couldn't respect myself if ever she
set foot inside my House."
Joe and Jenny had a long talk with
Mildred. They pointed out the ne
cessity of taking action. In fact, they
had both heard that Tom's infatu
ation was a serious thing, though
neither told Mildred of that In the
end Mildred succumbed to their sug
gestions and placed herself in their
Mrs. Hilda Lagarde received a let
ter the next day, written in the nic
est vein. Would she give the writer
the pleasure of her company to din
ner on the following evening at 7
o'clock? Mrs. Benton had heard so
much about Mrs. Lagarde from her
husband that she. felt they ought to
know each other.
Hilda Lagarde read the letter very
thoughtfully. She scented a trick.
She knew that her conduct with Tom
had not been entirely discreet She
was as much an adventuress as a
woman of her type could be. She had
married the rich old man for his mo
ney. After he died the shock of dis-"
covering that the money was hardly
existent had infuriated her., She had
beenleft with the bighouse on her
hands and Tom's sympathy had first
touched and then interested her.
"When she discovered that Tom was
rich, and a genius, and heard a lying
report that he and his wife did not
agree, she had let herself indulge, in
thoughts of catching Tom.
But above all she was discreet She
had attained to social success-in spite
of the misfortune of birth. She
would not let that slip. Not for worlds
would she have endured publicity.
She bad of tea wondered what sort of
woman Mrs. Benton was. She must
see her, spy out the land before she
could go further.
Trick or no trick, therefore, Mrs.
Benton's letter afforded her oppor
tunity. She wrote a pleasant accept
ance and set out in a borrowed auto
mobile from the suburb in which .she
At seven o'clock precisely Hilda 1
1 Lagarde, .gorgeously attired, was ad
mitted into tne nenton apartment oy
a neat servant, who respectfully took
her cloak and hat from her and pre
ceded her along the hall toward a
Hilda Lagarde was almost at the
door when she stopped aghast as a
shrill scream rang out from behind
"How dare you lay your hands on
me, you monster!"
"I'll show you now! I've stood for
you long "enough. Take that for a
The terrified woman, rooted to the
doormat, heard the thud of a man's
fist upon a soft object, and then a
heavy falL Faint moans ensued.
"I told you what you'd get some
day, you jealous old cat!" thundered
Tom Benton's voice. "And if I have
any more trouble with you I'll do for
you once and for all.'
"You coward, to strike a woman,,
let alone your wife! I know why
you've shaken me. You think youjre
going to marry that peroxide blonde
of yours. You're too old for her, with
your dyed hair."
"Too old, eh?" screamed Tom. "I
guess that don't matter. At least she
didn't seem to feel any objection
when I kissed her yesterday. That
woman's crazy over me, what's more,
she's ten years younger than you are.
Now stop that squealing, or it will be
worse yet for you."
Hilda Lagarde staggered uncer
tainly toward the door of the apart
ment But the maid stood in the
"I hope you won't be frightened,
miss," she said, in her quiet English
accent, as if (he affair was nothing
unusual. "The master's had a bad
day and taken a little too much.
He'll sober up very quick, miss."
"Oh, let me go," sobbed Mrs. La
garde and, rushing past the maid, she
somehow found the door. Breathless
ly she gained the street
As soon as the outer door closed
the maid ran into the dining room!
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