before Murdock, could scarcely refrain from bursting
j out in denunciation of such hardness of heart. He
watched Murdock furtively, horror surging up in him.
" He is a brute," he said to himself. " No wonder
men fear him and obey him. So this is what * success '
makes of a man." And he exclaimed aloud : " My God,
Murdock! Don't you realize your daughter is at
The eyes that turned upon Degarmo withered his
FOE NORMALS SAKE
hatred and horror. " You don't know what you're
talking about," Murdock said, his cold, slow voice in
strange contrast to his eyes. " There are other con
siderations besides Norma. I never give a decision in
an important matter the same day." He rose from the
sofa, threw away his cigarette. " Let us dine."
" But Murdock "
" I wish to hear no more."
It was a silent dinner, and afterwards they went
to Healey's, Murdock playing and winning heavily,
Degarmo merely looking on, as when he married he
made a resolution not to play again in a gambling
house on the American side of the Atlantic. At break
fast next morning, each showed plainly that he had
passed the time of life when a dash of cold water drives
away the traces of lost sleep. Joe knew he was wrin
kled and haggard ; he saw that Murdock merely looked
weary. But he consoled himself by noting the profuse
sprinkle of gray in Murdock's thick, fair hair.
" When do you expect the child ? " asked Murdock.
" In four months."
" In six months from now the proceedings will be
resumed. You will hear no more of it until then."
" Thank you "
Murdock dammed the impending flood with a look.
Stronger even than Degarmo's sense of catastrophe
averted, was his awe of the man before him this slave
of an inflexible will with its relentless purposes. " How
can a monster and a man contrive to live in the same
body, without either destroying the other ? " thought
Joe. And then he forgot all about it, and, for the
time, about Norma, in observing the details of Mur
dock's dress a strikingly good pattern of cheviot, cut
in a new way, a strange silk scarf of a new pattern,
OLD WIVES FOR NEW
and so on, and so on. Presently curiosity got the bet
ter of manners. " I say, old man," he asked, " where
did you get that suit and that tie and that shirt ? "
And Murdock said to himself, " How is it possible for
Joe the shallow fool about clothes and society, and Joe
t}ie decent and fond where Norma is concerned, to be
parts of the same person?"
MR. BLAGDEN BESTIRS HIMSELF
BENT only on insuring Norma's peace of mind, Joe
so reported his interview with Murdock to Sophy that
she, like most drifters, a roseate optimist, decided the
divorce was as good as abandoned. She ordered her
lawyer, Graves, to discontinue the expensive service of
the detective agency; and, at home again, and with
no one behind her to push and encourage and applaud,
and comfortably settled in the old rut of novels, fancy-
work and three " square " meals she began to shed
the ideas Blagden had sown and New York had wa
tered, as the desert sheds heat and grows cold when
the sun sets. Soon, about all that remained of the
rigid beauty regimen was Katy's energetic massage
twice a day; and she persisted in this, not because it
was good for her, keeping the contour she had re
gained, and to a certain extent holding her flesh down,
but because she liked the soothing sensation of Katy's
dexterous fingers. Like most of us, Sophy was simply
a creature of surroundings, passive, ready to advance
if there were stimulus, equally ready to retrograde if
there were not. Those who condemn her might prof
itably consider whether they owe their graces of per
son and character to their surroundings or to their
own unaided efforts.
Presently she resumed the service of the Mulvihill
OLD WIVES FOR NEW
Detective Bureau. " It's dreadfully dear," reasoned
she, " but if he ever does make trouble I ought to be
good and ready."
The universe's chain of causes and effects is never
broken; no action is without a cause. Often, indeed
usually, there are many motives for any human action ;
usually, there is one that is the impelling motive and
rarely is it the one ascribed either by others or by one
self. Prudence undoubtedly figured among Sophy's
reasons for resuming the shadowing of her husband
and Juliet Raeburn ; but it was not the impelling rea
son. She began again because, after the excitement
of New York, which makes a business of providing
amusement for those incapable of amusing themselves,
Saint X was dull and tedious. Sophy might have
occupied herself with the preparations for her coming
grandchild; but that called for exertion, more exertion
even than looking after her own neglected person and
household. The regular twice-a-week reports on Mur-
dock and " that bad woman " were exciting in them
selves, more exciting than the best play, cost her no
effort, gave her subject for thought, for vague, va
porous, endless speculation such as purposeless people
delight in. The private detective agency knows its
feminine clients, sees to it that the reports they receive
stimulate curiosity and create an appetite for more
and more of the same food; the writing of artistic
reports is the chief part of the task of the private de
tectives. Graves re-engaged the agency; and, warned
by the discontinuance, it proceeded to make itself in
Twice a week she had before her two voluminous
reports a minute account of the movements of her
husband, an even more minute account of Juliet Rae-
MR. BLAGDEN BESTIRS HIMSELF,
burn. She was paying for but one " operative " to;
watch Murdock; two were required for Miss Raeburn,
one a woman apparently in the employ of Dangerfield's
in some capacity that gave her access to the waste-
basket in Miss Raeburn's private office. All three op
eratives, with a persistence that might have raised a
suspicion of collusion and fraud in a less unsophisti
cated mind, agreed in pointing toward a connecting
mystery in the ostentatiously separate lives of Murdock
and Juliet Raeburn. Each operative in turn was just
about to solve this mystery; thus, their reports gave
her powerful doses of that delightful stimulant of sus
pended sensational interest which makes the story-paper
serial so welcome wherever it goes. Sophy felt she knew,
what this mystery was where " M." and " Miss R."
were when each, about the same hour on the same dayj
or evening, succeeded in throwing her detectives off the
scent. " And they'll catch them, sure ! " she exclaimed,
eyes flashing in anticipation of triumph. What
stronger moral confirmation of their intrigue could she
have had than those reports from two, practically
three, independent sources, showing simultaneous de
sire to hide ? " And I'll soon get the legal proof.
Then let him look out! I'll bring him to his knees
and drive her out of New York." It was one of her
dreams, as she sat with her fancy work, to stand in
front of Dangerfield's and see it dismantled and to let.
Murdock's monthly deposit to her credit had al
ways been liberal. In the days before the open es
trangement, he had often suggested increasing it, and
she had refused. When all he had was freely at her
command, in the old, easy-going American fashion,
why trouble herself with money she did not need? Im
mediately after the open breach, he of his own motion
OLD WIVES FOB NEW.
doubled the monthly allowance. Not until the heavy
charges for detectives began did she give the money
relations between him and her a conscious thought.
Then, however, step by step, she moved or rather was
moved into the point of view where she regarded her
self as unjustly placed by him in the position of pen
sioner upon his niggard bounty. " This is my re
ward," said she to herself bitterly, " for not having
been a wheedler and a grabber like other wives of men
of means." She observed that several of her friends
among the married women were rich in their own right.
*' Florence Berkeley, for instance, could live well on
the income of what she could realize from her jewelry
not to speak of that big block of stores and flats
they say he has just settled on her. But what have I
got? Nothing! What has he given me? Only a lit
tle jewelry hardly enough to keep me five years, ex
cept in the poorest, stingiest way. I ought to have
had more sense."
But immediately she was transferring the blame to
him. " He wouldn't have waited for me to ask for
things if he had been really decent. He has taken ad
vantage of my easy, good-natured ways. That's been
the whole trouble my unsuspicious nature. I never
dreamed what a heart he had. No wonder he was al
ways so secretive and distant." Nor was her condem
nation of him mitigated by reflecting on the reason
she did not now ask an increase of the allowance her
fear lest he somehow should discover her guilty secret.
And he would have discovered it but for Blagden.
One afternoon Blagden, in Murdock's outer office
downtown in New York, saw before him a stocky dis
sipated-looking man, with greasy, kinky gray hair,
drooping iron-gray mustache. He had the shady, fur-
MR. BLAGDEN BESTIRS HIMSELF
tive-brazen air of those who live by divers gainful oc
cupations not yet recognized as legitimate, rapidly
though we have been extending the mantle of respecta
bility over all who live well without work withdraw-*
ing it as rapidly from the mutton heads who still adhere
to the slow and painful and comparatively unremunera-
tive methods of honest toil. " My name is Mr. Noo j
nan," said the greasy-gray furtive man, producing an
enormous seedy pocketbook bulging with thumbed and
frayed papers. From it he extracted a printed card
which he handed to Blagden.
" Thomas K. Noonan," Blagden read. " With the
Fidelity Detective Agency." Blagden lifted his eyes
from the card to the hard, corrugated countenance.
"Well?" said he, concentrating an insultingly suspi
cious look upon Mr. Noonan's spongy, brick-red nose.
" I want to see the boss on very particular busi
"What is it?"
" I don't deal with understrappers. Tell him I've
come about his being shadowed."
Blagden went through the several offices between
the outer room and the place where Murdock was se
cluded in solitary quiet. Murdock listened indifferent
ly. " I care nothing about it," said he. " I'll not see
him. Let him talk to you or get out, as he pleases."
When Blagden returned with this message, Noonan
accepted it as the expected. " Go tell him," said he,
" that both he and the lady are being surveilled for a
third party, and that I can put him wise."
Blagden dropped his gaze to conceal suddenly flam
ing interest. " I'll see," he said, and disappeared in
the direction of Murdock. But after waiting a mo
ment or so out of sight of the detective he returned.
OLD WIVES FOE NEW
His color was high, and he did not meet Noonan's hard
bright eyes as he said : " He won't see you. But, as I
explained to you, I have charge of his private affairs.
He has no secrets from me."
Noonan eyed him for some time in silence. " Is
there a place where we can talk private ? " he asked at
Like all the adepts in the mysteries of high finance,
Murdock had attached to his offices a series of small
withdrawing rooms, " sweat boxes " as they are called,
with exits in various directions, so that there might
be every sort of comings and goings without attract
ing any more public attention than the stealthy move
ments of criminals in and out of their dens. Blagden
led Noonan into one of these sweat boxes, and closed
the door. They sat ; so small was the room that their
knees touched, and the air was instantly heavy with the
fumes of stale tobacco and whisky from the saturated
person of the detective.
" An old kick of mine beg pardon side partner,
who drinks a bit too much at times " he began.
" You mean," interrupted Blagden, " that your
agency and another are the same under different names,
that you play into each other's hands, that somebody
has hired the other agency to shadow Mr. Murdock,
and you've come to get a ' rake-off ' from him."
Noonan grinned. " Not at all," said he. " But
one agency can see to it that the other gets throwed
off the track."
Noonan winked and nudged Blagden's knee with
"What track?" repeated Blagden, drawing his
knees out of reach.
MR. BLAGDEN BESTIRS HIMSELF
Noonan looked significantly at the secretary, ele
vated his hand, rubbed its thumb over its first and sec
" Not a cent," said Blagden, rising. " If you've
got anything of value to us, you know you'll be paid.
But we don't pay until we inspect the goods."
Noonan nodded appreciation. " All right sit
down," said he. " His wife is shadowing him and
" Miss Raeburn, of course."
There was a conscious pallor in Blagden's cheeks,
a shiftiness in his eyes, as he said curtly : " Let 'em
go ahead. We care nothing about it. Good day."
And he held open the door of the sweat box that gave
into a dark, narrow passage and thence into the main
" I'm giving it to you straight," urged Noonan.
" And your boss can rely on us. My principals always
play square with the side that's got the most money."
" It's of no interest to us," said Blagden. " We
thought it was another matter. Good day." And
Noonan lingeringly edged into the passage, Blagden
closing the door upon his heels.
As Murdock and Blagden were dining together
that evening Murdock happened to remember the visit
of the detective and vaguely wondered what the man
had wanted. He recalled Tom Berkeley's story up in
the woods about Florence and her detectives. It was
unlikely that Sophy had had either the " gumption "
or the " get up " to employ detectives ; but if she had,
she could learn nothing harmful to Juliet. Even as
Berkeley was telling him he had made up his mind to
let no temptation lure him to the folly and the in-
OLD WIVES FOR NEW
justice of compromising her in any way. And when he
found out that it was she who had shielded him from
death and snatched him back to life, he fought down
the longing to go to her. More than ever it was her
right that her reputation be not put in danger of
smirch through him. He had tried writing to her.
But the results sounded labored, stilted, either too for
mal or too florid, and he gave that over. It was best
to wait. He was daily strengthened in this resolution,
so difficult for his temperament, by reading or hearing
of scandals, catastrophes precipitated by just such im
patience and recklessness as were urging him. The
woman who had beaten off death from him when he lay
helpless would wait for him; why risk anything, per
haps everything, simply to gratify a longing that
would not be appeased, but the reverse, by yielding?
It was with no uneasiness of mind and with only the
mildest curiosity that he said to Blagden, " By the
way, did you find out what that detective wanted ? "
As he did not look up from his plate, he did not note
how suddenly rosy the always ruddy secretary grew.
" He didn't say," replied Blagden, offhandedly.
" Guess it was simply a play for a job. His smell still
hung in my clothes when I took them off to dress for
In the woods Blagden's treachery to his employer,
whom he sometimes liked, sometimes hated, always en
vied and copied, had been by the veiled routes of innu
endo and implication. This was the first overt act,
the first lie direct and face to face. He was getting
on, was Blagden was educating his mind to be expert
and his conscience to be placid when the severer strains
upon both should come, as his programme of chicane
unfolded. " Murdock really didn't want to be an-
MR. BLAGDEN BESTIRS HIMSELF,
noyed," he said to himself, composing his conscience
for sleep that night. " He's doing nothing that could
get him into trouble. Why, he won't even dine or take
supper with Berkeley if there are to be any women.
Then, too, it was my duty as a decent man to protect
that noble wife of his at any cost."
AND MAKES RAPID PROGRESS
Two months, to the day, after Murdock got Joe
Degarmo's telegram announcing the auspicious arrival
of Joseph Degarmo second, he said to Blagden, when
they had finished the morning's routine of business :
" Please take the afternoon express for Saint X.
See Mrs. Murdock alone. Say to her, ' The time is
If Murdock had been looking at his secretary, he
would have been forced to wonder why his countenance
suddenly lighted, why this curt and mysterious mes
sage not only was understood, but also was hailed
with a delight so keen that it could not be concealed.
After a moment's silent waiting Blagden asked, " Is
that all? "
" I am to simply say, * The time is up ' ? "
Blagden looked at his chief. Murdock was sitting
in the peculiar, motionless, rigid attitude he sometimes
took, an attitude that suggested one waiting for the
shock of the assault, ready to receive it, certain to repel
it. He seemed almost a youth at the first glance; yet
there was in him Blagden sometimes thought it was
in the eyes, again in the chin, again in the bulge of
brow, or perhaps the set of the head upon the shoulders
AND MAKES RAPID PROGRESS
a fixedness, a concentration that was at the opposite
extreme from youth's reckless, aimless prodigality of
time and strength. To-day that expression terri
fied the secretary as it had terrified Joe Degarmo.
66 If he should ever find me in his path ! " he muttered.
A feeling of chill started somewhere away down in the
center of his body, slowly spread, grew intenser, until
he was cold from vitals to skin, was shaking so violently
that he was afraid Murdock would see his jaws chat
At the Eyrie he found neglect bordering on desola
tion. The hedges were undipped and dust-stained.
Lawns, gardens, walks, and drives looked worse for
slovenly attention than if they had had no attention at
all. Within the house, disorder and dust. " Poor wom
an ! " thought Blagden. " She has no heart for any
thing." And his own heart grew heavy with the sympa
thetic sorrow we can so readily summon for those whose
lives touch ours only casually and whose weaknesses and
shortcomings inconvenience us not at all. He was pre
pared to see a very Lady of Woe; he was, therefore,
moved to admiration by the bravery of soul shown in
the placid exterior presently appearing at the drawing-
room door. Sophy looked somewhat better than she had
formerly at Saint X, even at her best " company best,"
but not nearly so well as during her stay in New York.
The warmth of her greeting thrilled him. The truth was,
in her mind he had gone the way of the ideas and impulses
he stimulated ; he had grown hazy to her, for people of
impulse without persistence soon lose distinct memory
of whoever and whatever is not immediately before them.
But now that he was again before her all that had been
came flooding back; and she honestly felt that she was
speaking the truth as she said with her sweet, whole-
OLD WIVES FOR NEW
souled smile : " I think so often how good and kind you
were to me during those trying days up there. Is is
Mr. Murdock coming ? "
" No," replied Blagden. " He sent me with a mes
sage to you."
Mrs. Murdock shrank.
" A message you'll be very glad to get," he went on.
They were in her sitting room. He rose and closed the
door into the hall. " I remembered our talks together,
and when he said, * Tell her the time is up,' I knew I was
carrying you your freedom."
" Yes," said Sophy faintly. And only that day she
had been thinking she would hear no more of his attempt
to marry again, had been thinking he must be tiring of
his dressmaker " No man ever respects a woman who
gives up to him that way, and a man doesn't make a
wife of a woman he doesn't respect." Having no fixity
of purpose within herself for comparison, she not only;
did not understand it in another, but did not believe in
Blagden saw that, for some reason or other, his news
was the reverse of welcome, that it had overwhelmed her.
But it was his cue to ignore this, to continue to assume
she was impatiently longing for freedom. " A few
months more, that will quickly pass, and your troubles
will all be over," said he encouragingly. " Perhaps I
shouldn't say so, occupying the position I do, but I have
thought every day of the heavy burden you were carry
ing, and my heart has ached for you."
Sophy's eyes filled with tears. " It's a wonder it
doesn't age me," cried she. A year before, she would
have wailed that it had aged her.
" If anything, you look younger than when I last
saw you," said Blagden, full as much genuineness as flat-
AND MAKES RAPID PROGRESS
tery in the admiring glance he boldly gave. The flow
ing negligee flung a friendly grace over her too loosely
corseted form, was most kind to her real charms her
satin-smooth fair skin, her shapely head, her glorious
eyes. And, though she had been neglecting Secor's pre
scription for the contour, the former heaviness of the
lower part of the face had not yet returned. Besides,
she was neater, had not abandoned the habit of bathing
before dressing, and of regularly washing the hair ; and
there were the eyes, the incomparable nose, those beauti
ful, luxury-loving, luxury-suggesting hands. Blagden
had no need to strain his imagination; and while the
amplitude of her person might have offended his acquired
taste, had he indulged his critical faculties, it appealed
to and stimulated an emotion far stronger than taste
imposed by fashion.
Before his worshipful incense Sophy revived, expand
ed in soul, felt the yearning to confide and to lean. " I
trust you," said she. " You are the only one I do trust.
In New York last fall when that is, when he thought
I wasn't as eager for the divorce as I had been You
know, Mr. Blagden, I have religious scruples that I'm
finding it hard to conquer then, too, perhaps he only
said it to frighten me from the divorce " Sophy was
red, was stammering, as she poured out these confused
sentences, for she was not experienced in willful mis-
statement of the truth " Anyhow, you can't im
agine the brutality of his treatment. He said if I
didn't get the divorce, he would impoverish me stop
Blagden started up indignantly. " Incredible ! " he
exclaimed, eagerly seizing the opportunity to put his
conduct in a better light with himself. " Why, you've
as much right to the fortune as he has ! Without you,
OLD WIVES FOR NEW
where would he have been? . . . Pardon me for saying
these things they seem disloyal. But I am human."
Sophy pressed his arm gratefully. " Thank you,"
said she, all in a glow at finding some one who had
fathomed the obscured but essential truth of her im
portance as a factor in the making of Murdock's career.
" You are not disloyal. You are simply an honest man.
But his threat worried me. I consulted a lawyer not
the lawyer he imposed on me, that Bailby, but dear old
Mr. Graves, our family lawyer up home, where I come
from originally. And he assured me I need have no
" I suspect Mr. Graves, being old-fashioned, doesn't
appreciate the power nowadays of such men as Mr. Mur-
dock," replied Blagden, looking grave. " If he wished
to do such a dastardly thing, he could do it. Mind you,
I say, ' if he wished to do it.' '
" I can't believe it! There is such a thing as jus
Blagden shook his head sadly. " Not for ordinary
mortals, against such men as Mr. Murdock."
" I'm sure Mr. Graves would not mislead me," cried
she, irritated against Blagden.
He had rather anticipated the fate of the bearer of
bad news to unreasonable, capricious woman, and was
prepared to resist and insist. He put apologetic gen
tleness into his manner and voice, but not into his words.
" Granting that the courts would allow you something
. . . and that you could collect it ... making the fight
each time all over again . . . still, how much would it
be? Why, at most hardly enough to keep up a place like
this. You'd have to cut down your expenditures, and
everybody would know about your changed condition.
And you'd still be his dependent."
AND MAKES RAPID PROGRESS
Sophy was listening, sour but attentive. " I'm so
glad I talked of this to you," said she, in the tone in
which one doles out reluctant justice.
" You see, your best interest is where your inclina
tion leads," he went on. " If you pursue your original
plan, you will be free, you will be independent, you will
have a fortune. You will have power happiness