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ALBERT ROSS is a brilliant and wonderfully successful writer whose books
have sold far into the millions. Primarily his novels deal with the
sex-problem, but he depicts vice with an artistic touch and never makes
it unduly attractive. Gifted with a fine dramatic instinct, his
characters become living, moving human beings full of the fire and
passion of loving just as they are in real life. His stories contain all
the elements that will continue to keep him at the head of American
novelists in the number of his admirers.

MR. ROSS is to be congratulated on the strength as well as the purity of
his work. It shows that he is not obliged to confine his pen to any
single theme, and that he has a good a right to be called the "American
Eugene Sue" or the "American Zola."

_12mo, cloth. Price per volume, 50 cents._

Black Adonis, A
Garston Bigamy, The
Her Husband's Friend
His Foster Sister
His Private Character
In Stella's Shadow
Love at Seventy
Love Gone Astray
Moulding a Maiden
Naked Truth, The
New Sensation, A
Original Sinner, An
Out of Wedlock
Speaking of Ellen
Stranger than Fiction
Sugar Princess, A
That Gay Deceiver
Their Marriage Bond
Thou Shalt Not
Thy Neighbor's Wife
Why I'm Single
Young Fawcett's Mabel
Young Miss Giddy


Publishers New York






_G.W. Dillingham Co., Publishers._

[_All rights reserved._]



I. Lady Typewriter Wanted 9

II. Outlining the Scheme 21

III. An Evening at Koster and Bial's 32

IV. "You are a hopeless scamp" 46

V. Meeting Miss Marjorie 57

VI. "Do you really want me?" 71

VII. Getting Ready for my Journey 83

VIII. "A woman I like very well" 93

IX. A Private Dining Room 104

X. "Once there was a child" 116

XI. A Theft on Board Ship 129

XII. A Little Game of Cards 144

XIII. Bathing in the Surf 155

XIV. "Oh! this naughty boy!" 166

XV. Wesson Becomes a Nuisance 176

XVI. "It is from a girl" 184

XVII. A Struggle on the Balcony 196

XVIII. Our Night at Martinique 208

XIX. "It is a strange idea" 219

XX. New Work for my Typewriter 230

XXI. "You were in my room?" 241

XXII. Too Much Excitement 252

XXIII. A Wedding Ring 265

XXIV. The Brutal Truth 275

XXV. "With his wife, of course" 286

XXVI. Behind the Bars 297

XXVII. "I pressed them to my lips" 305


It is a common question of my correspondents, "Are your novels ever
founded on fact?" Sometimes; not often. This one is.

A year ago I had an attack of neurasthenia, as did "Donald Camran." I
did not die, nor go to an insane asylum, both of which items of "news"
appeared in the daily papers from one end of the country to the other;
but I wasn't exactly well for awhile. In January of this year I made my
second trip to the Caribbean Islands and wrote this novel among the
scenes I have described.

Before going I advertised in the New York Herald "Personal" column for a
typewriter to accompany me as private secretary. I received more than a
hundred letters from women who desired the situation and interviewed
quite a number of them. I decided, however, to go alone. (If the reader
doesn't believe me I refer him to the passenger lists of the "Madiana"
and "Pretoria.") The basis of this story, however, grew out of the
advertisement and answers.

"Marjorie" and "Statia" have a genuine existence, and so have many of
the other characters in this tale. I have used real people as an artist
does his models, taking a little from one, a little from another, and a
great deal from the vivid imagination with which nature has endowed me.
I hope the result will be satisfactory to my friends, who have waited
double the usual time for this novel.

My health seems wholly recovered and unless something unforeseen occurs
my stories will continue to appear each July and January, as they have
for the past ten years. This is the nineteenth volume of the "Albatross
Series." I again send a too indulgent public my warmest thanks for their

Very Truly,


Cambridge, Mass., May, 1898.




"A New Sensation - that is what you need," said Dr. Chambers, wisely.

"Yes, that is what you want, above all things," assented Harvey Hume.

"A New Sensation - it would be the making of you!" cried Tom Barton, with

I agreed with them all. My brain was exhausted with my long illness and
responded feebly to the new strength that was returning to my body. It
was much easier, however, for people to discover the remedy I needed
than to find the right way to apply it. They would never have united in
prescribing the same kind of "sensation." What one would suggest would
be opposed by the others; and had they come to a united decision in the
matter their ideas might not have suited me at all. I was in a condition
when it is not easy to make up the mind to anything.

After long reflection, I decided to go and propose marriage to Statia. I
had never offered my hand to any woman and it seemed as if that ought to
give me at least a diversion, which was something. Not that I intended
to make the offer lightly. I had as lief get married as anything else. I
was sick to death of idleness - nothing could well be worse than doing
nothing, day after day.

But when I had carried out my plan, I left Statia in greater despondency
than ever. For she refused me pointblank - something that had not entered
into my calculations. She did it, too, in anything but an agreeable
manner, as it then seemed to me.

If the reader of these lines has ever gone through a period of insomnia
in its most acute form, he will understand the condition in which it
leaves a fellow. When Tom's sister laughed me out of court, as one might
say, even though she did it with the highest expressions of good will, I
was ready for anything desperate.

"You are a silly fellow," she said, as if I were a five years' old child
and she my governess. "What kind of a husband do you think you would
make? Look back over the last five years of your life and see how much
of it does you credit. You think I don't know what you have been up to,
and perhaps it is best for me that I don't know all of it; but I am
sure, at least, that you have undertaken nothing serious, and that every
hour has been practically wasted. A girl has got to have something
different in a partner on whom she is to rely for life. And that tale of
your physician's advice is worse than all. I am not going to let myself
for a hospital. Your health is broken on account of your persistent
violation of all hygienic rules. You have no right to quarter yourself
on a strong, well girl like me until you can bring something better than
you now have to offer."

I was too provoked at her manner, even more than at her words, to reply
with much patience. I said, ill-manneredly, I must now admit, that if I
did not have my old physique, it was only a question of time when it
would return, and that I certainly had something else that many a young
man would gladly take in exchange for beef and brawn.

"Oh, _that_ for your fortune!" she said, snapping her fingers
disdainfully. "I am not talking of marrying your grandfather, who
gathered the dollars you think of such moment. Wealth is a good thing
only when harnessed to the right horses. The man that marries me must
have a better recommendation. I would give more for a character of
sterling merit, a disposition to conquer the difficulties of life, than
for all your cash. If the will of Aleck Camran had not tied up his
savings, you would have made ducks and drakes of the whole of it before
this time."

I was angry at myself for arguing with her. She had a great deal of
assurance to address me in that manner, I thought.

"Will or no will, I have a certainty of five thousand dollars a year
till I am thirty," I retorted. "How many of the brave young chaps you
talk about can gain as much as that? And when I am thirty I get
possession of the entire estate, a quarter of a million now, and more
when that time comes. But I am not going to debate the matter with you.
You are a coquette, Statia Barton, and have had your amusement with me.
Some day, when you hear I have gone to the devil, a little remorse may
touch your heart. I don't care a rap now whether I live or die."

She paled at the concluding sentence.

"Don't add crime to your follies," she said, in a low tone. "Existence
does not end with this brief life on earth. When you have time to
reflect, you will be ashamed of your present state of mind. If there is
anything I can do for you, short of sacrificing my whole future - "

"I know," I responded, sarcastically. "You are willing to be 'a sister'
to me!"

"I am, indeed!" she answered, fervently. "It's what you need much more
than a wife. You accuse me of coquetry, because I have tried to treat
you as - well - as the closest friend of my brother Tom. I fear your
experience with women has not fitted you to be a good judge of their

"They are pretty much alike," I snarled. "Selfish to the core, when you
get at their true natures. All this talk amounts to nothing. So, I'll
say good-by, for as soon as I can get my things packed I'm going to get
out of the country."

She seemed genuinely distressed, and like the soft fellow I always was
where her sex is concerned I found myself relenting.

"Dr. Chambers advises travel," I explained, in a gentler tone. "His
exact prescription was, 'Marry the nicest girl you know, then take a
journey to some place where you can forget the troubles through which
you have passed.' If I can't carry out the first part, I can the last."

Statia's face lit up.

"And am I - really - the 'nicest girl you know,' that you came so straight
to me with your proposal?" she asked.

"I thought so an hour ago," I responded, growing gloomy again. "I've
intended for two years to ask you sometime, though I didn't think it
would be so soon. I supposed you knew what was on my mind, and it never
occurred to me that, instead of accepting my offer, you would play the
schoolma'am with me. But let it go now. I believe I shall live through
it, after all. That cursed insomnia leaves a man ready for the blues on
the slightest provocation. The sooner I get out of this part of the
world the better."

She asked if I had decided where to go, and I told her I had not. I
thought the best thing was to get on the sea as soon as I could and keep
out of sight of land for awhile.

"I don't think you ought to go alone," she said, thoughtfully.

"Perhaps you would undertake to chaperone me," I suggested,

"No. It would be too great a responsibility. But, seriously, you should
have some one. You are not in a condition to make a long journey alone."

I felt that as well as she. But of all my friends I could think of no
one to fill the bill, and I told her so.

"Tom would go, if he could," she said. "He would lose a year in his
classes, though, which is a serious matter. Can you not hire some
capable young man, who would act as an assistant and companion

If I was sure of anything it was that I wanted nothing of that kind. A
servant was all right, and there were lots of fellows who would make
good travelling companions, but a man who could combine the two
qualities would be unbearable.

"There's another alternative you haven't thought of," I remarked,
catching at an idea. "What would you say to a typewriter?"

"There are many young men in that business who would be glad to go with
you," was her reply.

"Hang young men! If I take a typewriter it will be a young woman," I
retorted. "Oh, don't glare at me in that frigid way. There are
respectable young women enough without letting your thoughts run wild.
Uncle Dugald has been trying to get me to resume work on the family
genealogy, which I was plodding through when I was knocked out by that
confounded illness. I have all of the notes on hand. Supposing I
advertise for a young woman of good moral character to assist a literary
man, one that is willing to travel. Don't you think I might secure the
right sort of person in that way?"

"Good moral character!" she echoed, her lip curling. "And what do you
think her character would resemble when she returned with you from your

I replied that it would be something like that of a vestal virgin, as
near as I could prognosticate. And I demanded where she got the notion
that I was a menace to the purity of any young creature who might decide
to trust herself in my company.

"The idea is too silly to talk of seriously," she answered.

"Oh, I don't know," said I. "The more I think about it, the better I
like the thing. Some of these typewriter girls are not bad looking. Many
are well educated. A good salary ought to overcome their objections to
travel, especially at this season of the year, when New York is under
the dominion of the Ice King. I shall put an advertisement in the
'Personal' column of the Herald, next Sunday."

Statia tried to pretend that she thought me simply fooling, but it was
evident that she was not as sure on that point as she would like to be.
If there was nothing else to be gained by the conversation, I was at
least getting even with her to some degree for the disappointment she
had caused me a few minutes earlier.

"You will do nothing of the sort," she said. "Come, Don, don't be an
idiot. I can hardly find patience to discuss the senseless thing. If you
weren't such a reckless boy, I should know you were only joking. You
shall not leave the room until you promise to drop this nonsense."

I liked her, in spite of her cruel conduct; yes, I liked her very much;
and it did me an immense amount of good to sense the taint of jealousy
in her words and manner.

"Statia Barton," I replied, taking a step that brought me to her side,
"it all lies with you. Again I ask you to be my wife and go with me on
the journey my doctor declares I must take at once. If you refuse to
guard and protect me you have no right to say that some one else shall
be prevented from doing so."

She trembled, and I thought she was about to relent. My heart gave a
quick bound, only to be stilled by her answer.

"Your conduct in this matter confirms all my previous suspicions," she
replied, and her voice was unsteady. "I am merely, in your mind, a toy
to be used as occasion requires. If I refuse to lend myself to that
object you have only to find another. Now, Donald Camran, I am a little
too proud to take that sort of place. Marriage, in my mind, is rather
more sacred than it seems to be in yours. You evidently have no idea how
near you are to insulting me, which makes it easier to forgive the
slight. I thank you for the honor" - she pronounced the word in an
ironical manner - "that you have offered and decline it absolutely.
Further, I withdraw all my advice, since it evidently is useless to
offer any. Advertise for your lady typewriter, make your arrangements
with her, and go your way. And now excuse me, as I have to dress for a

I didn't really want to hurt her feelings, and it was too evident that I
had done so. I asked meekly if she would let me wait in the parlor till
she was ready and escort her to her destination.

"No," she answered, with more determination that I had ever heard in her
tone. "I prefer to say good-by to you here."

I liked her immensely, in spite of all, and was sorry that anything
should make a break between us, but I had no idea of crawling on my
knees for any woman alive. I took up my overcoat, that lay on a
chair - I was as much at home in Tom Barton's house as in my own
lodgings - and put it on. Then I took my gloves, my hat and cane, said
"Good-by," with great formality, and left the house.

I preferred to walk, for although the air was frosty, there was heat
enough in my veins. Block after block was traversed in an aimless way,
for I had no destination in particular. All at once, I noticed a group
of people staring into a window, and realized that I had reached the
up-town building of the New York Herald.

For several seconds I tried to remember what there was about that
building to interest me. It was one of the results of my illness that
memory had become treacherous. It frequently happened that I met
intimate friends and could not tell their names if I were to be hanged.
I slackened my pace, and cudgeled my brain, as the saying is, for some

It was the Herald Building - I knew that well enough. What did I want
there? Suddenly, glancing into the business office, it all came back to
me and I entered.

The idea I had suggested to Statia as a joke began to strike me as a
rather good thing.

I would insert an advertisement for a female typewriter, if only to
spite Statia Barton! Dr. Chambers had almost forbidden me to travel
alone. I had a right to select my companion, and it was the business of
no one - least of all of a woman who had thrown me over - whether the
person I chose wore pantaloons or petticoats.

Going to one of the desks I took up a pen, dipped it in ink, and tried
to indite a suitable announcement. My hand shook, for I had not
recovered a quarter of my normal strength. When I had written the first
line it would have puzzled the best copy-holder in the office above to
decipher it. I tore it up, took a second piece of paper and began again.
When I had written the advertisement at last it did not suit me, and
once more I essayed the task with new construction. Other men and
several women were using the desks about me, and I glanced at them to
see if any nervousness was visible on their countenances. There appeared
to be none, however, which fact made my own sensations harder than ever
to bear.

Several times I fancied that the clerks behind the wire guards were
watching me, that they had managed in some mysterious manner to see over
my shoulder, and were laughing at my efforts. Still I hated to give up
beaten. It is a part of my nature to carry out any task which I have
attempted, no matter how insignificant. I took the pen once more and
finally completed with difficulty the following:

TYPEWRITER WANTED - To travel in the Tropics for the winter. Duties
light, salary satisfactory. Machine Furnished. Address - Herald

Just as I was about to take this to one of the clerks, an extremely
pretty young woman came to the desk I was using and attracted my
attention. She had a pair of solitaire diamonds in her beautiful ears
and half a dozen costly rings on her pretty fingers. She wore a tastily
trimmed hat, with veil, a well fitting seal coat and a plaided silk
skirt of subdued colors. I judged her to be the wife or daughter of some
wealthy man, who had come to advertise for a maid or cook. With a few
quick strokes of the pen, in a hand that I saw was clear and bold, she
completed her writing and stepped quickly to the nearest counter. I
followed her; and as there was already one customer engaging the
attention of the clerk, I plainly saw the notice she had written, as she
held it daintily against her muff. Its purport was as follows:

A YOUNG LADY, stranger in the city, beautiful of face and form, 22
years of age, suddenly thrown on her own resources, wishes the
acquaintance of elderly gent.

The clerk looked up and nodded to the fair creature, when her turn came.
He had evidently seen her there before.

"You have forgotten again," he said, smiling. "Object matrimony."

"So, I have," she answered, in mellifluous tones. "It seems so silly,
you know."

"A rule of the office," he responded, adding the words for her. "Dollar
and a half."

She took a twenty dollar bill from a purse and received the change as if
it was hardly worth picking up. It was evident that much sympathy need
not be wasted on this young "stranger," and that the "resources" on
which she was "thrown" were likely to be amply sufficient.

"One twenty," said the clerk, to me. "Business Personals, of course. I
will write the word 'Lady' before 'Typewriter,' if that is what you
mean. It may save annoyance. Sunday? Very well."

He gave me my change and I withdrew to make room for others, who were
already crowding for recognition.

It was only Thursday, but it was something to have done the thing. After
months of insomnia it is hard to make up one's mind. Delighted that I
had taken the first step, I bought a paper from one of the boys at the
door and went home to study the steamship routes.



The most intimate masculine friend I had in the world was Statia's
brother, Tom Barton. We seemed to have become attached for the reason
that a story reminded some one of an event - because we were so
different. Tom was not the kind of chap, however, to trust with such a
plan as I had just been maturing. Not only was he virtuous - which may be
forgiven in a young man of good qualities - but he would never have liked
me had he suspected a thousandth part of the peccadilloes of which I had
been guilty. Tom was my friend, but never my confidant. For a fellow to
share the present secret, there was no one like Harvey Hume.

I was reasonably sure that Harvey would tell me I was contemplating a
ridiculous move; indeed I more than half suspected that to be the case.
But he would content himself with pointing out the silliness of the
plan, leaving it to my own judgment what to do afterward. Tom, on the
contrary, would have told Statia all about it, not imagining, of course,
that I had done so; then he would have gone to my Uncle Dugald and set
him on my track. If these means failed to bring me to my senses, I am
not sure but he would have applied for an inquirendo to determine my
sanity; all with the best intentions in the world and a sincere desire
to promote my moral welfare.

Tom is a fellow who would jump off a steamer in mid-ocean to save me,
should I fall overboard while in his company, and never think, until he
found himself on the way to the bottom, that I could swim, while he
could not even float a little bit. He is as decent a chap as it has ever
been my privilege to know, and as much to be avoided on certain
occasions as a fer-de-lance. At any rate, my recent tilt with his sister
did not make me particularly anxious to see any person who bore her
family name. So I went to Harvey Hume.

Harvey is, or professes to be, a lawyer. One of our mutual friends once
got credit for a _mot_ that really didn't amount to much, when a third
party inquired if Harvey had yet been 'admitted to the bar,' by replying
that he had been admitted to every bar in Greater New York, although he
had always failed to pass. Whatever might be said of him, he was a
thoroughbred. The Spanish Inquisition could not have drawn a secret out
of him. The worst he would do if he disapproved of my scheme was to tell
me so, and I had a wild anxiety to talk it over with some one.

"Halloa, old fellow!" he cried, as I entered his door. "Devilish glad to
see you. Take one of these cigars, draw up here, put your feet beside
mine on the desk, and tell me how you are."

Accepting the invitation in both its phases I responded that I was
improving every day, and that I believed myself nearly, if not quite,
out of the woods.

"Of course, you are," he replied, jovially. "And now you are out, will
you get back again, or take a friend's advice and stay out?"

"I don't even know how I got in," I remarked, dolefully. "When I see a
chap like you in the enjoyment of all the health and spirits in the
world it seems unfair that I should be knocked down in the way I was.
Why, all the drinking I've done since I was born wouldn't satisfy you
for half a year."

Harvey blew a cloud of smoke to the ceiling and winked knowingly.

"Rats!" he responded. "I only drink just enough to lubricate my mucous
membrane. If you had drunk oftener and done some other things less, you
would be in as fit shape as I am. It was plain to me for a long time

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Online LibraryAlbert RossA New Sensation → online text (page 1 of 18)