Susan Lenox: Her Rise and Fall by David Graham Phillips
She had thought of escape daily, hourly almost, for nearly five months. She had advanced not an inch toward it; but she never for an instant lost hope. She believed in her destiny, felt with all the strength of her health and vitality that she had not yet found her place in the world, that she would find it, and that it would be high. Now--she was compelled to escape, and this with only seventeen dollars and in the little time that would elapse before Palmer returned to consciousness and started in pursuit, bent upon cruel and complete revenge. She changed to an express train at the Grand Central Subway station, left the express on impulse at Fourteenth Street, took a local to Astor Place, there ascended to the street.
She was far indeed from the Tenderloin, in a region not visited by the people she knew. As for Freddie, he never went below Fourtenth Street, hated the lower East Side, avoided anyone from that region of his early days, now shrouded in a mystery that would not be dispelled with his consent. Freddie would not think of searching for her there; and soon he would believe she was dead--drowned, and at the bottom of river or bay. As she stepped from the exit of the underground, she saw in the square before her, under the Sunset Cox statue, a Salvation Army corps holding a meeting. She heard a cry from the center of the crowd:
"The wages of sin is death!"
She drifted into the fringe of the crowd and glanced at the little group of exhorters and musicians. The woman who was preaching had taken the life of the streets as her text. Well fed and well clad and certain of a clean room to sleep in--certain of a good living, she was painting the moral horrors of the street life.
"The wages of sin is death!" she shouted.
She caught Susan's eye, saw the cynical-bitter smile round her lips. For Susan had the feeling that, unsuspected by the upper classes, animates the masses as to clergy and charity workers of all kinds--much the same feeling one would have toward the robber's messenger who came bringing from his master as a loving gift some worthless trifle from the stolen goods. Not from clergy, not from charity worker, not from the life of the poor as they take what is given them with hypocritical cringe and tear of thanks, will the upper classes get the truth as to what is thought of them by the masses in this day of awakening intelligence and slow heaving of crusts so long firm that they have come to be regarded as bed-rock of social foundation.
Cried the woman, in response to Susan's satirical look:
"You mock at that, my lovely young sister. Your lips are painted, and they sneer. But you know I'm right--yes, you show in your eyes that you know it in your aching heart! The wages of sin is death! Isn't that so, sister?"
Susan shook her head.
"Speak the truth, sister! God is watching you. The wages of sin is death!"
"The wages of weakness is death," retorted Susan. "But--the wages of sin--well, it's sometimes a house in Fifth Avenue."
And then she shrank away before the approving laughter of the little crowd and hurried across into Eighth Street. In the deep shadow of the front of Cooper Union she paused, as the meaning of her own impulsive words came to her. The wages of sin! And what was sin, the supreme sin, but weakness? It was exactly as Burlingham had explained. He had said that, whether for good or for evil, really to live one must be strong. Strong!
What a good teacher he had been--one of the rare kind that not only said things interestingly but also said them so that you never forgot. How badly she had learned!
She strolled on through Eighth Street, across Third Avenue and into Second Avenue. It was ten o'clock. The effects of the liquor she had drunk had worn away. In so much wandering she had acquired the habit of closing up an episode of life as a traveler puts behind him the railway journey at its end. She was less than half an hour from her life in the Tenderloin; it was as completely in her past as it would ever be. The cards had once more been shuffled; a new deal was on.
A new deal. What? To fly to another city--that meant another Palmer, or the miseries of the unprotected woman of the streets, or slavery to the madman of what the French with cruel irony call a maison de joie. To return to work----
What was open to her, educated as the comfortable classes educate their women? Work meant the tenements. She loathed the fast life, but not as she loathed vermin-infected tenements. To toil all day at a monotonous task, the same task every day and all day long! To sleep at night with Tucker and the vermin! To her notion the sights and sounds and smells and personal contacts of the tenements were no less vicious; were--for her at least--far more degrading than anything in the Tenderloin and its like. And there she got money to buy whiskey that whirled her almost endurably, sometimes even gayly, over the worst things--money to buy hours, whole days of respite that could be spent in books, in dreams and plannings, in the freedom of a clean and comfortable room, or at the theater or concert. There were degrees in horror; she was paying a hateful price, but not so hateful as she had paid when she worked. The wages of shame were not so hard earned as the wages of toil, were larger, brought her many of the things she craved. The wages of toil brought her nothing but the right to bare existence in filth and depravity and darkness. Also, she felt that if she were tied down to some dull and exhausting employment, she would be settled and done for. In a few years she would be an old woman, with less wages or flung out diseased or maimed--to live on and on like hundreds of wretched old creatures adrift everywhere in the tenement streets. No, work had nothing to offer her except "respectability." And what a mocking was "respectability," in rags and filth! Besides, what had she, the outcast born, to do with this respectability?
No--not work--never again. So long as she was roving about, there was hope and chance somehow to break through into the triumphant class that ruled the world, that did the things worth while--wore the good clothes, lived in the good houses, ate the good food, basked in the sunshine of art.
Either she would soar above respectability, or she would remain beneath it. Respectability might be an excellent thing; surely there must be some merit in a thing about which there was so much talk, after which there was so much hankering, and to which there was such desperate clinging. But as a sole possession, as a sole ambition, it seemed thin and poor and even pitiful. She had emancipated herself from its tyranny; she would not resume the yoke. Among so many lacks of the good things of life its good would not be missed. Perhaps, when she had got a few other of the good things she might try to add it to them--or might find herself able to get comfortably along without it, as had George Eliot and Aspasia, George Sand and Duse and Bernhardt and so many of the world's company of self-elected women members of the triumphant class.
A new deal! And a new deal meant at least even chance for good luck.
As she drifted down the west side of Second Avenue, her thoughts so absorbed her that she was oblivious of the slushy sidewalk, even of the crossings where one had to pick one's way as through a shallow creek with stepping stones here and there. There were many women alone, as in every other avenue and every frequented cross street throughout the city--women made eager to desperation by the long stretch of impossible weather. Every passing man was hailed, sometimes boldly, sometimes softly. Again and again that grotesque phrase "Let's go have a good time" fell upon the ears. After several blocks, when her absent-mindedness had got her legs wet to the knees in the shallow shiny slush, she was roused by the sound of music--an orchestra playing and playing well a lively Hungarian dance. She was standing before the winter garden from which the sounds came. As she opened the door she was greeted by a rush of warm air pleasantly scented with fresh tobacco smoke, the odors of spiced drinks and of food, pastry predominating. Some of the tables were covered ready for those who would wish to eat; but many of them were for the drinkers. The large, low-ceilinged room was comfortably filled. There were but a few women and they seemed to be wives or sweethearts. Susan was about to retreat when a waiter--one of those Austrians whose heads end abruptly an inch or so above the eyebrows and whose chins soon shade off into neck--advanced smilingly with a polite, "We serve ladies without escorts."
She chose a table that had several other vacant tables round it. On the recommendation of the waiter she ordered a "burning devil"; he assured her she would find it delicious and the very thing for a cold slushy night. At the far end of the room on a low platform sat the orchestra. A man in an evening suit many sizes too large for him sang in a strong, not disagreeable tenor a German song that drew loud applause at the end of each stanza. The "burning devil" came--an almost black mixture in a large heavy glass. The waiter touched a match to it, and it was at once wreathed in pale flickering flames that hovered like butterflies, now rising as if to float away, now lightly descending to flit over the surface of the liquid or to dance along the edge of the glass.
"What shall I do with it?" said Susan.
"Wait till it goes out," said the waiter. "Then drink, as you would anything else." And he was off to attend to the wants of a group of card players a few feet away.
Susan touched her finger to the glass, when the flame suddenly vanished. She found it was not too hot to drink, touched her lips to it. The taste, sweetish, suggestive of coffee and of brandy and of burnt sugar, was agreeable. She slowly sipped it, delighting in the sensation of warmth, of comfort, of well being that speedily diffused through her. The waiter came to receive her thanks for his advice. She said to him:
"Do you have women sing, too?"
"Oh, yes--when we can find a good-looker with a voice. Our customers know music."
"I wonder if I could get a trial?"
The waiter was interested at once. "Perhaps. You sing?"
"I have sung on the stage."
"I'll ask the boss."
He went to the counter near the door where stood a short thick-set Jew of the East European snub-nosed type in earnest conversation with a seated blonde woman. She showed that skill at clinging to youth which among the lower middle and lower classes pretty clearly indicates at least some experience at the fast life. For only in the upper and upper middle class does a respectable woman venture thus to advertise so suspicious a guest within as a desire to be agreeable in the sight of men. Susan watched the waiter as he spoke to the proprietor, saw the proprietor's impatient shake of the head, sent out a wave of gratitude from her heart when her waiter friend persisted, compelled the proprietor to look toward her. She affected an air of unconsciousness; in fact, she was posing as if before a camera. Her heart leaped when out of the corner of her eye she saw the proprietor coming with the waiter. The two paused at her table, and the proprietor said in a sharp, impatient voice:
"Well, lady--what is it?"
"I want a trial as a singer."
The proprietor was scanning her features and her figure which was well displayed by the tight-fitting jacket. The result seemed satisfactory, for in a voice oily with the softening influence of feminine charm upon male, he said:
"You've had experience?"
"Yes--a lot of it. But I haven't sung in about two years."
"Only ballads in English. But I can learn anything."
"English'll do--if you can sing. What costume do you wear?" And the proprietor seated himself and motioned the waiter away.
"I have no costume. As I told you, I've not been singing lately."
"We've got one that might fit--a short blue silk skirt--low neck and blue stockings. Slippers too, but they might be tight--I forget the number."
"I did wear threes. But I've done a great deal of walking. I wear a five now." Susan thrust out a foot and ankle, for she knew that despite the overshoe they were good to look at.
The proprietor nodded approvingly and there was the note of personal interest in his voice as he said: "They can try your voice tomorrow morning. Come at ten o'clock."
"If you decide to try me, what pay will I get?"
The proprietor smiled slyly. "Oh, we don't pay anything to the singers. That man who sang--he gets his board here. He works in a factory as a bookkeeper in the daytime. Lots of theatrical and musical people come here. If a man or a girl can do any stunt worth while, there's a chance."
"I'd have to have something more than board," said Susan.
The proprietor frowned down at his stubby fingers whose black and cracked nails were drumming on the table. "Well--I might give you a bed. There's a place I could put one in my daughter's room. She sings and dances over at Louis Blanc's garden in Third Avenue. Yes, I could put you there. But--no privileges, you understand."
"Certainly. . . . I'll decide tomorrow. Maybe you'll not want me."
"Oh, yes--if you can sing at all. Your looks'd please my customers." Seeing the dubious expression in Susan's face, he went on, "When I say `no privilege' I mean only about the room. Of course, it's none of my business what you do outside. Lots of well fixed gents comes here. My girls have all had good luck. I've been open two years, and in that time one of my singers got an elegant delicatessen owner to keep her."
"Really," said Susan, in the tone that was plainly expected of her.
"Yes--an elegant gentleman. I'd not be surprised if he married her. And another married an electrician that cops out forty a week. You'll find it a splendid chance to make nice friends--good spenders. And I'm a practical man."
"I suppose there isn't any work I could do in the daytime?"
"Not nowhere, so far as I know. That is, work you'd care to do. The factories and stores is hard on a woman, and she don't get much. And besides they ain't very classy to my notion. Of course, if a woman ain't got looks or sense or any tone to her, if she's satisfied to live in a bum tenement and marry some dub that can't make nothing, why, that's different. But you look like a woman that had been used to something and wanted to get somewhere. I wouldn't have let my daughter go into no such low, foolish life."
She had intended to ask about a place to stop for the night. She now decided that the suggestion that she was homeless might possibly impair her chances. After some further conversation--the proprietor repeating what he had already said, and repeating it in about the same language--she paid the waiter fifteen cents for the drink and a tip of five cents out of the change she had in her purse, and departed. It had clouded over, and a misty, dismal rain was trickling through the saturated air to add to the messiness of the churn of cold slush. Susan went on down Second Avenue. On a corner near its lower end she saw a Raines Law hotel with awnings, indicating that it was not merely a blind to give a saloon a hotel license but was actually open for business. She went into the "family" entrance of the saloon, was alone in a small clean sitting-room with a sliding window between it and the bar. A tough but not unpleasant young face appeared at the window. It was the bartender.
"Evening, cutie," said he. "What'll you have?"
"Some rye whiskey," replied Susan. "May I smoke a cigarette here?"
"Sure, go as far as you like. Ten-cent whiskey--or fifteen?"
"Fifteen--unless it's out of the same bottle as the ten."
"Call it ten--seeing as you are a lady. I've got a soft heart for you ladies. I've got a wife in the business, myself."
When he came in at the door with the drink, a young man followed him--a good-looking, darkish youth, well dressed in a ready made suit of the best sort. At second glance Susan saw that he was at least partly of Jewish blood, enough to elevate his face above the rather dull type which predominates among clerks and merchants of the Christian races. He had small, shifty eyes, an attractive smile, a manner of assurance bordering on insolence. He dropped into a chair at Susan's table with a, "You don't mind having a drink on me."
As Susan had no money to spare, she acquiesced. She said to the bartender, "I want to get a room here--a plain room. How much?"
"Maybe this gent'll help you out," said the bartender with a grin and a wink. "He's got money to burn--and burns it."
The bartender withdrew. The young man struck a match and held it for her to light the cigarette she took from her purse. Then he lit one himself. "Next time try one of mine," said he. "I get 'em of a fellow that makes for the swellest uptown houses. But I get 'em ten cents a package instead of forty. I haven't seen you down here before. What a good skin you've got! It's been a long time since I've seen a skin as fine as that, except on a baby now and then. And that shape of yours is all right, too. I suppose it's the real goods?"
With that he leaned across the table and put his hand upon her bosom. She drew back indifferently.
"You don't give anything for nothing--eh?" laughed he. "Been in the business long?"
"It seems long."
"It ain't what it used to be. The competition's getting to be something fierce. Looks as if all the respectable girls and most of the married women were coming out to look for a little extra money. Well--why not?"
Susan shrugged her shoulders. "Why not?" echoed she carelessly.
She did not look forward with pleasure to being alone. The man was clean and well dressed, and had an unusual amount of personal charm that softened his impertinence of manner. Evidently he has the habit of success with women. She much preferred him sitting with her to her own depressing society. So she accepted his invitation. She took one of his cigarettes, and it was as good as he had said. He rattled on, mingling frank coarse compliments with talk about "the business" from a standpoint so practical that she began to suspect he was somehow in it himself. He clearly belonged to those more intelligent children of the upper class tenement people, the children who are too bright and too well educated to become working men and working women like their parents; they refuse to do any kind of manual labor, as it could never in the most favorable circumstances pay well enough to give them the higher comforts they crave, the expensive comforts which every merchant is insistently and temptingly thrusting at a public for the most part too poor to buy; so these cleverer children of the working class develop into shyster lawyers, politicians, sports, prostitutes, unless chance throws into their way some respectable means of getting money. Vaguely she wondered--without caring to question or guess what particular form of activity this young man had taken in avoiding monotonous work at small pay.
After her second drink came she found that she did not want it. She felt tired and sleepy and wished to get her wet stockings off and to dry her skirt which, for all her careful holding up, had not escaped the fate of whatever was exposed to that abominable night. "I'm going along with you," said the young man as she rose. "Here's to our better acquaintance."
"Thanks, but I want to be alone," replied she affably. And, not to seem unappreciative of his courtesy, she took a small drink from her glass. It tasted very queer. She glanced suspiciously at the young man. Her legs grew suddenly and strangely heavy. her heart began to beat violently, and a black fog seemed to be closing in upon her eyes. Through it she saw the youth grinning sardonically. And instantly she knew. "What a fool I am!" she thought.
She had been trapped by another form of the slave system. This man was a recruiting sergeant for houses of prostitution--was one of the "cadets." They search the tenement districts for good-looking girls and young women. They hang about the street corners, flirting. They attend the balls where go the young people of the lower middle class and upper lower class. They learn to make love seductively; they understand how to tempt a girl's longing for finery, for an easier life, her dream of a husband above her class in looks and in earning power. And for each recruit "broken in" and hardened to the point of willingness to go into a sporting house, they get from the proprietor ten to twenty-five dollars according to her youth and beauty. Susan knew all about the system, had heard stories of it from the lips of girls who had been embarked through it--embarked a little sooner than they would have embarked under the lash of want, or of that other and almost equally compelling brute, desire for the comforts and luxuries that mean decent living. Susan knew; yet here she was, because of an unguarded moment, and because of a sense of security through experience--here she was, succumbing to knockout drops as easily as the most innocent child lured away from its mother's door to get a saucer of ice cream! She tried to rise, to scream, though she knew any such effort was futile.
With a gasp and a sigh her head fell forward and she was unconscious.
She awakened in a small, rather dingy room. She was lying on her back with only stockings on. Beyond the foot of the bed was a little bureau at which a man, back full to her, stood in trousers and shirt sleeves tying his necktie. She saw that he was a rough looking man, coarsely dressed--an artisan or small shop-keeper. Used as she was to the profound indifference of men of all classes and degrees of education and intelligence to what the woman thought--used as she was to this sensual selfishness which men at least in part conceal from their respectable wives, Susan felt a horror of this man who had not minded her unconsciousness. Her head was aching so fiercely that she had not the courage to move. Presently the man turned toward her a kindly, bearded face. But she was used to the man of general good character who with little shame and no hesitation became beast before her, the free woman.
"Hello, pretty!" cried he, genially. "Slept off your jag, have you?"
He was putting on his coat and waistcoat. He took from the waistcoat pocket a dollar bill. "You're a peach," said he. "I'll come again, next time my old lady goes off guard." He made the bill into a pellet, dropped it on her breast. "A little present for you. Put it in your stocking and don't let the madam grab it."
With a groan Susan lifted herself to a sitting position, drew the spread about her--a gesture of instinct rather than of conscious modesty. "They drugged me and brought me here," said she. "I want you to help me get out."
"Good Lord!" cried the man, instantly all a-quiver with nervousness. "I'm a married man. I don't want to get mixed up in this." And out of the room he bolted, closing the door behind him.
Susan smiled at herself satirically. After all her experience, to make this silly appeal--she who knew men! "I must be getting feeble-minded," thought she. Then----
Her clothes! With a glance she swept the little room. No closet! Her own clothes gone! On the chair beside the bed a fast-house parlor dress of pink cotton silk, and a kind of abbreviated chemise. The stockings on her legs were not her own, but were of pink cotton, silk finished. A pair of pink satin slippers stood on the floor beside the two galvanized iron wash basins.
The door opened and a burly man, dressed in cheap ready-made clothes but with an air of authority and prosperity, was smiling at her. "The madam told me to walk right in and make myself at home," said he. "Yes, you're up to her account of you. Only she said you were dead drunk and would probably be asleep. Now, honey, you treat me right and I'll treat you right."
"Get out of here!" cried Susan. "I'm going to leave this house. They drugged me and brought me here."
"Oh, come now. I've got nothing to do with your quarrels with the landlady. Cut those fairy tales out. You treat me right and----"
A few minutes later in came the madam. Susan, exhausted, sick, lay inert in the middle of the bed. She fixed her gaze upon the eyes looking through the hideous mask of paint and powder partially concealing the madam's face.
"Well, are you going to be a good girl now?" said the madam.
"I want to sleep," said Susan.
"All right, my dear." She saw and snatched the five-dollar bill from the pillow. "It'll go toward paying your board and for the parlor dress. God, but you was drunk when they brought you up from the bar!"
"When was that?" asked Susan.
"About midnight. It's nearly four now. We've shut the house for the night. You're in a first-rate house, my dear, and if you behave yourself, you'll make money--a lot more than you ever could at a dive like Zeist's. If you don't behave well, we'll teach you how. This building belongs to one of the big men in politics, and he looks after my interests--and he ought to, considering the rent I pay--five hundred a month--for the three upper floors. The bar's let separate. Would you like a nice drink?"
"No," said Susan. Trapped! Hopelessly trapped! And she would never escape until, diseased, her looks gone, ruined in body and soul, she was cast out into the hospital and the gutter.
"As I was saying," ventured the madam, "you might as well settle down quietly."
"I'm very well satisfied," said Susan. "I suppose you'll give me a square deal on what I make." She laughed quietly as if secretly amused at something. "In fact, I know you will," she added in a tone of amused confidence.
"As soon as you've paid up your twenty-five a week for room and board and the fifty for the parlor dress----"
Susan interrupted her with a laugh. "Oh, come off," said she. "I'll not stand for that. I'll go back to Jim Finnegan."
The old woman's eyes pounced for her face instantly. "Do you know Finnegan?"
"I'm his girl," said Susan carelessly. She stretched herself and yawned. "I got mad at him and started out for some fun. He's a regular damn fool about me. But I'm sick of him. Anything but a jealous man! And spied on everywhere I go. How much can I make here?"
"Ain't you from Zeist's?" demanded the madam. Her voice was quivering with fright. She did not dare believe the girl; she did not dare disbelieve her.
"Zeist's? What's that?" said Susan indifferently.
"The joint two blocks down. Hasn't Joe Bishop had you in there for a couple of months?"
Susan yawned. "Lord, how my head does ache! Who's Joe Bishop? I'm dead to the world. I must have had an awful jag!" She turned on her side, drew the spread over her. "I want to sleep. So long!"
"Didn't you run away from home with Joe Bishop?" demanded the madam shrilly. "And didn't he put you to work for Zeist?"
"Who's Joe Bishop? Where's Zeist's?" Susan said, cross and yawning.
"I've been with Jim about a year. He took me off the street. I was broke in five years ago."
The madam gave a kind of howl. "And that Joe Bishop got twenty-five off me!" she screamed. "And you're Finnegan's girl, and he'll make trouble for me."
"He's got a nasty streak in him," said Susan, drowsily. "He put me on the Island once for a little side trip I made." She laughed, yawned. "But he sent and got me out in two days--and gave me a present of a hundred. It's funny how a man'll make a fool of himself about a woman. Put out the light."
"No, I won't put out the light," shrieked the madam. "You can't work here. I'm going to telephone Jim Finnegan to come and get you."
Susan started up angrily, as if she were half-crazed by drink. "If you do, you old hag," she cried, "I'll tell him you doped me and set these men on me. I'll tell him about Joe Bishop. And Jim'll send the whole bunch of you to the pen. I'll not go back to him till I get good and ready. And that means, I won't go back at all, no matter what he offers me." She began to cry in a maudlin way. "I hate him. I'm tired of living as if I was back in the convent."
The madam stood, heaving to and fro and blowing like a chained elephant. "I don't know what to do," she whined. "I wish Joe Bishop was in hell."
"I'm going to get out of here," shrieked Susan, raving and blazing again and waving her arms. "You don't know a good thing when you get it. What kind of a bumjoint is this, anyway? Where's my clothes? They must be dry by this time."
"Yes--yes--they're dry, my dear," whined the madam. "I'll bring 'em to you."
And out she waddled, returning in a moment with her arms full of the clothing. She found Susan in the bed and nestling comfortably into the pillows. "Here are your clothes," she cried.
"No--I want to sleep," was Susan's answer in a cross, drowsy tone. "I think I'll stay. You won't telephone Jim. But when he finds me, I'll tell him to go to the devil."
"For God's sake!" wailed the madam. "I can't let you work here. You don't want to ruin me, do you?"
Susan sat up, rubbed her eyes, yawned, brushed her hair back, put a sly, smiling look into her face. "How much'll you give me to go?" she asked. "Where's the fifteen that was in my stocking?"
"I've got it for you," said the madam.
"How much did I make tonight?"
"There was three at five apiece."
Three!--not only the two, but a third while she lay in a dead stupor. Susan shivered.
"Your share's four dollars," continued the madam.
"Is that all!" cried Susan, jeering. "A bum joint! Oh, there's my five the man gave me as a present."
"Yes--yes," quavered the madam.
"And another man gave me a dollar." She looked round. "Where the devil is it?" She found it in a fold of the spread. "Then you owe me twenty altogether, counting the money I had on me." She yawned. "I don't want to go!" she protested, pausing halfway in taking off the second pink stocking. Then she laughed. "Lord, what hell Jim will raise if he finds I spent the night working in this house. Why is it that, as soon as men begin to care for a woman, they get prim about her?"
"Do get dressed, dear," wheedled the madam.
"I don't see why I should go at this time of night," objected Susan pettishly. "What'll you give me if I go?"
The madam uttered a groan.
"You say you paid Joe Bishop twenty-five----"
"I'll kill him!" shrieked the madam. "He's ruined me--ruined me!"
"Oh, he's all right," said Susan cheerfully. "I like him. He's a pretty little fellow. I'll not give him away to Jim."
"Joe was dead stuck on you," cried the madam eagerly. "I might 'a' knowed he hadn't seen you before. I had to pay him the twenty-five right away, to get him out of the house and let me put you to work. He wanted to stay on."
Susan shivered, laughed to hide it. "Well, I'll go for twenty-five."
"Twenty-five!" shrieked the madam.
"You'll get it back from Joe."
"Maybe I won't. He's a dog--a dirty dog."
"I think I told Joe about Jim," said Susan reflectively. "I was awful gabby downstairs. Yes--I told him."
And her lowered eyes gleamed with satisfaction when the madam cried out: "You did! And after that he brought you here! He's got it in for me. But I'll ruin him! I'll tear him up!"
Susan dressed with the utmost deliberation, the madam urging her to make haste. After some argument, Susan yielded to the madam's pleadings and contented herself with the twenty dollars. The madam herself escorted Susan down to the outside door and slathered her with sweetness and politeness. The rain had stopped again. Susan went up Second Avenue slowly. Two blocks from the dive from which she had escaped, she sank down on a stoop and fainted.