description of a Mrs. Despard who was said to be
an intimate friend of Sinclair. Clare had already
suspected that tho fourth member was Dclroy him
self. Neither of tho men could he found at their apart
ments, so tlint Claro decided to turn her attention
for the i rcsen I to Mrs. Despard.
Mrs. Despard, sho soon found from Gossip, had
come from no one knew where, but with letters suf
ficiently good to admit her to at least a substratum of
society. Gossip had it also that Mrs. Despard was
reputed to one much of her dashing good looks to a
beauty parlor, the Futurist Beauty Shop, as it was
called, managed by a Mademoiselle Fleurette.
Moro than that, tho inquisitive public went on to
say that Mrs. Despard had been undergoing a com
plete treatment at the hands of the "Futurists.'1 At
least that was tho explanation of her frequent pres
ence there and of her recommending the place on
AS far as Clare could find out, Mrs. Despard was-
not a bad-looking woman and it was diilicult to
see how she expected to he improved by cosmetics that
would lighten her complexion, bleaches that would
flaxen her hair, tortures for this, that, and the other
defect, real or imagined. Still, the fact remained
that recently sho hail dropped out of her social life
altogether. Some had said that she had gone to
Europe; others to a sanitarium to rest after a hard
season. But it was clear that in reality she was
living obscurely in New York, apparently making
daily and long visits to tho Futurist Hcauty Shop.
At least that was what Gossip said.
Tho mention of the beauty parlor of Mademoiselle
Flcurette interested Clare. Sho opened' the tele
phone book to look it up. It was on the street and
near tho same corner where the cab had stopped the
Clare quickly seized tho clew for what it might be
worth. She would go there, determined even on a
thorough course of "decorative surgery" if it should
prove necessary in the pursuit of Norma.
Tho Futurist Beauty Shop was indeed all its name
implied n templo of tho cult of beauty up to, if
not ahead of, tho minuto in its effort to sntisfy what
was moro than health, wealth, and happiness, tho
fundamental feminine instinct for personal beauty.
As Claro stepped out of tho private elevator, a
delicate scent as of attar of roses smote lightly on
her and thero was an exotic warmth in tho nir.
Everything, from the electric bulbs buried deep in
clusters of amber flowers to the artificial leaves on
tho dainty green trellises, tho little diamond-pnnod
windows, tho pure white enamel tables of the mani
cures and inviting wicker chairs and couches, be
spoke rest and good taste.
Thero were cosmetic surgeons who were dangerous
to lifo and limb in the practice of their "art." Hut
as far as Claro could judge, Fleurctte's only real
ability seemed to' bo in putting on make-up in a
most attractive, and, if desired, plausible manner.
Madcmoisello Fleurette hurried forward to greet
her. Well-groomed was the first expression that
flashed over Claro'a mind. Sho was a creature of re
inforcements from her puffy masses of dark hair to
her gown which looked liko a mould into which she
had been cast, with nothing to spare. There was a
faint yellow tingo to her complexion that was pat
ently as artificial as her Fronch heels nnd clocked
stockings that shono beneath the slash in the dra
peries of her gown.
Madcmoisello and everything in her shop had a
"tono" that was peculiarly and startlingly chic. It
took Clare but an instant to see that she had carried
tho somewhat hideous influence of the unconven
tional Cubist and Futurist art even into dress nnd
the beauty parlor. There was nothing that Claro
had ever heard of from Paris or London too extrav
agant for Madcmoisello to lie. capable of tinted
faces, odd eyes, dimples that would last for a few
hours, perfume injected into the skin itself.
"I 'in all unstrung," confided Clare, with an ns
sumcd languor as sho dropped into a chair, "A
late supper after theater and all that sort of
Mademoisollo nodded knowingly. "With her usual
histrionio ability Claro had struck the light note in
stantly. Sho could bo as blase as the most jaded.
"A Turkish bath, massage, something to tone you
up, my dear," Fleurette advised, leading Clare
With alert eyes Claro went patiently through tho
process of freshening, first in the steamy white
room, then n deliriously cool shower, gentle mas
sage, and at last rest.
On a chaise lounge near her reclined a woman tak
ing her favorite nepenthe, coffee with a safo comple
ment of veronal. Languidly she nodded to Clare.
"Isn't it delightful to rest up here 7"
Claro assented, but her quick eyes had told her
that while this woman was of the typo sho was not
tho one she was looking for.
Suddenly her attention wns arrested by a muflled
voice on the other side of a low partition. Some
one was talking over tho telephone. Whether it was
her suspicion that the voice wns disguised or the
fragments of the conversation itself, Clare strained
her attention to catch the drift of t lie conversation.
"Everything . . . arranged . . . lovely . . .
tell you all . . . Moutniartre at four . . ."
Clare could not sec the speaker, but there was
something in the voice that set her thinking.
As she sank back again on her cushions, Clare
longed to explore the beauty parlor, to leave the rest
room and go down the nnrrow corridor prying into
A quickly suppressed lo,ok of surprise crossed the
"Sho has gone to Europe, I believe."
"Indeed? I thought 1 saw her at the Charity Boll
Fleurette shrugged her shoulders.
"It must have been some 0110 else."
Tho conversation was at an end, but Clare knew
that the woman had lied. There was some mystery
here. How much did she know of it 1
A HALF hour later, her head still in n whirl
from the drug she had inhaled, Clare hurried
from the templo of heauly. Her first thought was to
discover what was in that cigarette which had
aroused in her a sensation of which she did not
dicain she was capable. She went directly to Dr.
While she waited, the next step was clear in her
mind. Who was to meet whom at the Montinartre?
At Dlroy ruihed at her, Clare whipped an automatic from her handbag and corered him
the secrets of tho little dressing rooms that opened
into it, each with its dainty bed, dresser, nnd mirror.
What did they conccnl? Whose was the mysterious
voice? Rather than incur suspicion just yet she de
cided to wait.
Thero was a feeling of luxurious well-being as she
lolled back in the deep recesses of her chair. A maid
brought n little silver box of cigarettes on n tray.
Claro selected one and lighted it. From it exhaled a
Another whiff, and she knew that to finish it would
be disastrous. A subtle warmth had begun to steal
over her already. Sho could feel a strange, dreamy,
reckless sensation tingling in every organ, as if she
were floating along on a sea of voluptuous happi
ness. With a start she gripped herself thero in
tho haze of her day vision she saw the face of Billy
Lawson, in one fleeting moment !
HASTILY, whilo no one wns looking, she crushed
the lighted end of the doped cigarette on the
nsh tray and stuffed the rest into tho pocket of her
bath robe. Tho possibilities of that gold-tipped
cigaretto dazed her.
"ITow do you feel now?" asked Fleurette.
"Much better, thank you," smiled Clare, looking
up. ''I am almost afraid of myself." There wns n
pause. "I supposo you have a large clientele?"
"Yes, indeed. Many of the most exclusive."
"Oh," exclaimed Clare taking tho lead she had
opened, "do you know Mrs. Despard?"
She must find out. It wns of absolute importance.
Tho opening of the laboratory door broke in on
"You '11 be interested to know, Clare," remarked
Billy, seating himself beside her, "that the cigarette
you brought to mo contains a good-sized portion of
cannabis indica, Indian hemp hashish."
"Hashish?" she exclaimed.
"Yes," Lawson answered; his attention on the trim
lines of her figure and tho alert sparklo of her eyes
quito'as much ns on what ho was saying. "A fresh
fnd from Pnris, where several establishments, I hear,
aro in operation."
"What does it do?" sho asked naively.
"It 's one of tho most singular and least known
of narcotics," he answered frankly. "In small
quantities it has a stimulating and exhilarating ef
fect. In largo doses it produces a dreamy state,
verging on catalepsy, with motor and sensory dis
turbances of the spinal cord, really a sort of hysteria.
An overdose might produce insanity. It is very ac
commodating it can be taken as a powder, n liquid,
or a solid; smoked, chewed, eaten as a confection,
or ns a drjnk. But, to put it in plain English, in
any case tho user is no longer master of his thoughts,
but the servant."
"Why," exclaimed Clare eagerly, "it is just tho
thing to rouse tho wild demi-raondaine instinct that
lurks in tho back of the heads of some romantic girls."
"Exactly. It has a marked tendency for excitiug
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