minded, but had her jealous rage under better control.
She was even taking a certain cold pleasure in plan
ning how she would lead him on and then suddenly
crush him with a refusal to divorce and a proclama
tion of defiance.
Henrietta and Florence came into
the sitting room the three shared, just as the bell boy
brought his card. She did not wait for the boy to
depart. " My husband is lunching with me," she said
to her two friends. " For some time he's been carrying
on with a woman named Raeburn. I've just found out
that she keeps Dangerfield's. He's been paying for
her extravagances. But I'm going to stop it."
Mrs. Berkeley, shocked by the outburst, and
amazed that quiet, rather shy Sophy should thus de
scend to making a public scandal, frowned the open-
mouthed, open-eared bell boy from the room. Hen
rietta said eagerly, " This is the first I've heard
of it. Dangerfield! Miss Raeburn! Are you sure,
Mrs. Berkeley, mindful that Mrs. Hastings was
about as ardent and industrious a gossip as a quiet
town ever bred, said entreatingly : " Please don't say
any more, Sophy."
"Say?" cried Sophy. "Why, I want the whole
world to know ! I'll drag her down ! I'll teach him to
insult me and disgrace his children ! " And she rushed
toward the hall door.
OLD WIVES FOR NEW,
" Don't you think some one ought to be with you
when you talk to him ? " suggested Henrietta.
" Henrietta ! " exclaimed Florence, horrified by this
bold bid for the gratification of morbid curiosity and
of cynical passion for mischief-making.
But Sophy, always easy to swerve and always
eager for support, had paused. " You're right, dear."
She turned to Florence. " You'll come with me, Flor
" No, Sophy. You and he should talk over your
private affairs alone."
Sophy, abashed by the severity of Mrs. Berkeley's
tone, glanced uncertainly at Henrietta. " If you want
my opinion," said Henrietta, " no one woman is a
match for such a man as he. Of course, if you wish
to give in to him "
" I do hope you'll see him alone," pleaded Florence.
"He may have come seeking a reconciliation, and "
" Reconciliation ! " raged Sophy. " I'll have noth
ing to do with him. He has turned my love into hate.
If it weren't for the wickedness of it, I'd divorce him.
Come, Henrietta! Let's go to him."
Murdock was in the main parlor, walking slowly
to and fro with a military regularity of step that gave
him an air of inevitableness. The outdoor life he had
been leading continuously since he got clear of doctors
and nurses had put a deeper bronze upon his tawny
skin, had brightened his eyes and hardened his flesh.
As Mrs. Hastings looked at him, handsome, distin
guished and young, she wondered at Sophy. " Still,"
she reflected, " there's no accounting for physical at
tractions and repulsions. I can understand why peo
ple think it queer I love Fred, with his big fat face
and his great stomach. I think it's queer, myself."
A FRIGHTFUL MAN
Further, she remembered she had often thought that,
for all his good looks and agreeable manners, she could
never fancy Murdock. There are men whom all women
like ; there, are women all men like. They are usually of
conspicuous sex development and chameleon like adap
tability. But the men and women of the Murdock sort,
strongly individual, careless of their fellows, whom the
timid conciliate through fear of enmities, indifferent
to the opposite sex unless themselves attracted, yield
ing then with reluctance to a force that threatens their
self-control such men and women create, where they
do not care to charm, an impression of coldness, often
of apathy, of entire lack of charm. Murdock had
penetrated the clever, insincere, footless Henrietta
years before, and had tossed her on that large private
human rubbish heap which everyone of wide acquaint
ance accumulates. He saw her, frowned impatiently.
His glance sped on to Sophy.
Like most married people, he was not in the habit
of actually seeing his wife, as a rule, when he looked at
her. In fact, he had trained himself, not wholly con
sciously, to see as little as his habitually observant
eyes could see. But the alteration in her dress, in her
face, in her figure, in her whole exterior personality
was so marked that his attention was arrested. Not in !
many a year had she looked so well. She was still a
large woman, but her body now seemed part of her,
and no longer an ill-fitted, cumbersome envelope. Her
face was in better proportion also ; her dress and hat
had distinction, and were of style and colors befitting
her youth. He noted the change, in general and then,
in detail, with surprise, but without the smallest sense
of personal interest. For him his married life was a
finished episode, sealed and filed. It belonged to the
OLD WIVES FOR NEW
past, not to the present ; it was part of the career of a
Charles Murdock who was as dead as yesterday. He
extended his hand coldly to Mrs. Hastings, withdrew
it the instant it had touched hers, stood smiling pleas
antly at his wife. " How well you are looking ! " said
he. " I like that dress. You got it here? "
Sophy gave a contemptuous sneer. " From Dan-
gerfield," she said, eyes fiercely upon him.
He felt what was coming, straightened, stiffened
himself, effaced all expression from his face.
" From that Raeburn woman," she went on, loudly.
" From the dressmaking establishment you are keep
ing up for her." She turned to Henrietta. " And he
soon to be a grandfather ! "
It was Murdock's first news of the venerable dig
nity Norma was about to confer upon him. But at
the moment he had none of the pleasant thoughts that
normally come in the train of such tidings. The word
" grandfather " produced precisely the effect Sophy
intended. It smote and staggered him with the very
sight and odor of old age. It rang a knell in his ears,
the dolorous funeral bell over youth. " My God ! "
he muttered, his features showing how profoundly he
i was moved ; the two women, not unnaturally, thought
" Shame on you ! Shame on you ! " declaimed
Sophy, following up her fancied advantage.
There were several people near ; they heard, looked s
listened for more. Henrietta put a monitory hand on
her arm. " Let's go into the side parlor," she said.
She glanced at Murdock. " Or, shall we go down to
" We are not going to lunch," cried Sophy.
Mrs. Hastings drew her insistently toward tHei
A FRIGHTFUL MAN
nearest of the small parlors. Murdock hesitated, fol
lowed them. " I wish to talk with my wife alone, Mrs.
Hastings," he said.
" But I do not wish to talk to you alone," retorted
Sophy. " You've disgraced your family, and I refuse
to be silent any longer. Oh, I know what you've come
for. Well, I tell you now that I'll live up to my marriage
vows, as I always have done. I promised to remain your
wife until death, and I will. I'll be no accomplice in
adultery. And you and I grandparents ! " In the
sweep of outraged virtue she quite forgot her own atti
tude, up to two hours before, toward the venerable honors
and duties of grandparentity.
Murdock's stern, steady gaze finally pierced her
through the veil anger had drawn over her sight. " So
much the greater reason for repairing our errors," said
he, " and hastening to make the best of life."
Her eyes had sunk before his ; but his words were
fuel to her fury. And it did not burn the less fiercely
because she, full of youthful projects and of desires
for life in its heydey, could guess what was passing
in his mind, could not but feel that her belief in her
own persisting charms was discredited by his anxiety
to be rid of her, to spend his summer in another's com
pany. " I suppose," she sneered, " you and that Rae-
burn woman came to town together "
" Stop," said Murdock quietly. " All that you say
about her is false on my honor, it is false."
" Your honor? " she taunted. " Your honor! "
" I beg you to leave us, Mrs. Hastings," said Mur
dock with icy politeness.
" She'll do nothing of the kind," cried Sophy. " I
want Henrietta to hear me say what I'm going to say
OLD WIVES FOR NEW
Murdock rose. " I must be going," he said calmly.
" Unless you can tell the truth, I hope you will go,"
replied his wife. " I want to hear no more denials of
the truth." He bowed and turned away. " Henrietta,
all the time I was up there," she went on, " waiting and
watching over him, when he was pretending to be dying,
he had that woman with him day and night."
Murdock wheeled upon them so abruptly that Hen
rietta shrank in alarm. His face had been like stone ; it
was now all fire and energ}^. "Is that true?" he de
manded. " Was she there? "
Sophy laughed in derision. " Listen to that, Henri
etta! I suppose she hasn't dared tell him I saw her."
But Murdock was not listening. He had instinctively
half turned away to hide his expression, and was mutter
ing : " So it was she. It was she ! " And his glowing
face was but a faint reflection of the emotion, surging,
sparkling within him, like spring's delicious, delirious
tide of life in all that lives or can live. He knew now
he had not really believed she was there, even when he
fancied he did. But here was his dream come true. She
did indeed love him even as he loved her. He had
hoped, had believed it. Now, he knew ! She loved him,
for "it was she I"
His wife caught the words. " Yes, it was she, it was
she," she mocked. " And the whole world shall know
it. You'll find out both of you what people think of
This threatened assault upon Juliet Raeburn in
stantly sobered him. " I tell you," replied he, " I did
not know Miss Raeburn was one of the nurses. I had
been told not, and I believed them. It seemed too im
probable that she should be there. In the presence of
Mrs. Hastings I wish to repulse every insinuation against
A FRIGHTFUL MAN
Miss Raeburn's character." He turned to Henrietta.
" My son and I met Miss Raeburn in the northwest
woods two years ago because her camp and ours hap
pened to adjoin. How she came to be one of my nurses
I do not know. There is some simple, certainly harm
less explanation. She may have happened to be on the
wrecked train "
" No doubt she was ! " cried Sophy with a triumphant
Murdock flushed, ended with a calm frank, " Your
good sense will tell you, Mrs. Hastings, that my wife is
yielding to jealous and unwarranted imaginings."
" Do you deny you love her? " demanded Sophy.
" Do you deny she loves you? "
" We have already taken Miss Raeburn's name in
vain too often in this conversation."
" Take her name in vain her name ! The name of
his woman ! Hear him, Henrietta ! "
Murdock suddenly bent upon Henrietta a look of
dark fury, of imperious command that drove her in con
fusion from the room. His wife was about to follow
when he turned the same gaze on her. She shrank before
it. " You have goaded me too far, madam," he said with
dangerous calm. " You have lied about me and about
an innocent w r oman ; you have made a scandal before
strangers, before the most notorious gossip and tale
bearer out home. Very well. Now hear me. If you
open your lips again to anyone about Miss Raeburn,
and if you do not at once resume the proceedings for
divorce, you will not get another penny. I will not even
pay your outstanding bills. What am I to you but a
pocketbook? There never was a more blindly devoted
husband until you deliberately alienated yourself from
me. You have not been a wife but a drag ; an indolent,
OLD WIVES FOE NEW
shiftless No, I am forgetting myself. For years our
relations have been on a business basis only. Well, if
you want money, you must bargain for it. You can
have half of all I've got if you meet my terms. If you
don't, not a cent ! Your allowance stops with this month.
That is all!"
He turned on his heel and strode away. In the outer
parlor he met Henrietta. He paused before her; the
calm fury of his gaze fascinated her. " Mrs. Hastings,"
he said, " you thrust yourself into my family affairs,
and heard things you ought to have been ashamed to
listen to. You evidently have no shame. I shall appeal
to an emotion to which you will respond. If you repeat
to a living soul anything you heard to-day, if you speak
of Miss Raeburn or of my wife's affairs or of mine I
shall hear of it. And I shall wipe out your fortune
and reduce you to poverty. Do I make myself clear? "
Henrietta did not answer; she was gray to the lips,
and shaking in the spasms of a violent nervous chill.
" Answer me ! " he commanded. " Do you under
" Yes," said she faintly, though her teeth clinched
to keep them from chattering.
" Then guard your tongue."
And he went, Henrietta's hypnotized eyes following
him, in them a look of fear and of admiration. When
she coulcf no longer see him she drew a great breath and
said to herself : " Any woman would be glad to have
such a man as that trample on her. And Sophy has
thrown him away! Fool! Selfish, ignorant, conceited
fool!" She rejoined Sophy, who was sitting stupefied
under the blow of Murdock's last words. " Poor dear! "
she said soothingly. " He is a frightful man. Every
body will sympathize with you."
A FRIGHTFUL MAN
Sophy's reply was a look of agony.
Murdock's threat struck such terror into Henrietta
Hastings's soul that she did not go West by the train
Sophy and Florence took, but changed her tickets to
another route. And she never hinted even to Fred what
she had seen and heard.
MRS. MURDOCH: and Mrs. Berkeley and their maids,
all parading trophies of protracted and diligent metro
politan sojourn, descended from the express at Saint X.
The station hack drivers, countrymen, flown from the
lonesomeness of farm life and making a living in the way
that in town comes handiest to the farm-bred, gaped in
astonishment and delight. " Who'd think," said one high-
hipped ex-farmer, a young man made prematurely de
crepit of aspect and voice by hot bread and fried things
three times a day for thirty years, " who'd think them
two yander was Sophy Baker and my wife's second
cousin Flora Warfield that used to go tearin' and rarin'
licketty-split over the fields barefoot in calico slips? "
Mrs. Murdock saw her aristocratic son-in-law just be
hind Mrs. Berkeley's advancing groom. She was sur
prised and flattered by this attention.
" I thought Norma oughtn't to come out," explained
Degarmo, " and it did seem cheerless for you to arrive in
tliis nasty drizzle with no one to welcome you."
" Is Norma ill? " said Sophy, whose mind had lat
terly been only for her own affairs.
" Oh, no fine as a fiddle. Only in circum
" Of course naturally," the prospective grand
mother hastened to say.
FOR NORMA'S SAKE
" No," continued Joe, " she's as active as can be.
She has been up at the Eyrie every day for a week,
putting things to rights."
Joe was at once impressed by the great and gratify
ing improvement in his mother-in-law's appearance her
less heavy, less stolid face, her more shapely figure, her
fashionable, youthful traveling dress and hat. But he
also saw what he was looking for the signs of secret
anxiety weighing upon her. A genuine secret anxiety,
as distinguished from our more or less theatrical emo
tions for the purpose of making ourselves interesting to
ourselves and our fellow-beings, has to be intense indeed
before we can no longer contrive to prevent it from show
ing itself outwardly. Sophy's look of care and worry
was proof how deep Murdock had shot dread into her.
Craft could not have suggested a more effective way of
dealing with her. To kill any passion, it is only neces
sary to kindle another and stronger passion. Sophy's
jealousy, her smarts and stings from wounded vanity,
had been forgotten, swallowed up in fear for her material
welfare perforce the prime concern with all human
beings, except in moments of impulse. In those weeks
in New York she had learned of the treasures that open
to golden keys ; and no miser values wealth as do those
who know and love what it will buy.
" Norma's suspicions weren't groundless," thought
Joe, from whom Norma's pride had withheld all but
a prudence-compelled hint of her family's troubles.
" There's the devil to pay between them." On the way
to the Eyrie he disclosed the real reason for his un
wonted and even superfluous courtesy in meeting her,
though she, never delving into motives and always ac
cepting surface-seeming as reality, did not see it. Her
newly energized vanity told her he had come because she
OLD WIVES FOR NEW
was a person of such consequence ; and she accepted this
as she accepted for true the exclamations of ravished
delight from milliners and dressmakers when she was
trying on their wares. " You'll pardon me for speak
ing of it," began Joe, " but Norma has somehow got the
notion that that things are not going quite as smoothly
as they might between you and her father."
" Yes, I wrote to her. I wanted her to know the
rights of the way I've been treated."
Joe diplomatically concealed the anger roused in him
by what he regarded as evidence of Sophy's utter selfish
ness ; for it seemed to him the outermost limit of selfish
ness for a woman, knowing her own daughter was about
to become a mother, deliberately to harrow her mind.
" Please don't think Norma asked me to speak of it to
you," said he. " She hasn't even spoken of your letter.
But I feel and no doubt you do, too that she mustn't
be worried. It's only four months away now."
Sophy welcomed her son-in-law's intrusion; he had
opened the subject she most wished to discuss. " Yes,"
said she, " he is acting scandalously. I've done my best
to keep it quiet, but he won't have it. No, I'm going to
bring suit for divorce against him. Some women might
be able to stand it. / can't. I'm not sure what the
teachings of religion are, but I won't believe God would
want me to continue this life of martyrdom." She was
crying softly now. " I suppose there are those that envy
me wealth and luxury. But it's just as I said to my
maid this morning when she was doing my hair. ' Katy,'
says I, ' I'd gladly change places with you.' And I
Joe, of a less credulous and more analytic genera
tion, was not in the least moved by her tears. He re
garded tears as simply a feminine weapon, and of a past
FOB NORMALS SAKE
era antiquated and futile as fainting fits. His was
merely the conventional tone for sympathy as he said:
" You know how I feel about your unhappiness, mother.
But can't you put off the the scandal until after the
baby is born? You must do it! The worry would
You know what the effect would be on as sensitive a
child as Norma."
Sophy had by no means lost her longing for free
dom ; nor had her up-piled resentment against Murdock
lessened. But she felt she would almost be willing to live
again with him as his wife rather than give him license
for the wicked j oy s he had planned for himself ; and her
jealousy was solidly backed up by her stubbornness. To
release him to a life of happiness with another woman
was bad enough; to release him under compulsion was
unendurable. Now, Joe's interposition set hope to
stirring hope that she might use him and Norma's
approaching confinement to relax, perhaps to break,
Murdock's grip upon her destiny. But, as she had
committed herself with Joe, had led him to believe
it was she who was eagerly seeking divorce, she must
advance cautiously. Her answer to his plea was a
" Did you In the letter, did you speak of the
divorce? " inquired Joe.
" No," was Sophy's reassuring reply.
" Then she needn't and mustn't have a suspicion
a divorce is coming. I debated whether to talk to you
first or to to Mr. Murdock. It seemed best to see you.
Now that I've your consent, I'm going on to New York
without letting Norma know why and I shall get Mur
dock to do his part. Thank you, mother dear." He
pressed her hand feelingly between both his. " Thank
you. You are so good, so self-sacrificing."
OLD WIVES FOR NEW
Sophy, like most women with children, was used
to being called, and to calling and thinking herself, self-
sacrificing. But those who love that role never lose
their pleasure in having it acclaimed. " I can't for
get I'm a mother," said she, with the sincerity of con
vinced virtue. " You men never understand a mother's
She was now seeing a way of escape clear before her
a chance to be free herself, and to substitute gall for
sweetness in the freedom of this husband who had mis
treated her so shamefully. Acting upon a hint in a
newspaper account of a divorce case she had, just be
fore leaving New York, engaged the Mulvihill Private
Detective Agency tp " shadow " Murdock. The first
report on him had been most encouraging. Delay would
give her detectives opportunity to explore thoroughly.
Once she had proofs of his perfidy, of Juliet Raeburn's
true character, not he but she would be arbiter of des
tiny. The longer she considered Joe's interposition the
more patently providential it became. " Yes," she said
to herself, " God is still in His Heaven. * Though hand
join in hand, the wicked shall not triumph.' " Then
to Joe : " I'll do my part if you get a promise from him.
You are right ; Norma must have her mind easy at this
time. If she's fretting and worrying it may make the
child an idiot."
He had been haunted by many dark and dire possi
bilities of disaster to his and Norma's hopes through the
scandal; this terror, the most hideous of all, was new.
Suppose his wife were to die, and the child were to live,
an idiot ! " I think I'll go to New York this very even
ing," cried he, sweat beading his forehead. " My God,
it is frightful!"
" Now, you've got some idea what Fve suffered from
FOR NORM A 9 S SAKE
him," said she. " For it's all my fault. Everybody here
knows there never was a patienter wife or a more sacri
ficing mother than I've been."
Degarmo telegraphed Murdock, and they met at the
University Club the next evening. He had not had time
to change from traveling clothes ; Murdock was not only
in evening dress, but also in evening dress of a quality
that impressed Joe, expert at such matters. In all those
small details, so important in fashionable dress for men,
Murdock was perfection, the best of London combined
with the best of Paris. Joe was profoundly concerned
about Norma, regarded his mission as an issue of life
and death; yet, so sacred were appearances to him, he
began with a rambling, confused apology for his tweeds.
Murdock, never resigned in the presence of folly, and in
those days extremely irritable, cut his son-in-law short
with, " Did you come from Saint X to see me about your
" No," said Joe, instantly responding to the curb.
" I came about the divorce."
Murdock frowned imperiously.
" Don't imagine I'm impertinent enough to interfere
in matters that don't concern me," Degarmo hastened
to say. " But have you thought of Norma ? She is
to become a mother within the next four months."
" Ah ! " exclaimed Murdock. But his expression re
" She doesn't dream you and her mother are thinking
of divorce. All she knows is there's trouble between you
estrangement. Murdock, I want to ask you "
" I understand," said Murdock, in a tone that for
bade him to finish.
" I put that same question to Mrs. Murdock "
OLD WIVES FOR NEW*
Into Murdock's face and out again flitted a smile,
" And she says she's willing to wait if you are."
A long silence, Joe watching his face anxiously but
in vain. He might as well have watched the dead-white
expanse of his shirt front.
" The child might be an idiot. Norma might
" I understand," interjected Murdock.
Five minutes, ten minutes, passed a quarter of an
hour; and still there was no abatement of his will's
struggle against deviating from any purpose it had
fixed. His will was Murdock's master, and never had it
turned aside because of consequences. The suggestion
of deviating conjured forebodings of disaster; for he
knew fate is only too eager to make playthings of those
who yield in the smallest degree to its insidious tempta
tions to swerve. And Degarmo was asking a delay of
six months, perhaps a year; and when that period was
ended, there would be some fresh equally imperative rea
son for further delay. Delay always breeds delay
" Let us dine," he said.
" I can't until I have your answer."
" I will give you my answer to-morrow."
Degarmo, cowed and insignificant though he felt