Part 1 out of 6
Transcribed by Sean Pobuda
THE PERILS OF PAULINE
By Charles Goddard
THE BREATH OF DEAD CENTURIES
In one of the stateliest mansions on the lower Hudson, near New York,
old Stanford Marvin, president of the Marvin Motors Company, dozed over
his papers, while Owen, his confidential secretary, eyed him across the
mahogany flat-topped desk. A soft purring sound floated in the open
window and half-roused the aged manufacturer. It came from one of his
own cars--six cylinders chanting in unison a litany of power to the
great modern god of gasoline.
These things had been in his mind since the motor industry started. He
had lived with them, wrestled with them during his meals and taken them
to his dreams at night. Now they formed a rhythm, and he heard them in
his brain just before the fainting spells, which had come so frequently
of late. He glanced at the secretary and noted Owen's gaze with
something of a start.
"What are you thinking about, Raymond?" he queried, with his customary
"Your health, sir," replied Owen, who, like all intelligent rascals,
never lied when the truth would do equally well. As a matter of fact,
Owen had wondered whether his employer would last a year or a month.
He much preferred a month, for there was reason to believe that the
Marvin will would contain a handsome bequest to "my faithful
"Oh, bosh!" said the old man. "You and Dr. Stevens would make a mummy
of me before I'm dead."
"That reminds me, sir," said Owen, smoothly, "that the International
Express Company has delivered a large crate addressed to you from
Cairo, Egypt. I presume it is the mummy you bought on your last trip.
Where shall I place it?"
Mr. Marvin's eye coursed around the walls of the handsome library,
which had been his office since the doctor had forbidden him to visit
his automobile works and steel-stamping mills.
"Take out that bust of Pallas Athene," he ordered, "and stand the mummy
up in its place."
Owen nodded, poised his pencil and prompted:
"You were just dictating about the new piston rings."
Mr. Marvin drew his hand across his eyes and looked out the window.
Within the range of his vision was one of the most charming sights in
the world--a handsome youth and a pretty girl, arrayed in white
flannels, playing tennis.
"Never mind the letters. Tell Harry and Pauline I wish to see them."
Alone, the old man opened a drawer and took a dose of medicine, then he
unfolded Dr. Stevens's letter and read its final paragraph, which
prescribed a change of climate, together with complete and permanent
rest or "I will not answer for the consequences."
There was little doubt that no primer mover in a great industry was
better able to leave its helm than Standford Marvin. His lieutenants
were able, efficient and contented. The factories would go of their
own momentum for a year or two at least, then his son, Harry, just out
of college, should be able, perhaps, to help. His lieutenants had
proved Marvin's unerring instinct in judging character. Not one single
case came to the old employer's mind of a man who had failed to turn
out exactly as he expected. Yet the most trusted man of all, Raymond
Owen, the secretary, was disloyal and dishonest.
This one exception was easily enough explained. When Owen came to
Marvin's attention, fifteen years before, he was a fine, honest,
faithful man. It was born and bred in him to be straight. During the
first five' or six years in the Marvin household the older man took
pains to keep watch on this quiet, tactful youth until he knew all his
ways and even his habits of thought. There was no doubt that Owen was
as upright and clean as the old man himself.
At the age of forty the devil entered into Owen. It came in the form
of insomnia. Loss of sleep will make any man irritable and
unreasonable, but hardly dishonest. With the sleeplessness, however,
came the temptation to take drugs. Owen shifted from one narcotic to
another, finally, settling down upon morphine. Five years of the
opiate had made him its slave. Every physician knows that morphine
fiends become dishonest.
The secretary had speculated with his modest savings and lost them. He
had borrowed and lost again, and now, for some time, had been betting
on horse races. This last had made him acquainted with a certain
Montgomery Hicks, who lived well without visible source of income.
Through Hicks, Owen had betrayed one of his employer's guarded
secrets. Hicks, armed with this secret, promptly changed from a
friendly creditor to a blackmailer.
Owen, on his way to summon Pauline and Harry, descended to the
basement, where the butler, gardener, and a colored man were uncrating
the Egyptian mummy. He told them to stand it in place of the bust of
Pallas Athene in the library, and then went out, crossing the splendid
lawns, and graveled roads to the tennis court. There was no design in
Owen's mind against the two players, but of late the instinct of both
the hunter and the hunted were showing in him, and it prompted him to
approach quietly and under cover. So he passed along the edge of a
hedge and stood a moment within earshot.
Pauline was about to "serve," but paused to look down at the loosened
laces of her small white shoe. She heard Harry's racquet drop and saw
him hurdle the net. In another instant he was at her feet tying the
"You needn't have done that, Harry," she said.
"Oh, no!" Harry affirmed, as he vainly tried to make his bow as trim
as its mate. "I suppose not. I don't suppose I need to, think, about
you all the time either, or follow you around till that new cocker
spaniel of yours thinks I'm part of your shadow. Perhaps I don't need
to love you."
"Harry, get up! Someone will see you and think you're proposing to
"Think? They ought to know I'm proposing. But, Pauline, talking about
'need,' there isn't any need of your being so pretty. Your eyes are
bigger and bluer than they really need to be. You could see just as
well if you didn't have such long, curly lashes, and there isn't any
real necessity for the way they group together in that starry effect,
like Nell Brinkley's girls. Is there any need of fifteen different
beautiful shades of light where the sun strikes your hair just back of
"Harry, stop this! The score is forty-fifteen."
"Yes, all these things are entirely unnecessary. I'm going to have old
Mother Nature indicted by the Grand jury for willful, wasteful, wanton
extravagance unless--unless--" Harry paused.
"Now, Harry, don't use up your whole vocabulary--promise what?"
"Promise to marry me at once."
"No, Harry, I can't do that--that is, right away. I must have time."
"Why time? Pauline, don't you love me?"
"Yes, I think I do love you, Harry, and you know there is nobody else
in the world."
"Then what do you want time for?"
"Why, to see life and to know what life really is."
"All right. Marry me, and I'll show you life. I'll lead you any kind
of a life you want."
"No, that won't do. As an old, settled-down, married woman I couldn't
really do what I want. I must see life in its great moments. I must
have thrills, adventures, see people, do daring things, watch battles.
It might be best for me even to see someone killed, if that were
possible. As I was telling Harley St. John last night--"
"Harley St. John? Well, if I catch that fop taking you motoring again
you'll get your wish and see a real nice aristocratic murder. He ought
to be put out of his misery, anyway; but where did you get all these
sudden notions about wild and strenuous life?"
Pauline did not answer. They both heard a discreet cough, and Owen
rounded the corner of the hedge. He delivered his message, and the
three walked slowly toward the house.
Advancing to meet them came a dashy checked suit. Above it was a large
Panama hat with a gaudy ribbon. A red necktie was also visible, even
at a considerable distance. Between the hat and the necktie a face
several degrees darker in color than the tie came into view as the
distance lessened. It was Mr. Montgomery Hicks, whose first name was
usually pronounced "Mugumry" and thence degenerated into "Mug." Mug's
inflamed and scowling face and bulging eyes usually conveyed the
general impression that he was about to burst into profanity--a
conjecture which frequently proved correct. In this case he merely
remarked in a sort of "newsboy" voice:
"Mr. Raymond Owen, I believe?"
The secretary's sallow face flushed a little as he stepped aside and
let Harry and Pauline pass out of earshot.
"See here, Mug," complained Owen, "I haven't a cent for you. You will
get me discharged if you come around here like this."
"Well, I'll get you fired right now," growled Mug, "if you don't come
across with the money." And he started toward the front steps. Owen
led him out of sight of the house and finally got rid of him. For a
blackmailer knows he can strike but once, and, having struck, he loses
all power over his victim. So Hicks withheld the blow, collected a
paltry thirty dollars, and consented to wait a little while for Marvin
Harry and Pauline passed on into the house. He had the straight
backbone and well poised head of the West Pointer, but without the
unnatural stiffness of the soldier's carriage; the shoulders of the
"halfback," and the lean hips of a runner were his, and he had earned
them in four years on his varsity football and track teams. The girl
beside him, half a head shorter, tripped along with the easy action of
a thoroughbred. Both bore the name of Marvin, yet there was no
Harry's mother, long dead, had adopted this girl on Mr. Marvin's first
trip to Egypt. Pauline was the daughter of an English father and a
Mrs. Marvin first saw her as a blue-eyed baby, too young to understand
that its parents had just been drowned in the Nile. As brother and
sister they grew up together until college separated the two. After
four years Pauline's dainty prettiness struck Harry with a distinct
shock, the delightful sort of shock known as love at first sight. It
was really Harry's first sight of her as a woman. Every sense and
instinct in him shouted, "Get that girl," and nothing in him answered
Mr. Marvin looked unusually pale as those two very vital young persons
stepped into the library. He read their thoughts and said quietly.
"Harry, I've been placed in the hands of a receiver."
"Receiver?" echoed Harry, with amazement, for he knew that Marvin
enterprises were financed magnificently.
"Yes, Dr. Stevens is the receiver. He says I have exhausted my entire
stock of nervous capital, that my account at the bank of physical
endurance is overdrawn, nature has called her loans, and you might say
that I am a nervous bankrupt."
"So All you need is rest," cried Pauline, "and you will be as strong as
"Well, before I rest I want to assure myself about you children.
Harry, you love Pauline, don't you?"
"You bet I do, father."
"Pauline, you love Harry, don't you?"
"Yes," answered Pauline slowly.
"And you will marry right away?"
"This very minute, if she would have me," said Harry.
"And you, Pauline?" queried the old man.
"Yes, father," for she loved him and felt toward him as if she were
indeed his daughter. "Perhaps some time I'll marry Harry, but not for
a year or two. I couldn't marry him now, it wouldn't be right."
"Wouldn't be right?? Well, I'd like to know why not."
Pauline was silent a moment. She hated to oppose this fine old man,
but her will was as firm as his, and well he knew it. Harry spoke for
"Oh, she wants to see life before she settles down--wild life, sin
and iniquity, battle, murder and sudden death and all that sort of
stuff. I don't know what has gotten into women these days, anyway."
Then Polly, prettily, daintily, as she did all things, and with
charming little blushes and hesitations, confessed her secret. In
short, it was her ambition to be a writer, a writer of something worth
while--a great writer. To be a great writer one must know life, and
to know life one must see it--see the world. She ended by asking the
two men if this were not so.
They looked at each other and coughed with evident relief it the
comparative harmlessness of her whim.
"Yes, Polly," said old man Marvin, "a great writer ought to see life in
order to know what he is writing about. But what makes you suspect
that you have the ability to be even an ordinary writer?"
Marvin sire winked at Marvin son and Marvin son winked back, for no man
is too old or too young to enjoy teasing a pretty and serious girl.
Pauline saw the wink, and her foot ceased tracing a pattern in the
carpet and stamped on it instead.
"I'll show you what reason I have to think I can write. My first story
has just been published in the biggest magazine in the country. I have
had a copy of it lying around here for days with my story in it, and
nobody has even looked at it."
Out she flashed, and Harry after her, almost upsetting the butler and
gardener, who appeared in the library doorway. These two worthies
advanced upon the statue of Pallas without noticing the master of the
house sitting behind his big desk. The butler did notice that a large
hound from the stable had followed the gardener into the room.
"That's what one gets for letting outdoor servants into the house,"
muttered the butler, as he hustled the big dog to the front door and
"Is he addressing himself to me or to the pup, I wonder?" asked the
gardener, a fat, good-natured Irishman, as he placed himself in front
of the statue.
He read the name "Pallas," forced his rusty derby hat down over his
ears in imitation of the statue's helmet, and mimicked the pose.
Together they staggered out with their burden. A moment later they
returned, carrying, with the help of two other men, the mummy in its
big case. Owen also entered, and Marvin, with the joy of an
Egyptologist, grasped a magnifying glass and examined the case.
The old man's bobby had been Egypt, his liberal checks had assisted in
many an excavation, and his knowledge of her relics was remarkable.
Inserting a steel paper cutter in a crack he deftly pried open the
upper half of the mummy's front. Beneath lay the mass of wrappings in
which thousands of years ago the priests of the Nile had swathed some
lady of wealth and rank. It was a woman, Marvin was sure, from the
inscriptions on her tomb, and he believed her to be a princess.
The secretary excused himself and went to his room, where his precious
morphine pills were hidden. The old man, left alone, deftly opened the
many layers of cloth which bound the ancient form. A faint scent that
was almost like a presence came forth from the unwrapped folds. Long
lost balms they were, ancient spices, forgotten antiseptics of a great
race that blossomed and Fell--thousands of years before its time.
"I smell the dead centuries," whispered Marvin to himself, "I can
almost feel their weight. The world was young when this woman
breathed. Perhaps she was pretty and foolish like my Polly--yes, and
maybe as stubborn, too. Manetho says they had a good deal to say in
those days. Ah, now we shall see her face."
He had uncovered a bit of the mummy's forehead when out of the bandages
fell a tiny vial. Marvin quickly picked it up. The vial was carved
from some sort of green crystal in the shape of a two-headed Egyptian
bird god. Without effort the stopper came out and Marvin held the
small bottle to his nostrils, only to drop it at the mummy's feet. It
exhaled the odor of the mummy which the reek of the centuries
intensified a thousand times.
It was too much for the old man. He had overtaxed his feeble vitality
and felt his senses leaving him. With the entire force of his will he
was able to get to a chair, into which he sank. The odor of the vial
was still in his nostrils. His eyes were fixed and stared straight
ahead, but he could see, in a faint, unnatural yellow light that bathed
From the vial, lying at the mummy's feet a vapor appeared to rise. It
floated toward the swathed figure, enveloped it and seemed to be
absorbed by it.
"Perhaps this is death," thought Marvin, "for I cannot move or speak."
But something else moved. There was a flutter among the bandages of
the mummy. The commotion increased. Something was moving inside. The
bandages were becoming loosened. They fell away from the face, and
then was Marvin amazed indeed. Instead of the tight, brown
parchment-like skin one always finds in these ancient relics appeared a
smooth, olive-tinted complexion. It was the face of a young and
beautiful woman. The features were serene as if in death, but there
was no sunken nose or mummy's hollow eyes.
A strand of black hair fell down, and the movement beneath the bandages
increased. Out of the folds came an arm, a woman's arm, slender, yet
rounded, an arm with light bones and fine sinews, clearly an arm and
hand that had never known work. Marvin was well aware that a mummy's
arm is invariably a black skeleton claw.
At this point the old man made a mental note that he was not dead, for
he could feel his own breathing. The arm rapidly and gracefully
loosened and removed wrappings from the neck and breast. On the wrist
gashed a bracelet made of linked scarabs. The arm now cast away the
last covering of the bosom, neck and shoulders.
She freed her left hand, lifted out the bottom half of the case and
slid the wrappings from her limbs. Barefooted and bare-ankled, clothed
only in a shimmering white gown that scarcely covered bare knees, and a
white head-dress with a green serpent head in front, she stepped
somewhat stiffly into the room. Slowly she made several movements of
limbs and body like the first steps of a dance. She rose on her toes,
looked down at herself and swayed her lithe hips. It occurred to
Marvin that all this was by way of a graceful little stretch after a
few thousand years of sleep.
Marvin now observed that she was Pauline's height, and age, as well as
general size and form. Slightly shorter she might have been, but then
she lacked Pauline's high heels. The general resemblance was striking
except in the color of the eyes and hair. Pauline's tresses were a
light golden yellow, while this girl's hair was black as the hollow of
the sphinx. Pauline's eyes were blue, but she who stood before him
gazed through eyes too dark to guess their color.
The Egyptian had found a little mirror. She patted her hair, adjusted
the head-dress, but Marvin waited in vain for the powder puff. From
the mirror the girl's eyes wandered to a painting hanging above the
desk. It was an excellent likeness of Pauline. The resemblance
between the two was obvious, not only to Marvin but evidently to the
black-haired girl. She turned to the old man and addressed him in a
strange language. Not one word did he recognize, yet the syllables
were so clearly and carefully pronounced that he felt he was listening
to an educated woman. Some of the tones were like Pauline's, some were
not, but all were soft, sweet, modulated.
The meaning was clear enough. She wished Marvin to see the
resemblance, and she frowned slightly because the rigid, staring figure
did not respond. Why should she be impatient, this woman of the
Pharaohs who had lain stiff and unresponsive while Babylon and Greece
and Rome and Spain had risen and fallen?
Soon she resorted to pantomime, pointed to herself and the picture,
touched her eyes and nose and mouth and then the corresponding painted
features. She felt of her own jet hair, shook her head and looked
questioningly at the light coiffure of Pauline. She turned to the old
man, evidently asking if the painting were true in this respect. Then
she smiled a smile like Pauline's. Perhaps she was asking if Pauline
had changed the color of her hair.
Now she became interested in a book on the corner of the desk. With
little musical exclamations of delight she turned the printed pages and
appreciated that the shelves contained hundreds more of these
treasures. The typewritten letters lying about excited her admiration
and then the pen and ink. She quickly guessed the use of the pen and
ran eagerly to the mummy case. A moment's search brought forth a long
roll of papyrus. Before Marvin's eyes she unrolled a scroll covered
with Egyptian hieroglyphics.
There were footsteps in the hall and the Egyptian looked toward the
door. Owen entered, looked at Marvin searchingly, placed him in a more
comfortable position in the chair, spoke his name and walked out. What
seemed most surprising to the sick, man was his secretary's oversight
of the girl. He passed in front of her, almost brushing her white robe
and yet it was clear that he did not see her.
But the Egyptian had seen him and the sight had excited her. She
seemed desperately anxious to say something to Marvin, something about
The mummy had a secret to reveal!
She tore the bracelet from her right wrist and tried to force it into
Marvin's nerveless grasp. Try as she would, his muscles did not
respond. There were voices in the hallway. Harry and Pauline were
running downstairs. The Princess gave one last imploring glance at the
paralyzed figure, passed her hand gently over his forehead; then she
stepped quickly back to the case.
Harry and Pauline rushed in, followed less hastily by Owen. They
grasped the old man's hands, and Harry, seizing the telephone, called
Dr. Stevens. But to the surprise of everybody Marvin suddenly shook
off the paralysis, spoke, moved and seemed none the worse for his
Old Mr. Marvin's faculties returned with a snap. There was the library
just as it had been before his peculiar seizure. His son Harry was
summoning on the telephone Dr. Stevens, the heart specialist, and
Pauline, his adopted daughter, was on her knees chafing his hands and
anxiously watching his face, while Owen, the secretary, was pouring out
a dose of his medicine. But the peculiar yellow light had gone. And
what about the mummy? It stood just as he had left it, the lower half
of the case was in place, the upper half was out, revealing the
loosened bandages and just a glimpse of the forehead.
One strand of jet black hair hung down. All was just as it was when
the little vial had fallen out.
"I'm all right, I'm all right," protested Mr. Marvin, somewhat testily,
as he twisted about in his chair to get a good view of the mummy.
"Look out, Harry, don't step on that little bottle."
Harry looked down and picked up the tiny vial which had fallen from the
bandages wrapped about the ancient form.
"Smell of it," his father ordered. Harry sniffed it and remarked that
it smelled musty and passed it to Pauline. The girl carried it to her
nostrils spin and again. She looked perplexed.
"Well, what do you think it is?" asked the old man.
"Why--I can't remember, but I ought to know. I'm sure I do know."
"The devil you do," muttered her faster father.
"What makes you think you ought to know?"
"Why, it is so familiar. I'm certain I've smelled it often before.
"Well, if you have, Polly, you are a lot older than I am, older than
anything in this country, as old as the pyramids. That bottle fell out
of the mummy, and I can assure you it has been there some three or four
thousand years. When I smelled of that bottle it had a queer effect on
me. I felt as if I were going to have one of my fainting spells and
was glad to get back to the chair. It's funny about that mummy. I
thought she came out and talked to me."
"Why, father, what a horrible thing!" sympathized Pauline.
"Not horrible at all. She was a beauty and a princess. She was
interested in your picture, Polly, and she looked like you, too,
except, let's see--yes, her hair was black, jet black, like that one
lock you see hanging down."
"Oh," interrupted Pauline, "I wish my hair were black, and I often
dream that it is, and that I am walking around in a pretty, white
pleated dress and my feet are bare."
"And a bracelet on your wrist--your right wrist?" questioned Marvin
"I don't remember," Pauline replied thoughtfully.
"Well, we'll see if you had one and also whether I was dreaming or
not," announced the old man with a half ashamed look as he rose
somewhat unsteadily to his feet. Harry and Pauline tried to keep him
quiet. He brushed their warnings aside and walked unsteadily to the
"Let's see its face," suggested Harry carelessly.
"No," said his father. "I have an idea that this old but young lady
would not care to have us look at her. But there is one thing I must
find out. I want to know if she wears a bracelet of linked scarabs on
her right wrist or not."
All of this was rather a bore to Harry, who lived intensely in the
present, had no interest in Egypt, except that Pauline was born and
adopted as an orphan baby there, and asked nothing of the future except
that it allow him to marry this obstinate but fascinating little
creature at the earliest possible moment. The question had been
brought up half an hour before, and he wanted it settled at once.
Harry wished they would decide about the marriage instead of fussing
around with an old mummy.
"My son, I venture to say that you would have been interested in this
young woman had you met her."
"Possibly," the youth admitted with a slight yawn.
"Yes," continued his father, busily searching for the mummy's right
wrist, "she was probably what you would call a peach."
"She may have been a peach in her day," thought Harry, "but today she's
a dried apricot."
The elder Marvin's searching fingers encountered a hard object. It
proved to be a scarab, or sacred Egyptian beetle, carved in black
"Did you ever dream about that?" asked Harry, chaffing.
"Yes, I have," replied Pauline. Both men looked at her to see if she
"I dreamed that I was very sick and going to die, and an old man with a
long, thin beard came in. He gave me a stone beetle like that. Then
it seems to me they put it right on my chest and they said--let's
see, what did they do that for? I think it was to cure me of something
the matter with my heart."
"Polly," said Mr. Marvin, "I never knew you had dreams like this. But
are you sure they said it would cure your heart? Wasn't it for some
Pauline thought a moment, while Harry lit a cigarette and his father
worked his fingers down toward the mummy's right wrist.
"No," said Pauline, "I remember now. It wasn't to cure it at all. It
was to make it keep quiet."
"Ho, ho!" laughed Harry. "I never knew of any one making it flutter
much. I guess that was no dream."
Harry's father silenced him with an impatient gesture and turned to
Pauline, who was watching the wind make cat's paws on the polished
surface of the Hudson River.
"Go on, girl, go on. This is remarkable. I have read of this custom
in the Egyptian 'Book of the Dead'! Why did they want to keep your
"They said," continued Pauline, dreamily, "that after I died my spirit
was to be called before somebody--a God, I guess--who would judge
whether I was good enough for Heaven or not. That stone beetle was
placed on my heart to make it keep silent and not tell anything wicked
I might have done in life. Aren't dreams crazy things? Say, Harry,
there goes a hydroplane."
The two young people hung out the open window. The old man was
absorbed, too. He had at last worked his fingers along the entire
length of the mummy's right wrist. It was dry and hard as any mummy he
had ever seen, but it bore neither bracelet nor any ornament whatever.
"Well," he said, reluctantly, "it was all a dream, interesting but not
important. Like Polly's dream, it was just the echo of something I
have read or seen."
"Oh, pshaw! What are dreams, anyway?" muttered Harry, with
"Dreams," said Pauline, authoritatively, "dreams are the bubbles which
rise to the surface of the mind when it cools down in sleep."
"Now," observed Harry, quietly, "when you and father are through
talking about mummies and dreams I wish you would consider something
that I am interested in. I'd like to know how soon you are going to
"Where did you get that definition of dreams, Polly?" asked the old
"From my story," said Pauline, proudly.
Both men at once remembered that she had gone to find the magazine and
show them her first story. They eagerly demanded to see it.
Pauline picked up the Cosmopolitan from the floor. She had dropped it
in her agitation at finding her foster father had fainted. Sure enough,
there it was:
FIRE ON AN OCEAN LINER
By Pauline Marvin.
It was not the biggest feature by any means, but it was quite a little
story, and there were several large stirring illustrations. Both men
begged her to read it to them, but she modestly declined.
Mr. Marvin adjusted his spectacles and read it through from start to
finish, frequently looking up to compliment the authoress on some point
that pleased him. Harry looked over his father's shoulder, and there
could be no doubt they were both held and even thrilled by the story.
Mr. Marvin clapped his hands and stated in a loud voice that he was
proud of her. Harry expressed his appreciation by a bear-like hug and
a kiss, all of which she accepted with blushes and protests.
"And--er--did they actually pay you something for this?" asked the
"Oh, yes," Pauline assured him. "They sent me a check at once. It
paid for that frock you told me was too extravagant."
"A hundred dollars?" ventured Harry from the depths of his ignorance of
Both Pauline and his father cast pitying glances at him.
"Look here, young man," said the elder Marvin, "whoever led you to
believe that you could buy dresses for a girl like Polly at a hundred
dollars? If you contemplate matrimony on any such deluded basis as
that you had better back out now before it's too late. Isn't that so,
"Why, father," protested the youth, "what do I care what her dresses
cost? Polly knows everything I have or ever make is hers, and I can't
think of a more satisfactory way of spending it than on her."
"That's fine, Harry," laughed the father, "you have just the ideal
frame of mind and the proper sentiments for a modern husband. You will
find, too, that women are very reasonable. If a man gives his wife all
he makes, plus the vote, and lets her do just as she pleases--she'll
usually let him live in the same house with her, and even get up early
enough to see him at breakfast once in a while."
"I agree to everything," declared Harry, with the reckless abandon of
youth in love. "But I want to know how soon Polly is going to marry
Pauline, who had said nothing in answer to the preliminary skirmishes,
now recognized the main attack and opened up in reply.
"I told you I would marry Harry some time, but not for a year or two.
You admitted that a writer ought to see life in order to write well.
So there you are. I must have a year or two of adventure. There are a
thousand things I want to do and see before I settle down as Mrs. Harry
Marvin. Suppose we say two years."
Harry staggered back as if from a blow. Two years! How preposterous!
He couldn't live that long without Pauline. In vain he hurled his
protests and objections. She stood, sweet, unruffled, sympathetic, but
as firm as the Rocky Mountains. The old man listened to the debate for
some time without comment. Then he pressed a button on his desk.
In answer came Raymond Owen, the secretary. He had shown the good
taste to retire from the library as soon as the conversation became
personal. From the vantage point of a room across the hall he had been
quietly listening, and decided it a rather unfruitful piece of
eavesdropping. He appeared the faithful, deferent employee in every
line as he entered.
"Come here, Raymond," directed the old man, as sharply as a commanding
officer, "and you, Harry, and you, Pauline."
They obeyed and quickly lined up before his chair with rather surprised
faces, for Mr. Marvin only called them Pauline and Harry when he was
"Raymond, this is the situation: My son loves Pauline and wants to
marry her at once. I have no objection; in fact, I would like to see
them united at once, but Pauline demurs. She loves Harry, but feels
she ought to have two years to see life before settling down. Two
years is too much."
"I should say so," growled Harry.
"But, as my old grandfather, who has been gone these forty years now,
used to say: 'When a woman will, she will, and when she won't, she
won't--and there's an end on't.' I don't blame her for wanting to
have her own way. It's the only plan I've found to get along in this
world, but you can't have all your own way. You have to compromise.
So Polly is going to have one year--that's enough.
"During that year, Raymond, I'm going to put her in your care. You are
older and more prudent than either Polly or Harry and will see that she
comes to no harm. Take her anywhere she wants to go--around the
world if she likes, to do anything within reason. Do you agree?"
Mr. Marvin looked at Owen, who accepted the duty as calmly as if it
were an order to post a letter. Polly also consented after a moment's
hesitation. Harry alone protested and argued. It was a hopeless case
and he yielded to overwhelming odds.
This matter settled, Mr. Marvin's mind returned to the mummy and his
curious delusion that it had come to life. While Owen perused
Pauline's story and that willful young woman herself tried to cheer up
her disconsolate lover, the old man returned to the mummy. He had
searched for the bracelet on the right wrist, but, after all, perhaps
the Egyptian might have slipped it onto her left wrist in her hurry to
"There it is," he shouted suddenly; "there it is--the bracelet. She
wore it on her wrist and he told her to give it to Polly."
Mr. Marvin held in his hand a bracelet of scarabs linked together. It
looked to him to the very one the reincarnated mummy had worn. Harry
and Pauline in wonder came to him, and it was well they did. The
excitement and exertion had again overstrained his failing energies.
He tottered, and they were just in time to save him from a fall.
It was another of his fainting spells, and they lowered him gently into
his chair. But the old man was not unconscious yet. Feebly he
repeated to Pauline, "Wear this bracelet--wear it always--promise."
Pauline promised, and slipped it on her wrist without more than
glancing at it. The old man's eyes closed, and it was clear that this
faint was more serious than his others. Harry, about to telephone for
Dr. Stevens again, was greatly relieved to see the physician stride
into the room. There was hardly need of the stethoscope to tell him
the end was near.
Even before the old man was undressed and in bed, Dr. Stevens had
prepared and administered a hypodermic. The patient's eyelids
fluttered and Dr. Stevens listened to the faintly moving lips.
"The will," called the doctor, "what about the will?"
He glanced at every one, but nobody knew.
A shadow of anxiety passed over the features of the dying millionaire.
Dr. Stevens could see that something of serious importance was on the
old man's mind--something of importance about his vast property.
Once more he listened and then hastily drawing out his prescription pad
and fountain pen he wrote a few sentences at the dying man's dictation,
while the patient rallied and opened his eyes. The physician held the
blank before his patient, who read it through and nodded. Dr. Stevens
then placed the pen in the trembling fingers and guided his signature.
A moment more and the physician had signed it as a witness and the
butler had done the same.
The old manufacturer died as he had lived.
The will written on Dr. Stevens's prescription pad was given to Owen.
He went to his room and examined it. It read:
"Bodley Stevens, M.D. Rx: I bequeath half my estate to my son, Harry,
the remainder to my adopted daughter, Pauline, to be held in trust,
until her marriage, by my secretary, Raymond Owen."
Then followed the signature of the deceased and that of the two
witnesses. In vain Owen looked for the handsome bequest to "the
faithful secretary." This was a bitter disappointment, and he
considered for a moment the advisability of destroying the will. This
would make valid one of the earlier wills in which he knew he had not
The folly of such a course became evident after a few moments thought.
Dr. Stevens, the butler, and several others knew the contents of the
document. It was so simple that its meaning could hardly be confused
or forgotten, and every one knew it was in his keeping. It occurred to
Owen that quite likely such a hasty death-bed will written by a doctor
unskilled in law might not be accepted by the courts.
Early the next morning Owen suspended his work of answering telegrams
of condolence long enough to make a hurried trip to lower Manhattan,
where the late Stanford Marvin's lawyers had offices.
In vain the great lawyer cudgeled his brains for some flaw. The will
ought to be wrong, but it wasn't. The meaning was so clear that even a
court couldn't misunderstand it, and the fortune was left to his
natural beneficiaries. The lawyer heaved a sigh and said plaintively:
"Too bad, too bad. Why didn't they call me?"
"Then this will is not valid?" asked Owen.
"Oh, no, it will hold; but what a pity that such a great man's last
will and testament should be such an--well, so--well, this
instrument is not worthy of conveying such a great estate."
He contemptuously slipped the simple document into an envelope and
placed it in his safe. Owen picked up his hat, but hesitated at the
door. A question was forming in his mind and with it a hope.
"Mr. Wilmerding," he asked finally, "in case Miss Marvin does not marry
who would have charge of the estate?"
"I should say," replied the lawyer, "in reply to your question that the
estate would be held in trust by you."
Returning to the house and entering the library Owen was confronted by
the unwelcome spectacle of Montgomery Hicks, generally known as Mug.
Hicks, with his gaudy attire, and ugly face, was always an affront to
the eye, but to Owen he was a terror, for he held the power of
blackmail over the secretary. Owen shrank at the sight of his enemy,
but immediately took courage. Though Marvin's death had left the
secretary no legacy it had also robbed the blackmailer of his power.
Hicks advanced with what he intended to be a winning smile and extended
a hot, fat hand.
"I see the old man has croaked and I was just dropping in to talk
business," Hicks's newsboy voice growled out.
"Hicks," said Owen, keeping his hand in his pocket, "if you came here
to get your money out of the legacy old man Marvin was to leave me.
Well, you won't get it and you never will get it. Marvin didn't leave
me a cent, so there is nothing for you to get. He did leave me a job
in his will, a job that will last for a year, and neither you nor any
one else can force me out of that job. You can't blackmail me any
"At the end of the year what becomes of you?" asked Hicks.
"Then I get a position somewhere else; but that is none of your
"You don't want a position, Owen. A position calls for work. You
don't like hard work any more then I do. You can't stand work much
longer, either. Look at your eyes and your skin, how many grains do
you take a day, anyway?"
"I haven't touched a grain of morphine in six months," lied Owen. "But
get out of my way--you can't get anything out of me and you can't
blackmail me. If you come to this house again I'll have you thrown
"Just a minute," said Hicks, as pleasantly as he could, straining his
coarse features into the unaccustomed position of a smile. "I didn't
come to get money out of you. I know all about the will. What I came
for was to help you and give you a tip. You and I can make a lot of
easy money together. You've got the opportunity and I've got the
brains. Now, to show you I'm your friend, look at this!"
Hicks handed him a paper which Owen read with surprise. It was a
receipt in full for all Owen owed. Owen put it in his pocket.
"That's right, keep it. You and I are going to be so rich before long
that a matter of a thousand or two wouldn't be worth talking about
Owen had been under the thumb of this man, had feared and hated him and
hoped for the day when he might sneer in his face and defy him. This
was the time, and yet he felt Hicks had something to offer. He was in
temporary charge of millions. There should be, there must be, some way
to make this control permanent or else to delve into these millions
while they were in his care. As Hicks hinted, this was an opportunity
and he needed not brains, but rather experience and advice. Owen had
been a rascal on a short time, why not take a partner like this man
Hicks? He would prevent mistakes, and mistakes are all a criminal need
Owen fingered uneasily the paper Hicks had put in his hand. He drew it
out of his pocket--yes, it was a receipt in full for all that Owen
owed the scoundrel. What could be Hicks's scheme? Owen turned a
puzzled and worried gaze upon his companion.
Hicks observed him closely, read the misgivings in Owen's mind and,
drawing close, whispered something in the latter's ear.
But Owen's drug-saturated nerves trembled at the thought. He pushed
Hicks aside and walked rapidly out of the room, calling over his
"I won't have anything to do with you. I don't want you to come near
me or speak to me again. I'm done with you."
"When you want me you know where to find me," was Hicks's parting
PAULINE TAXES THE FIRST TRICK
"All right, I'll do it," growled Harry Marvin, with the air of a martyr
going to the stake. "I'll do it for your sake, Polly."
"Well, you'd better begin to get ready," said Pauline blithely.
"I'll climb into a frock coat and endure an hour or two of this
afternoon tea chatter," promised Harry, "but first you must talk sense
with me for a few minutes."
"Oh, Harry," spoke Pauline, softly, "I know what 'talking sense'
means. You want to argue about my year of adventure. Now, lets not
argue. Let's just be happy. You know I love you and I know you love
me, and that ought to be enough. This year will be gone before you
know it. I'm going to begin it right away just to please you. The
sooner it starts the sooner it will be over."
"Begin it?" said Harry. "Why, a month of it is gone now. But it's all
nonsense. Polly, if you love me you are going to give up this crazy
A maid, bringing the card of Miss Lucille Hamlin, interrupted Harry.
She was the first of the afternoon tea party. Polly hurried Harry off
to dress, and, of course, he had no further chance to "talk sense"
until the door had closed on the last guest. Then he pounced upon
her. But Pauline, sweetly stubborn, cheerfully unyielding, insisted on
carrying out her father's promise to the letter.
Raymond Owen, the secretary of the late Mr. Marvin, had thought it
important to overhear this argument, and finally to walk into the
library where the debate was going on. If the adventures were to start
he had an idea for a beginning. The words of Hicks, the blackmailer,
had been in his mind for some thirty days and were beginning to bear
fruit. He had soon reached the point of hoping, almost praying,
something would happen to Pauline that he might be left in control of
her, estate. During the last few days Owen had progressed, from merely
hoping to readiness to help his wish to come true.
Harry instantly appealed to the secretary to dissuade Pauline. There
was no doubt that Owen had some influence over the girl. In years gone
by, before Owen had taken to the drug, Pauline had sought him out in
many a time of perplexity and learned to rely on his tactful,
To the surprise of the young master of the house, Owen made no attempt
to dissuade. Very unobtrusively he pointed out that for many years he
had been accustomed to carry out the wishes of Harry's father, and that
he was bound to fulfill his last wish in the same way.
"Raymond, you're a dear," laughed Pauline; "let's think of something
thrilling to do right off. Have you any idea?"
"No," lied Owen, "I hadn't given the matter any thought. We might look
at a newspaper and see what's happening."
Owen had a paper with him and the three examined it together.
Owen pretended to discover that an aviation meet was about to be held.
His idea, for which Harry promptly hated him, was to induce some
aviator to take Pauline as a passenger. Many of the races called for
carrying a passenger. Harry made a few objections, but the speed with
which they were overruled showed that he had no standing in this
court. So Harry subsided, but he thought very hard.
Several things were becoming evident to Harry.
One was that this year to see life and have adventures was actually
going to take place and no opposition on his part would stop it. It
was also clear that if he hoped to control Pauline's adventures in any
way it would be by the use of his wits, matching them against Pauline
and the secretary.
When Pauline and Owen decided upon the aeroplane ride, Harry contented
himself with remarking that he would have to see about it. Both
chuckled when he said it, Pauline outwardly and Owen inwardly.
Then they had dinner under the round glassy eye of Aunt Cornelia. Aunt
Cornelia was an elderly maiden relative of Harry, who had arrived with
others for the funeral and made the brilliant discovery that since Mr.
Marvin's death the "social situation," as she termed it, at the Marvin
house had become impossible.
It seemed, according to Aunt Cornelia, that a young man and a young
woman of impressionable age living in the same house unchaperoned
constituted an "impossible social situation," Either Pauline or Harry
must move out or someone must be installed as chaperon. Of course, the
chaperon was the least of the three evils and Aunt Cornelia, being the
discoverer of the job, was elected to fill it.
Harry ordered a bottle of wine with his dinner. Though he actually
drank very little, this unusual event created no little consternation.
"Harry, I didn't know you drank?" said Pauline.
"I am just beginning. You see, now that I must take over father's
affairs and mix with men of the world I ought to get a little
experience in things. See life and know what's what."
After dinner Harry casually asked if Pauline thought her adventures
would lead her to Paris. Pauline thought it likely, whereat Harry
remarked that he might see her over there.
"I haven't been to Paris since I was a kid, and I really ought to see
it, don't you think?"
"Yes," agreed Pauline, without enthusiasm, "but wait until we are
married and we'll do Paris together."
"No, Polly, that won't do. I'm sorry, but as you say, you can't see
life after you're married and settled down, so I'll have to do Paris
"Harry, are you sure you love me?" Pauline whispered.
"Polly, I know it, and everybody else knows it except you. Get Owen,
he's a notary public, and I'll take an oath before him that you have
been the only girl in all the world, are now and ever will be, world
without end, amen."
"And I love you, Harry," said Pauline, lowering her eyes until he saw
only the silky lashes.
"Why, Polly, that's the first time you ever volunteered that
"Yes, Harry, I love you too much to let you go to Paris."
"Paris can't hurt me unless I let it hurt me."
"Harry, you won't be quite the same sort of boy when you come back from
Paris. Will you promise not to go until we are married?"
"Will you promise not to go on this trip of adventure?"
"Why should I?" demanded Pauline.
"Because you won't ever be quite the same sort of girl when you come
After breakfast the next morning when the big touring car rolled up to
the front door to got Pauline and Owen, Harry was hurt that he had not
been consulted. Pauline's belated invitation to go with them to the
aviation field in the automobile was declined. Away went the big car
to the fine stretch of roads, where it made short work of the distance
to the aviation grounds.
Owen made a complete canvass of the "hangars" and soon accounted for
every machine entered in the race for the next day. From all but one
of the aviators he obtained a flat refusal. Not for money or any other
consideration would they take a strange woman as a passenger. The only
exception was a Frenchman, whose hesitation in declining led Owen to
further argument. At the last moment Pauline, impatient at the
suspense, entered the Frenchman's "hangar" and added her blandishments
to Owen's financial inducements. The gallant foreigner succumbed and a
bargain was struck. He exhibited his tame bird of steel and wood and
cloth with the utter pride of a mother showing off her only child.
The aviator's fingers touched one of the wires and the easy smile left
his face. He turned to his mechanics and sharp words followed. A
moment later one of his assistants was at work tightening the wire.
Owen's eyes scarcely left the wire, and when the opportunity arose he
questioned the mechanic as, to what would happen if that particular
steel strand should fail during flight. The foreigner explained
frankly that the aeroplane would capsize and plunge to the earth. But
he assured Owen that no such thing would happen, as he had just
tightened the wire in question and would make another inspection after
the practice flight that afternoon.
All the way home Owen's thoughts were of that wire and what it would
mean to him. In the meanwhile Harry, after watching the car depart
toward Hempstead, concluded to follow. He went to the picturesque
private garage behind the Marvin mansion and soon was, following in the
tracks of the bigger car.
Arrived on the field, he recognized Pauline's car and awaited patiently
until he saw it drive away. Then he interviewed the aviator and
learned of the proposed trip on the morrow. Harry's French was nothing
to boast of, nor was the Frenchman's English. But they managed to have
a long and in the end a heated argument. The birdman said he had given
his word to a beautiful lady, and that settled it. Besides, there was no
danger in his wonderful machine. Had he not flown upside down and done
all the things the great Pegoud himself had done?
"As you Americans say--let's see, what is your idiom?"
One of his mechanics prompted him:
"Ah, yes," he said, with a smile. "I believe the proper expression is,
'I should worry.'"
Harry threw up his hands and went home. As he buzzed his horn outside
the garage the door was opened by the Marvin chauffeur with a telegram
in his hand. The chauffeur's wife was sick and he wanted a couple of
days' leave of absence. Harry granted it instantly. That evening he
made no mention of either the chauffeur's absence or his trip to the
field. Pauline thought she was teasing Harry by saying nothing of her
plans. She was sure he was eaten up with curiosity to know the result
of her visit and admired his ability, as she thought, to conceal it.
Owen spent a nervous evening. He walked out soon after dinner and from
a drug-store telephone booth called up a friend in the insurance
business. To the secretary's surprise and disappointment he learned
that the percentage of accidents to aviators had become comparatively
small. Passengers were particularly fortunate. The friend even agreed
to obtain accident insurance for any one at a reasonable premium.
If aeroplanes had become reasonably safe the chance of Pauline's being
killed during the flight on the following day was insignificant. He
must give up all hope of wealth from the permanent control of her
estate. As the evening wore on Owen began to feel how he had
unconsciously relied on this hope. He doubled his evening dose of
morphine, but it neither soothed his disappointment nor brought him
Hour after hour, during the night, his sleepless eyes seemed to see
that loose wire which the mechanic had explained to be so vitally
important. He could see in imagination the machine flying off into the
clouds with Pauline in it. He could see it suddenly waver, dip and
plunge to the earth. In his mind's eye he saw himself rushing to, the
wreck, lifting out the girl's crushed form, wildly calling for a
doctor, and exulting all the time that she was beyond human aid.
About two o'clock Owen fell into a doze, and in that doze came one of
his vivid opium dreams. He beheld Hicks enter his bedroom. It was not
Hicks, the blackmailer, but Hicks, the counselor, who had told Owen how
he might become rich. Hicks was speaking to him in a sort of noiseless
voice, very different from his usual tones. He spoke in a sort of
shells or husks of words. The consonants were there, but the vowels
were lacking. Yet he heard as plainly as if the red-faced man had
shouted. Hicks advised him to be a man, to show courage for once, to
risk something, and then reap the reward forever afterward. "Take your
motorcycle, ride to the aviation field before daylight, file that wire
half through, and fate will take care of the rest."
But Owen lacked the nerve. He feared that he would be seen sneaking
onto the field at night or at daybreak. Hicks replied that the field
was deserted at this hour. Owen then insisted that the aeroplane would
be guarded, and even if it were not locked in its hangar the first rasp
of a file on the wire would call the attention of some one on guard.
No, it was too much, Owen could not do it. Instead, he made a counter
suggestion that Hicks should undertake the task, since he was so
certain of its success. For his part the secretary agreed to divide
all that the estate might be made to yield him.
Owen, like everybody else, had seen many strange things in dreams, but
never had he known of any character in a dream admitting or even
suggesting that he was a dream. Yet this was just what Hicks did.
"I would, Owen. I would do it in a minute if I were talking to you.
But this isn't me at all. I'm only a dream, in, reality I'm sound
asleep in a hotel on upper Broadway, where I am dreaming that I am
talking to you. Tomorrow morning I'll remember enough of this dream to
make me go down to the aviation field with a sort of premonition that
Pauline is going to be killed in an aeroplane."
"How did you know about that wire and that she is going to fly
tomorrow," asked Owen.
"I don't know that," said the phantom Hicks frankly in his empty
voice. "There is a third party in this and I don't know who he is or
much about him, except that he is not a living being. He seems to be
somebody from the past, a priest of some old religion I ought to have
studied about when I was at school. I don't know what his motive is,
but he is with us. He wants her killed for some reason. He brought
this dream of me to you so I could explain.
"You needn't worry about the man on guard over the aeroplanes. That
man won't wake up, no matter how much noise you make."
"How do you know?" Owen asked.
"He knows," replied Hicks, "because he has transferred the effects of
your morphine from your astral body to his. That's how he knows. You
ought to know, too, because you have taken almost enough of the drug to
kill you tonight, and yet this is the first time you have even closed
your eyes. You'd better let him help us and file that wire as he
advises. I'm going now, you will wake up in a moment. This priest man
told me after I had given you the message to drop this out of my hand
and the dream would end. So here goes. Goodbye."
Owen saw Hicks hold his hand over a table and drop a small black shiny
object upon it. As it dropped Hicks vanished and Owen awoke. He heard
a sharp snap and saw something black and shiny on the table. For a
moment the secretary sat quietly in his chair staring at the table and
making sure that he was no longer dreaming. Then he examined the black
object. It was the scarab which old Mr. Marvin had removed from the
folds of the mummy. An image of the beetle which Egypt held sacred,
carved in black stone. Owen had not noticed the scarab before his
short nap and he could not account for its presence in his room
A little later he donned his motor-cycling suit, tip-toed downstairs,
noiselessly went out by a back door and was soon trundling his big
two-cylinder motorcycle from the garage. He was careful to push it out
of the Marvin premises onto the highway before lighting his lamp and
Arriving at the field just at dawn Owen found it as deserted as the
spectral Hicks had promised. From the tool kit of his motor-cycle he
took two files of different shapes and a pair of pliers and walked
briskly and fearlessly over the uneven ground to the hangars. All were
closed except one, and that one contained the French machine in which
Pauline was to ascend. The secretary knew that this hangar would be
open. He knew in advance that he would find a mechanic on guard and
Whether real or unreal, awake or asleep, the business of the moment was
the filing of that wire. Owen recognized it readily and found it not
to be a single wire, as he supposed, but a slender cable composed of
many strands. These strands resisted his file and even the clipper
attached to his pliers. After what seemed an hour's work he had
weakened or broken enough of the metal threads so that the cable
stretched perceptibly at that point to do more might cause the cable to
break at once and betray what had been done.
Owen hurriedly, returned to his machine had dashed back through the
beautiful morning air to the Marvin home. Servants were stirring in
their rooms and the gardener was engaged in shaking some sort of powder
from a can onto a bare spot on the front lawn. He glanced up at Owen
without surprise, for these early rides were known to be an old habit
of the secretary.
Owen took the machine to the garage, satisfied that there was nothing
guilty in his appearance or the gardener would have noted it. Stepping
out of the garage he met Harry and could not help starting
perceptibly. Harry looked him in the eye, and there was nothing for
Owen to do but stare steadily back.
"You are up very early, Owen," said Harry, looking at the dust on the
"Yes, I've been for a long ride. I think the morning air does me
"You don't look well, Owen. Why don't you go to bed today. I'll take
Polly to the meet."
"No, thanks. I wouldn't miss seeing Miss Pauline fly," said Owen
OWEN WINS THE FIRST GAME
Harry Marvin entered the little private garage back of the Marvin
mansion, locked the door and drew the shades of the small windows.
There were only two automobiles in the garage. One was the big six
cylinder touring car in which Pauline and Owen had made their trip the
day before to the aviation field. The other was the two-seated
runabout that Harry had driven over the same ground just behind them.
Having made sure that nobody was about, Harry lifted up the hood of the
touring car and without the slightest provocation attacked it with a
wrench. He removed the carburetor, took it to pieces, lifted out the
hollow metal float and deliberately made two punctures in it. Then he
tossed the dismembered parts upon a work bench and was about to operate
on the runabout when he heard voices outside.
He was barely in time to unlock the door and be found busily working on
the car when Pauline entered. She had just learned of the chauffeur's
absence. Harry volunteered the additional bad news that the big car
was out of order. Like every disappointed woman, she insisted on
knowing exactly what was wrong. Harry told her, with many long
technical details, and, not knowing at all what he was talking about,
she had to be satisfied.
Could he fix it in time to get her to the aviation field before the
Well, that depended partly on whether she would go away and not bother
him until breakfast.
Pauline could, and she certainly would refrain from bothering him.
Never before had Harry found her a bother, nor, for that matter, had
any other man in her recollection. Out she went, with more color than
usual in her pink cheeks and the light of battle in her eyes.
"By George, I've got to play my cards carefully," thought Harry, as he
contemplated the runabout. It was evident that he had designs on the
health of the two-seater also. But he felt the necessity of subtlety
in this case. He could not assassinate it boldly by tearing out a
vital organ as he had done to the bigger car. This runabout must die a
slow, lingering death. How was he to do it? His first idea was to
weaken the tires and invite "blowouts" on the road. But this could not
be done with certainty, and some kind friend might supply him with new
A more promising idea was to drain the engine of its oil, knowing that
sooner or later the pistons would run dry and stick. Such a proceeding
would ruin the engine, and Harry was too good a mechanic to spoil a
first rate engine, especially one built by his father. He would as
soon think of hamstringing a faithful horse. A better plan soon came
to him and put him into action. It soon had him flat on his back under
the car, boring a hole in the bottom of the gasoline tank. When the
life-blood of the car began to trickle out in a stream he stopped the
hole with a small wooden peg.
The young man now frowned at the only remaining vehicle which had, not
received his attention, Owen's motorcycle.
Harry went to the hose used for washing down the cards and collected a
little water in the palm of his hand. With the other hand he removed
the cap from the motorcycle's tank and allowed two or three drops of
water to mingle with the gasoline.
This done, Harry let down his sleeves, washed his hands, and sauntered
in to breakfast, with the unwelcome announcement that the big car was,
for the day at least, beyond human aid.
There was a flicker of suspicion in Owen's sallow face at the news. He
wondered if Harry had disabled the touring car that he might ride alone
"I am afraid," said Harry, quietly, "that you will have to ride in the
runabout alone with me, Polly. It's rather hard on Raymond, but I
guess he must go on his motorcycle or by train."
"Oh, I think you wrecked it on purpose," said Pauline, without the
slightest suspicion that she was stating the truth.
Owen, worried by vague misgivings about Harry, looked into the tank of
the runabout to make sure that it was full, and then scurried away on
his two wheeled mount. He considered waiting until the runabout was
ready to start and keeping the machine in sight, but it seemed wiser to
be on the field where he could make sure the Frenchman would not forget
his bargain nor start before Pauline arrived.
Pauline was ready with such record-breaking suddenness that it gave her
the novel experience of waiting for Harry.
She bad not forgotten that her lover had asked her not to bother him
while he worked on the car. After that slight to her pride the young
lady would rather die than go near the garage while he was in it.
During the next five minutes unpleasant doubts entered her mind. What
could this indifference and neglect mean? She had looked upon Harry
ever since his return from college as a personal possession. Of
course, technically he wasn't hers until she married him. But if he
were not her property, at least she had an option on the handsome youth
until such time as she saw fit to either take his name or relinquish
him to some one else. In that case she wondered to whom she would like
to turn him over. There was her schoolmate and chum, Miss Hamlin. How
lucky any man would be to get her, and Harry--how would he feel about
it? Then, like a cold draught in her brain came the recollection that
Lucille and Harry had corresponded all the four years he was at
Could it be that she, Pauline, had been too willful and headstrong with
Harry? If so, was it possible that the keen edge of his adoration was
wearing dull? Pauline had just succeeded in stamping these unpleasant
questions deep down into the subconscious parts of her mind when the
young man whisked up in the runabout.
Pauline's wrath melted rapidly. Harry drove, as he did everything out
in the open air, magnificently. His judgment of distances and openings
was precise, and his skill in weaving his way through heavy traffic was
startling. A good looking young man is seldom seen to better
advantage, especially by a girl, than when driving a powerful car.
Pauline loved to drive with Harry. Besides his spectacular tricks he
had a guileless manner of getting the better of arguments with crossing
Harry was not driving as fast as usual. This fact was impressed on her
by shouts and waving of hands from a car which passed them from
"That's Lucille," cried Pauline, waving.
"Yes, and, confound it, that's Billy Madison taking her to the races."
"Well, why shouldn't he?" asked Pauline. "Isn't it all right?"
"Yes but it seems to me he is paying deal of attention to Lucille and
--say, Polly, you don't suppose she'd be silly enough to care for him,
That sensation of a cold wave in the back of her brain came again.
"I'm sure I don't know," she replied, a little coldly. "Why--does it
matter very much to you?"
Harry hesitated, even stammered a little, in denying that it did. He
stammered, as Pauline well understood, because he was not telling her
his true thoughts. It did matter, and she knew it. In reality it
mattered because Harry knew too much about young Madison to want him to
win the affection of any friend of his, but Harry did not wish to
"So Harry does care for Lucille and always has cared," thought
Pauline. The sense of possession of the youth beside her faded and he
seemed far away. If a man fears he is losing his grip on a girl he
redoubles his attentions and racks his brains to be more interesting
and attractive to her. A girl in the same situation reverses the
Just as Harry felt the absolute zero which scientists talk about
settling upon him, he remembered a very important duty.
"Seems to me we don't drift the way we ought to," said Harry, pressing
on his clutch pedal and trying to took concerned.
"I think we have been a long time getting to the aviation field," was
Pauline's chilly answer.
Harry stopped the car, went back and pulled out the little wooden plug
in the gasoline tank. Then away they went again, leaving a little wet
line in the dust of the road. Pauline stared straight ahead. Harry's
attempts at conversation fell on the stony ground of silence, or at
best brought forth only the briefest and most colorless answers. Soon
Harry's practiced ear caught the preliminary warning of waning
gasoline, and a moment later, half way up a gentle hill, with a sob
from all its six cylinders the car gave up the ghost.
A few miles ahead Owen also was in difficulties. He had been sailing
along merrily until he stopped at a little roadhouse for a drink. The
machine had been all right when he got off and he knew nobody had
touched it, yet now it acted as if possessed by the evil one. With
great difficulty he was able to start it, and once started it coughed,
bucked and showed all the symptoms of bronchitis and pneumonia. By
dint of strenuous pedaling Owen helped the asthmatic motor to the top
of the next hill. It ran as smoothly as a watch all the way down the
other side and then imitated a bunch of cannon crackers on the
Owen was a good motorcycle rider, but a very poor mechanic. His
machine had been adjusted, cleaned and kept in repair by the Marvin
chauffeur, and the secretary had seldom, cause to investigate it on the
road. He had always used the carefully filtered gasoline from the
garage, so that he neither understood the present alarming symptoms nor
knew their simple cure. His motor was protesting at a drop of water
which had entered the needle valve of his carburetor and, being heavier
than gasoline, had lodged there and stopped its flow. It would have
been an easy, matter to drain the carburetor, but instead Owen with
nervous fingers adjusted everything he could get his hands on, and
after two hours' work trundled it into a farmhouse and hired the farmer
to drive him the short remaining distance to the aviation field.
Several machines were in the air, but not the Frenchman's, when the
farmer drove up. The roads and the edges of the field were alive with
cars and spectators as the secretary hastened to the "hangars." The
French aviator welcomed Owen and inquired for the mademoiselle. This
confirmed Owen's fears that something had happened to her on the way.
It had troubled him a little that the runabout had not passed him on
the road, but Harry might have made a detour to avoid some section of
Owen lost another hour in watching and worrying before he made up his
mind to go to the rescue. There were plenty of idle cars, but it was
not easy to hire one, as they were mostly guarded by chauffeurs with no
right to rent or lend them. At last a man was found who was willing to
pick up $10 and take a chance that his master would not know about it.
The rescue car found them just where they had stopped, half way up the
hill. Pauline had run the scale of feminine annoyance, from silence to
sarcasm, to tears. The tears produced almost the same effect on
Harry's determination to keep Pauline from flying that the drops of
water had in Owen's carburetor. The spectacle of the girl he loved
weeping had almost broken up his resolve when Owen dashed by, shouted,
turned around and drew up alongside.
Harry asked for help, and the chauffeur who had never had the pleasure
of tinkering with a "Marvin Six," was inclined to dismount and aid at
least in diagnosing the car's ailment. While he was thinking about it
and surveying the parts which Harry had taken out and strewn about the
running board in his pretended trouble hunt Pauline had dashed away her
tears and transferred her pretty self to the new car. Pauline and Owen
both knew there was barely time to reach the field before the
Frenchman's ascent. So with scanty farewells Harry was left to
reassemble his car. When he had set up the last nut he replaced the
little plug in the tank, produced a can of gasoline from the locker
behind the seats, emptied it into his tank and drove at reckless speed
for the aviation grounds.
He was just in time to see a tiny speck on the edge of the horizon.
This, he learned, was the Frenchman's machine. He was told that it
carried a passenger. The speck grew rapidly in size, developed the
insect shape of a biplane and soon seemed to be over the other end of
the aviation field. The young man's joy at seeing the aeroplane
returning in safety was dampened by a little feeling of shame that by
such devious means he had almost spoiled Pauline's pleasure.
"I act like an old woman worrying Polly this way," he decided. "No
wonder she is cross to me lately. She must think I would be a tyrant
Harry's last words were choked by a spasm of the throat.
There were shouts and gestures from the spectators.
A light gust of wind had struck the aeroplane on the right wing. It
wavered an instant, like a dragon fly about to alight, and then instead
of responding to the aviator's levers turned on its left side and
plunged to the ground. A cloud of dust arose, half hiding the wreck,
and then the crash of impact came to his ears.
There was a second of silence, broken by a groan. Harry heard the
groan and didn't even know it came from his own throat. He was in
motion now, forcing people to the right and left and running down the
field. It seemed miles to the other end, and he was gratefully
conscious that others nearer were hurrying to the rescue, if rescue it
might be called.
The aeroplane had dropped like a stone from a height that forbade hope
of escape. Would she be conscious and would he be in time to give and
receive a last message of love before her splendid young life was
quenched in the black blot of death? Besides grief there was fury in
the runner's heart, wrath against Owen for encouraging this foolish and
dangerous caprice, against the unfortunate driver who had failed to
preserve his precious freight, and against nature who condemns every
living thing by one means or another to that same final failure and
Gasping for breath from his exertions, he was at last within a hundred
feet of the ruin, and saw people lifting up the engine and removing a
limp figure. Just then two people stepped in his way. He did not turn
out but rushed straight at them, rather glad to have something to burl
aside in his blind anger, nor did he notice that one was a woman.
Harry's plunge carried him between them and knocked both down, just as
he had often bowled over the "interference" in his football games. On
he lurched, wondering vaguely at hearing his name called. He heard it
again and it sounded like Pauline's voice.
He turned, and it was Pauline.
After all Pauline had arrived too late--had missed that fatal
Owen watched Harry lift Pauline up and wrap her in his arms with a
squeeze that hurt. But it was a hurt she loved and though she sobbed
as if her heart would break they were sobs of relief and happiness.
Owen watched a moment and then slunk away; his schemes had been for
nothing. Pauline was alive and happy in her lover's arms, and the
secretary was no nearer his goal of permanent control of her estate
than before. He walked to the entrance of' the tent and tried to learn
from the nurses and doctors who were hurrying in and out whether the
French aviator would live or die. Nobody would stop to give him a
satisfactory answer. There was a flap in the back of the tent, and
through this Owen cautiously peered. He saw a nurse with something
that looked like wet absorbent cotton dabbing at a round black object.
Presently he saw that the round object was the head of a man blackened
by fire. Just then the nurse looked up, saw Owen's guilty face and
gave a little exclamation of dismay. At the same instant Owen felt a
hand grasp his elbow. Withdrawing his head from the tent, he turned
quickly and was confronted by the red face of Hicks, the blackmailer,
counselor and dream messenger.
The secretary backed away from Hicks with a face of terror.
"Don't be scared," said Hicks in a hoarse whisper. "I feel as if I
were in this thing as deep as you are."
"In what thing?" asked Owen.
"Don't bluff, old man," said Hicks. "Didn't you dream about me last
"Well, what have my dreams to do with you?"
"Stop bluffing," replied Hicks. "Didn't you see me in a dream last
night? And didn't I leave a black, shining stone on the table when I
Owen did not deny these questions, and the red-visaged man went on:
"I see you took my advice--that is, his advice, whoever he is, and
you fixed the wire."
"Look here, Hicks, in heaven's name, tell me what this means. I did
dream about you; you told me to do the thing, and it's your fault. You
admit you are in it. Now, what is it?"
"Owen," said Hicks, "you and I are a couple of pikers in a big game--
bigger than we understand. We hold the cards, but somebody else is
playing the hand for us. He is an old guy and a wise one, four
thousand years old, he tells me, and, though it scares me out of my
boots to think who I am trailing along with, I'm going to stick and
you'd better stick, too, and let him play our hand to the end."
"Who is it?" asked Owen, wondering if the morphine had gotten the
better of him again or if Hicks were playing some uncanny deceit on
"I don't know," replied Hicks. "He's somebody who has been dead 4,000
years, and he wants to have this girl Pauline killed so he can get her
back. I suppose he's some kind of ghostly white slaver. It isn't our
business what he is as long as he takes care of us. If we'll help him
he'll help us."
"Well, he didn't manage very well today," objected Owen.
"He planned all right," rejoined Hicks. "The machine fell, and if
she'd been in it she'd have been killed. But the other side played a
card. I don't know what the card was, but it took the trick and she
didn't go up in the machine. That's all. But don't worry, we'll have
better luck some other time."
Owen shook his head. He could make nothing of this battle of unseen
forces. It was clear to him that he had grasped at the one big chance
to get Pauline's estate and had missed it. He told Hicks so frankly.
"That's where you're wrong again," insisted Hicks. "If that girl had
been killed today it would have been a big blunder."
"A blunder?" queried Owen. "Didn't you say that Pauline must be put
out of the way before we can get hold of her fortune?"
"Listen," said Hicks glancing cautiously about, "come over here away
from these people."
"What do you mean by saying that it would have been a big blunder if
Pauline had been killed in that flying machine?" demanded Owen.
"Yes, an almighty big blunder--that's what I said, and I can tell you
why. We were pretty stupid not to think of it before. Now here's
what's got to happen to Miss Pauline--"
Hicks placed his mouth close to Owen's car and whispered.
THE PIRATE AND PAULINE
A sort of false quiet, like the calm that broods between storms, kept
all serene at the Marvin mansion for a week after the aeroplane
catastrophe. Little had been seen of Harry, who was busy with
directors' meetings and visits to the factories. Owen had read with
alarm of rumors that some one had tampered with a wire of the wrecked
biplane. But if the authorities were investigating he saw no signs of
it, and suspicion pointed no finger at him.
What puzzled and worried Owen more than anything else was his own mind
and behavior. Having no belief in the supernatural, he could not
account for the dream which had thrown him into a criminal partnership
with Hicks. Hicks had blackmailed him in the past, and there was
nobody he had feared and hated more than this vulgar and disreputable
race track man. Yet Hicks had appeared to him in a dream, and Owen had
promptly done his bidding, involving himself in what would probably
turn out to be murder. The newspapers reported the French aviator as
barely living from day to day.
Owen suffered the torment of a lost soul, but, at least he had no more
dreams, or spectral visitations. Hicks called him on the telephone
once or twice, but the secretary refused to talk.
Pauline, too, had a busy week. Besides her usual social activities,
she rewrote and finished her new story. It seemed to her even better
than the one in the Cosmopolitan Magazine.
"This will surely be taken," Pauline thought with a little sigh of
regret, "and that means the end of my year of adventures--"
She had determined on this course the night after the accident. It was
after midnight, and Pauline was trying to marshal the exciting
recollections of the day into the orderly mental procession that leads
to sleep. Very faintly she heard what sounded like the music of a
distant mandolin. Pauline knew it was Harry, went to the open window
and looked down on the dark lawn. There he was playing with a bit of
straw instead of a pick that his music might not disturb the sleepers
in the house.
Pauline wanted to throw her arms around him and promise not to cause
any more worry. But she didn't, because she couldn't reach him from
the window. After Harry had gone Pauline decided to finish her story,
send it to a publisher and let his decision be hers.
"If they accept it, you stay home and marry Harry," she told the pretty
face under the filmy night cap which smiled at her from the mirror.
"But if they dare reject it, Harry will have to worry, dear boy though
So Pauline lost no time in finishing and submitting her manuscript,
inclosing a special delivery stamp and a request please to let her know
On Saturday Pauline received a bulky letter in the morning's mail. It
was her neatly typed manuscript and a short letter declining her
story. The editor thought it charming, showed wonderful imagination,
gave great promise of future success, but there was a lack of
experience evident throughout--a little unreal, he added. He
ventured to suggest that the author would do well to travel around and
see the world from different angles. During the afternoon Harvey
Schieffelin dropped in for a call. He had found her story in the
Cosmopolitan and complimented her then he began to laugh.
"Polly, that's a bully story of yours, but you ought to have gone down
and watched some stokers do work before you described that scene."
"What was wrong in my description?" demanded the young authoress.
"Well, you told of a stoker laying his grimy hand on the fire door and
pulling it open to rake the fire."
"Well, couldn't he do that?"
"Oh, yes," laughed Harvey, "he could, but he wouldn't do it more than
once. Those doors are almost red hot and would bum the flesh off the
stoker's hand, whether it were grimy or not. I'll show you on my yacht
some time. What you need is--?"
"Harvey, don't you dare tell me I need experience," interrupted Pauline
with unexpected heat. Young Schieffelin saw that tears were almost in
"Well," thought Schieffelin, "this vein leads too close to water," and
he hurried to shift the course of the conversation.
But the damage was done. Pauline took her story to the little open
fireplace in her room and destroyed it. At the same time she
destroyed, her resolution to give up the year of adventure. There
could be no question, she needed experience. Her adopted father had
admitted it, the editor had said it, and even an empty-headed young man
like Schieffelin could see it. She was sorry for Harry, but it
couldn't be helped. She picked up a copy of "Treasure Island" and soon
wished fervently that the days of pirates were back again.
Owen gave up his fight against morphine late Friday night. Saturday he
was at peace with the world. Gone were all the nerve clamorings and
with them went his scruples. All day he kept a furtive watch upon
Pauline, and even heard her envious remarks about pirates to Harry when
he returned for a weekend at home. Owen sympathized with Pauline in
her regret that pirates were extinct. A pirate would have been very
useful to the secretary just then.
However, there were other cut-throats, plenty of them, and perhaps some
other kind would do. There were gunmen, for instance, but, an honest
District Attorney had lately made these murderous gentlemen of the
underworld almost as quiet as pirates. He was still pondering when
Hicks called again on the telephone. This time the secretary responded
and made an immediate appointment in a cafe near Forty-second street.
Owen related the events of the week, ending with Pauline's hankering
for pirates. The two men got their heads together and rapidly evolved
From the cafe they took a taxi and rode along the water front, first on
one side of the island of Manhattan and then on the other. The cab
stopped near the worst-looking saloons, while the two schemers entered
and looked over the sailors and longshoremen refreshing themselves at
the bars. After covering several miles of water front they had
collected as many as a dozen abominable barroom cigars and a few
equally dubious drinks, but had not yet found what they were looking
On Front Street they saw a man, and both cried out:
"Look, there he is."
The man was a wild-looking specimen. He had the rolling gait of the
deep sea. A squinting eye gave him a villainous leer, while a bristly
beard and long gray hair made him a ferocious spectacle. His age was
doubtful, as the lines in his ruddy skin might have been cut by
dissipation as much as age. The most prominent feature of his unlovely
countenance was a nose, fiery red from prolonged exposure to sunburn,
"If he isn't a pirate he ought to be one," said Owen.
The man carried the top of a ship's binnacle, as the round brass case
which holds a ship's compass is called. He entered the dismal portal
of a marine junk shop. The taxi was stopped discreetly a block away.
As Owen and Hicks approached the shop they heard a loud argument going
"How much do you want for it?"
"Ten dollars. It's a brand-new Negus."
"Ten nothing. You stole it, you son of a sea cook. I'll give you a
dime for it."
"I did not steal it, so help me ---- ------! The captain of that
'lime juicer' over in the North River gave it to me for saving his
little gal's life. He begged me to take anything I wanted, but I
fancied this. I'll tell you about it."
Then Owen and Hicks, listening just outside, heard a fearful and
wonderful tale. To relate it in the sailor's own words, stripped of
the long deep-sea oaths, would be as impossible as to pick the green
specks out of a sage cheese.
In brief, the gentleman with the binnacle, sauntering innocently along
the docks Friday night, had heard a commotion on the British tramp
which he referred to as a "lime juicer." Some fifteen or more
long-shoremen had invaded the ship, overcome the captain, tied him down
and were about to kidnap his daughter. The teller of the story had
walked in and thrashed them all single-handed, driven them off into the
darkness, rescued the little girl and released the captain. In
gratitude the commander had made him a present of the binnacle head.
At the conclusion of the story there was a pause, then the other voice
"You're a wonder. As I said before, I'll give you ten cents for the
binnacle and ninety cents for the story. Now you can take it or I'll
have you pinched for swiping it."
"Gimme the dollar," said the hero of the tale, and a moment later he
passed down the street with the two eavesdroppers at his heels.
The sailor man, proceeding at a rapid pace, suddenly turned a comer
like a yacht jibing around a buoy and plunged into a dingy saloon.
Owen and Hicks went in after him.
Owen ordered and invited the sailor to join them. They learned that
his name was Nelson Cromwell Boyd, that he had deserted from the
British navy at a tender age, and since then had been through a series
of incredible adventures and injustices, which disproved the old adage
that you can't keep a good man down.
At last Owen intimated that he had a business proposition to discuss,
and they adjourned to the sidewalk.
"Do you want to earn some money?" asked Hicks.
"Well, that depends," said Boyd, doubtfully.
"Easy money," suggested Owen.
"That's the only kind worth going after," commented the sailor.
"That's where we agree with you, my friend," said Hicks. "We are after
easy money and plenty of it. Plenty for us and plenty for you, too, if
you can keep quiet about it."
"That's the kind of talk I like to hear. But as honest man to honest
man, I want to warn you that there mustn't be too much work to it. I
don't believe in the nobility of labor. I believe that work is the
crowning shame and humiliation of the human race. It's all right for a
horse or a dog or an ox to work, but a man ought to be above it. It's
degrading, interferes with his pleasures and wastes his time."
"I feel the same way," agreed Owen, "but somebody has got to work to
make shoes and food for us."
"Yes," admitted the sailor, "regretfully there will always have to be
some work done, and I'm sorry for the poor guys that must do it. But
there's been too much work done."
"Those sentiments are very noble," said Owen.
"It's all very fine to worry about your fellow man. But you would like
to have plenty of money even if the rest of the world is fool enough
to keep on working."
"I suppose so," said the sailor, "but I'm a reformer and my business is
to talk, not work."
"That's just what we want you to do," said Owen and Hicks in answer.
Then they found a table in the rear of a saloon where they could unfold
Boyd was to be introduced to a foolish young girl who had a barrel of
money. He was to tell her a deep-sea yam along certain lines, and Owen
and Hicks would take care of the rest.
"The question is," said Owen, "whether you can talk and act like a sort
of reformed pirate."
"Leave that to me," he assured them, and led the way out of the saloon
and into still another grimy and disreputable place. It was Axel
Olofsen's pawnshop and second-hand general supply and clothing store.
After much pawing over ancient, worn and rusty weapons, Boyd was at
last fitted out. Ole was paid about sixty per cent of what he asked
and left to the enjoyment of his Scandinavian melancholy.
"You look like a pirate now, sure enough," said Owen, observing Boyd's
effect on the driver of the taxicab.
"I look it, but I don't quite feel it yet," said Boyd, with deep
meaning. "There is something lacking."
"What can it be?" asked Hicks.
"About three fingers of red-eye," the sailor explained, pointing to a
saloon. "That will make my disguise just perfect."
In the saloon Hicks and Owen made a little map, wrinkled it and soiled
it on the floor, then gave it to the pirate.
"Tell her," said Owen as he called for a taxi, "that it is only a copy
of your original, which is all worn out."
The nearer they approached to the house the more talkative became the
"pirate." He demanded to know more details of what was to be done, and
finally assumed an air of authority.
"You say that rich girl is crazy to see something worth writin' about?
Now, I know something better than pirates and buried treasure," shouted
the pirate confidently.
"Yes, no doubt," Owen replied soothingly and with some alarm at the
man's bravado. "But it's pirates she is interested in just now."
"Never mind, I say I know something better," insisted the pirate.
"If she will go and do what I'm goin' ter tell yer she'll sure see
something like she never dreamed of. Now listen to me sharp!"
It was an extraordinary proposition the "pirate" made.
Owen laughed a gentle discouragement and shook his head, but Hicks
fixed his eyes keenly on the man and was evidently turning the
suggestion over in his mind.
Owen's key admitted the three to the front hall without ringing, but a
maid happened to cross the hall and caught sight of Boyd. With a
scream and a flutter she retreated. Owen seated his two confederates
in the hall and went in search of Pauline.
Owen found Pauline alone in the library. Never did a villain propose a
scheme to a beautiful girl at a more favorable moment. Half the
afternoon and a little while after dinner she had been absorbing
"Treasure Island," and now came Owen asking her if she would like to
meet a reformed pirate and go on a thrilling and adventurous
"Owen, you are a perfect angel. Bring in your pirate. I'm sorry,
though, that he has reformed."
Pauline shook hands with Hicks, but hardly noticed him. She had eyes
only for the "pirate," who impressed her mightily. With awe and
admiration she saw his scowling and squinting eye run over her and then
travel about the room. Pauline approved of the "pirate," but the
"pirate" did not approve of Pauline, and he almost told her so.
But he met the warning eyes of his confederates and restrained
himself. He had his story to tell and he would do it. After all, that
was the best way to attack this girl and her fortune.
"Tell us about the treasure," said Pauline eagerly.
"Hush!" he shouted in a voice that made the girl jump.
"I'll tell you, but, by the blood of Morgan, if one of you ever tells a
living soul I'll cut his liver out," said the "pirate." Pauline
gasped, and the secretary told him that it wasn't considered good
manners to point with a sharp knife. But they all swore to secrecy and
the "pirate" proceeded:
"I was but a slip of a lad when I ran away and sailed from Liverpool in
the good brig Nancy Lee with as villainous a crew as I ever seen.
Where we was bound for and why is none of your business. Them that
planned that voyage has cashed in their souls to their Maker and--ah,
well, as I was saying, they was a villainous crew, low and vile and
bloody-minded. I was the cabin boy and slept on the transoms in the
captain's cabin. The weather was awful and the grub was worse.
"But all went well till we reached the roarin' forties. The skipper
knew how to handle sailors, you bet he did. When they came aft to kick
about the grub he knocked 'em down before they said two words."
Pauline gave a little exclamation of dismay at this point and the
"pirate" turned to her in explanation:
"You see, knockin' 'em down quick like that avoids a lot of cross words
and unpleasant arguments such as makes hard feelin's on long voyages.
"Yes, as I was saying', all went well until the second mate got to