnes studying the portrait. He knew that the mademoiselle had been under a disguise, and he concluded that Agnes was the right person and arrested her wltl.lout asking a question or making a remark. The mademoiselle returned, as "has been stated, and tittered a cry of alarm upon entering her rooms. She saw that Agnes was gone; al8o the portrait. She made up her mind the girl had fied. She .did not for one moment dream of the real fact as it had occurred. "I must find her the first thing I do," she muttered. She immediately locked her rooms and went to the elevator man. He had not seen a lady descend; indeed, he had not seen anyfne. It was not strange. The detective had used the stairs instead o the &eva,tor, for reasons best known to himself. The mademoiselle went to the street. She made inquiries in every direction, but could get no clew; and finally she returned to her room, muttering: "How could she do it when all was working so well?" She threw herself into a chair, when suddenly her eye fell upon :1\ foot-print on the ftoor. She"
PAGE 20

,. .. 20 Indeed, I am satisfied she is the real thief; but we have not the evi dence aga,lnst her, unless we se the same evidence that would con vict the other woman." There came a far-away look to the officer s eyes, and in a low tone he said: What is behind all this, mada.n;ie? I fear you are not making a full confidant of me." It Is a robbery scheme, that's all." "I will speak frnnl.dy, madame. I can not 'be I\ tool of; but yo.u may enlist my services in legitimate-detective work. The prisoner is a beautiful woman, and looks Innocent. The other woman-if there is another-is a very remarkable person 'Vhy should these two women stea l a portrait and then bring that portrait to you and offer it for sale? Can you not see, madame, that all this looks very strange?" At some futur.e time I will make a full explanation.'' "It may be too late at some future time, madame. Matters may go too far." You know me by reputation, and you know my husband well, do you not?" "l do." "Then why can you not accept my statement thati: am in the ri..ght? are reasons why I do not wis h to make an explanation a.{ present. I will pay you a large sum of money to dq as I wish without 'aSking questions 1 "I can not work in the dark." I "Then I shall have to secure the senices of another detective.'' "You can; but he will have to commence where I did. " What do you mean?" "I will release this girl uq,less I know why she is held." The officer spoke in a firm tone. "I should like to have a few moments' talk with the prisoner in private, if you will be so kind as to step out of hearing," said Mrs. Fountain. ''Very well, madame." The officer walked away, and Mrs. Fountain who was still veiled; went to the cell in which Agnes was incarcerated and sa id : "I am very sorry for you, mi ss." Agnes recognized the.. voice, notwithst a nding Mrs. Fountain's at tempt t-0 disguise it. She made no answer. "On what charge were you arrested?" Agnes made no answer. "l may he able to assist you if you will answer my questions." Agnes still maintained silence. !' "It will be to your interest to confid e in me, miss." There came no answer, and meantime an ide a had entered "Mrs. Fountain's head. She saw a chance to strike a telling lllow toward the accomplishment of her designs, and she walked to where the officer stood at the end of the.corridor and said to him : Come with me." "One moment, mad1tme. I think it i s my duty to rel ease that lady. You have admitted she is the-wrong person." "Will yon wait until I have consulted with my husband? "Yes, I will do that."' "Then come with me." 'l'bey left the station..i1011se and were driven to Mrs. Fountain s home, and when they arrived there she said: "wm you let matters stand, and come here in three liour s?" ":Madame, unders tand that I will s tand for no scheme "Dare you suggest such a thing as a sc heme, sir? I. wish to con sult mv l11>wyer. I dare not act save under advice. You have made the consultation necessary I know this woma11 is the real thief ; but( we have not the necessary evidence to convict her; and I wish to learn what can be done." The woman's statement seemed reasonable, and the detective said: "Very well; I will call here in three hours The detective was satisfied that there was something shady about the affair, and he determined t-0 have a talk with the prisoner. He had ample time to do so within the three hours at his disposal, an,d he went directly to the station ltouse. After the detective's departure Mrs. Fountain dispatched a mes senger for Mr. Haas. The lawyer happened t-0 be in, and he at once went to Mrs. Fountain's home. He found her laboring under great excitement. She explained the situation to him, and he said: "I hardly know what t-0 advise off-hand," said the lawyer "The mixing-up of the detective in this affajr.complicates matters." "Something must btl done. We need not mind tire detective." "You are mistnken. He is an honest 1m111, and one of the shrewdest men on the force, and be can not lie ignored It is evi dent that he already suspects something wrong. He will get at the bottom of i"t. Madame, the affair has takan a serious turn." 8Pmething can be done, surely." ! "Then it must be done without the cooperation of the detective." "We can use him and be not know it." "You do not know the man!" exclaimed the lawyer "Mr. Haas, we must get possession of that woman." "Yes; it would be a great thing if we could." "Now, I have a plan," said Mrs. Fountain; and she unfolded a bold scheme. The plan she proposed was certainly a well devised one. She suggested that she tell the detective {bat she had concluded to have the prisoner released, and she added: "It will be evening before she is set free. We can 11ave men and a carriage at hand. We can bring her here." The lawyer sat for some time lost in thought, but at length be said: "It might be done; but it is a very risky undertaking because of the advent of the detective in th!) case." When be releases tbe girl he is out of the case." "That may be ; but he may secretly watch our movements." "We will take the chance. Will you go and make the necessary arrangementsY" CE. "I am ubject to your orders; but I warn you.that your action fa contrary to my advice." "I will assume all the responsibilitv." The lawyer departed to make his arrangements, after having learned all the necessary facts for the carrying out of the scheme. While Mrs. was .perfecting her plans, tbe detective pro ceeded to the station-house. He descended t-0 the cell where Agnes. was confined. He said: "Miss, I wish to have a talk with you." Agnes made no answer. There is a possibility that your arrest was a mistake. I can establish it if you will answer me a few questions." Agnes maintained silence, and the detective tried in several ways tp induce her to speak, but failed, and finally he said: I'll) sorry you refuse to talk with me. I might prove your friend." "We will here state that Agnes feared the detective. She kncw he had come there,in company with her most Litter enemy. She did not know but he might be an accomplice. She wa.9 determined to maii1tain silence The detective had a long talk with the sergeant in charge at the station-house and s.1.id: _. "I fe:ir a mistake has been made. You have made no report of this arresi?'' "No.'' "I will get an order and have it ready for the girl's reiease in case it develops that we have locked up the wrong person." When the detective appeared at Mrs. Fountain's house he had the nec essa ry paper for the release of the prisoner "Well, madame," he said, "what hav!! you decided to do?" "I am fully satisfied thnt the prisoner i s guUty; but we lack the evigence, and my lawyer advises that we release her." "What won Id be her object in stealing a portrait and then com ing to you with it and offering it for sale?" "My lawyer \Qinks 'it was all part of a plan to perpetrate another robbery. When the woman came here I sent for vou as the best: thing to do. The one against whom we have the eiideuco appears to have escaped. We will await further developments. I am actin9, under the advice of my counsel. The woman's story appeared re aso nable enoug h To the detr ct iv e 11-Ir& Fountain was known only as a lady of the higl1est stand ing, and there see med to be nothing oiU sp ici o us In ending the affair as she suggested, and he said: -"Very well, mad anlc. 'I will r e l ease the g irl." "Do just you choose. The,,mistakc was not mine.", "How about the other woman f' r, My counsel will t a k e charge of the matter, sir." "Then you will no longer need my services?" "' "No, sir ; my lawy e r will take enti re charge of the case." The detective went a"\Vay; but he was a very thoughtful man. He was an experie nced man and he wns satisfied that there was some thiag more in the affair than appeared on the s urface. "If I could only get the girl t-0 talk!" he muttered, as he proceeded toward the st.ation-house. I When th e detective arrh'ed at the s tation-house he produced his order, and Agnes wn s brought upstairs and informed that she wa s free. Without a word s h e hurried out into the tlight, for evening had set ill', n nd a drizzling r a in wa s falling. She had proceeded but a f-ew when the detective accosted her. He said: Miss, now that yot! are free, you are entitled t-0 an explanation as t,Q the cause of you arrest." Agnes made no answer. "Do you not want to know why you were arrested?" Agnes still remained silent. Your conduct is very strange, miss. I desire to set myself right In this mntter. Why do you not answer my questionsY" Agnes walked on without having said a word. The detective wa s bnfficd; but he determined upon a new plan. He walked slowly and soon fell some distance t-0 the rear of Agnes. Suddenly a man rushed up to him and said: Are you an officer?" ''lam." "There is a lady around the corner who wishes to talk with you." "Who is the lady?" "You will recognize her She a long, dark cloak. She wishes to speak to you at once on business of importance The thought flashed through the detective s mind that It was the woman he had originally started out t-0 arrest. He walked back, Aurned the corner, and looked around in cvcrx_ direction, but did: not see the larly in thMong cloak. He waited a few moments; but, no such person put i6 an appearance. "This is a trick," be muttered. "I've been fooled!" CHAPTER XVIII. THE little incident that bad occurred aroused a great many snspi cions in the detective's mind. He poncluded that it Wlll}ll trick to draw him off the trail a.f the girl whom he had just re)eascd. The question was, in whose interest was the tricJ;: perpetrated ? His first idea was that some confederate o(the lady fie had arrested and released was at the bottom of it, and he muttered: "It's all right I'll knoW' what nll this means Jerry Mack was not at the time attached to the regular force He had been a detective, but ha.d resigned, and had started as a privaU\ detective. It was for a private detective that Mrs Fountain had sent, and her reasons were good for doing so at the time. Jerry walked along lost in dcei:r thought, and he walked towl\fd the flat house where l\fademoiselfe Lucie and lodged, and as he sauntered along he muttered: "I will lay low and get the right one. She will be more likely to. 4 r \

PAGE 21

\ MADEMOISELLE LUCIE. 21 talk. There is something under the surface here. It doesn't show up yet; but I'll know what it means." The detective renched the house. H e lay around for awhile, and 1inally he saw a woman enter the house. He followed her. As the reader will remember, the mademoiselle, after her inter view with Agnes at tlie station-house, Jiad gone away, saying she would watch the girl every minute; and she did lie in wait for a Jong time 8he saw the detective go in anc\ talk to Agnes. She WllS at hand, and overheard his talk. and witnessed bow faithfully the lovely girl obeyed instructions She left the station-house ag;iiin to await developments, and then determined to go to her rooms and secure a certaiu document. She then returnefi>to the station-house, only to learn that Agues had been released 'fhe mademoiselle had expected tltis re s ult, and she had been pre pared for a certain little game, and the moment she learned tllat Ae:nes had been release!! she b ecame anxious and hastily_ returned to her apartment. It wns on her return that the detective followed her. The mademoiselle ascended to her room, opened the door, and entered; and as she turned up.. the gas there came aglitter to her wonderful eyes as she muttered: ''l was a fool; but it's all right. Matters are running directly toward a remarkable denouement; but I must be moviiig_ My first i suspicions were correct. The d e t ec tive has been fooled, I think; but I know where A.gnes is, and I will make Rome howl soon, and-" There came a rap at the do o r. -;, Come in,'.' suid tho mt\demoiselle. The door opened and Jerry Mack stood on the threshold. The madenroiselle betray e d no surprise on beholding the dete ct ive She was prep11red for any devc1opmebt the case might assume -and felt herself equal to any e mergency. "Sit down," said the mad e moiselle; and she closed the door. The detective eyed the woman a moment, and then said: "That was u. nice trick you played on me." The mademoiselle laughed heartily, which somewhat disconcerte!l the detective. "Then you recogniz e me?" 'Certainly I do . And, madame, I nm here to aR'est you." "I should think onii arrest a day was enough for you." That arrest was a mi s take. I thought I had arrested you." "You would have had your trouble for nothing if you had arrest -ed me." "How so?" "I can give a satisfactory account of myself without any trouble. Oh, no, I do -not fear 1u-restl" "If you do not fear arrest, why did you take the means you did to escape arrest?" "l could not spare the time then." The detective was, in plain language, knoc ked end wise. He did not understand the wbmnn. The party I arrested has been re lensed." ''I know it. "Then she has returned here?" uNo." The fact that Agnes l1ad not returned to her home coi.firmed cer tain susfiicions that the detective entertained. The whole case in terested him very much, and after a moment he said: 'Ray, madame, let me into this business." What bu s iness, sir?" Tliere is a deep game going on." "Yo u appear to know nil about it." N"ot all about it; but I have my suspicions." "What do you suspect?" "I have a suspicion that Mrs. Fountain is nt the bottom of some S<.:heme." Aeain the mademoiselle lau ghed nncllsaid: "Your little trick won't work. Yon are losing time with me." "-It might be to your interes t to let me into this matt er, madame." "You really appear like u man who knows something. Why don't you open up? Why wast e time beating about the bush?" "I am not wasting time, said the detective. "I am trying to ilnd out the true inwardness of this case before I make any further .arrests." "I do not fear arrest, sir." "Well, explain why you do not." "Mrs. Fountain knows na well as I do that I did not steal thnt :portrait. She has no case against me at ull. Had you succeeded iu arresting me I would have become free in two hours. I could have freed the young lady whom you arrested had it become but I was almost certain she would not be held. Now I t-011 you, who probably kno"""s all about Mrs. l<'ountain 's schemes, thllt' I defy _you nil." "You will not defy me. J can &PCSk one word, miss, that will bring you square down." As the detecth:c uttered the se words he fixed his gray eyes flnsh ingly upon the mademoiselle, and there wa s a singular significance in his tones. The mndeuioiselle felt a tremor nt her heart. There ca.me over her a singular premonition that there was a deeper menn .ing in the detective 's words than she imagined. There followed a .moment' s silence. At lc>ngth .Terry l'rlnck said: "Madame, it will be for you if you change your tune." "You cnn not scare me by threats. I h..1ve nothing to fear I run not a thief. I have done no criminal net. I do not fear arrest. I have no use for you, and you had better go away, unles.s you wisl.J to arrest me "Oh, I do not wi s h to arrest you!" I "Tl.Jen why do you linger I've an idea. It has come over me th 11t you and I should be friends. There is bu t one woman in the world df your stamp; at j least, I never met one like you; and, I repeat. you and I should be I friends." 'Why you and I he friencts' " I think I cna be of serv ice to you. "In what direction?" "Where is the young lady whom I arrested?" "Do you know where she is?" "I have an i to unmask?" I've an idea th e re is." "You are a detective; why don't you run the thing down." "Thnt's what I'm doing. I nm going to get all the Information from you." "I hnve no information to impart." ''1.f that is the grpund you take, I think I will obey your com mand and go away It is plain you h ave no use for me. You S11id so, and I see you mean it; but the day may come when you will re gret you did not open up. You will find me a good man and a true friend." "But you are the friend of Mrs Fountaii::." I have told you I was not." 'And do you think I belie you know nothing about her game?" "I kn o w nothing about her game." "Didn't Ilnas let you into the scheme?" "\Vho is Haas?" "You do not know him ? "l never met him; or, rather, I know of a lawyer named Haas. I've no personal acquaiutnnce with him." "And he did not bring you and Mrs. Fountain togetherf" "Ile did not.. I told you how I chanced to be in Mrs. Fountain's hou se." Will you come hero in about an hour?" And find you gone?" "No; I've no need to run away now. Matters have taken n dif ferent tnr.n from what I expected. It may now be an open warfare." "Very well," snhl the dctectil e; "I will go, us you desire, and return in about an hour." CHAPTER XlX. IN about nn hour the detective returned. He found the made moi s elle awaiting him, and her manner wns very cordial; and we will here betray the fact that the mndemoiselle had been making in quiries concerning the detective 's character, and she had learnetl that he was a strnightforward, honorable man. He bad come down from the interior of the State, hnd been appointed to the police force when a very youn!! man, bar! risen in the service, and had been pro moted to the position of a 1letective. He had done good work in that position; but sho rtly after the death of his young and beautiful wife, whom he had met and married under very romantic circum stances, he had resigned and started as a private detective. The detective hncl suspecte
PAGE 22

22 MADEMOISELLE LUCIE. though I do not really need the services of an aid still I am willing to permit you to a s sist me if you choo se. You are a good f e llow, I reckon and you may make some mon e y. "I would be very glad to make some money hon e stly, for I have not succeeded in accumulating any ver y great sum ; but I've a li t tle." The mademoiselle proceeded and op e ned up the whole Founta in business to her n e w fri e nd. He li s tened to her narrative wi t h the deepest attention and when she liad concluded he said: "You are a remarkably bright woman ; and I will now tell you I never did have much of an opinion of that man Andrew Fountain." "You know him?" "Yes, I know S O!Jlething of him ; and he i s a very bad m a n, ca pable, ih my opinion, of committing almost any c rim e to ob t a in m o ney He i s the most invetera te and reckless g a mbler in N e w York and on account of hi s r e ckle ss n e ss an a lmo s t continu ous l ose r; in fact h e s eems to enjoy lo sing. A r ec kl ess life appea r s to p l e a se him He is a handsome fell o w, and hi s wife adores him a n d lit tle dreams h o w littl e he ca r es for her; but, a ccording to you r na r r ative, s he is a s l a ckin g in principl e is." "She is, no doubt influ e nce d by h e r husband; but sh e ca n no t be a wt>ma n o f as s ured principl e s -"No; and no w wh a t is your c o nclu s ion as concern s youn g Tift?" "I do not believe h e i s d ea d. "I do," cam e the d epress ing answer. The m a d e m o isell e c a ll e d attention to several point s in her narr a tive, a nd the d e t e ctive s a id: "I r e cognize all this; but you must remember that the se seemin g betrayals mean nothin g They can be accounted for on the theory that his de ath was foul in some way; that these people a r e re s pon s1 ble for his taking off, and so me one h o ld s the c riminal kn o wl e dg e of the de e d In my mind there is no doubt of hi s de a th." "I differ with y ou and in the e nd I will pro v e that b e Jives. "I trust y q u m ay. But now, h ow about hi s widow ?" "I belie ve sh e is in the cu s tod y of the F ounta ins. "What' s mak e s you think so? "The y h a v e bee n try ing to gain po s se ss ion of h e r pers on and a l s o h e r marri a ge certificate 'Has s he the certificate in her po sse s s ion?" "Oh, no! I have possessi on of i t." "Do you think the y will do h e r any h arm?" "No. They know an aveng e r is on th eir track. They will try to keep her out of the way, that's a ll My id ea i s t o l e ave h e r in their possession is the h o pe that it may help me to trac e th e where abouts of Raymond Tift." "You still cling to the idea that R aymond Tift i s aliv e ? ''I do. Now, I have be e n perfectly frank witl\ you You know something about me : You mentioned my real name How d i d you come to identify me?" The detective meditated a moment and the n said: "About six months a g o I arrested a man-a. Frenchman. He was very anxious to escape, and h e told me a strang e s t ory. He said the re was a woman in New York who would pay me many thousands of doll a rs for his release. I him about the woman, and he told me that he had the proofs which would put her in poss ession of a large fortune." The mg. demoi s elle turned pale, and asked, eagerly: Where is the man? ''He was convicted, but in some w a y escaped afte r his conviction I do not know where he is now, but it i s po s sibl e I could find l!im." "But how did he g ive you the points th a t enabl e d y o u to id e ntify me? This man has not seen me s in c e I was a mere child "He met a man who told him a ll about you-describe d _your appeamnce and told him y our mi ss ion." "Told him it w a s my mi s si o n to find him ?" "Yes." "And why did h e not fin d m e?" "Ile h a d bee n sea r c hin g f or y o u bu t had faile d in finding you. The points h e gave m e w e r e v ery slight as indicati o ns. I worked up a suppos iti o n, a nd, a s i t appea rs, I struc k it right. That is my r e vel a tion as fa r as it g oes "And y o u think y o u c a n find thi s man?" "It i s po ss ibl e tha t I can." If you will s ea r c h for him, I will atte nd to the affairs of Agnes Tift." "I can atte nd to the one a nd a id you in th e other No one mus t know of our a lli a n ce I will work with the otbei: p e ople, a nd thus be abl e t o secure v a luable p oints for y o u C o m e ; sh all w e work togeth er?'" "Yes." -"Ve ry goo d said the detective "Now we c a n ri ght down to business. Y o u sa id you be lieved th a t Agn es Tift w as in th e hands of h e r en e mi es How d o y o u s uppo s e th e y g o t posse s s i o n o f her? "They pl ay ed y o u," sa id the m a dem o i se lle. "The y a g r e ed wit h y ou to rel ease h e r a nd afte r you l e t h e r go free the y a bducted her ;!'hat i s my theory." The d e tectiv e p o nd e r e d a mom ent, and then said : "Yes you a r e 1ig h t; and I w as ca ll e d around the corner with a false me ssa ge, in ord e r to give the m a chance. They hoped to find the marri a ge c e rtific a t e on her p e rson. "That is it, undoubtedly." "I am afraid that, not findi.Pg the certificate on her person, they will make away with her, and thus render the certificate worthle ss said the detective. CHAPTER XX. !IADEMOISEJ,LE Lucrn, as it was afterward proved, was corr ect in lier theory as to what had become of th e beautifu l A g nes The Jatt4!r had beeif proceedi n g on lier way, when suddenly two men nc co s ted her. She was seized, and a hand was thrust over her mouth to prevent an outcry. A carriage was at hand, a n d she was li fted into it and driv e n r apidly away In Jess than twenty min u tes the carriag e stopped before the elegant.mansion of the Fountains The d oo r was opened, and Agnes w as borne into the house in an insen s ible condition. She was ca r ri e d to the fourth floor of the house and there bound and gagged and thrown on a bed The men who had performed the foul deed d escend e d and pas&ld from the h o use and Mr s Fountain, with a look of triumph upon h e r face p a ced the :floor of her room. twas near midnight when her hus band ret u rned home Sh e had been awaitin g hi s r e turn and had not visited her prisoner When her husband came she met him at the door of her r oom. She was greatly excited and Andrew Fountain asked: "Wha t has happened?" "We a rc s afe now 1 A g nes Tift i s in my possession. "That's g o od! H o w did you secure possession of her?" I h a d h e r abdu c t e d." )!rs F o un ta in th e n t o l d h e r hu s b a nd all thaf had oc c u rred. and whe n s h e h a d co n c l u d ed h e c::1;c laimed : And s h e i s here-under this ro o f ? " Ce rt a inly !" Y o u h a ve pl a y ed a bold game; but 11ave you calculated the ri s k s ? "Of cours e I h ave!" I think not It i s m o r e lik e l y t h a t you I.Jave in c r easeo y our. p e rils." How so?" R e m e mb e r ho w many p eo pl e a r c now in i ndirectl y o f y o11r sec r e t." "No on e is, sa v e t h ose wh o kn ew be fore." "The m e n wh o a h ducted tl.Je woman-" "They t hink she i m y s i s t er-my in sa n e sister Non sense! D o yo u s uppose yo u ca n fool men of t hat stripe? No, n o ; th ey a r e fully a ware tha t th ey a r e not employed only whe n the r e is c r oo k e d bu s in ess on h a nd H a v e you been to spea k w i th the w o m a n?"' N o; I for y o u to.r eturn." W e w ill vis it h e r S h e m a y h ave th e marriage C(!rtifica. te on her p e r son. Jf s h e h as, w e will secure it a nd J e t her go. T he ce rtifi ca t e o n ce in ou r p ossess ion, we n ee d n o t fear h e r. It i s that i nfer nal p ape r that i s a m e nac e t o us. W e mus t approa c h her i n a kind ly s pirit We m us t act on the th eo ry th a t she has been dece i v ed We will m a k e c oncessions to her, pre t e nd we are sorry that she has be e n vi c timiz e d and agree to p a y J 1 e r a large sum of m on e y and ship h e r aw ay forever Anyhow, lf w e can get the pape r a nd get her nwa y for only a few months, w e a r e all right, and n eed ne ver fear h e r more." "Andre w you a re a darling fellow You have opened up a clear oour se for us. You always wer e a bett e r pl!llln e r than I." W ell, we will now go to see h e r We must act to night. There is no time t o be Jos t And we mu s t man a ge thi s matter ourselves trust no o ne but ourselv e s my d ea r." "The girl i s bound and gag ge d." "Tha t ij unfortunate It will imbitt e r h er." "She i s a v e ry re so hite creatur e; as r es olute as sl1e i s beauti f ul The re c a me a sudden gleam t o Andre w Fountain's e y es. B e had never he a rd befor e that Agnes was so beauti fu l. "You sa y she is r e solute?" "Yes. "The re i s one thing we mus t not forg e t : there is some one workin h e r intere s t ; and we can n o t know how muc h infor matio n this p e rs o n poss e s ses." So mu c h th e greate r need o f dispos ing of the girl. "Yo u do n o t m ea n to do h e r n ny h a rm?" "No; but suppose we d!J. n o t find th e c ertific a te ? " T hen o f course, w e will h ave t o c h a nge our plans. She must. be go t out o f th e w ay "T!Je ce rtifi cate will s till be in e xi s t e n ce? "Yes; but it w ill be va lu e l ess with out the w o m a n who m i t repre sen ts as th e wife." "I d o not think w e w ill find th e ce rtifi cate in her p oss e ssio n." "If we do n o t find i t w e will know h o w t o net : b11t un der any cir c um s t a n ces yo n mu s t trea t h e r kin d ly a nd sympa theti ca lly.' A n d now co me; w e will go a nd s ee y our ca.pti v e ' 'Ve c a n n o t d esc rib e the emoti o n s of p oor Agne s as s he lay bo u n d a nd g agge d, o n th e b e d whe re s h e lm d heen pl ac ed. All hope had v anis h e d from h e r h ea r t S h e wa11 h e lpl ess, but fully co n scio us, a nd l ay th e r e in enfo r ced sile n ce when the do or o pen e d and Mrs. Fo11111ain ca m e t o the beds i de a nd s p ea kin g in a kindly tone, said : ".My poor d ea r I a m sorry d r c nm sta n ces h a v e n ecess i ta t ed such r o u g h "tr eat melJt ; hu t all can be nrra.ni;!ed, a nd y o u can be happier th a n eve r yo u w ere before i n a ll you r life 'Ve m a y com e t o a v e r y p l easan t u n d erstanding w it11 ea d1 otlle r Will y"ou pwmise m a k e a n o u tc r y if I r e l e a se yo u?" A g n es, wh o was suffe r i n g grea t ph ys i ca l di stress. m o ti on ed a s w ell as s h e cou l d, bou nd as s h e was, aftirrn a tiv e ly with h e r he a d Mrs. F ountain k new lier lm sh nncl w as a t h a nd S h e kn e w i f the p o9 r w ea k .girl atte mpte d to br ea k h e r w o rd th a t sh e c ould e as ily be secured again; n il(] sl1e r e m o v e d th e gag, unbo und her, a nd assisted h e r t o a sea t u po n a sofa. A g n es 'Yas v ery mu c h P.xb a u s t e d afte r h o r rough trea tm en t bu t sh e l oo ked ravi s hin gly bea utiful n nd ev e n Mrs Fountain w as com p elled to m a k e th e inv o luntary ejac ul atio n : How b ea utiful yo u are I w ond e r m y p o or brother c o u ld h a v e mad e a vi c tim of o n e s o be a utiful a nd innocent!" Agn e s mnrle no r e ply. Andre\v F o untain in the adj o i n ing room He w as peeping thro u g h n t t he l o vely girl, and as his eye s re s t e d upon h e r h e SllW th a t s h e w as indeed a mo s t beautiful girl: and on the instRnt the d a rk es t sc h e me aro 5 e in hi s mind, and, in his eagerness and su rp rise he muttered : ,, J

PAGE 23

MADEMOISELLE LUCIE. "What a beauty! She shall be mine!" In the meantime Mrs. Fountain was continuing her conversation with Agnes, but had not succeeded in getting the girl to say one word in reply to her questions. "My dear young girl," said Mrs. Fountain, pkrsuasively, "all you have misunderstood me. I desired to be your friend." With a smile of absolute contempt Agnes answered: .. r do not trust you." "How can ;you say so?" "If you are my friend why do you not restore my husband to me?" "My dear child, do you still indulge the delusion that Raymond Tift was your husband?" "He is my husband, and you know it." "Even if he were your husband, how can I restore him to you? I can not call back the dead." "My husband is not dead." child!" muttered Mrs. Fountain in a low tone, as though she were talking to herself. She is far gone under the influence of a powerful drug that had been administered to lier in the wine As we intimated, Andrew Fountain had fopned a plan in bis mind and lie determined to carry it out at once. His wife's eyes finally closed and she fell into a dee lumber. He raised her in bis arms and laid her upon the bed e stood over her for a moment, and then stole from the room locking the door and taking the key with him. He ascended the stairs and entered the room where Agnes sat awaiting the return of Mrs. Fountain. She started upon seeing a gentleman enter the room. She bad never seen Andrew Fountain. "Do not be afraid," said the man. "I am your friend. The girl gazed in amazement. I am here to resclle you from this house." The look of amazement deepened on the face of the lov ely captive. "I am a friend of this family. I occupy the adjoining room. I came in late, and overhearing voices, I listened. I bad previously overheard a conversation between Mrs Fountafo and her husband. I knew some wrong was being concocted. I have no particular love for these people. I am satisfied that some sclietlle is in prog ress; but I do not know what it is. Some day you can enlighten me. All I know now is that you are a captive and helpless and l offer you my services to take you from this house. I will take you wherever you desire to go 1 know you are in some sort of danger bere. As I said before 1 do not know the real nature of your peril,. but I do know you wish to escape, and I will aid you." Agnes was deceived. The man's statement appeared reasonable and she said: "If you will aid me to get away from this house you will do an act of great kindness." will aid you. You can rely upon me. You wait here in pa tience, and I will arrange to carry out my plans. In the meantime you can get yourself in readiness to leave. And do you know where you want to go?'' I do." "I will take you anywhere you wish. I will be back in a few moments. I want to learn the intentions of the enemy. The man smiled in a pleasant way as he uttered the last words and left the room He descended to the room below. His wife was sleeping. He carried out certain arrangements in the room He sought his wife 's maid We will not repeat wlmt passed be tween them, but it was evident that they understood each other perfectly Mr. Fountain then left the house He was gone but a short time and when he returned he to the room where he had left Agnes. He found the girl seated just where he had left her "Everything is all right now," he said. "Are you ready?" "l nm ready," she said. "Where do you want to go?" "Take me to my home, said Agnes: but she gave a wrong ad dress. The one she gave him, however, was within a few blocks of Mademoiselle Lucie's apartmeqt. The fact was Agnes had an II-defined suspicion of the man deep down in her heart which only asserted itself when she was about to give him her correct address. He led the girl from the house. A carriage stood awaiting them She stepped into it at his request. He closed the door to and the man drove off All the preparations the man l1ad made for removing her from the house bad been carried through with such evident deliberation that Agnes's suspicions that all was not right increased, and she. said: "It is strange those people permitted yon to bring me away." "They never would have permitted me to get you away; that you can rest assured of." Agnes had formed a resolution. She had made up her mind to escape from her seeming benefactor. She determined to test the man "You have been very kind," she said. "Don't mention it." If you will kindly stop the carriage now and let me i;:et out r would thank you very much. I can find my way from here without any trouble." You forget that it is after midnight." "It will be all right. I haven t far to go." "But you must not think of it." "You are not driving in the direction of my home." "Is that so?" said the man. Agnes saw that she was trapped, and made up her mind to scream for help ; but at that inst11.nt she fell back insensible When Agnes awoke fro m the stupor that had overcome her, she found herself in an elegantly furnished room and a woman stood over her "Where am I?" s he demanded, looking around wildly. "You are safe, my dear, and amonff friends." "It is false! I have been deceived!' "All will be explained. You have not been deceiv e d Come, now; you are safe. Compose yourself and go to sleep." A geater terror than any that ever had come to Agnes was pre sented at that moment. Slle would have screamed, but the woman seized her and said: 'You must not make any outcry If you do I will be compelled to prevent it." You t old me I was among friends." "You are: but your presence here must not be known You have enemies. You have been rescued from those enemies. They must not know of your whereabouts. If you scream you will im peril the life of one of the noblest men who ever lived-the man who dared everything to rescue you from your deadly foes." 'Vhere is that man?" "You will liim in the morning, and he will explain every thing to you. He is your friend, and he will see that all your wrongs ai;e righted. You are fortunate, in your condition, to have won such a friend." "''\Tho is this man?" "He ls a great detective He has learned something about you. He thinks a great wrong has been done you. and he has determined to become your champion. He is a wonderful man. You are fort unate in having such a friend "Why did he not keep the promise be made to me?"

PAGE 24

MADEMOISELLE LUCIE. What did be promise you?" "To restore me to my friends." I am not at lilierty to tell you all I know, miss. If I were, I would explain." "Please tell me," said Agnes, imploringly. "I w!ll not betray you." "The people whom you thin!\ your friends nre re1\lly your enemies. The delective who has become your friend knows all about jt. He is your true friend and he will see all your righted. He bad good reasons fqr seeming to deceive you, ancl when be .comes to Se{you tomorrow be will explain everything to your en tire satisfnctlon. Agnes did not know wbnt to suspect One thing was certain: 11he wa.g in this man's power, aml she could only patiently await de velopments. She was becoming quite experienced. Tlials came upon her so thick and fast that she was acquiring a wonderful nerve. Having disposed of his charge for the time being, Andrew Foun-. tain returned to his own house He had told the woman who ha
PAGE 25

MADEM an examination anrl prove the latter fact, or, at least fully satisfy himself nnd he said: "I will avail myself of your permission madame." When Mrs. Fountain had made the offer she did not believe the man would avail of it. She believed the very offer would be satisfactory to him. and she was angry when he said, I will avail myse lf of your permission." "It is an impertin e nce, she sa id ; "but I will submit to it." "Will you accompany me, madame?" "No, sir; you are at liberty to go where you choose. I will aw nit you here." The detective ascended the sta irs nnd, like a hound on the scent, lie went directly to the rear room on the fourth floor of the h o use, and the moment he entered the room he nttel'ed a grunt of satisfac tion Be commenced a thorough search of the room, and he found positive evidence-such evidence as only a mnn of his experience would seek; for he estnlilishetl the matter beyond all doubt in his mind, nod he formed a the o ry ns t o how the affair had l.ieen man aged; and his theory ns will he disc)oS<," me all that occurred last niglJt, and tell me the truth." A shndow overspread th e man's face. "You know what occurred. I told you all about it this morn ing." "Andrew Fountain, the story you told me this morning is a lie and you know it." The man's face flushed. Eis wife had never talked to him in that. way before; indeed, she had always been his willing slave. "What h&.S come over you, Jane?" Where did you take that woman?" "What woman?" "J\frs. Tift, my brother's wife "Great Scott! Janie, I do not understand you!" "Oh, yes, you do! Do not attempt to deceive me! You wretch, listen: I know all. Where Is that woman?" Andrew Fountain was taken nil aback; !mt be was determined t() face the matter out, and he said: "Jane, you are certainly crazy." I am not crazy, and you know It. Andrew, I Jove you, and I can stand almost anything from you. I have stood a great deal: I have stooped to all manner of wickedness to gratify your extrava gance; but there is one t.hing I can not stand I thought you loved me I am no weak woman; you know that; and the moment l doubt your love suspect you of unfaithfulness, that moment my love will turn to hate; and it will he a bitter day for you when I do.' "But, Jane, you are talking at random." ".Be careful, Andrew! An immediate confession may save you, and you may be able t" explain your conduct; but attempt to de ceive me, and I will find out the truth without your aid." "As you doubt me, as yon insult me by daring to doubt, all I can do, and still retain my self-respect, is to defy you, and tell you to go ahead." Mrs Fountain's face becnme livid with rnge. "Be careful, Andrew! Do you know what I will do if driven to. extremities?" "I do not Cllre what you do." "Then you nave censed to love me?" "You will teach me to do so if you keep on this way." "This is all evasion, Andrew." "We had better change the subject." "Where is that woman 1 If you do not tell me I will search for her myself." . ... .,,_

PAGE 26

"As you have a special interest in her, you had better do so." "I know how to find her." "''So much the better for you, I reckon." "''Yes; and the worse for you." I am not a party at'interest." Oh, yes, you are! And I will prove it by putting the police and the girrs friends on your tmck. Then she will be found." Andrew Fountain's face became livid; his coolness and indiffer ence deserted him He said: "This is becoming very serious, Jane. Will you tell me just what you mean?" "I have told you that I know all. You carried that woman off. Yes, you betrayed me. You gave me a drug to make me uncon scious. I remember all well enough. You asked me if I did not remember. I did remember; but 1 suspected you, and I was anxious to learn your scheme. I only pretended to be unconscious." 'I'he man knew that the !utter statement was not true. "'You accuse me of having drugged you. What could have been my purpose?" "Your purpose was betrayed by your acts!" exclaimed 1\'lrs. "You went to that woman and repre sented yourself as person-as lier friend-yes, her friend. You offered to res .cue her. She believed you, and you two left this house together Now, Andrew Fountain, answer me: where is the woman?" I know nothing about the woman If some one personated me, l can't help it." "Don't attempt to fool me with such a weak pretense. No, no, Andrew; you know better. I am aroused; and if you will not tell me where the woman is I shall make good my threat "You will have to do as you threaten. I have nothing more to say, madame." "Oh, it's 'madame' now to me and 'Agnes to the other woman! Well, we shall see!" Mrs. Fountain crossed the room and unlocked the door. Her face was purple as she exclaimed: "You can go! Never enter my presence again! From this time forth we are enemies!" 'l' he woman looked like a female fiend. The man was scared. "Oh, Jane!" he cried; "Jane, my love. you are beside yourself! I will not go. I am overcome by your mean suspicions. I love you too well to live I will kill myself!" "Do so, Andrew, and I will go in mourning for you. I will say you were not so bad, after all. Here is a weapon. Blow your brains out like a man. Prove your love. I will accept no other proof." The man trembled and exclaimed : "'Jane, my Jove, you are mad!" Oh, no; not mad; only a little nngry! When I get mad I will kill you; but I am only angry when I permit you to kill yourself. Yes, .act like a man!" "Give me the weapon." The woman coolly cocked the pistol and handed it to her hus !band. He took it and raised it to his head, placing the muzzle against his temple. "You are a good fellow, after all, 4ndrew. Good-bye, my love! Now fire!" The man did not pull the trigger. "Coward! If you have any manhood shoot yourself!" "Woman, yon are a devil! I will not kill myself for you!" The woman laughed hysterically and shouted: "No, you are not man enough! Well, then, go, leave my pres ence, you villain, and I will put a detective on your track!" Mrs. Fountain would have said more, but suddenly she fell insen sible to the floor. CHAPTER XXIV. ANDREW FOUNTAIN had encountered a new experience. He had -called his wife a devil but he was the real devil. A meaner wretch .never walked the face of the earth. He had been the in s tigator of his wife all along, but had been very careful to avoid implicating him :aelf in any way should there come au exposure. He was engaged in a criminal act behind a woman, and that woman his wife, and he was letting her take all the risks. When h.is-wife fell to the floor he went to summon her maid; but the maid could not be found. He found John, and the man told him the maid had left. "Did Mrs. Fountain discharge her?" "No, sir; she left." A light broke in upon Andrew Fountain's mind He saw that his wife had really suspected him and in some way she hall forced the maid to a confession. He quickly decided upon his course. He returned to his wife, and found her returning to conscjouHness. He raised her in his arms and kissed her tenderly again and again. She recovered full consciousness in his arms, and he said: "l\Iy poor d ear! My poor dear!" 1\'lrs. Fountain's rage seemed to have subsided. She really loved the man "You here yet?" she said, faintly. "Yes, my dear; and here I will remain. I did not realize that you were laboring under such a ridiculous misapprehension. I was -Offended. You know how sensitive I am. You came at me so roughly that I could not bring myself to make an explanation; but now I am ready to explain all." "Do so." "I did take the girl from the house, and in order to get her to leave quietly I made false statements. I have been aiding you when you c1id not know it. Aud now you shall know all. I am playing a deeper game than you. Several persons are onto our scheme: we are wittched at every turn. It was well known that the girl was brought to this house. A signal was given me that our residence was being watched. We could not have held the girl. I conceived an idea to fru8trate the plans of her friends I went to her and represented myself as a visitor in this house. I told her I knew she was a prisoner, and volunteered to aid her to escape. She had never seen me, and I had a good opportunity to work my scheme. I gained her confidence, and I helped her to es cape, under the promise that she would communicate with me after ward. I have carried out this scheme in your interest. "But it will be necessary now to change our tactics. The girl feels very grateful to me, and she looks upon me as her friend; in fact, she is prepared to make me her confidant. She thinks I am a detective, and she will place all her affairs in my hands. She will finally intrust the certificate to me, and when she learns that I have betrayed her I will only be compelled to bear her reproaches, that's all; but our success and your approval nnd love will enable me to bear it all." Mrs. Fountain looked at her husband approvingly. She was glad to listen to his explanation, and it appeared frank and reasonable; and if he were really telling her the truth, his scheme was indeed an inspiration. "Why did you try to deceive me, Andrew? Why did you not take me into your confidence?" "I feared you would not approve of my plan; I feared that I could not convince you it was the best one. J also dreaded your jealous l ove. But now that I have told you all I feel better, and hope you will approve of my little scheme." "I do approve of it, and I am sorry you did not take me into _.Your confidence at once." "Then you forgive me, J a ne?" "l do, 1\.ndrew But where did you take the girl?" "I merely took her to the street and let her go. It was the best way to gain her confidence. She is to meet me to-night You can be present at the meeting if you desire to do so, but she must not know you a re present. Indeed, you can be present at all our meet in gs. And now trust me, and I will not only get that certificate, but I will ge t rid of that woman." "Have you heard from her?" "Yes." "Where is the meeting to-night to take place?" "In Union Square." How is it possible for me to be present at the meeting without disclosing my identity?" "You can disguise yourself, a.nd I will l ead the girl to a seat, and you can be near by and overhear every word that passes." "Andrew, will you forgive me?" "Certainly, my dear! Your anger was justified, I know. before you h eard my explanation; and, indeed, I came here to explain all; but you went at me at such a rate that I foolishly became angry." "Andrew, I must say you have done well." "You will see in the end that I have done well. I will have that woman in my power and get that certificate before long, and then the fortune will be ours beyond dispute, and we can do as we please. We will go on a trip to Europe, and shake New York for a year or two, and enjoy ourselves and be at peace." The picture presented was a pleasant one to 1\'lrs. Fountain. 8he had longed to go across the Atlantic, but did not dare go while mat ters concerning the fortune were in such an unsettled state. And now, mr, dear, I will go and make arrangements for the meeting to night, said Andrew Fountain; and kissing bis wife af fectionately he took his departure. When left alone, 1\'lrs. Fountain sat for a long time thinking the whole matter over. She was only partially satisfied : Yet her hus band's explanation seemed reasonable. She determined upon a bold game, however. She was resolved to dispel any lingering doubts. When Andrew Fountain left his wife he went to make certain ar rangements. He was a cunning schemer, and he arranged for a very cunning little game. It was evening when he returned home, and he entered his wife's presence with a bright smile upon his face. "It's all working just right," he said; "and, my dear, I will never attempt to deceive you again. From this time out I will con sult you in everything. Read that!" and he handed her a note. 1\'lrs. Fountain took the note and read as follows: "DEAR Sm,-Be sure and meet me to-night; I am very grateful to you, and I have reason to believe that your intimations are cor rect. I do not believe that my supposed friends are my real friends I overheard a conversation which convinces me that they are merely u s ing me to serve their own purposes. I trust you, as you have given me positive proof of your disinterested friendship. I am watchetl. These people suspect something is wrong. They know th a t I had been waylaid and made a prisoner. They do not under stand how I escaped. "I told them a story. They pretend to believe it, and appear to be rejoiced; but I know they suspect something. They fear a com promise with the Fountain people. They are determined to pre vent it, however, as a compromise would leave them out in the cold. I never will compromise; but these people shall not grow rich at my expense. They are wablling me, so I will come disguised; and we must be very careful, as we do not know where they may be. "There is a man on the case who pretends to be my friend. He is, like yourself-or pretends to be-a detective. He talks very rea sonably; but I do not trust him. Strangely, I trust only you. I will be at the meeting-place on tim e Yours, AGNES. "P.8.-They arc suggesting that it is not safe for me to keep the certificate In my possession; but I will not surrender it. I am so glad I told you all the facts! A." 1\'lrs. Fountain read the letter twice. It was evidently written by a woman. "My dear, what do you think of that?" It looks as if your scheme was working all right." "I could tell you something if I did not fear I would offend you." J

PAGE 27

"You need not fear." "Is not this woman's sudden confidence in me very stranger' "Yes, it is." The husband smiled and asked: "'Is there not a possible explanation?" "What is it?" "I thought, as a woman, you would suspect it." "Do you mean she h!IS fallen in love with you?" "It looks that way, does It not?" "Yes; and it seems to please you!" "I am pleased for what I can make out of her infatuation, and :you know there is no danger. She has a husband." "Hush, Andrew!" "Well, that is between you and me." "But should that husband ever appear on the scene!" "He never will, my dear." "Andrew, he lives!" What nonsense!" Th.e woman spoke with singular earnestness. The man answered .vith careless indifference "If you really work this right, Andrew-" "You can trust me for that. I have taken the matter into my own bands now. All will go well after this m eeting to-night, and possibly to-night I may get the certificate. Once I get t hat the woman is in our power. \Ve will then make a compromise." "That would be nn admission, Andrew." ... You do not understand my plan." "'What is your plan?" The certificate once in our possession, we can then compel the -girl to sign a paper that would shield us against Raymond Tift; and for this paper we can give her 11 thousand or so and compel her to go away from New York forever. Yes, we can make her blast her reputation forever, so that, in the case of a certain contingency, even Raymond Tift would be glad to stand by the paper." "Andrew, you are a gen ius, although an evil genius," said the woman, with an approv ing smile. "We have fooled with this affair long enough, Jane. I intend now to settle it forever, and away we go to Europe." "And this woman meets you to-night?" 'Yes; and if she has that paper in her possession I will get her to consign it to me. Now, there is one thing, Jane, I want to speak to you about. During our meeting to-night I may be compelled to ]>erform a little." ''What do you mean?" "Make a little love to her-enco urage her fascination See?" That will not be pleasant to me, Andrew, and I do not see that It is necessary." "Her infatuation is our power, Jane; and through it yve are to win. I must certainly encourage it a little-just a little, you know -and it will be right under your own eyes, and you will fully un derstand it." "I cJon' know about that, Andrew. She is a very beautiful woman. You may burn your fingers." "Jane,'there are but two things I love or can love: you and mon ey. There is no danger. I simply play to win." The woman looked dubious. XXV. ANDREW FOUNTAIN'S arguments 'Were specious; but he had one fact in his favor: his wife loved him and desired to believe in him. They talked for some time longer, and later he went out. He had arrnnged certain with his wife; also the place where he was to meet her before he met the other woman. His wife W!\.S to be disguised. When all was complete he felt delighted, and when he reached the street he muttered: "What a fool she is after all! I will quiet her for the present. 1t may be that eternal quiet runy serve her as well in the end. Great Scotti if I can only win the love of Agnes all will be mine! She will be a beautiful wife, and as rich as Crresus; and there will be no dispute about the title to the fortune if it once becomes to my interest to establish her rights. Jane was never suited to me. She is too designing. I love sweet-tempered women; and women don't amount to much anyhow only as they contribute to man's happiness. For that they were created." It was after ten o'clock when Andrew Fountnin appeared in the vicinity of Union Square Park. He was walking leisurely through the park when he m e t a veiled lady. "I see you are on hand, ,Jane." "I am here, Andrew At what hour do you meet that woman?" .. I am expecting her every m oment." They turned away in different directions after these few words lind passed between theni. They had not even stopped in their walk, but had kept along side by side for a short distance only as though one pedestrian had overtaken another and had then slowly forged ahead. Mrs Fountain finally reached an
printinsert_linkshareget_appmore_horiz

Download Options [CUSTOM IMAGE]

close
Choose Size
Choose file type

Cite this item close

APA

Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.

MLA

Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.

CHICAGO

Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.

WIKIPEDIA

Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.