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Newspaper Page Text
. fpE PRETENDER
Hy AugustusGoodfich Sherwin.
(Copyright by W. G. Chapman.)
"She is -very pretty."
"Everybody says that."
''Ahd rich?'- .
''Which -Is the mam magnet, I as
sume," from what I know of the pres
ent state of your-finances."
"You. hit the nail on the head. ex
actly,'" acknowledged puke Bellew,"
but Jhere-will be no lack of capital
izing your end of the proposition if
yriu are willing to sell me the use of
How He Had Retrograded.
your brains until I make my impres
sion.',' - . .
"Yqu ut it brutally plain," re
sponded Roy BordBn with a slightly
bitter snarl:- "However, I need the
-cash and I accept the commission."
"Jflinus,.any' wayside strayings in
the. 'direction of the barroom, remem
ber," warned Bellew coarsely.
Roy Borden flushed and mentally
resented the insinuation. It was a
just challenge, however, he. had to
admit that. Borden was a man of
genius. He had dragged his abilities
into the mud, however. Long since
his old literary brilliancy had become
dimmed. He was now a mere penny-a-liher,
and that with little reliable
work to do.
"You see," proceeded Bellew, "I've
got in with Tresham set. They are
social leaders and really of a high up
sort. Among them is Mrs. Tresham
and her daughter, Elida. The girl is
heiress to an independent fortune.
She is smart, bright and cultured.
Art, science, literature those are her
fads. There is a struggling young
artist named Alden Hope who. has
interested her. That was my cue.
I'm going to pose as author and poet,
see? You are to furnish the goods, I
the, money. Here is a first instal
ment." Roy Borden went to his poor room
with a sneer upon his lips. It was one
of contempt for himself. Once he
had known the thrill of honorable
ambition. How he had retrograded.
Strong drink and indolence had land
ed him sheer at the bottom of the.
ladder. A momentary impulse sway
ed him' to do the work just assigned
him, save the money received, give
up the drink and start afresh in some
new community. Within twenty-four
hours, however, the old temptation
overcame him. Borden began one of
his long bouts of dissipation and hired
cheaply an unscrupulous scribble to
do the work he" had engaged to do.
Duke Bellew, schemer and adven
turer, proceeded on his campaign.
He was a polished man in appear
ance, a tasteful -dresser and hadthe
attractive smattering of 'the knowl
edge of a shrewd man of the world.
He made large' claims of valuable
Western investments and alluded
often to his literary income.
Naturally Bellew made an impres
sion, particularly on Elida's mother.
He was a specious rogue, .and within
a week had captivated quite a coterie
of fashionable friends. He met Aldeii