nlri-hnmp-t" mi s\\* rthpim . ip f iul t
rpmuinm his n*in«* the pimmff*r
Leii« had thought h* pas pretL\ fin*
.until she met a lot of.men who were
spending big money nearer home than
Mexico or Alaska. For Leila, before she
had become a photographers model and
almost as beautiful as she photographed,
had sold with Tmdie in the subway
"ready-made" stores and had not. looked
unlike Trudie, either. But now her hair
was silver-gold and her figure flowed in
her gowns like molten metal. And she
had lost that eager little-girl look that
Trudie still retained.
Half an hour, and not a stitch worth
wearing. In despair she turned to Leila s
closet. She hated to borrow, because if
Leila was not In a good humor she
could be nasty about a tear or a spot,
but—she stopped suddenly. Hidden
back of the long row of lovely dresses
was a new’ one. an extreme model in
aquamarine satin, with a quaint little
Jacket and a saucy little bow of pansy -
Trudie laid It on her bed. Leila would
be furious. But it was no worse than
walking ofT with Pat Hanlon. She
wriggled Into It before her mirror and
gasped at the transformation. The
color did wonders to her skin, whitening
It as If layers of her tired, everyday face
had been peeled off. She pinched her
hair into lovely golden highlights.
Rouge, just a little. Lipstick. A trace
of Leilas eye-shadow. A heavy antique
silver ring with amethyst setting from
Leila's box of keepsakes. Then the
buzzer, and she was still groping for
words to explain Leila's absence when
she threw open the apartment door.
rpHE man who stood there hesitated
only a second. ■Leila!’* he gasped
**You are so—so much more beautiful
than I remembered."
Trudie could not speak. Her heart
was beating so hard she was afraid he
might hear It. She had not counted on
this. And yet
"Let me look at you." He took her
two hands and drew her slowly to him
Then he looked long and searchingly
into her face. Trudie raised her eyes
to his and found them blue and kind,
and looking at her the way she had
always hoped some man's eyes would
"You've changed." he said slowly.
"There's somethmg more in yeur face.
I have come back to find a fine woman
Lee. Instead of the pretty girl I left
*o when he opened his arms to her
again she threw all caution to the winds
and forgot Leila entirely. It was not
until a few moments later when he
turned the big amethyst ring on her
finger and said: "You remember what
this means, don't you. Lee?" that what
she was doing overwhelmed her. She
nodded, too frightened to speak. This
was dangerous, but as exhilarating as a
"Then there's no one else?"
“We can begin where we left off then
five years ago? There has been no one
The officer eyed Trudie skeptically, taking In the blue dress with the
bedraggled hem and train, “llrn-m. What’s your name?’’ he demanded
else for me. either. ' You do love me.
don't you. darling?"
"How could I help It?" Trudie heard
herself saying eagerly. There was no
drawing back now.
He told her then about himself, of
hard Winters In the North, of a slag
slide In Mexico when he was almost
burled under tons of stone, of native
riots, of money won and money lost.
"But I’ve made a little now, Lee
rhat is why I came home. I can give
you the tilings you always wanted so
badly. Folks used to say 'that Bruce
Evans is a fool,* but I showed them.”
Bruce Evans. So that was his name
She hardly heard what he was saying.
"But you don't want to hear all this
now. You're all dressed up and, if 1
know my .Leila, you want to go places.
Well, where shall it be?”
"There is a new place I'd like to try
out,” she said, remembering some talk
at the office. '’lt's called the Big Show
Boat, and it's down on the riverfront.”
Trudie thought he seemed quiet as
the cab bumped over • the rough
riverfront street. Once he looked at his
watch. But when they reached the
gangplank that led to the club he was
the perfect escort.
Bruce seemed in a holiday mood
“This is just right.” he said softly in
her ear as he took her in his arms to
dance. "Are you still in love with me?”
Trudie laughed Into his eyes. "Don't
ask unnecessary questions," she said.
A LONG whistle sounded from off the
water, an eerie, warning sort of
whistle. Bruce started and drew away
to hold his watch under the light of a
"I didn't know it was so late,” he said
"Listen. Lee. I must leave you for Just a
few minutes. Do you mind?”
"Is anything wrong?”
"No. I'll tell you when I get back.”
He led her back to their table In the
corner. A girl was singing on the stage.
'■Remember.” he said, "don't move until
I get back.”
Trudie watched him disappear through
the dimly lighted entrance way. He had
not stopped at the checkroom and some
how she was faintly disturbed. What
could have been his sudden errand at
this time of the night?
The song ended. The lights went on
Trudie sat alone through a long dance.
Then the dancers parted and she saw
Leila across the room. This was bad.
She must get away quickly. Her hands
werp wet with nervousness. If Bruce
would only come quickly.
"DUT still Bruce did not come. She drew
back into the shadows and waited. An
other stage act was on. a pair of black
face comedians, but she could not listen.
She felt suddenly terribly alone and In
some way in danger. Two men w’ho had
passed and repassed her table were now
standing near the doorway and evi
dently watching her closely. .
Then she saw Pat. He had been danc
ing with a small, dark girl, but another
man had cut in on him.
"Pat!” she called In desperation. He
whirled and came over to her table.
"Well, this Is luck!” he said, bending
over her chair. Before this night she
would have been thrilled with his near
ness: now- it only meant liberation from
a bad situation.
"Oh. Pat, I'm so glad! The man I
came with had to go—suddenly. Won’t
you get a cab for me? I want to go
Pat shrugged. "Why home? I say.
Trudie. you are looking tremendous to
night. What about a little dance?”
"No." said Trudie hurriedly, “I—l don’t
want to dance. Just take me out to the
door and get me a cab. that’s all I want.”
“What's the matter with you? Don't be
a piker. Leila's here, and Christine and
She must do something quickly, for
Leila had seen her. She could recognize
first astonishment, then vivid anger in
her roommate's face. If a borrowed dress
could do that to Leila what would the
sight of Bruce and her together do?
"Listen, Pat, I'm tired—and hot. Let’s
go out on the deck," she said, linking her
arm through his. He gave It a quick
squeeze as they moved toward an open
door. There was a knowing smile on his
face that made her hate him. Hurry,
hurry, she kept Whispering to their
i Then, just as they reached the door,
1 luck was with her. The lights went
out, completely this time, to set off more
: spectacularly the big spot that featured
; the crooner of the evening. Wrenching
her arm from Pat’s intimate hold, she
ran along the darkened deck toward
what she hoped would prove an exit to
' the street. But a blank wall blocked her
way. There must be some way out, some
i way except where Bruce and those two
> silent men stood waiting.
Frantically she looked about for es
cape. A wharf lay some fifteen feet
below. Under her hand lay a rope from
one of the fake life preservers She threw
it overboard and dropped to the dock.
Crouching in the deep shadow’s behind
a pile of barrels she w-aited, her heart
pounding like a winded runner's.
‘‘She must be here somewhere,” she
heard a man’s vbice say. “There is no
other way out. The little fool looked
like a scared rabbit,"
The voices died away. Footsteps re
treated along the deck. She ran then,
from shadow to shadow. There was a
clumsy ladder at the end of the dock,
leading to the street. Cautiously Trudie
climbed, holding her bedraggled dress
well above her knees. To her left bright
lights showed the entrance to the club.
She turned right and ran close among
the shadows, but not before she thought
she heard some one cry: "There she is!”
and again footsteps in pursuit.
She felt as if she were in a nightmare.
Her lips were weak with terror, but she
ran, spike heels stabbing her and wrench
ing her ankles on the rough stones. Her
breath came in short, stabbing gasps.
Before her an avenue of moonlight broke
the shadows. She hesitated. What now?
Then to her right she saw another
dock at the foot of which swung a lighted
boat. No time to deliberate. Dropping
behind a group of pilings she found what
she hoped for, another ladder. The tide
was out. The boat lay low on the water.
It was not a hard matter to throw her
self over the side. She had landed on
the deck of a small but luxurious yacht.
It was dark there except for the glow
of soft lights from the cabin. Crouching
on all fours, she peered in. It was empty.
But beside her was a wicker chaise
longue that seemed to hold out com
forting arms, urging her to sink down
until those pursuing footsteps passed her
by. To rest—rest—rest —and cry until
her heart would break.
Half an hour later Trudie was startled
awake by a blast close by. For an in
stant she wondered where she was.
Then it all came back. Her heart
ached and her head throbbed. The
whistle screamed again. Suddenly she
stiffened as a flashlight swept the boat,
picking out the objects on the deck in
startling clearness. She could see a man
in evening clothes sitting on a chair
looking at her.
Then the deck was dark again, and
Trudie, shrinking back among the cush
ions, realized the boat was in motion. A
voice amplified by a megaphone was
calling something she could not under
stand. Signal bells sounded. The en
gines ceased and the boat drifted. There
was no running now.
Another boat was pulled alongside and
two men were climbing aboard. The
man in evening clothes was at the rail
talking to them.
“I have no one of that name on board.
Here are my papers. You are .free to
search the boat.”
Deck lights flashed on, the man at the
rail was facing her and she saw it was
Bruce. She saw, too, that some one had
covered her with a light blanket as she
slept. Her heart ached with the thought
of his tenderness.
She rose, but the two men had already
seen her. “I thought you said you had no
woman on board,” one growled to Bruce.
“I said, ‘Not of the name’you gave me,’
officer. This young lady I know well,
she is my guest, in fact, my fiancee ’’
The officer eyed Trudie skeptically,
taking in the blue dress with the be
draggled hem and train. "Hm! What’s
Trudie’s eyes sought Bruce's face. He
stood with arms folded, no expression
other than a casual interest upon his
clean-cut features. A dull pain crept
into her heart.
She gave it.
“Who is Leila Graham? Do you know
‘‘Yes, I live with her."
“Do you model for Anderson’s, too?”
amundaunfil this thing clears up ”
I*was planning a little trip to the West
Indi*- 1 11 wait until Porter la
“She better go Into Anderson* first
thing " A man handed him a alip of
paper from the boat alongside. “Wait,
here’s a radio now. It’s O. K. You can
go along. They got Leila Graham and
the rest of the stuff right at home. That
lets you out, Miss."
"Oh!” gasped Trudie. "Poor Leila I
What’ll they do to her?"
The detective chuckled. "If ahe look*
anything like you,” he said, “I guess she’ll
get off pretty easy."
When the men had gone Trudie sank
to the edge of the chaise longue,
Bruce gave an order. The engines of the
yacht began to throb.
"You better put me ashore," she man
aged to say.
“I will, if you really want to go. But
first—what does Pat Hanlon mean to
"Pat? Why, I hardly knew him—it was
all Leila with fat."
“Then you were never in love with
"Os course not." How could that flicker
she had felt for Pat be called love in
comparison with this flame that was con
suming her now?
"That's all I wanted to know. I
wouldn’t run off with another man’s girl.
For I am running off with you. That 1*
why I left you so suddenly. I had heard
my captain’s sailing signal, and I wanted
to phone Jamison—as you heard me ex
“When I got back you were dancing
with Pat. He looked like a cat and you
like a scared little canary. I went to
cut in on you, but the lights went out. I
heard Pat swearing to those others that
you had given him the slip. Why did
you run away? You were like a gho6t
among those shadows.”
HT WAS frightened, not only about Pat
-*■ but because I had seen Leila and I did
not want to face you. But now that you
know —that I not only borrowed her dress
but her name and her lover, even if it
was just £or a lark ”
“Was it just a lark to you?”
“What does it matter now? I deceived
“But not for long. In fact, only for a
few seconds. You see, Leila has a tiny
scar over her right eyebrow—and you
have none. Besides. Leila Graham never
was nor ever could be as sweet as the
girl I found tonight.”
“But the ring, and—and all the things
“I never saw the ring before. I was
Just playing the game at first. It was to
have been a lark for me, too, until—well,
I meant every single thing I said. For
some unknown reason I have fallen in love
with the dearest little Impostor in the
world. I think probably it is her spunk.
An engineer’s wife needs plenty of that.*
At these words Trudie felt as if she
had awakened from a nightmare to the
beauties of a fresh April morning. And
she lifted her lips for his kiss, for the
kiss that was hers and hers alone.