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She twined her fingers ceaselessly.
"I have been through all that with
him. He wants to marry me."
"And you are willing to marry him
and ruin him? You know that a boy
of 24, for all his promises, will
change. You know there will come
a time when he will tire of you. For
give me if I speak brutally, Miss
'Gray, but I speak from a knowledge
of the world."
"I do not resent your speech," she
answered. "Time and again I told
him It was foolish, that it could come
to nothing; but he insisted."
"And you accepted him. Please re
member that. You accepted him,
knowing that his life would be
spoiled. A man may come out of
these affairs better than a woman,
but still the fact remains that you
propose to take the unstained life of
a boy and mold it yes, mold it to
that of your own."
."How mold?" she demanded
"A woman of 30 molds a man of
24. You will drag er "
"Drag him down," she said bitterly.
"Don't hesitate to be as frank with
me as before. Yes. I will drag him
down to my level."
"A woman of your experience
must inevitably drag down a youth
with none. I do not mean to reproach
you. But now let us come to busi
ness. Marriage with Charles my
son and of course he will remain my
son in spite of it will mean a lucra
tive er investment"
"On the other hand' you may not
marry him. He loves his mother,
and his mother is probably on her
knees before him at this moment,
pleading with him. You may never
get the Ames inheritance. At least,
liis mother and I will fight against
you. with all our power. Now, my
dear Mis3 Gray, when you have
reached my age if women ever do
acknowledge 55 you will realize
that the great factor of successful
ilie is compromise. 1 will give you a
hundred thousand dollars to give up
my son forever and leave town to
night" The blood rushed into Delia's
cheeks. For all his smooth words,
then, he had mistaken her for a com
mon adventuress for money, her who
had never 'sought anything but love,
and had always failed to find it
At that moment she heard a light
step in the hall without It was so
light that the millionaire, who was
absorbed in signing his name to the
check which he had already with
drawn from his pocket, failed to de
tect it The woman's heart leaped
up. It was Charles her lover
whom she loved better than all the
world. A surge of anger swept over
But the father's words had sunk in
deep. She had indeed often thought
of what the future might bring to
them. She had begun to realize that
love may not be captured that he is
elusive to those who seek him and
only comes to those whose lives are
set in other molds than hers.
A few years with Charles, and, as
the father had said, the end would
come. At 35 he would be in the prime
of life; she, at 41, a middle-aged
And the spell of the past was on
her, and she knew that she, who had
loved in vain, could never hope to
make this new love hers.
She heard the footstep stop, at the
door, which was imperceptibly open.
Charles had seen his father, or heard
his voice, and hesitated, not knowing
what course to take.
And in that moment the impulse of
renunciation came to the woman.
"Yes, if your check is good I will
accept it," she said brazenly, stretch
ing out her hand to Hardwick's, to
receive the paper.
"It is quite good," said the father
complacently. "You agree, then, to
leave town tonight in return for a
hundred thousand dollars, and never
to see my son again ? Such an agree
i meat is, of course, not valid in law.