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- Constance Dunlap - 20/46 -
ear. She was startled. It was the voice of Worthington.
"Miss Dunlap--have you that notebook?" came the deep tones of her husband.
Constance read from her first notes that part relating to the conspiracy to control Motors, carefully omitting the part about the Leblanc letters.
"It's a lie--a lie."
"No, it is not a lie. It is all good legal evidence, the record taken over the new microphone detective. Look up there over the chandelier, Worthington. The other end is In the top drawer of Miss Dunlap's desk."
"I'll fight that to a finish, Brainard. You are clever but there are other things besides Motors that you have to answer for."
"No. Those letters--that is what you mean--are in my possession now. You didn't know that? All the eavesdropping, if you choose to call it that, was not done here, either, by a long shot, Worthington. I had one of these machines in my wife's reception room. I have all sorts of little scraps of conversation," he boasted. "I also have an account of a visit there from two--er--scoundrels--"
"Mrs. Brainard to see you, sir," announced a boy at the door.
Constance had risen. Her face was flushed and her breast rose and fell with excitement.
"Mr. Brainard," she interrupted. "I must explain--confess. Mrs. Brainard has been sitting in my office listening to us over the microphone. I arranged it. I asked her to come down, using another name as a pretext. But I didn't think she would interrupt so soon. Before you see her--let me read this. It was a conversation I got after you had left last night and so far I have had no chance to tell you of it. Some one," she laid particular stress on the word, "came back after that first interview. Listen."
"No, Lee," Constance read rapidly from her notes, "no. Don't think I am ungrateful. You have been one friend in a thousand through all this. I shall have my decree-soon, now. Don't spoil it-"
"But Sybil, think of Mm. What did he ever care for you! He has made you free already."
"He is still my husband."
"Take this latest escapade with this Miss Dunlap."
"Well, what do I really know about that?"
"You saw him."
"Yes, but maybe it was as he said."
The door was flung open, interrupting Constance's reading, and Sybil Brainard entered. The artificiality of the beauty parlor was all gone. She was a woman, who had been wronged and deceived.
"Next friend--a true next friend--fiend would be better, Lee Worthington," she scorned. "How can you stand there and look me in the face, how could you tell me of your love for me, when all the time you cared no more for me or for any other woman than for that-- that Leblanc! You knew that I, who was as jealous as I could be of Rodman, had heard a little--you added more. Yet when you had played on my feelings, you would have cast me off, too--I know it; I know your kind."
She paused for breath, then turned slowly to Brainard with a note of pathos in her voice.
"Our temperaments may have been different, Rodman. They were not when we were poor. Perhaps I have not developed with you, the way you want of me. But, Rodman, did you ever stop to think that perhaps, perhaps if I had ever had the chance to be taken into your confidence more often--"
"Will you--forgive me?" Brainard managed to blurt out.
"Will you forgive me?" she returned frankly.
"I--forgive? I have nothing to forgive."
"I could have understood, Rodman, if it had been Miss Dunlap. She is clever, wonderful. But that Leblanc--never!"
Sybil Brainard turned to Constance.
"Miss Dunlap--Mrs. Dunlap," she sobbed, "forgive me. You--you are a better woman than I am."
"Do you believe in dreams?" Constance Dunlap looked searchingly at her interrogator, as if her face or manner betrayed some new side of her character.
Mrs. deForest Caswell was an attractive woman verging on forty, a chance acquaintance at a shoppers' tea room downtown who had proved to be an uptown neighbor.
"I have had some rather strange experiences, Mildred," confessed Constance tentatively. "Why!"
"Because--" the other woman hesitated, then added, "why should I not tell you! Last night, Constance, I had the strangest dream. It has left such an impression on me that I can't shake it off, although I have tried all day."
"Yes? Tell me about it."
Mildred Caswell paused a moment, then began slowly, as if not to omit anything from her story.
"I dreamt that Forest was dying. I could see him, could see the doctor and the nurse, everything. And yet somehow I could not get to him. I was afraid, with such an oppressive fear. I tried--oh, how I tried! I struggled, and how badly I felt!" and she shuddered at the very recollection.
"There seemed to be a wall," she resumed, "a narrow wall in the way and I couldn't get over it. As often as I tried, I fell. And then I seemed to be pursued by some kind of animal, half bull, half snake. I ran. It followed closely. I seemed to see a crowd of people and I felt that if I could only get to that crowd, somehow I would be safe, perhaps might even get over the wall and--I woke up--almost screaming."
The woman's face was quite blanched.
"My dear," remonstrated Constance, "you must not take it so. Remember--it was only a dream.
"I know it was only a dream," she said, "but you don't know what is back of it."
Mildred Caswell had from time to time hinted to Constance of the growing incompatibility of her married life, but as Constance was getting used to confidences, she had kept silent, knowing that her friend would tell her in time.
"You must have guessed," faltered Mrs. Caswell, "that Forest and I are not--not on the best of terms, that we are getting further and further apart."
It rather startled Constance to hear frankly stated what she already had observed. She wondered how far the estrangement had gone. The fact was that she had rather liked deForest Caswell, although she had only met her friend's husband a few times. In fact she was surprised that momentarily there flashed through her mind the query as to whether Mildred herself might be altogether blameless in the growing uncongeniality.
Mildred Caswell had drawn out of her chatelaine a bit of newspaper and handed it to Constance, not as if it was of any importance to herself but as if it would explain better than she could tell what she meant.
MME. CASSANDRA, THE VEILED PROPHETESS
Born with a double veil, educated in occult mysteries in Egypt and India. Without asking a question, tells your name and reads your secret troubles and the remedy. Reads your dreams. Great questions of life quickly solved. Failure turned to success, the separated brought together, advice on all affairs of life, love, marriage, divorce, business, speculation, and investments. Overcomes all evil influences. Ever ready to help and advise those with capital to find a safe and paying investment. No fee until it succeeds. Could anything be fairer?
THE RETREAT, ---W. 47th Street.
"Won't you come with me to Madame Cassandra?" asked Mrs. Caswell, as Constance finished reading. "She always seems to do me so much good."
"Who is Madame Cassandra?" asked Constance, rereading the last part of the advertisement.
"I suppose you would call her a dream doctor," said Mildred.
It was a new idea to Constance, this of a dream doctor to settle the affairs of life. Only a moment she hesitated, then she answered simply, "Yes, I'll go."
"The retreat" was just off Longacre Square among quite a nest of fakers. A queue of automobiles before the place testified, however, to the prosperity of Madame Cassandra, as they entered the bronze
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