' Petr Knight, defeated for political of
fice In his town, decides to venture New
.York In order that the family fortunes
night benefit by the expected rise of his
charming daughter, Lorelei. A well
known critic Interviews Lorelei Knight,
Bow stage beauty with Bergman's Revue,
for a special article. Her coin-hunting
mother outlines Lorelei's ambitions, but
Sloseon, the press agent, later adds his
information, Lorelei attends Millionaire
Hammon's gorgeous entertainment. She
meets Merkle, a wealthy dyspeptic. Bob
Wharton comes uninvited. Lorelei dis
covers a blackmail plot against Hammon
!h which her brother is involved. Merkle
and Lorelei have an auto wreck. The
blackmailers besmirch her good name.
Do you believe that a young
girl, Just out of her teens, is
justified in leaving home and
casting off her parents if they
intrigue to get her married to
any man, no matter how much
of a rounder he is, if only he has
wealth to support them?
CHAPTER VIII Continued.
Looking back upon last night's home
ward ride, she was wholly at a loss,
jln view of Jim's words and of what
she had gathered at the theater she
had felt sure of Lllas' complete knowl
edge of the blackmail plot, but Ham
mon's unwavering faith In the girl and
Lllas' own story of her relations with
Max Melcher had awakened a doubt.
(What concerned her far more than the
moral complexion of the Unison was
her brother's connection with the un
lawful scheme of extortion. Jim, she
saw, had gone wrong with a ven
geance, and the consequences to him
troubled her, for in spite of all that he
might be or do she cherished a sisterly
affection for him. Family ties were
very real and very strong to her
strong enough to keep her loyal to her
kin even after the demoralizing change
In her whole mode of life. The firm
est, in fact, the only bond that she had
ever known, was that of blood; obedi
ence, faithfulness and affection had
been born in her, and she never
thought to question their sacredness.
Idling down Fifth avenue, she found
herself in front of a fashionable de
partment store. A knot of curious
people were gaping at a unique auto
mobile which stood In the line i f ve
hicles along the curb, and she paused
to look. The equipage was snow white
in color; the chauffeur and a stiff
backed footman were in blood red with
"White facings on their livery. A tiny
mop of a lapdog, imprisoned within
the closed body of the car, was barking
frenzledly at the throng. Across the
doors, in gold letters an Inch high, tras
the name "Adoree Demorest."
As she entered the store Lorelei re
flected with some disgust that no vis
iting rajah, no barbaric potentate
no one, In fact, except a pelf-advertlsed
musical comedy queen would so fla
grantly defy good taste as to ride in
such a vehicle.
; She was engaged in her final pur
chase when a dazzling creature in red
and white descended upon her with ex
clamations of surprise and delight. It
was Mademoiselle Demorest herself,
and her greeting was so effusive that
the stream of shoppers halted in the
aisle. She carried the mate to the ex
citable poodle that defied the curiosity
"Miss Knight! I'm so glad to see
you again," she burbled. "How sweet
you look! I hoped we'd meet again;
but where have you been? Have you
finished your shopping? Then do come
and help me match some rose du
Lorelei fe't herself flushing uncom
fortably under the stares of the on
lookers, and, glad to escape, she
moved away beside the undisturbed
cause of all the furore.
Miss Demorest seemed genuinely de
lighted at this encounter. She clung
to her companion, chattering vivacious
ly; then, when the rose du Barry had
been matched, she suggested tea.
; "We'll run right over to the Wal
dorf my car is outside." P.ut Lorelei
declined, explaining lamely that she
did not care for public places.
The dancer's expression and tone
changed abruptly. "I supposed you
were like all the others."
"Well, I'm not. When I'm away
from the theater I try to forget it.
I hate the business."
The reply, which came with sincere
feeling, widened Lorelei's eyes with
"Here, too," said Adoree Demorest,
quietly. "Hut I'm not allowed to for
get it. Our first meeting made me
think you were out with banners. I
was hired on that occasion to he
naughty. What do you say to some
real tea at my house? Just you and
Lorelei's heart sank at the thought
of that gaudy machine outside, but
there was an honest appeal in the
speaker's eyes, and, moreover, the
memory of her obligation rose to pre
vent her from appearing ungrateful.
"I'd be delighted," she falsified, and,
gurgling with appreciation, Miss Dem
orest hurried her toward the nearest
exit. In the street, however, Adoree
paused, and htr next words showed
that she was not wanting in womanly
or new vork um
DEACn t ? T
"I shan't inflict you with a ride In
that circus wagon. It's all right for
me, but you're one of the decent kind.
If you have a reputation it won't do
to parade it in a show case. We'll take
a taxi." Lorelei's relief must have
been obvious, for Adoree sped swiftly
to the corner, then was back again
without the dog. "If there's anything
more conspicuous than a blonde with
a white poodle," she explained, "it's
two blondes with two poodles." Then
she flung herself into the cab and
slammed the door.
"You must think I'm very rude," her
"Nothing of the sort. I know Just
how you feel." Miss Demorest's smile
was a trifle strained. "Only I'm aw
fully lonesome, and I'll take care that
nobody sees us."
"Now I know I've been nasty." Lo
relei felt he embarrassment growing,
for this woman differed entirely from
what she had expected. Underneath
the dancer's extravagant theatrlcalism
she appeared natural and unaffected.
Adoree changed the current of the
conversation by saying:
"I hope those bloodhounds get to
"How funny!" Lorelei was eying
the speaker with undisguised curiosity.
"You're not a Frenchwoman?"
"Agnes Smith Is the name. Decent
by descent, but an actress by adver
tising. What's your game?"
"Um-m My nose is straight; I don't
limp; so I'm an actress by force of fea
ture." Both girls laughed unaffectedly.
"I like you," said the dancer. "Do
you mind if I get out of this cast-iron
corset and into a kimono when we get
"Have you a spare one?"
"Dozens; but they're not very clean."
"That's lovely. And let's make the
"Oh, I can't drink anything strong!
I'm an awful counterfeit."
"I'm beginning to think so. I
wonder If I'm dreaming."
The girls had much in common; they
chattered continuously through the
short ride, and when they alighted
from the taxicab they disputed over
the right to pay for it. When the
guest was ushered Into Adoree's apart
ment she received another surprise,
for the place was neither elaborate nor
showy. It consisted merely of two
large, comfortable rooms overlooking
a side street lined with monotonous
brownstone boarding houses.
A bettered teakettle was set to boil
over an absurd alcohol stove that re
quired expert assistance to maintain
its equilibrium. Adoree flung out of
her finery and donned a Japanese robe,
offering another to Lorelei. A plate
of limber crackers was unearthed
from somewhere, also the disreputable
remains of a box of marstmiallows;
"You Never Really Believed That King
Stuff, Did You?"
and those latter Mademoiselle Demo
rest. toasted on a hatpin.
"You're the most extraordinary per
son." her guest at length remarked.
"Aren't you going to show ine your
jewels or anything like that?"
"You probably haw better jewels of
your own," carelessly replied Adoree;
then she voiced a very tamo and wom
anly oath as a marshmallow dripped
into the flames. "Piel'.les! I spoiled
"But the cabochon rubies are real."
"Sure. So is the 'square toe' who
brings 'em and takes em away; so is
the bond that covers "em. Lordy, but
they are pretty!"
"Then the king didu't give them to
"My dear, I never saw a king out
side of a pinochle deck. If I lost one
of those rubies the Maiden Lane Shy
iX.S'vowd3 them would tear
rd hair out of hla beard to
fill a mattress. You never really be
lieved that king stuff, did you?"
"I had no idea it worked so well."
Again Miss Demorest smiled crookedly.
"No wonder you didn't want to go to
the Waldorf with me; I wonder you
consented to come here."
"Your advance work Is great "
"I knew the public swallowed it; but
I suiposed the profession knew press
stuff when they saw it I sang and
danced for ten years in this country
and never got better time than the
schuetzen parks and airdomosl I was
Agnes Smith then. Somehow I got the
price of a ticket to England, and I
pulled the airdome stuff that had
scored in Little Rock and Michigan
City, and it got by somehow. My
mother was a Canuck, so I knew some
French, and eventually I reached the
continent. There I met the Old Nick.
You may think the devil is what he
looks like on the ham cans; but, in
reality he's a little, fat, bald man with
a tenor voice, and he eats cloves. His
name is Aubrey Lane. He was in
Taris selling patent garters at the time.
He saw me work at a cabaret and told
me I was good, but not good enough.
I'd known that for years, so he didn't
hurt my feelings. He confessed that
he was tired of working and intended
to have me make a lot of money for
him, but warned me that he had ex
pensive tastes and I'd have to pay well
for the privilege. He was right; I did.
But here I am in electric lights on
Broadway while he is exercising a
wheeled chair at Atlantic City."
"He's your manager?"
"He's that very little thing, ne of
fered to make me a star if I'd allow him
to hitch his chariot to me on a share
of the gross. There was one trifling sac
rifice I had to make in the nature of
my personal reputation so he told me.
He began by tying a can to the 'Agnes
Smiths' and handed me 'Adoree Demo
rest' instead; then he went to work.
He really did work, too, although it
nearly killed him, and he's never done
anything since. The king fable Is a
joke on the other side, but New York
swallowed it clear up to the sinker,
and Aubrey gaffed the Palace Garden
management for a three years' con
tract. Of course, my advertised sal
ary Is phony, just like the rubies and
the wrecked throne and that gilded
bandwagon with the poodles and the
stuffed supers on the box. Aubrey
owns them all except the rubies, which
he rents. I'm billed as the most no
torious woman in America, and the
shred of reputation I have left
wouldn't make a necktie for a gnat,
whereas in reality I love marshmal
lows and tea much more than men
But I'm a star, at the head of my own
company, and playing to sidewalk
prices. Do you think it was a good
Lorelei had listened with breathless
interest. Now she burst out impul
sively: "You poor dear."
Miss Smith smiled, but her eyes
"Sometimes I cry when I think
about it. I cry a good deal," said
she. "I didn't realize until too late
what it meant, but, you see, I was
tired of working, tired of ambition,
and 1 wanted to come home. Thank
God, I have no people! I save all the
money I can, and when I get enough
I'm going to take Agnes Smith out
of the moth-balls, dust her off tenderly,
and go to raising ducks."
"Ducks? What do you mean?"
"What I say. That has always been
"Why not quit now?"
"What's the use? I'm half way
through the swamp; the mud is as deep
behind as it is in front. But I'm
deathly afraid all the time I'll be
found out I'd rather be notorious
than ridiculous. Of course, Aubrey
sees to that."
"Are you fond of him?"
Adoree turned up her nose. "He's
a little pink rabbit. I don't like any
man, and I never have. There's only
one I'd really care to meet; his name
is Campbell Pope."
"The critic. He is nice."
"The beast. Did you read what he
said about me? I'll never rest until I
have a lock of his hair that I've
plucked myself. I'd love to have his
whole scalp with, say, one ear at
tached hanging on my bureau where
I could see it every morning when I
wake. up. Somehow I don't seem to
mind the press stuff that Aubrey puts
out, but Pope actually believes what
he wrote. And other people will be
lieve it, too. I I Gosh! I'm going
to cry again."
Lorelei nodded in perfect sympathy:
she (1H not laugh. "I haven't any girl
chum; let's be friends." said she.
Adoree had been nibbling at marsh
mallows as she talked; as she wiped
her eyes now she left a smear of pow
dered sugar on her cheek.
"I'd love to I'm simply bursting to
confide in somebody but we couldn't
go around together."
"Why? I don't care what people
"You can't afford to be reckless.
We're each playing our own game and
chasing the dollar in our own way.
The men you met would make life un
"The Iron Trail"
" The Silver Horde" Etc.
Ctfyrithl, Bjf Harper V trttkirt
bearable for you if they knew we were
pals. Aubrey was right: a girl must
either be mighty good or mighty bad
in this business or make people think
she Is,- which amounts to the same
thing. You have had easy going be
cause you're known to be straight; but
If you ever get into the papers watch
what will happen. You'll have to fight.
Y'ou wouldn't like that kind of fighting,
either, and I'm not sure you could
As Lorelei walked homeward that
afternoon she felt an unaccustomed
warmth in her breast, and realized that
she, too, had been very lonely in the
city. The certainty that she had made
a friend gladdened her heart. She
looked forward with a thrill to the
morrow when she could see Adoree
During her absence Jim had returned
and departed; but a note was waiting
for her. It had been brought by a mes
senger, and read:
"Things look bad. I'm afraid we'll
be Implicated, too. Better see your
brother quickly. M."
Lorelei was not a little mystified by
Merkle's cryptic message, for she
could imagine no possible way in
which she or the writer himself could
be connected discreditably with Jar
vis Hammon's affair. She gained some
light, however, when that evening she
read the note to Lilas.
"Why, they're going to blackmail
Merkle, too,". Lilas exclaimed. "Well,
they'd be foolish to let him off,
"So they think he'll pay to keep his
name out of the papers?"
"Exactly. And he will for your
"I won't let him."
Lilas was surprised. "Why? lie's
rich. He wouldn't miss a few thou
sand." "You wouldn't allow Mr. Hammon
to be robbed, would you?"
"Oh, wouldn't I? If he didn't care
enough for me to protect me from
scandal I'd want to know it."
"Lilas, you puzzle me," confessed
Lorelei, doubtfully. "You say things
that make me think you don't care
for him at all; then again you seem
to be crazy about him. now do you
feel? How far would you go with
Lilas laughed airily. 'Terbaps I'd
go farther with him than for him. He
asked me to marry him if his wife
gets a divorce; and I agreed. Now that
he has come to the point, I'm sorry
things happened just as they did. A
woman must look out for herself no
man will ever help her. It's worth
some notoriety to become Mrs. Jarvis
Something in the speaker's words
rang false; but just what that some
thing was, Lorelei could not decide.
"Then you'd like to see the story
made public?" she queried.
"I dare say if I loved a man I'd
want him at n.n;price, but I hope I'm
not going to be dragged into this mat
ter."' "My dear, you have a family; they
can make Merkle do the right thing
by you. He could be made to pay, at
least, and you'll be sorry if you don't
get something out of him. Just wait
and see what a difference the story
makes with your other men friends."
During the ensuing performance Lo
relei pondered her friend's disquieting
prophecy; yet she could see no reason
for grave apprehension. Publicity of
the kind threatened would, of' cousse,
be disagreeable; but how it could seri
ously affect her was not apparent.
Later in the evening Robert Whar
ton appeared, as usual, and so resent
ful was he at the deceptions previously
practiced upon him that Lorelei with
j dicuHy escaped a scene. At last he
planted himself in the hallway, where
he remained throughout the perform
ance a gloom j, watchful figure. Lo
relei came down boldly, dressed for
the street, and, since she could not pass
the besieger, crossed under the stage,
made her way into the orchestra pit,
and managed to leave the 'theater by
the front door.
She was waiting when Jim came
home, and followed him into his room,
where they could talk without disturb
ing their father. Lorelei made her ac
cusation boldly, prepared for the usual
burst of anger,, but Jim listened pa
tiently until she paused.
"I knew you had to spill this, so I
let you rave," said he. "But it's top
late; somebody has been after Ham
mon for a long time, and he's been
got yes, and got good. Take a flash
at the 'Chorus Girl's Bible.'" He
tossed his sister a copy of a prominent
theatrical paper. "I waited until It
Lorelei gasped, for on the front page
glared black-typed headlines of the
Hammon scandal. John Merkle's name
was there, too, and, linked with it, her
"What Is this?" She ran her eye
swiftly down the column.
"Sure. Melcher commenced suit
against Hammon this afternoon. Fifty
thousand dollars for alienation of Ll
las' affections. Joke, eh? He claims
there was a common-law marriage and
he'll get the coin."
"But Mrs. Hammon?"
"The evidence is in her hands al
readydates, places, photographs, ev
erything. She'll win her suit, too."
"Were you by any chance working
for Mrs. Hammon?"
Divining his sister's prejudice, Jim
lied promptly and convincingly. "Why,
Mrs. Hammon, of course. I had a
chance to turn a few dollars, and I
"But why did you drag me In?
Couldn't you keep me out of it? This
Is dreadful." As she ran her eye over
the article she saw that it was quite
in harmony with the general tone and
policy of the paper, which catered to
the jaded throngs of the Tenderloin.
Truth had been cunningly distorted;
flippancy, sensationalism and, a sala
cious double meaning ran through it
"What's dreadful about it?" inquired
her brother. "That sort of advertising
does a show-girl good. You've got to
make people talk about you, sis, and
this'll bring a gang of high rollers your
way. I'ou've been so blamed proper
that nobody's interested in you any
For a moment Lorelei scrutinized
her brother in silence, taken aback at
his outrageous philosophy. Jim had
changed greatly, she mused; not until
very lately had she observed the full
measure of the change in him. He was
no longer the country boy, the play
mate and confidant of her youth, but a
man, sophisticated, hard, secretive. He
had been thoroughly Manhattanized,
she perceived, and he was as foreign
to her as a stranger. She shook her
"You're a strange brother," she said.
"I hardly know what to make of you.
Has the city killed every decent In
stinct in you, Jim?"
"Now, don't begin on the Old Ilome
stuff," he replied, testily. "Do you
really Intend to marry a bunch of
"That's the program, isn't it? I've
been raised for that and nothing else."
"Well, ma can't put it over, so I
guess it's up to me." After a moment
he added, "Would you accept Merkle?"
Lorelei shivered. "Oh no! Not Mr.
"Humph! You ought to consider the
rest of us a little bit. Fa could be
cured, ma'd be happy. I could get on
my feet. How about Bob Wharton?"
"Let's not talk about it, please. Mr.
Wharton is getting nasty, and I'm be
ginning to be afraid of him."
"Ill bet you could land him "
'Tlease. I don't want to think
about it. I dare say I'll bring myself
to marry some rich man some day;
but Merkle Wharton " She shud
dered for a second time. "If Mr.
Wharton is serious this scandal will
scare him off, or else he'll become
just like the others. I could cry. ne
threatened me tonight; I don't know
how I'll manage to avoid him tomor-i
"Ilm-m! He's coming that strong,
eh?" was Jim's interested query; but
on hearing his sister's account of the
young millionaire's determined pursuit
he volunteered in his offhand way to
"I'll come for you myself, and we'll
whip over to a cafe for supper."
"You'll save me from him," said Lo
relei, with a wan smile, "and I'll know
that you are in good company for one
evening at least."
"Don't lose any sleep over my hab
its," he told her, lightly.
As Jim and his mother breakfasted
together on the following morning he
broached the subject of his recent con
versation with Lorelei.
"She's sore about the story," he
said. "We had a long talk last night."
"I knew she would be. and I'm not
sure it was a good thing."
"We'll drag something out of It if
you do your part. Merkle will pay.
Don't mention money nothing but
marriage understand? Outraged
motherhood, ruined daughter, blasted
career that's yours. I'll be the broth
er who's in the position of a father to
her. I can threaten, but you mustn't.
Goldberg will close for us." i
"I don't see why we have to divide
with a lawyer, when it's our affair and
we can handle it ourselves," his mother
"I tell you it's got to go through the
regular channels. This was Melcher's !
idea, and, since I'm in on the Ham
mon money, Max is entitled to his bit
of this. Gee! If she'd only told us
she was going out with Merkle wa
might have framed something worth
while I don't mind telling you this is
a pretty weak case."
"Wouldn't he marry her?"
"Not a chance. In the first place,
she wouldn't have him. Bob Wharton
Is the white hope."
"She hates him, too. Goodness
knows what we're going to do with
"I think she'll stand for Wharton If
we work her right; it's him or nobody.
She's getting harder to handle every
day, though, and. one of these times
she'll fall for some rummy. If she
ever does lose her head she'll skid for
the ditch, and we can kiss ourselves
goodby. She'll be as easy to steer as
a wild boar by the tail. I gues you're
sorry now that you didn't listen to me
and let Max handle her before she got
"I wouldn't feel safe with any of
that crowd. I'd be terribly afraid."
Mrs. Knight shook her head dubiously.
"Say! She's got you doing It, too.
Why, they don't take a chance Gold
berg handles the legal end. aud his
brother is in the legislature. Bui that's
not all: Melcher's partner in his gam
bling house is Inspector Snel. You
can't beat that."
"Just the same, I'm frightened and
this isn't honest. I wish she would
listen to Robert Wharton."
James winked meaningly. "Leave
that to me. She's going to Proctor's
with me tonight. Maybe he'll join us.
But meanwhile we've got Merkle for
some quick money If we work him
right. I'm off for Goldy's office now.
I'll meet you at three."
When Jim appeared, dressed for the
street, he gave a bit of parting advice:
"Better lay on the hysterics when
she wakes up. It'll make It easier for
Lorelei found her mother visibly up
set by the story in the morning's
"You told me you only went to sup
per with that man," Mrs. Knight cried,
tragically. "Instead of that you two
were off in the country together all
night. Here's the whole thing." She
brandished the paper dramatically.
"Well, I told you a fib. But there's
no harm done."
"Harm, indeed? You're ruined. I
never read anything more disgraceful!
I daren't show It to Peter it would
kill him. What ever possessed you,
after the way we've watched over you,
after the care we've taken of you?
"Why, mother! You're more insult
ing than that newspaper. The career
of a show-girl is something of a joke."
Lorelei undertook to laugh, but the at
tempt failed rather dismally.
"Indeed. What will the other men
say? Y'ou had a character; nobody
could say a word against you until
now. Do you think any decent man
would marry a girl who did a thing
like this? Of course, I know you're a
good girl, but they don't, and they'll
believe absolutely the worst. You've
spoiled everything, my dear; I'm com
pletely discouraged." Mrs. Knight be
gan to weep in a weak, heart-broken
manner, expecting Lorelei to melt, as
usual; but, seeing something in her
daughter's expression that warned her
not to carry her reproaches too far, she
broke out: "You're so hard, so unrea
sonable. Don't you see I'm frantic
with worry? You're all we have, and
and the thought of an injury to your
prospects nearly kills me. You mis
understand everything I say. I wish
you were safely married and out of
danger. I think I could die happy then.
"I Wish I Were Married and Out of
It means so much to all of us to have
you settled right away. Teter is fall
ing every day; Jim is going to the dogs,
and I'm sick over It all."
"I wish I were married and out of
the way. You would all be fixed, at
least. I don't much care about mv-
self." Lorelei sighed in hopeless wear
iless of spirit, for variations of this
scene had been common of late, and
they always filled her with the black
Does it occur to you that Ado
ree, "the most vicious woman on
the stage," will show what a
really fine character she is by
getting Lorelei out of the
clutches of her greedy, cold
blooded mother and away from
ihe rottenness of the young girl's
(TO BE CONTINUED