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Full text of "Cranky Ann, the street-walker : a story of Chicago in chunks"









THE STREET -WALKER 



By SHANK ANDREWS. 




CRANKY ANN, 



THE 



STREET-WALKER; 



A STORY OF 



By SHANG ANDREWS; 

AUTHOR OF "THE MYSTERIES AND MISERIES OP CHICAGO;" "WICKED 
NELL," AND OTHER ROMANCES. 



CHICAGO: 



Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1877, by 

K. H. ANDREWS, 
In the. office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 



CRANKY ANN, 

THE STREET- WALKER; 



A STORY OF 



CHICAGO IN CHUNKS. 



CHAPTER L 

On a pleasant summer afternoon in 
August, 1876 (our story is one of 
to-day) Alanson Baldwin sat alone 
on the verandah ol his palatial resi 
dence on Wrfbash avenue. Though 
sixty-five years of age, he was phys- 
ically remarkablv well preserved, and 
looked many years younger than the 
family record indicated. A long life 
of industry and sobriety, coupled 
with shrewd businesstact, had result- 
ed in the amassing of great wealth, 
and, a few weeks previous to the 
opening of this tale, he had formally 
retired from the active duties con- 
nee ed with the large establishment 
that he owned leaving his son, Jere- 
miah Baldwin, to take charge of that 
which would eventually become his 
as a heritage. But the old gentle- 
man had no idea ol leading an idle, 
listless, lazy life. He had educated 
his son thoroughly, and had every 
confidence in his ability, his integ- 
rity, and his knowledge of the world. 
Though ihe ownership remained as 
before, the young man was ful y em- 
powered to transact all business, un- 
der the supervising eje of the more 
experienced merchant. 

As we have said, Mr. Baldwin sat 
alone, and the serious expression of 
his face indicated that he was indulg- 
ing in a reverie. 

" Sixty-five years old to-day," he 
said, as though communing with him- 
self; " I have lived sixty -five years; 
have labored hard all that time ; have 
encountered trouble and have con- 
quered ; have suffered affliction and 



am resigned; have courted fortune 
and it has smiled upon me. I own 
this great house and these beautiful 
grounds; mv bank account stands on 
a par with that of any man in Chica- 
go; my credit is unlimited; I have a 
noble son and a dutiful daughter, 
both of whom I love ; there is nothing 
on earth that I cannot have for the 
asking and yet I am not happy! 
Thouj: h I have secured all this wealth, 
I feel that there is something more 
that I could have accomplished, that 
would have brought with it a peace 
and contentment that come not with 
riches. What <?<?</ have I done in 
the world? True, I have wronged 
no man ; every dollar that I have got 
is of right mine; but still, still I can- 
not keep back the ugly thought that 
a man may be honest, and honorable 
in all his dealings, and yet that he 
can be held accountable for deeds of 
omission for something that he might 
have done had the greed of gold not 
absorbed so much attention !" 

The old gentleman puffed away at 
a cigar, leaned back in his chair, and 
continued : 

" I wonder if there is Hot some- 
thing that I can do now that will re- 
deem the negligence of the past? I 
am not so very old, nor so Very fee- 
ble but that I could perform almost 
any task that many a younger man 
would stagger under. QJ, - wish I 
could go out into the lake and 
at the peril of my own life save some 
one from drowning! I ; wish some 
great hotel would burn, and I could 
rusk through smoke and flame and 



rescue a dozen imperiled women and 
children from a horrible death ! But 
pshaw i ^what an old sinner I am, to 
be wishing for the destruction of the 
property of my neighbors, just to 
give me the opportunity to perform 
some deed of valor that, ten chances 
to one, I would not have the nerve to 
attempt!" 

Just then a hack drove up to the 
door, and 'interrupted the soliloquy. 

The driver opened the gate, ap- 
proached the house, and looking at 
the superscription of a note he held 
in his hand, and then at the number 
over the door, said: 

"Does Mr. Alanson Baldwin live 
here?" 

" That is my name, sir," said Mr. 
B., rising. 

" Then this note must be for you," 
remarked the hackman. 

Mr. Baldwin took it, glanced at the 
handwriting with some curiosity, for 
hackmen were not in the habit of 
bringing him communications, and 
hastily tore open the envelope. 

The note read as follows : 

MR. BALDWIN My Dear Sir: You 
told me once that, should I ever need 
a friend, I could call on you. Per- 
haps you have forgotten it perhaps, 
indeed, you have lorgotten me but 
if \ou have not, and if you still feel 
for me the friend snip you once did, 
I would like to see you as soon as 
possible. I cannot come to you, for 
I am in trouble I am in prison! II 
you wish to see, me the bearer of this 
note will convey you to the place 
where I am confined. If you do not 
care to talk with a man who is under 
lock and key, charged with a crime, 
tear up these few lines, and forget, il 
you have not already done so, that 
there ever existed in Chicago 

HENRY HARPER. 

" Harry Harper ! Harry Harper in 
prison ! My God! my God 1" 

Mr. Baldwin arose very much ex- 
cited, secured his hat, and was about 
to follow the hackman, when his 
daughter, a young lady of about 
twtntv ^ears the pride of his heart 
and the joy of his life made her ap 
ie at the door. 



She saw that her father was ex- 
cited, and very naturally became 
alarmed herself. ^ 

"Father!" she said, "What has 
happened ? What is the matter?" 

" Nothing that concerns you, iny 
dear," he replied, with as much com- 
posure as he could muster. 

" Anything that has so excited my 
father must concern his daughter," 
she replied, and then, with an implor- 
ing look, she added : 

" Please tell me what the trouble 
is, father, for if you do not I shall 
imagine that it is more serious than 
perhaps it really is." 

"It is only this, Josephine: A 
young friend of mine is in trouble, 
and has sent for me." 

" Why did he not come rather than 
send ?" 

44 Because he could not." 

"Butw/^not?" 

" Oh, Josie dear, don' task so many 
questions. I am anxious to get 
away." 

"Father," said Miss Baldwin, seri- 
ously, " I think you ought to tell me 
everything. Where is this man you 
speak of?" 

" If you must know you must, I 
suppose he is in jail !" 

* In jail! And would you, my 
father, intercede in behalf oi a culprit 
a thief, perhaps ?" 

"Josephine, you do not know what 
you are talking about. I would stake 
my life that Harry Harper is BO 
thief !" 

At the mention of this name the 
fair young girl turned deadly pale, 
and her voice trembled perceptibly, 
but the old gentleman in his excite- 
ment and hurry did not notice the 
change. 

" Yes, I think I remember the 
young man," she said, falteringly, 
" was he not once a clerk in your 
store ?" 

u Yes, he was and a more manly, 
honest, honorable boy never lived!" 

" It is possible that he may be ac- 
cused wrongfully, father, and you had 
better go to him at once go quick^ 
father, for it must be dreadful to be 



thrust into the cell of a prison ; and, 
remember, don V leave him there .'" 

" You may be sure I will not," 
said Mr. Baldwin, as he stepped into 
the hack and was driven away. 

"Noble girl," said he to himself, 
" how quickly her tender heart was 
touched!" 

Josephine Baldwin gazed longingly 
after the carriage as it disappeared, 
and, sad at heart, was about to enter 
the house, when the gate was again 
opened, and a policeman approached 
her. 

"Is Mr. Baldwin at home ?'" was 
the question asked by the new- 
comer. 

" No, sir; he has just left." 

<( Please tell him that I want to see 
him on important business, and that 
I will call again before 8 o'clock in 
the morning." 

" I am his daughter, sir, and can 
transmit to him any message you 
may wish to leave." 

" Oh, the morning will do just as 
well. It is a case in court in which 
he is a witness that's all." 

The girls heart throbbed wildly, 
and she could hardly conceal her ag- 
itation, but she managed to appear 
calm as she said : 

" Have you Jany objection to in- 
forming me of the nature of the 
'case?" 

"Oh, not at all, ma'am; a young 
chap has been arrested for forging 
your father's name, and we want him 
as a witness to prove that the signa- 
ture is really a forgery." 

"I will tell him," said Josephne 
but the words almost choked her, and 
she staggered to a sofa in the front 
parlor, sank heavily upon the velvet 
cushions, and moaned: 

" Merciful heaven F 



CHAPTER II. 

It took but a very few minutes to 
convey Mr. Baldwin from his resi- 
dence to the police station. 

"I would like to see Henry Har- 
per, if he is here,"said the old gentle- 
man, as he approached the station 
keeper. 

w We have a prisoner who gave 



that name, but we have orders tha* 
he shall not be seen," was the re- 
spectful but positive reply. 

At this moment the sergeant in 
charge entered, and, recognizing Mr. 
Baldwin, said: 

" I did not expect you so soon, 
Mr. Baldwin; it is scarcely ten min- 
utes since the messenger left here." 

" It takes but a short time to drive 
from here to my house and back," 
was the reply. 

"Drive? My messenger went on 
foot," said the sergeant, somewhat 
mystified. 

" It was a hackman who brought 
the note to me," was the reply. 

" I do not understand you. I sent 
you a verbal message by a policeman, 
and did not write a note nor employ 
a hackman." 

" I have the note with me now," 
was the reply. " Here it is, signed 
Henry Harper." 

"The devil!" and the sergeant 
whistled in amazement, but quickly 
resumed the conversation : 

' Mr. Baldwin, I see that two mes- 
sengers have been sent to your house, 
one by me and the other by the 
prisoner. Let me inform you, there- 
fore thai, your friend, Mr. Harry Har- 
per, presented a forged check at one 
of the national banks, this afternoon, 
drew one thousand dollars, and was 
tracked down and arrested shortly 
after the fraud was detected." 

" I do not believe it, sir! I will 
never believe it." 

" Do you know whose name was 
signed to the check, Mr. Baldwin?" 

" I do not, and I do not care," was 
the reply, " I believe if Harry Harper 
presented it he came by it honestly." 

" Perhaps you will change your 
mind when you are told the name." 

"Tell me the name, then, if you 
will." 

" It was your own /" 

The old gentleman sank down into 
a chair perfectly thunderstruck, and 
deathly pale, but he did not speak 
for at least two minutes. He then 
asked, in cold, steady tones: 

" Seargeant, can I have an inter- 
view with this young man ?" 



Certain!* , sir, if you wish it," re- 
the sergeant, who rather rel- 
ishcd the old man's surprise. 
~,Witumt another word Mr. Bald- 
win was conducted to the cells in the 
t Msement, and, at his own request, he 
w :t s locked up with the party ac 
cused 

Is either spoke a word until the 
turnkey WES out of earshot. 

Harry Harper's head dropped, and 
guilt was written on his face, as plain 
ly as though it had been traced with 
a pen. 

Mr. Baldwin approached him and 
held out his hand. 

" Mv poor boy," he said, " what 
tempted you?" 

Harry seized the proffered hand, 
and his black eyes filled with tears, 
but he coutd not speak, nor could he 
at first look his former employer in 
the face. 

* I see that you know all, Mr 
Baldwin," said Harry. "Ihadhoped 
to see you, and make such explana- 
tion as I could, before the officers 
should have an opportunity to break 
to you the unwelcome news." 

" I knuw already that you present- 
ed a forged check at my bank, drew 
one thousand dollars and was soon 
afterward arrested, and this is all I 
do know. Anything that you may 
have to say in justification or exten- 
uation, I shall only be too glad -to 
listen to. Speak frankly, my boy, 
and tell me a//, for I am ' our friend 
even now, after what you have 
done." 

" I did not intend to defraud you 
out of a cent, Mr. Baldwin. I did 
forge your name and drew the money, 
and when arrested I was on the way 
to the postoffice with a letter to you, 
explaining everything, and asking 
you to overlook what I had done, and 
give me a short time in which to re- 
deem myself." 

The old merchant had listened in- 
tently. 

u If what you have told me is true," 
he said, " and I believe it is, you 
must still have that letter in your 
pocket." - 

Without a word, the document was 



placed in his hand. It read as fol- 
lows: 

CHICAGO, August 13, 1876. MR. 
BALDWIN: Whether astonishment or 
indignation will be uppermost in 
your mind when you receive these 
lines, I know not; but I hegof you to 
read them carefully, and I implore 
you to cover my transgression wifti 
the broad mantle of charity, if you 
can find it in your heart to do so. I 
will tell you at the start that I have 
signed your name to a check for 
$1,000, and that I have drawn the 
money on it. This confession I have 
no doubt will greatly shock you, for 
I know that at one time, when I was 
in your employ, you trusted me as 
one man seldom trustsllanother, and 
I think you will acknowledge that I 
never betrayed your confidence. 
When I left your employ, Mr. Bald- 
win, I contracted associations that 
have eventually led me to crime. I 
have been a g mbler, a man about 
town, a frequenter of disreputable 
resorts in fact a " fast man " gen- 
erally and have led my sell to believe 
that the time would never come when 
I should want for anything. But 
what little I had fast]) melted away, 
and when I awoke this morning I had 
not enough money to purchase a de- 
cent breakfast. A few days ago, a 
friend or mine not a sporting man 
exp ained to me a methed by which 
two men of 'ordinary talent could 
more than double! one thousand dol- 
lars wiihin thirty days, if that amount 
of money could be secured. This 
morning, when hungry, I sought out 
this man and asked him if the claance 
was still open. He said it was, and 
I have got the money. If I do not 
restore every farthing of it with in- 
terest, within the next sixty days, 
then I will surrender myself to you, 
and you can either turn me over to 
justice or set me to work and let me 
earn what I have taken, as you shall 
decide. I believe you would have 
loaned me the money, but^I had not 
the courage to ask you for it. Now, 
my old employer, you know all Do 
by me as you will. It will be easy 
for you to have me apprehended, if 






8 



you so decide; bat I have already 
begged you, for clemency, and in 
closing let me once xnore ask you to 
be merciful, to be trusting, and to 
believe that when I pledge to you 
full restoration, on the honor of a man, 
you will believe me, and give me an 
opportunity to fulfill the promises I 
have made. 

Hoping for the best, but prepared 
to meet the worst, I am yours un- 
worthily, HENRY HARPER. 

" You have done wrong, Harry," 
said Mr. Baldwin, as he placed the 
letter in his pocket. 

" I can make no defense," was the 
reply, "but I really think I could 
havfi replaced the money." 

11 Had you asked me for it you 
could have had double that sum." 

The young man made no reply. 
The reproaches of his betrayed friend 
would have been more pleasant than 
words of kindness. 

" I will go now good bye, and 
God bless you, Harry,' ' said the mer- 
chant, with emotion. 

The prisoner leaned against the 
cold, hard wall of his cell, and sobbed 
"good bye." 

Mr. Baldwin then summoned the 
turnkey, and passed out. OQ reach 
ing the office he said : 

" Sergeant, will you let me look at 
the check that you claim to be 
forged?" 

"With pleasure," was the reply, 
as the spurious paper was handed to 
the man whose name was affixed to 
it 

Mr. B. looked at it critically. 

" Is this the only check of mine you 
have in your possession?" he in- 
quired. 

"Certainly; there was only one 
forged paper presented," replied the 
sergeant. 

" Then there must be a most un- 
fortunate mist-ike." 

" In what manner?" queried the 
amazed officer 

' ' This is not a forged check ! I 
signed it with my own hand!" 

As he uttered these words two ot 
the bank officials w'o had come to 
make formal complaint, entered the 



station, and at once recognized Mr. 
Baldwin. 

The explanation astonished them, 
for both were prepared to swear that 
the check was a forgery. But the as- 
surance they had received was over- 
whelming evidence of their stupidity, 
and Harry Harper, when, utterly be- 
wildered, he was brought from the 
cell and set at liberty, received their 
most humble apologies, which, it may 
be added, were freely accepted. 

Harry and the merchant left the 
station together, the money that had 
been found upon his person having 
been restored to him. 

The first words Mr. Baldwin ut- 
tered were: 

" I never told a "deliberate lie be- 
fore in my life, but I "don't regret it 
I'm glad of it." 

Harry was about to reply. 

"Don't speak! Don't offer me one 
word of thanks 1 I feel good enough 
now! I want to see you to-nkht 
Come to my house at 8 o'clock, and 
we will have a consultation all 
alone." 

" But this money, Mr. Baldwin I 
must return it to you now." 

" You shall return nothing now 1 I 
am in a hurry. Good-bye until to- 
night !" 

With these words he abruptly left 
the man he had saved from ruin. 

" God never made another such a 
man," was Harry's inward thought, 
as he proceeded on his way. 

CHAPTER III. 

Mr. Baldwin started on his waj 
happy, and yet not happy. He was 
glad that he had rescued his young 
friend from the clutches of the law, 
but when he reflected upon the na- 
ture otthe crime, his brow was cloud- 
ed with a frown that came very near 
betokening anger. 

" He has been a bad boy a very 
bad boy," he thought, " but there is 
goodness left in him yet, and it seems 
to be left for me to cultivate it, and 
develop a manhood that will elevate 
him high above the associations that 
have wrought his ruin." 



Before he had proce ded a block, 
he heardPaurried footsteps coming 
from behind, and on turning he was 
confronted by Harry, who seemed 
much agitated. 

"Mr. Baldwin!" he said, and then 
stammered. 

" What is it, my boy?" 

" I have a favor to ask of you." 

" Speak it out, then, and don't be 
backward about it, either." 

"It is that you will not mention 
what has occurred to to to any 
one" 

"Most certainly I shall not. Out 
side of us two there is only one per- 
son in the world that knows anything 
about it, and she" 

" Who?' eagerly asked Harry, 
grasping the merchant's arm. 

u Why, nobody but Josephine, and 
all she knows is that you were locked 
up in the station house." 

Harry dropped the arm that he had 
in his excitement taken hold of. 

"Then I suppose she must know 
all ?" he said, sorrowfully. 

" It can do no harm to tell her, and 
my son must know, because that doc- 
ument will pass through his hands, 
and he would detect it at once as be- 
ing spurious." 

" I did hope that it could be kept 
from both of them," he said in reply, 
'* but if they must know, then I shall 
have to submit to the humiliation." 

" They will not blame you nor re- 
proach you," was the reply. 

At that moment a young woman, 
dressed very neatly but not gaudily, 
pss-ed them, and Mr. Baldwin 
thought he discovered a glance oi 
recognition exchanged between the 
girl and Harry. 

" Do you know that lady ?" he 
asked, after she had got well away. 

" I have seen her once or twice, 
but I cannot say that I am very well 
acquainted with her." 

u I have a curiosity to know who 
she ia," said the old gentleman. 

" Can't you introduce me to her, 
Harry r" he continued. 

u Mr. Baldwin, you do not know 
what you are talking about," was 
Harry's response; " that lady, as you 



| called her, is one of the moii noto- 
| rious of tht many abandoned women 
of Chicago. She is nothing but a 
common street-walker!" 

*' I suspected as much, and that is 
the very reason why I want to make 
her acquaintance !" 

" I do not feel much like joking, 
Mr Baldwin," replied Harry. 

'* But I was not joking!" 

" And you really want an introduc- 
tion to that degraded creature?" 

" I declare to you now that I ac- 
tually want to get acquainted with 
the woman who has just passed 1" 

" I would as soon think ill of my 
mother as ol you, my fri end," said 
Harry, seriously. 

" Is it a sin or a crime to talk with 
one of these fallen women ?" 

The speaker was never more in 
earnest in his lite. 

*'|The world so considers it," was 
the thoughtful reply. 
^ %t Then let the word so consider it! 
i want to meet that woman, and I 
will. You told me, too, only a mo- 
ment ago, that there were many 
more of them in Chicago. Have you 
any idea how many there really are?" 

" I should say that therejwere at 
least one or two thousand of them. 
Some claim that there are as many as 
three thousand, altogether." 

" Three thousand 7 Is it possible 
that there are in Chicago so many 
poor unfortunate outcasts? I did 
not dream that there were more than 
a hundred of them." 

*' If you knew as much of Chieago 
as I do, Mr. Baldwin, you would be 
astonished at nothing." 

" Am I so very old that I cannot 
learn all that you are not competent 
to teach ?" 

" Tell me plainly what you mean. 
I do not understand you." 

".I mean that I want to become as 
familiar with sin and shame and crime 
as you are! I mean that I want you 
to show me Chicago as it is, by night 
and by day /" 

"Have you thought anything of 
the consequences ?" 

" What consequences V 



10 



**Have you considered that people 
wflltalk?" 

" No, I have not, and will not. 
For thirty long years I have lived in 
Chicago. During all that time I have 
never committed a single act of 
which I am ashamed. I have 
tried to deal uprightly by my 
fellow men. The breath of scandal 
has never tarnished my name or 
sullied my fame. No man can point 
a finger at any act of mine that would 
bring a blush to a maiden's cheek. 
I with this shield of integrity, this 
armor of truth, I cannot go where I 
please, then society is a sham, relig- 
ion is a mockery, and a good name is 
not worth having!" 

"But I cannot see any object in 
the adventures you have proposed," 
said Harry, who had grave doubts 
about the advisability of such a pro- 
ceeding. 

" My object is a good one, Harry 
Harper, you may rest assured of that. 
Why, "it was only this after- 
noon that . I was wishing that I 
could* have the opportunity to do 
some good in the world, and as I am 
a living man I believe Heaven direc- 
ted you to my door to-day. But are 
there no other sources of misery that 
we can explore?" 

** I should think there were," re- 
plied the young man, with emphasis, 
aim he continut d : 

" I can take you to dens of deviltry 
and show you vice in such hideous 
shape that you will recoil an dismay, 
and call on God Almigh-y to shield 
jour eyes from such hateful horrors S" 

"When shall we commence our 
exploraticns?" inquired the mer 
chant. 

" At any time that you may wish," 
was the re-ply, **|I am always ready. 
But I will not content that you shall 
go as you now are. You must have 
a disguise." 

"A disguise? Oh, no; I intend to 
do nothiiig that 1 am not^ willing 
every man and woman in this city 
should witness. I shall need no dis- 
guise, Harry." 

"But you wv'//need one, though, 
ore ihan one. Do you think a 



well-dressed, fine appearing gentle 
man like you could wade about in 
the sewers of filth and gutters of 
viciousness that abound in this city ? 
Why, it is preposterous ! A hundred 
eyes would centre on you at once, 
and the fun would stop instantly." 

"Very well, I will place my self in 
your hands and rely on you for pro- 
tection." 

li You may be sure that no harm 
will come to" you when Harry Har- 
per is with you. I am known so well 
in all these places, that even an ac- 
quaintance with me is a sure passport 
to safety. I do not say this as a boast, 
though, lor I am really ashamed to 
confess it; but it is better that you 
should understand Ihis, for you will 
po6siblj r have to face scenes that will 
test your courage." 

"The more excitement there is, 
and the more danger I shall encoun- 
ter, the better it will please me," re- 
marked Mr. Baldwin;' and, now that 
every thing is settled, let me repeat 
the question, when shall we com- 
mence? To night ?" 

"Oh! that would be utterly im- 
possible But I think I can get you 
readv so as to start to-mcrrow night." 

"Very well, then, to-morrow night 
letitbe/' 

" I imagine that one short evening 
will sicken you of this enterprise, 
Mr. Baldwin." 

" No, sir ! I am determined to con- 
front misery, face to face! I sm deter- 
mined to dive down to the undercur- 
rent of Chicago's vice! lam Deter- 
mined to view crime as it really ex- 
uts! - And if I can allevia'e the dis- 
tresses of one aching heart; if I can 
lift a load of sorrow from one sin- 
burdened soul ; if I can penetrate a 
cloud of glocm and let a little sun- 
light into the existence ot one cast- 
away, then, my dear Harry, I shall 
ever consider that your temptation 
and mislortune was but an indirect 
way in which the God above us chose 
to enlighten my mind, and place in 
my hands the rtins by wj.ich my 
footsteps should te guided in the 
good work!" 

"Mr. Baldwin," said Harry, with 



11 



an enthusiasm that he could not sup- 
press, ' I believe you are the best 
man in Chicago! I know that a better 
one never breathed! I understand 
your motive, and I appreciate your 
anxiety to commence our rambles at 
once. I will not meet you at your 
house to-night, for we understand 
each other now ; but I will see you to- 
morrow, at 8 o'clock in the evening, 
and from that on every night, until 
you shall be satisfied of what you 
have seen of CHICAGO IN CHUNKS!" 

CHAPTER IV. 

The girl who had recognized Harry 
Harper proceeded down State street 
at a'leisure pace. She was out for 
some vague purpose that she could 
hardly herself explain. The hour was 
too early to commence " business," 
even were she so inclined ; and on that 
particular day she felt sad and gloomy 
just as one feels when the t; olues" 
eome on, and solitude is far preferable 
to even the most desirable compan- 
ionship. 

Who was she ? 

O n the street she went by the name 
of * Cranky Ann." Further than that 
will be revealed in a future chapter of 
this Tale of the Town." 

What was she? 

If the reader is at all familiar with 
Hfe in the city, no explanation need 
be made. Cranky Ann was a street- 
walker *i poor, unfortunate wretch, 
without a known friend in the wide 
world, who had lost all womanly 
pride, who had abandoned all preten- 
sions to decency, and who had taken 
to the pave as a last desperate re- 
source. She was regarded as one of 
the vilest and most foul-mouthed of 
the street syrens, and was generally 
avoided even by the more reputable 
of her own class. Spotted by the po- 
lice, marked by the city sports, 
branded by her rivals in sensuous 
sin, poor Cranky had a hard lot of it, 
and it is not to be wondered at that 
bitter thoughts surged through her 
brain as she reflected upon her ac- 
cursed condition. 

'* There's a boy who's always got a 
kind look and a kind word," she 



mused, as she walked along, alter 
passing Harry and Mr. Bald win ; and 
her thoughts run like this: 

" I wonder what kind of a man he 
is, anyway? I see him everywhere, 
and yet I never heard anything bad 
about him. He can't be a thief, nor 
a common loafer, nor a confidence 
man, and I know he is no blackguard. 
Perhaps he's a gambler. But whatever 
he is or does, he's as true a gentle- 
man as there is in Chicago, I'll swear 
to that. Instead of a sneer, and an 
insulting word, when he meets me, 
such as many a would-be gentleman 
sometimes uses he has a pleasant 
smile, and, when heisalone, words of 
kindness. I like him I like his style 
and some day, perhaps, old Cranky 
Ann, as they call me, can do a good 
:urn for him. II that time does come, 
Harry Harper shall know that an old 
street-walker, hardened as she is in 
sin, heartless as she is considered to 
be, is not entirely destitute of the 
gratitude that even the wild animals 
of the forest feel towards those whose 
favors they have not sought in vain. 
Yes, yes! Only give the old girl a 
chance, and see what she'll do for one 
she likes ! " 

" Say ! Cranky ! See here ! ' ' This 
salutation interrupted the train of 
thought into which the courtesan had 
fallen, and on looking up she beheld 
a man she knew well, but who had 
not spoken to her in a long, long time. 
His name was Jack Dunning, and he 
was a man of some means, who was 
shrewd enough to keep what he had, 
and to never make any venture where 
the chances were not five to one in his 
favor. 

' What do you want of me, Jack 
Dunning?" was Cranky Ann's reply; 
u you scarcely look at me, now-a-days, 
though there was a time when you 
were not quite so distant nor so 
cold." 

" Well, Crank, old girl, times have 
changed! ' ' 

" I know it! Times have changed 
since you and I first met! You were 
then exactly the same as you are now 
a wild, reckless man about town, 
whose known sins were kindly over- 



12 



looked, and whose society was sought 
after the more because of his repu- 
tatien as a libertine ! But in my case 
great God ! what a difference. 
Then I was courted and carressed be- 
cause they called me beautiful, and 
believed me chaste; but when scan- 
dal's shafts were hurled at me, when 
envious enemies whispered their 
poisonous insinuations, then mv own 
sex turned upon me without giving 
me an opportunity for defense, and 
the too- willing world gave eager ear 
to all that the traitorous tongue of 
malice could invent!" 

Her listener grew impatient. He 
had not hailed her for the purpose of 
hearing a reminiscence of the past; 
therefore, interrupting her, he said, 
touching her shoulder: 

" I know all that you would say, 
Crank ; but I have a little business 
that you can do, and in doing it, put 
money in your purse! If you will 
step into this ^restaurant, where we 
can have a private talk, I will explain 
myself fully." 

The two entered an Italian saloon, 
passed through the laced door in the 
center, and took seats in a conven- 
iently dark and obscure corner. Jack 
ordered "refreshments" for two, and 
then said, turning face to face with 
his companion: 

" Crank, you and I know each other 
as well as anybody does, and we un 
derstand each other, too. I take it 
that you are not very well fixed. You 
don't tog out as well as you used 
to." 

" I've got a dollar bill and a few 
nickles, and that's every blessed cent 
that stands between me and starva- 
tion!" 

" Would you like to make a stake, 
Crank? " 

" What do I walk the streets for? " 
was the reply, in a voice that sound- 
ed harsh and bitter. 

" But you might do better than to 
walk the streets. You are a woman 
of some education, I have been told, 
and I know that you are as shrewd 
and quick,, in thought and action, as 
any old veteran upon the streets." 

" I did have an education once, and 



experience has taught me much in the 
other way," was the reply; "but 
what was it that you just hinted at? 
Tell me any way by which I can make 
a few dollars, and if the risk is not 
too great Cranky Ann is your con- 
federate 1 I have got to be a desper- 
ate woman now, and there is nothing 
that I would not do for gold or green- 
backs!" 

"Give me your hand, Crank; 
you're the queen of trumps!" said 
Jack, and the two shook hands, 
touched glasses, and drank the bev- 
erage that had been ordered. 

" I'm glad I met you," he contin- 
ued, speaking low and guardedly, 
" for I've got a little work for you to 
do something that will require not 
only a desperate woman, but one of 
quick wit and ready cunning." 

" You needn't keep me in suspense, 
Jack; just tell me what you are driv- 
ing at!" 

"I'm in love, Crank!" 

"Withw<?/" she inquired, mock- 
ingly. 

" Scarcely! but with the handsom- 
est woman in Chicago, and an heir 
ess." 

" Then I suppose you wish to reter 
to me as to character!" 

" Pshaw! I want you to work for 
me, for pay! I want to hire you to do 
anything and everything that I shall 
require. The lady that I love is at 
this moment an entire stranger; I 
doubt if she ever set eyes on me in 
her life; but I have seen her, and/ 
am determined she shall be mine! Do 
you understand me?" 

' ' I understand what you have said ; 
go on," was the reply. 

* I want to win her, if I can ; if I 
cannot, then your head and mine must 
plot together to attain the grand re- 
sult! When I saw you coming, a few 
minutes ago, I said to myself, 
'there's the woman that I want!' Now 
you know it all, and from this on you 
are in my employ, at good round 
wages. First, you must manage to 
get me introduced under the most 
.avorable circumstances. But you 
can't do it in the character ot Cianky 
Ann, the street- walker. Oh, no! You 



must be a nice, genteel, weiHhy lady! 
You must wash off your paint, throw 
aside your flashy dresses and hats 
and shawls and cloaks, and, attired in 
the extreme of fashion, with ward- 
robe and jewels of the finest quality, 
palm yourself off as some distin- 
guished lady from abroad. Thf-re are 
thousands of them who could not ap- 
pear as well as you can, if you only 
have the chance." 

" Very well," replied Cranky, semi 
seriousl , " I will take my dollar and 
odd cents and go right off and buy 
aU the articles yon have been good 
enough to mention! " 

u Oh, I'll not be backward with the 
stamps," smilingly responded the in- 
fatuated man. " You can have all 
t-hat will be required. The diamonds, 
of course, I shall expect you to re- 
turn when the curtain drops on the 
last act all the rest you can retain, 
together with your tees. Now, then, 
Crank, J want you too sleep over what 
I have said, and try to dream out 
some way by which victory will be 
easy and failure impossible. Think 
over it deeply ; turn it over in your 
mind in all its phases and all its com- 
plications. I will meet you here at 
this hour ^vuyrcwt, prepared for ac- 
tion^ with the sinews of war in my 
pocket-book, and then we can come 
down to business without further de- 
lay. Will you be ready?" 

** Cranky Ann is always ready for 
business! ' was the significant reply ; 
"but I sa}% Jack, if you can spare a 
fber, or a tfnner, I should feel ever so 
much more like dreaming luck to you 
and your cause!" 

The schemer smiled, and handed 
over ten dollars before he spoke. 

" There," said he, " don't that show 
that I'm in earnest ? " 

" You bet it does, Jack, old boy," 
replied the woman, and the saw-buck 
was at once deposited in the locality 
that usually serves as a hiding-place 
for money among the sinning sister- 
hood. 

* You won't get drunk on that, 
Crank ?"f 

" That is one of th pleasures that 
I seldom indulge in, Jack. No, you 



14 

needn't worry about that. I will be 
on hand to-morrow with all my facul- 
ties in prime order." 
' The two then left the restaurant, 
and parted at the door, the man pro- 
Nceeding north and the woman south. 
" I don't exactly know what Jack 
Dunning means," thought Cranky 
Ann, "and I don't much care, either! 
If he has money, and will spend it as 
freely as he has premised, I will de 
what I can for him, unless he asks too 
much; but if he thinks that, because 
I am a poor girl on the town, and have 
had a hard time of it battling against 
a cruel and relentless fate, he can use 
me to deceive and ruin one who has 
not yet been branded by the cucsed 
mark of hell, he will find that he has 
made a most injudicious selection in 
making Cranky Ann his tool. 1 ,* I am 
a chiid of fate a creature of destiny 
an outcast a deceiver a wretch 
who decoys and entraps and ruins 
men without conscience and without 
mercy ! But Jack Dunning's money 
cannot hire me to drag down another 
woman to my own level! I will meet 
him, I will take the pay that he of- 
fers me, I will promise to do any- 
thing that he asks but in the end 
let him beware that he does not get 
the double cross? 1 *, 

And the street- walker sauntered on, 
communing with her own thoughts. 

CHAPTER V. 

Harry Harper never worked so 
hard in his life as he did on the day 
succeeding that on which our story 
opens. At an eariy hour he held a 
short interview with Mr. Bald 
win, the details of which need 
not be specified here. The mer- 
chant took no third party into his 
confidence. Even his daughter and 
son were not consulted, and it was 
his special desire that neither of 
them should know of the rather 
equivocal (as the straight- laced 



*A slag term, as used in thia instance, 
meaning that, while he thinks her working 
in his interests, and pays her for it, she will, 
in fact, be doing all that she can to defeat 
hia plans. 



15 



would term it,; adventures which he 
had determined to undertake. His 
intentions were strictly honorable. 
He was :i man of unimpeachable in- 
tegrity, who had never in his whole 
life committed an act that he would 
hide from his fellow man. The chance 
that brought him to Harry Harper in 
prison, had opened his eyes to some- 
thing that he had never dreamed of. 
The lact that so much of sin and ' 
wretched-ness existed within ear- 
shot of his own home, aroused in his 
heart a determination to become 
thoroughly conversant with vice, 
with the view of doing what he could 
to alleviate distress, and lead the 
erring to better ways. A suite of 
rooms 'down town were rented, for 
consultation and other purposes, and 
before night many purchases had 
been made that, to those not know- 
ing what they were to be used for, 
would appear to be very suspicious 
transactions. * * 

Between 7 and 8 o'clock in the 
evening, Cranky Ann, attired in her 
most flashy garments, slowly walked 
north on State street, taking particu- 
lar pains to look every man she met 
full in the face, and manifesting an 
e'ntire willingness to return with in- 
terest any familiarity that passers 
might indulge in. 

"Hell! there's Harry Harper over 
on the corner," she sfctid, as she 
reached Van Buren street. " That's 
twice I've seen him to-day. Wonder 
what he's waiting for ? " 

Just as she had completed this 
sentence, (in her mind,) she came 
very near colliding with a plain ap- 
pearing man, whose flowing beard 
was slightly springled with gray, and 
whose looks betrayed the fact that 
he was from the rural districts. 

" Beg pardon, ma'am," he stam- 
mered, " I didn't mean to get in your 
way." 

" It's I that ought to apologize," 
said Cranky, halting and bestowing 
upon the granger a benevolent 
smile. 

" Oh, no ! I'm a blundering old 
ainner, and I ought to be ashamed 



of myself for almost running over 
such a lovely young lady." 

" You flatter me, sir," said the 
girl, with a desperate effort to blush 
and appear contused. 
' ;" Indeed I do not 1 Why, in oui 
town a gal like you would set all the 
boys and half the old men stark 
mad ! But you must excuse my 
familiarity. It's my way, you know. 
I'm always rough, and have got no 
more manners than a hedge-hog." 

" Don't mention it, sir," she re- 
plied, pleasantly. " To tell the truth, 
I've taken quite a liking to you 
you look so good, and so kind." 

" Good ! kind ! Why I'm a regu- 
lar old boar. The women all hate 
me!.' 

" But / don't hate you, sir !" 

The farmer did not reply at once., 
but gazed with undiguised admira- 
tion upon the painted street beauty. 

" If you have no objections I will 
walk a block or so with you," he 
said, hesitatingly, fearful of a re- 
pulse. 

"I really shall feel honored in 
having such an escort," replied 
Cranky, who felt that her game was 
as gocd as bagged already. 

" But I was only walking out to 
secure the cool evening air," she con- 
tinued, "and as it is getting a little 
late I think I will return to my room, 
two or three blocks from here. Are 
you going that way ?" 

" Well, yes, I was walking in thati 
direction," he said, and they proceed- 
ed together southward leisurely and 
quite lover-like. 

It was easy to be seen that the far- 
mer was "struek." 

" May I ask if you are a married 
lady?" he inquired, as they proceed- 
ed. 

"No, sir, I am only a working 
girl," replied Cranky, " and rent a 
furnished lodging room on this 
street." 

" Now that we are a little bit ac- 
quainted, perhaps you will allow me 
to call on you at your home," he ren- 
tured to remark. 

The artful syren hesitated. 

" Would it not cause people to 



16 



talk?" she stammered, in a confused 
sort of way. 

" Oh, no ; you can say that I am 
your father, or your grandfather, for 
I am old enough for that." 

" Well, il you think it would not be 
Improper, you may come with me, 
and then we can converse quietly, 
where no rude passers can stare at 
us, as I have noticed some of them 
do while we have been walking along 
the street." 

"You are a charming little puss of 
a girl," exclaimed the delighted far- 
mer, " and I shall always bless the 
hour in which I made that awkward 
blunder, and stumbled into your ac- 
quaintance !" 

He had taken her by the hand, and 
his pressure of hers was a little war- 
mer than that of ordinary friendship. 
It need not be remarked that Cranky 
did not resent his approaches, or 
withdraw her soft and slender fin- 
gers. 

"Why, we are here already!" she 
said, affecting surprise. "Really, time 
rushes when one is in agreeable com- 
pany. We will go right up to my 
cosy little room, if you wish!" 

"I am delighted!" he exclaimed, 
as she entered the hallway. 

As he was about to follow, he felt 
a tight grip upon his arm, and Harry 
Harper whispered in his ear : 

* Beware / She's the devil!" 



CHAPTER VI. 

When Mr. Baldwin reached home, 
after having been the means of res- 
cuing his young friend from a po- 
sition that certainly would have en- 
tailed severe punishment, had he felt 
so inclined, he was met at the door 
by his daughter. She was as pale, 
almost, as a corpse, andjher eyes bore 
evidence of an anxiety she had never 
betore felt, and could not conceal, if 
ghe would. 

"Well, father," she said, "what 
success ?" 

" Oh, it's all right, Josie." 
" But what was the matter ?"* 
" Nothing of any consequence." 
" Oh, now, father dear, <Jo tell me 
all. You have not been in Uw 



it of keeping secrets from your daugn- 
ter. Was Mr. Harper really locked 
up ? Was he confined in one of those 
horrid cells that I have read about in 
the papers ?" 

" Yes, Josie, I found Harry locked 
up." 

" And did you succeed in libera- 
ting him ?" 

The young lady said this very ear- 
nestly, and her eyes were rivited 
with intense anxiety upon the face 
of her father. 

" Yes he was speedily released 
as soon as I got there." 

Had he been closely observing the 
girl, he would have noticed a sigh of 
reliei escape from the bosom of his 
child. But his thoughts were else 
where, and he took no notice of Jose- 
phine's agitation. 

" But you have not told me what 
he was arrested for," she said, after 
a pause. 

" If you insist on knowing I can't 
see that there will be any harm in 
telling you, my child, but it must go 
no larther it must be kept a sacred 
secret with you, your brother and 
myself," said Mr. Baldwin, with 
great gravity. 

" You are not afraid to trust to my 
discretion?" she inquired. 

" No otherwise, I should not tell 
you," he replied. 

The merchant then revealed to his 
daughter all that the reader already 
knows, and in conclusion handed her 
the note that Harry had started to 
mail when arrested. 

Her hand trembled perceptibly 
when she took it, and her eyes were 
moist with tears. After reading the 
letter carefully she handed it back, 
but did not speak. 

" Do you think I did right it de- 
claring the check to be genuine?" 
he asked. 

" Whether right or wrong, it was 
a noble act one that I hope my dear 
good father will never regret," was 
her enthusiastic reply. 

" It was very wrong for Harry to 
do as he did, don't you th nk so, 
Josie ?" 

** I would not have believed him 



capable of such an act," she replied, 
"and yet he seems to have been^?#- 
est in his crime, if such a thing were 
possible. He seems to have taken 
that rash, reckless, dangerous course 
as merely another method of borrow 
ing the money from you. Don't you 
see, father that you could not have 
lost a cent ? You would have re- 
ceived his letter before the check 
could have been detected as a for- 
gery. Had you felt so inclined you 
could have had him arrested, and 
would have recovered every cent of 
the money, and he only would have 
been the sufferer. It was foolish, it 
was wicked, it was inexcusable, and 
yet there was something manly about 
it don't you think so, father?" 

Without intending to do so, the 
girl had uttered a powerful argument 
in favor of a man who had deliberate 
ly perpetrated a crime that would 
have consigned him to prison for a 
term of years. 

" Yes, I really believe Harry would 
have faithfully kept the promise he 
made in his letter," replied the mer- 
chant, " and I am glad that you ap- 
prove of my course. I could have 
spurned his protestations of honest 
intentions ; I could have appeared in 
court and testified against him; I 
could have sent him to the peniten- 
tiary, and when his term of impris- 
onment had expired, what would be 
his future? Why, he would be a bold, 
desperate man, ready for any deed of 
wickedness. He is a brave young 
man, and has a true heart but when 
the world sets its face against such 
as he, they become totally changed 
in nature, and knowing that no friend- 
ly hand is ready to greet them, they 
plunge into vice in its most revolt- 
ing features, and not unlrequently 
become the very worst of outlaws. 
Harry Harper might have ended his 
days upon the scaffold, had I decided 
to deal rigorously and in all this 
great city no one would have blamed 
me ! Would I have slept better 
nights? Would my eonscience have 
felt easier than it does to-night ? 
No ! I tell you, Josephine, that so- 
ciety deals too rigorously with those 



who transgress. It is better to lift 
up than to kick down the erring. 
Instead of sending Harry Harper to 
ruin, I have determined to make a 
man of him 1 I will look after him. 
I will protect him I will encourage 
him. I will help him. And if the 
good Lord permits me to live long 
enough, I will yet see him honored, 
trusted and respected in this commu- 
nity 1" 

" In all this world I do not believe 
there is another such a good man as 
my dear father," was the only reply 
made by the eager listener, as she 
put her arms around his neck and 
kissed him. 

" Now, Josie, we will talk no more 
of this matter," said Mr. Baldwin, 
" but there is something on an an- 
other subject that will probably in- 
terest you. You will not see me af- 
ter to night for some time." 

" Why, father ! Are you going 
away ?" 

"Yes justness will call me from 
home for a brief period I cannot 
say how long. To-morrow I will 
bid you good bye, until we meet 
again." 

The merchant had frequently been 
called away on business, and the 
information that he imparted to his 
daughter did not produce any sur- 
pris. 

When Josephine Baldwin reached 
her room, her mind was convulsed 
with peculiar emotions. And in her 
prayer that night, sne did not forget 
to invoke the blessing of high heaven 
upon one of the characters in this ro- 
mance 1 

CHAPTER VII. 

Cranky Ann's usually acute ear did 
not catch the whispered words of 
Harry Harper; otherwise her good 
opinion of that amiable young man 
might have undergone somewhat of 
a change. But her escort did hear 
them, very distinctly, and for an in- 
stant he hesitated. The feeling of 
temerity, however, was but momen- 
tary, and when Cranky unlocked the 
door and invited him into a neatly 



18 



turntslied room, he had every appear- 
ance ot being the verdant, unsuspec- 
ting farmer that the wicked girl had 
taken him for. 

The intelligent reader has undoubt- 
edly guessed that this old farmer was 
an old fraud, as indeed he was. Alan 
son Baldwin, the wealthy merchant, 
had assumed a thorough disguise, 
and, having persuaded himself that 
there was something unusual in the 
history and character of the street- 
walker who had first attracted his at 
tent ion, himself and Harry had sta- 
tioned themselves at a point where 
they knew she would pass, the " ac- 
cidental" blunder being a precon- 
certed plan. In the early part of the 
day Mr. Baldwin had taken leave of 
his son and daughter, who supposed 
that he was to leave for the east for 
business purposes. Instead of taking 
a train, he at once repaired to the 
furnised room down town that had 
been rented by Harry, and during the 
day that handsome young sport dil- 
igently instructed the ignorant mer- 
chant concerning the dark and tricky 
ways of the gay world he was about 
to explore. 

Though Harry's description of low 
life was not exaggerated in the least, 
the old man could not and would not 
believe them. He did not think it 
possible that such degradation and 
wretchedness could exist in the heart 
of Chicago, within sight and hearing 
ot the whole people, and yet not one 
in ten ot the reputable citizens know 
anything about it The descriptions 
that fell from the lips of Harry only 
made him more determined than ever 
to continue in the pursuit of knowl- 
edge. H<> was hungry for the least 
of misery that was being pr. pared 
for him. The quick-witted young 
man whom chance had thrown in h s 
way, had also busied himself in pro- 
curing suitable disguises, and at the 
time Cranky Ann was encountered 
his ov. r n children would have passed 
Alanson Baldwin without a second 
look. His disguise was thorough 
and complete. < 

As has been stated, he hesitated 
for an ins ant. Not having been ac- 



customed to excitement, never hav- 
ing stood in the paths of danger, his 
courage had never been put to so se- 
vere a test before, and a vague sense 
of danger sent a chill through his 
veins. There really was no dangei 
at all, except that he would forget the 
warnings that had been given during 
the day, and permit Cranky, with 
some well-told story of suffering, 
pull the wool over his eyes, an op- 
eration that she could perform as 
skillfully as any woman that ever 
trod the pave. 

But the chill rapidly passed away, 
and the two quickly found themselves 
in a neat little parlor, to which was 
attached by folding doors a bed- 
room. 

Cranky, little dreaming that she 
was the " sucker," or that she was 
being imposed upon, invited the old 
gentleman to a seat in an easy chair, 
while she occupied a sofa on the oth- 
er side of the room, with the inten- 
tion ol keeping up the working girl 
illusion, and yielding at last only 
upon the most impassioned en 
treaties (coupled with greenbacks) 
of the supposed old toot whom she 
had so easily entrapped. 

"It would be more sociable and 
agreeable could we both occupy the 
same sofa," vaid the visitor, rising 
and advancing. 

4 Oh, no! that would be highly im- 
proper! ' 

Cranky majestically motioned him 
awa\, but the venerable gentleman 
continued to advance, and as he did 
so said : 

"My dear young waman, I mean 
you no harm, and if you would throw 
off the mask you are using, you would 
bear none. I will deceive you no 
longer. I am not what you think I 
am. I know you you are called 
Cranky Ann. the street- walker!" 

" My God! Collared again!" ex- 
claimed Crank, vehemently, and tears 
streamed from the poor outcast's 
eys, as she continued: 

" I know ) ou now, too ! You are 
a wolf in sheep's clothing! You are 
acting a ( mean, a dirty, a cowardly 
part! /am a, prostitute God for- 



give me ! You are worse than I am ! 
Had you been what you pre- 
tended to be, and had I been 
really a poor working girl, which 
would have been the villain ? Had 
you been a farmer, as I thought. I 
should have done you no harm. You 
would have fondly imagined that you 
had taken advantage of a silly girl's 
weakness, and would have never 
squandered a second thought on the 
frightful consequences attending her 
fall ! I should have taken a few dol 
iars from your willing hands, and 
that would have been all both would 
have been satisfied. Now, Mr. Peel- 
er ior I know that's your racket 
have I not told you the naked truth ? 
You never heard of my robbing a 
man you never saw me drunk you 
never detected me in any crime ex- 
cept this life that I am leading this 
miserable, this wretched, this horri- 
ble life! i You can take me to your 
lonely station house ! You can 
squeeze blood-money out of me! 
You can take from me the few dol- 
lars that God knows I need lor such 
comforts as are permitted to the poor 
pick-up! You can look at me with 
>esthat know no pity! You can 
sneer at me! You can abuse me in 
any way that may please you but 
there is one thing that you can't do, 
powerful as AOU are you can't make 
Cranky Ann anything but what she is/" 

Mr. Baldwin listened in astonish- 
ment and wonder. He was thunder- 
struck at hearing such words from 
one whom lie he hud supposed not 
capable of uttering anything above 
the vulgar, common-place blackguard- 
isms of the outcast of street and 
hovel. Neglecting to inform Cranky 
that he was not a policeman, the mer- 
chant after a brief pause said : 

"Cranky, I think you are wrong 
1 be ieve you can be made wnat >ou 
are not!" 

The eirl laughed such a laugh as 
would distort the face of a defiant 
culprit on the scaffold. 

" You can think what you please," 
she said, "and so can I. You have 
deceived me, and _ reel bad I feel 
ore I feel that I am abused with- 



out cause and punished without mercy. 
But I will not complain ; I will not 
resist; I will go peaceably. Come, 
brave officer ! I am ready ! Let us 
take a pleasant walk to the Armory !" 

Again a sneering laugh that ended 
almost in a groan. 

" I am not ready to go yet, Cranky ! 
I prefer to remain here a while !" 

The girl looked at him curiously. 

41 In fact, I shall not take you to 
the Armory to-night, nor at any oth- 
er time." 

The street walker could hardly 
put faith in her senses. She had 
never known a policeman to act that 
way before. 

"Are you in earnest?" she said 
and there was an eagerness in her 
look that betrayed the depth of her 
emotions. 

" I never was more in earnest in 
my life," was the calm reply. 

"Oh! I see!" said Crank, with a 
smile, "you are collecting taxes on 
your own hook ! Well, that's right , 
that's decent; that's the best way. 
I've got a tenner, but I know you 
wouldn't take all I've got. You can 
have half and welcome, and old Craak 
will say ' God bless you!" 

Mr. Baldwin's thoughts had been 
busy while the girl was speaking. 

"Did you ever do anything of this 
kind before?" he said, without, appa- 
rently, any other motive than natural 
curiosity. 

" Oh, you mustn't ask such ques- 
tions Crank would never squeal on 
her iriends," was her somewhat sug- 
gestive reply, as she produced the 
bill that Jack Dunning had given 
her that same af.ernoon. 

" Keep your money I have more 
than I want already," said the mys- 
terious man, as he refused the prof 
fered bribe. 

" You don't want to arrest me, you 
don'c want mone> then tell me, Mr. 
Officer, what the devil do you want ? 
If there is anything that old Crank 
can do for you, just mention it." 

"There is something that you can 
do for me!" 

" Yes, yes ! I see 1 You're a guy 



20 



noy! You're the lad I like! Come 
to these arms !" 

And Crank, before he knew it, had 
clasped the merchant in a warm em- 
brace, and had actually kissed him 
right on the lips, too! 

tk This is going a little too far 1" he 
exclaimed, with a gasp. 

" Oh, you can go farther and fare 
worse," was the reply, and smack ! 
went another kiss. 

" I wouldn't have Harry know this 
(or the world," thought the benevo- 
lent seeker after adventure, as he 
gently forced the woman away, and 
remarked : 

"Permit me to explain, Miss 
Cranky 2 am not a policeman f" 

"The devil!" As she said this 
Crank stepped back and stared. It 
was her turn to be astonished. 

" No, I hope I am not that indi- 
vidual that you named!" 

Crank recovered her composure 
and inquired : 

" Now let's come right down to 
business who are you. what axe you, 
and what on earth do you want of 
Cranky Ann?" 

" I will not tell you who I am, but 
I beg to have you believe that I came 
here through no bad motive. I saw 
> ou on the street ; I was told your 
name and occupation. They told me 
that you was the wickedest woman in 
Chicago, and I thought that it might 
be possible that I could be the means 
of making you not quite so bad. I 
will tell you frankly, I never spoke 
to a woman of your class before, to 
my knowledge. Until to-day, I was 
ignorant of the existence of such as 
you in this great city. In the con- 
versation that T have had with you, 
I have detected the fact that you are 
an educated woman that you were 
once far above your present low con 
diliou, I have the means and the 
will. If I can help you, if I can do 
anything that will make your heart 
lighter and your life happier, nothing 
could give me greater pleasure. Now, 
Miss Ann I will not call you 
Cniiiky ' any more I have told you 
what, you wanted to know. Will 
you do me a like favor?" 



The kind words of the old gentle- 
man had touched a tender spot in the 
breast of the street- walker, and again 
tears could be detected under her 
eyelashes. Anger had caused them 
to flow before ; anguish produced them 
the second time. 

Mr. Baldwin had taken her hand, 
and led her gently to the sofa as a 
father would ead a child he loved. 

" I would do any favor that so 
good a man as you would ask," she 
replied to his question. 

" I wish you to tell me your whole 
history, from happy innocenoe to 
most wretched guilt!" 

The conquered courtesan looked 
up imploringly. 

" Oh, sir," she sighed, " you do not 
know what you ask! The past is to 
me a blank the luture is a hell ! To 
revive the one is horror to look for- 
ward to the other is torture!" 

"I would not give you pain did I 
not think that the sting of the arrows 
of misfortune might be assuaged, if 
not eradicated. But I believe there 
is something better in store for you 
than the gloomy fate you fear." 

The distressed girl shook her head. 

" The story of my life is a sad 
one," she said, but if you wish to 
hear it told, I "will try to remember 
such passages as will most interest 
you. In doing so, however, I shall 
exact a promise." 

"Of what nature?" 

" I shall ask you to promise me 
that you will Hot fly from and spnrn 
me with hate, sc<*rn and loathing 
when you have heard what I shall 
speak !" 

"God forbid!" was the emphatic 
reply. 

" Then I will reveal to you a tale 
of suffering, of temptation, of guilt, 
oi shame, Of wretchedness ;md of 
misery that will make your blood 
run cold! Lis.en!" 

CHAPTER VIII. 

There had been a wonderful change 
in the appearance ot Cranky Ann ia 
the few minutes that hid elapsed 
since she entered that room. On 
coming in. she was exulting within 



21 



herself over what she thought an 
easy conquest of a gullible victim. 
She was artful, designing, unscru- 
pulous. Believing that her compan- 
ion was an old fool, and knowing lull 
well his intentions, she believed she 
could bleed him more freely in the 
guise of a working girl than she could 
if he knew her real occupation. But 
when he called her by name, she nat- 
urally cone uded that an officer in 
disguise had entrapped her, and her 
buoyant hopes and joyous exulta- 
tions were shattered on the instant 
her joy was turned to bitterness. 
When this delusion had been ex- 
pelled, and she recognized her new- 
found acquaintance as a well-mean- 
ing, benevolent old man, there was 
another swift revolution ot sentiment, 
and for the first time that night 
Cranky Ann exhibited her natural, 
womanly attributes. There was no 
deception about her when, in a voice 
trembling with emotion, and with all 
the better instincts of her nature 
aroused, she unbosomed herself to the 
humane gentleman who had sought 
her in the den where vice had always 
held high carnival, and where even 
the name of virtue had never been 
whispered. 

" When I reflect upon what I was, 
what I am, and what I might be," 
said Cranky Ann, in commencing the 
story of her life, "I cannot help but 
shudder, and my heart is fi.led with 
bitterness, resentment, and hatred of 
the whole human race! You have 
said that I have the reputation ot be- 
ing the wickedest woman in Chica- 
go. I do not deny it. I am wicked 
as the worst, depraved as the lowest, 
reckless and abandoned as the most 
vile! If I do not drink, it is because 
I have the strength ot mind to resist, 
knowing how quick rum will drive a 
woman to the devil! If I do not rob, 
it is because I understand how cer- 
tain punnishment follows crime! It 
is not from any compunctions of con- 
science that I do not follow the life 
of an outlaw against society in other 
ways than* this street soliciting that 
you have observed to-night." 



The courtesan paused for an in- 
stant, and then resumed: 

" But I promised to tell you some 
thing of my past lite, and I will not 
weary you with incoherent railings." 

'* Anything that you may say can- 
not fail to interest me," said Mr. 
Baldwin. 

"In the first place," resumed 
Cranky, " how old do you think I 
am?" 

" I should judge you to be between 
twenty -five and thirty, but it is pos- 
sible that you may be younger," was 
the reply. 

" That shows what a poor judge 
you are ot my class. You see me 
now at my best. Let me wash off 
paint and powder, take out teeth, re- 
move wig and lay aside pads, and 
you would see before you a wrinkled, 
shriveled, gray-headed woman, and 
you would take a Bible oath that she 
was sixty years old." 

u But you are not so advanced in 
years I am sure you are not." 

"No, sir I am an old woman oj 
thirty, and for fitteen long years I 
have been what lam to-day!" 

" Impossible !' J exclaimed the old 
gentleman in amasement; "you cer- 
tainly did not commence this lite you 
are leading at the tender age of fif- 
teen I" 

" I certainly did, and I can point 
you to little girls, three years young- 
than that, who are confirmed urosti- 
tutes!" 

The merchant could only look his 
astonishment. 

"My father is a well known busi- 
ness man of this city," continued 
Crank, "and I was near enough him 
to day to brush his garments as we 
passed each other! He drove me 
from his door with curses years and 
years ago, and at this time, though 
he sees me often, he believes that my 
bones are buried under the dark wa- 
ters of Lake Michigan." 

" Will you tell me you father's 
name?" inquired Mr. Bildwim, who 
was intensely interested in what he 
heard. 

" No, sir! When I die my secret 
will be buried with me!" 



22 



" What reason did he have to ex- 
pel vou from his home ?" 

" I will tell you. At that time- 
in those dear old days I was the 
only child of parents who worshipped 
me, and would have sacrificed any- 
thing for my comfort or pleasure. I 
was called handsome, and was devel- 
oped far beyound my years. At the 
age of fourteen I was a full-grown wo- 
man, and had many admirers among 
them a man who is now a lawyer, and 
who has often defended me when 
brought before the court for being a 
common prostitute!" 

'" And does he not know you ?" 

"Nobody knows me! I would 
rather die than be known!" 

" Strange, mysterious woman, you 
have indeed been unfortunate!" 

Without noticing the interruption, 
Cranky Ann resuued her story. 

" My education had been looked 
after generously, and no girl in Chi- 
cago had better prospects of becom- 
ing a talented, accomplished, gifted 
lady. While at school a seminary 
for females I made acquaintances 
that I could not introduce into such 
societv as my parents selec'ed for me, 
and I deceived them, and kept clan- 
destine appointments away from 
home. TL it was the stepping stone 
to all the misery that I have endured. 
One of the parties and one whose 
attentions were the most pleasing to 
me was a cruel, heartless libertine! 
He was handsome, noble-looking, 
generous, impulsive, and with smooth 
words the wretch won my sensitive 
heart ! He seduced me and aban- 
doned me! One day, when my sit- 
uation could no longer be concealed, 
I made confession to my father, and 
asked him to forgive me, and send 
me away until such lime as I could 
return free from the guilty incum 
brance without taint, so far as the 
world should know. With terrible 
oaths he spurned me, commanded me 
to leave his house, and never again 
darken the door of the home I had 
dishonored. Maddened at what I 
thought his cruelty, I returned curse 
for curse, and in a towering passion 
went away, and I have never re- 



turned. The excitement proved too 
much for even the robust girl that I 
wae, and that night Heaven kindly 
relieved me of that which, had Nature 
been permitted to perfect its work,, 
would have been a bastard ! I 
thanked God for this and it is about 
the only thing that I ever did thank 
Him for. One week from the day I 
left my father's roof, I wrote him a 
long letter, telling him that I could 
not live in disgrace and ignominy, 
and that my body might some day 
come to the surface of the lake! I 
then disguised myself as best I could, 
dyed my hair, and became an inmate 
of a house of ill-fame on South Clark 
street. Three months after that, I 
saw a paragraph in a daily paper, 
stating that the body of an unknown 
woman had been fished out of the 
lake, and taken to the dead-house in 
the old city cemetery. I went there 
early that morning. The body was 
naked, bloated and disfigured, but it 
was about my size, and looked as 
though it might have resembled me 
in life. Taking a ring on which had 
been engraved my initials, and which 
had been a birth-day present from my 
father, I slipped it upon a finger of 
the corpse, and hurried away. The 
result was as I had expected. My 
parents identified the ring and took 
possession of the body, and it was 
buried with every demonstration of 
j sorrow, all my friends believing that 
the supposed drowning was acciden- 
tal. My mother died with a broken 
heart in less than six months from 
that time, and her body and that of 
the unknown dead now lay side by 
side." 

When speaking of her mother, the 
street- walker could hardly control 
her voice, and her bosom r ose and 
fell with a rapidity that spoke with 
mute eloquence, and betrayed a feel- 
ing of the tenderest regard for the 
memory of the revered dead. The 
pause in the relation of her pitiful 
life-story was very brief, and she re- 
sumed: 

" When the body that was believed 
to be mine was covered with cold 
clods of clay, and I was mourned as 



24 



one departed, my determination to 
be indeed dead to the world was more 
fixed and more desperate than it ever 
had been, -and from that day till this 
I have kept my vow. I feared, for a 
year or two, that my disguise would 
be penetrated, for I often met, in the 
houses where I lived, men who knew 
me as intimately as man ever knew 
woman. The very man who loved 
me and who mourned with pitiful 
sincerity at my funeral, did not rec 
ognize in the blonde beauty of the 
bagnio the beautiful brunette whom 
he would have married only a few 
short months before " 

" Pardon me," interrupted Mr. 
Baldwin, " but tell me how you know 
this man you speak of mourned so 
earnestly at your burial." 

" I should have mentioned before, 
perhaps, what you may deem the 
most remarkable incident in the ca- 
reer that I am narrating. I know 
the depth of his sorrow from the tears 
he shed when they lowered the poor 
corpse into its narrow cell ! I attend- 
ed my own funeral ! I saw a stern- 
visaged father glare with stony eyes 
at the disfigured dead; I saw a bro- 
ken-heaned mother weep over the 
ghastly remains of her only-born; I 
saw a grief stricken lover bow under 
the burden of a great and overwhelm- 
ing sorrow; I saw the friends and 
companions of my girlhood bedeck 
the casket that contained the clammy 
corse with flowers of the field and 
lillies of the lake ; and could any one 
have peered under the thick veil that 
eovered the face of a lone woman in 
that solemn cortege, they would have 
started with open mouthed wonder, 
and every lip would have cried out, 
Why grieves this hireling harlot over 
the death of the pure, the beautiful 
and the lovely one whose name was 
Innocence and whose character was 
Purity ?" 

Cranky Ann uttered these words 
with such intense fervor, and was la- 
boring under such agonizing excite 
ment that she fairly shrieked them 
into the ears ot her listener. Mr. 
Baldwin was almost equally im 
pressed, and the picture as they sat 



there the one with blazing eyes and 
the other with eager earnestness 
was such an one as the brush ol the 
artist or the pen of the author never 
yet depicted on canvass or paper. 

"That day," continued Cranky, 
" when I returned to the hell that I 
called home, it was with such feelings 
as the human heart seldom experien- 
ces. I was dead and buried, and yet 
alive and robust as I ever had been. 
From that time until this hour I have 
lived a false life, but I have guarded 
my secret well. Long ago the terri 
ble trials that I have undergone 
snatched away the ruddy roses of 
the days of innocence, and no dis- 
guise has been needed to protect me 
from the searching stare of familiar 
eyes. I live as ' a dream. The 
father that knows me not has brushed 
against me on the walk, and once 
great God ! I shall never forget it ! 
he made an attempt to attract my 
attention on the street 1 The lover 
who wept at my grave has many 
times folded me to his heaving breast 
in guilty embrace 1 One of my most 
dear schoolmates a girl as lovely 
and as good as was ever born fell 
by the deceiver's arts, and has occu- 
pied the same room with me in a pub- 
lic brothel ! The temptation to be- 
tray myself, to throw off the veil ot 
concealment, and to reveal myself in 
my true character, has sometimes 
been almost irresistible. I have 
yearned to open my heart to those 
that loved me dearly once, but I have 
not done it. No! As the tedder 
tendrils of the ivy hug the sturdy 
oak, so has my resolution clung, to 
an iron will, and my sacred secret is 
safe ! The grave of the unfortunate 
unknown is honored, and at its head 
there stands a monument; when I die, 
they will write OUTCAST on a rough 
slab, and in the Potter's Field, un- 
honored and unwept, the body of old 
Ccanky Ann will make meals for 
maggots !" 

There was bitterness in her voice, 
and a strange, wild look in her eye. 

" I have now told you all that you 
will care to know," resumed the 
street walker. " My career as a wo- 



25 



man of the town has been much the 
same as that of all the rest. From 
parlor I have descended to pave, and 
now, in these tawdy trappings, I roam 
from corner to corner, and seek in 
every face I meet a glance of wrong- 
ful recognition." 

When she had concluded the old 
gentleman heaved a sigh, and from 
his lips there fell these three words: 

"God help you!" 

" God ? What has God got to do 
with such as me ? Why, right here 
in Chicago they are talking about a 
great revival but who will be con- 
verted? Will any of your thousands 
of good people treat with anything but 
loathing and scorn any of us poor 
girls who walk the streets and deal in 
shame ? Is there anything on earth 
that will wash away the stain upon 
a guilty woman's name? No, sir! 
Tney may pray for us, and I believe 
they mean well; but a harlot can 
never be reclaimed and elevated to 
the position she lost by her fall! The 
devil has marked us as a drover 
would mark his sheep, and we are all 
doomed to be damned !" 

" Let us hope for something bet- 
ter," said Mr. Baldwin, with sym- 
pathy in his face and voice. 

"Your story," he continued, "has 
produced upon me a powerful impres- 
sion, and 1 hardly know what to do 
or say ; but let me assure you that ii 
there is anything that can be accom- 
plished by means of my influence or 
my money, you need no longer ply 
the arts and artifices that have given 
you the name of Cranky Ann ! 
I will go now, and think upon what 
I have heard ; but I will come again. 
To-morrow you may expect to see 
me." 

The appointment she had made 
with Jack Dunning flashed upon 
Crank's mind. 

" I cannot see you to-morrow, nor 
for more than a week," she said, "be- 
cause I have something of importance 
to attend to; but if in ten days you 
will meet me in this room, we will 
have a friendly talk, it nothing more." 

"I will be here," replied Mr. 
Baldwin, and bidding her a kind 



good-bye he left the room, and tne 
street-walker was once more alone- 
alone with her thoughts. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Harry Harper did not feel at all at 
ease after he had parted with his 
friend at the foot of the stairway 
leading to Cranky Ann's room. He 
had no very high opinion of that 
wonderful woman's honesty, for he 
knew her to be unscrupulous in all 
all her dealings with men, and he also 
knew that she was familiar with every 
deceitful device known to the mod- 
ern " lady ot the pave." He was 
aware, also, that Mr. Baldwin was not 
posted to any great extent on the 
tricks and traps that are set for the 
unsuspscting, and that it was not 
impossible that he would come to 
some undefinable harm, he knew not 
what. 

At first he walked over to Pott- 
geiser's saloon, listened to a well- 
sung song, drank a couple of glasses of 
lager, and lingered about the place 
for the space of about fifteen minutes. 
He then recrossed the street and toolf 
position within hearing distance, 
should there be the faintest alarm. 
But, as the reader knows, there was 
no cause for anxiety he had no 
knowledge of the better instincts of 
the bad woman upon whom he now 
and then bestowed a smile of recog- 
nition or a word of kindness. 

An hour, that seemed an age, 
elapsed, and then he heard descend- 
ing footsteps, and felt relieved at 
meeting with the disguised mer- 
chant. 

'* You made quite a lengthy call," 
he said, as they met on the side- 
walk. 

" The time seemed very short to 
me," was the reply. 

" Your reception was quite warm, 
I imagine." 

"Exceedingly so." 

" You were not captivated, I 
hope?" 

" You are wrong, Harry I was 
captivated I was charmed 1" 

" That she- devil did not pull the 



26 



veil of enchantment over your eyes?" 

" Stop!" cried Mr. Baldwin, with 
unusual severity, for him, and with 
more zeal than he dad displayed lor 
a long time in any cause. 

"Why, what on earth is the mat- 
ter?" exc'aimed the young man in 
astonishment. 

" You probably meant no harm," 
was the more pacific reply, " but in 
applying epithets to that unhappy 
woman you do hei great injustice. 
She is not so bad as you would paint 
her." 

Harry shook his head dubiously. 

" I would not offend you for the 
world, Mr, Baldwin," he said, " but 
I very much fear that you have been 
most outrageously imposed upon." 

" And I know that I have not been. 
Alanson Baldwin is not a fool!" 

" No, sir, you are not ; but many a 
good man, many men of solid sense 
and sound minds, have been victim- 
ized by just such women as Cranky 
Ann !" 

" It may be that they have I do 
not donbt it. But I am sure that 
nothing of the kind has been attemp- 
ted upon me to-night. If I really 
thought that woman's words were 
false, that her tears were hypocritical, 
that her object was treachery, that 
her aim was to deceive for guilty 
purposes, I should never again place 
an iota of confidence in mortal man 
or woman!" 

" It would be unfortunate should 
you be ' roped in and played for a 
sucker,' as the fast folks would say, 
on ^ our first effort at seeing Chicago 
in Chunks." 

"It would indeed, for I should 
never desire to see any more 
' Chunks,' as you call them " and 
the old gentleman smiled. 

Upon further questioning, Mr. 
Baldwin, as near as he could, detailed 
the story he had heard. 

" Now do you believe her an im- 
poster?" he inquired, in concluding 
the narrative. 

The > oung man did not reply for a 
full minute, but his thoughts were 
busy. 

14 - can't tell what to think about 



| it," he said slowly. "I don't see what 
I object she could have in telling a lie. 
You boldly announced at the start 
your knowedge of her reputation. 
She would not, therefore, dream of 
making you believe otherwise, and 
it seems she did not. But the story 
sounds more like an Oriental romance 
than anything else I can think of. 
There is something so unreal, so 
ghostly, so wonderfully improbable 
about it as to actually stagger be- 
lief, were one ever so much inclined 
to be credulous." 

" And yet, Harry Harper, I believe 
every we rd of it every word, from 
beginning to end." 

"If it is true," said Harry, '-old 
street- strolling Cranky is something 
of a heroine." 

u Something of a heroine ? You 
may well say that she is! Yes, sir ! 
she is the most remarkable woman in 
the world's history!" 

" The more I think of it, the more 
1 am inclined to credit the yarn," said 
Harry, "for I don't believe there is 
either a man or woman in Chicago 
who could deliberately invent, with- 
out some foundation, such a strange, 
enchanting tale !" 

The conversation continued a few 
minutes upon this topic, and both 
men agreed that they would know 
more of Cranky Ann at a future time. 

" What do yon propose to do now, 
Harry?" inquired Mr. Baldwin, after 
the other subject had been dismissed. 

"I propose to astonish you," was 
the rather mystified reply. 

" God knows I have been aston- 
ished already," was the old gentle- 
man's response. 

" But this time your nerve will be 
put to a severer test." 

"How so?" 

*' I shall show you something that 
will make your blood curdle and 
stand still in your veins! I will take 
you where you will hold up your 
hands in horror and turn away in un 
utterable dismay! I will show you 
sights that you never dreamed exis- 
ted outside ol hell 1" 

* Your words, even, almost frigh' 
me ; but tell me, Harry, my boy, 



fc this terrible thins; that you are go 
ing to show me?" 

" It is Chicago at Midnight ! " 



CHAPTER X. 

When Mr. Baldwin had gone, and 
the street- walker was alone, the 
thoughts that ran through her mind 
were so mixed and conflicting that 
she was almost unable to think at all. 
It had been a long, long time since 
she had permitted herself to be other 
than the cunning, cratty courtesan, 
the supreme object of whose exis- 
tence seemed to be to deceive the 
verdant victims who should be en 
trapped by her artificial charms. But 
to the merchant she had been honest 
she had told the truth and in do 
ing so she had aroused and brought 
to life recollections that she would 
gladiy have buried in the grave of 
eternal forgetfulness, were it passible 
to forget wrongs and outrages such 
as Cranky had suffered. 

No more business for her that 
night! The pave had no charms lor 
Crank at best, and to walk out then, 
and smile when her heait was well 
nigh breaking, was so utterly revolt- 
ing that the mere thought of it made 
the outcast shudder and recoil. 

With wonderful command over her 
feelings she sat at the open window, 
and for several minutes silently 
viewed the passers by. 

Suddenly arousing as from a dream, 
the street- walker spoke in a whis- 
per, as one sometimes speaks when 
alone. 

" That was a good old man," she 
said. " I could tell by looking in 
his eye, and by the sound of his 
voice, that there is nothing bad about 
him. I wonder what he wants of me, 
any way ? Does he think that he can 
reform me ? Does he think that I 
would work that I would be a ser- 
vant / Alter all these years out in 
the wide world, out in the street, 
disgraced and despised, does he think 
old Cranky Ann is going into some- 
body's kitchen and be a drudge, with 
the finger of scorn still pointed at her? 
No! When worst comes to worst; 



when Misery, gaunt and eloomy t 
drags me to the last ditch; when De- 
spair, dark and dreary, leaves me no 
other alternative, then the old girl 
will show herself %amc to the last, and 
either lake, river, poison, bullet or 
dagger will do their deadly work!" 

She shuddered in spite of herself r 
as she uttered these desperate words, 
and, dismissing the unpleasant sub- 
ject of what she was and what she 
was coming to, her thoughts turned 
to Jack Dunning, and his object in 
seeking her assistance in some scheme 
the nature of which she could guess 
quite easily, but the depth of which 
she could not be expected to know^ 
She knew him, however, to be a bold, 
bad man, who would, to gi atify any 
passion, resort to any and every 
means within his power. R solving 
in her mind that she would make 
some money out of him if she could, 
and do as little as she could in re- 
turn for she hated the man she re- 
tired at an early hour, to sleep the 
sleep of the guilty, and to struggle 

through a remarkable dream / 

* * * * 

The nexf afternoon, according to- 
agreement, Jack Dunning met the 
street-walker. 

" You are on time, I see," said 
Crank, smiling. 

" Yes, and that's just what I want 
you to be, always," was the semi-se- 
rious reply. 

" You can bet on me!" The look 
of the woman was more expressive 
than her words, and she continued : 

" Now, then, Jack, unbosom your- 
self 1" 

"I told you yesterday what I 
wanted. At least I told you enough 
to give you an idea ol what I wanted. 
Did you not understand ?" 

" A person can sometimes under- 
stand too much or too little, Jack. 
Therb should be nothing but plain 
words between you and I in this busi- 
ness." 

"And that's just exactly what I 
want. Are you willing to go to 
work for me to do anything that I 
ask you to do?" 

" Yes, provided you don't ask me 



28 



to murder anybody, or do some other 
dreadful thing." 

" Of course I would not ask you to 
do that. But you must be faithful 
and trueT 

" You have the word of Cranky 
Ann that she will put herself under 
your instructions, and perform any- 
thing that you may ask!" 

"But don't ask too much," she 
would have said, had she uttered her 
thoughts, which she was very careful 
not to do. 

The two then held a long and ear- 
nest conversation, the nature of which 
will become apparent to the reader as 
our story progresses. As he rose to 
go Jack said : 

" I guess we understand each other, 
Crank?" 

" Perfectly /" 

But there was a strange gleam in 
the eye of the street-walker, that Jack 
Dunning would not have understood 
had he noticed it. 

CHAPTER XL 

Alanson Baldwin had not been out 
of bed as late as 12 o'clock for many 
a long month indeed, for many a 
"ear and the proposition made by 
Ms young friend somewhat startled 
him for an instant. But he had set 
out to learn all that he could of crime 
in Chicago, and he was not prepared 
to falter in the work so quick. 

" I do not know exactly what you 
mean, Harry," he said, after a mo- 
ment's pause, "when you speak of 
showing me ' Chicago at midnight,' 
as you term it, but I will follow 
wherever you may choose to lead. 
I hope, however, you will try and 
avoid danger, . both on my account 
and your own." 

" Whatever you may see, do not 
for an instant permit yourself to be 
frightened. Remember that you are 
a companion of one of the gay boys 
of Chicago, and, as a man is known 
by the company he keeps, you will 
everywhere be looked upon as one 
of those who now and then stroll into 
places where they ought not to go." 

"Very well. I will try and not 



turn pale or tremble, as possibly I 
might do under other circumstan- 
ces." 

Harry Harper consulted his watch. 
It was yet early in the evening, com- 
paratively it was late according to 
the old gentleman's method of keep- 
ing track of time. 

" We have an hour or so to spare," 
he said, " but that time can easily be 
whiled away in some of the neighbor- 
ing concert saloons. After that we 
will visit places that will interest you 
much more deeply than you im- 
agine." 

Little did Harry Harper imagine 
that he was uttering prophetic words ! 

For the next two hours the sight- 
seers and scene-seekers found noth- 
ing very extraordinary or out of the 
way, though to the old gentleman it 
was not only new and novel, but ex- 
tremely interesting. He had never 
before mingled in such company, and 
persistently refused to quaff the 
foaming lager, in response to the in- 
vitations of the waiters pretty and 
otherwise who lugged that beverage 
to all parts of the house they visited. 
Finally Harry inquired of him the 
hour. 

Mr. Baldwin fumbled under his 
coat an instant and exclaimed, excit- 
edly: 

" Heavens! I've lost my watch I" 

"Hush," said Harry, without man 
ifesting any alarm, "I think you must 
be mistaken." 

" No, Harry, I am not mistaken 1 
It was in my pocket less than an 
hour ago! It has been stolen!" 

" No, not so bad as that. It was 
taken, but not stolen that's an ugly 
word. I presume some friend has 
borrowed it, forgetting to ask you for 
the loan." 

"But I have no friend in this 
place." 

"Oh, yes, you have one that I 
know of." 

"And who is he?" inquired the 
old gentleman, looking around with 
keen, careful scrutiny, hoping that 
be might see some one that he knew. 

Harry held out his hand and the 
old man mechanically took it. 



30 



To his great surprise, instead of 
the warm palm, he felt a cold sensa- 
tion, and instantly the truth flashed 
upon his mind his watch had not 
been stolen ! 

"That was very cleverly done, 
Harry!" 

There was a broad grin upon his 
face. 

" Yes, and it might have been done 
just as cleverly by a dozen other men 
in this room," was the reply. " I 
have been watching you with a dou- 
ble purpose to protect your prop 
erty and practically demonstrate 
what perhaps you would not have 
believed prssible that YOU can be 
robbed in the most public place, and 
not know anything about it for hours 
afterward." 

" I really think I should have 
doubted," was the reply, "but now 
I "know, and shall be very careful in 
future. By the way, is it not time 
to start?" 

" Halt past eleven yes we will go. 
Come!" 

The two made their way to the 
street. 

After they had proceeded a short 
distance, Harry took from his pocket 
a revolver. 

" Here," hesaid,"Ihave purchased 
this for j'our benefit. " 

The merchant jerked away his 
hand as though it had been a rattle- 
snake that was offered him. 

" Harry Harper," he said, with 
great emphasis, " what does this 
mean?" 

u It means that you ought not to 
go promenading around the streets of 
Chicago at midnight without some 
means of protection!" 

The old man looked at Harry 

sharp y. 

"Are you g^ing to take me where 
I am liable to be murdered ?" 

"No, sir; I believe you will be just 
as safe with me as \ou would be in 
your bed at home." 

" Then why offer me this murder- 
ous wenpon this instrument of 
death ?" 

" It was simply to make you feel 



safer than you would or could feel 
without it." 

" Then keep it! I would not have 
it in my possession a single hour for 
this whole block of buildings! I 
would not have the life of a human 
being upon my soul for all the world's 
treasures ! There is no danger so 
great that a man cannot avoid it 
without bloodshed! A deadly wea- 
pon tor protection is the argument of 
cowardice, not manhood! Look at 
the homes in Chicago that have been 
desolated by the wretched habit ot 
carrying revolvers. See the widows 
and the orphans that would have pro- 
tectors now but for this heaven- 
cursed and hell invented demon that 
you call revolver! No, sir! II I knew 
I was to be butchered to night, I 
would scorn to accept this purchase 
that you have made for me!" 

Seeing that the old gentleman was 
excited, Harry did not attempt to 
urge the point. 

"I meant no harm, Mr. Baldwin," 
he said, " and should not have made 
the offer had I not believed you 
would have felt more secure. And 
I now assure you that no matter how 
serious things may look, no matter 
how boisterous the conduct of the 
parties who may be met, no matter if 
you do see squabbles and knock- 
downs, and hear fearful threats and 
horrible oaths, there will be no dan- 
ger for you, because you are the com- 
panion of a boy as well known as any 
that travels the streets of Chicago, 
and who is able to protect his friends 
at any time and place." 

" I do not doubt you, and do not 
blame you, Harry. I have very pe- 
culiar ideas concerning such things, 
and am willing that others should 
have theirs." 

While talking they had turned 
westward on a cross-street, and soon 
found themselves on Pacific avenue 
or what is popularly known as Biler 

street. 

" We will turn once more," said 
Harry, but the old gentleman was 
admiring the solid walls of the Arm- 
ory prison, and it required a second 



31 



reminder to make him understand. 

" You have seen the inside of that 
building already," he continued, with 
a laugh that was not as merry as it 
might have been. 

" Yes, and so have you," replied 
Mr. Baldwin, by way of a joke a 
sort of a crude joke, too. 

" If I get there again, I shall ask 
no kind friend to come to my relief," 
said Harry. 

" We will say no more about that, 
my dear boy, but will proceed on the 
journey that you have marked out." 

But they had taken but a few steps, 
when Mr. Baldwin changed places 
from the inside to the outside of the 
walk, and his left hand clutched Har 
ry's arm with a firm grip. 

The walk was not thronged, but 
the one or two saloons that were first 
passed were filled with men and wo- 
men that a stranger wou'd not care 
to meet, and the language is so foul, 
so filthy, so abominable that the mer 
chant involuntarily shrank from such 
close proximity to such loathsome 
creatures. 

A little further on, as they neared 
an open window with half-closed shut- 
ters a woman's voice a harsh, 
cracked, repuMve voice called: 

" Mister!" 

The old man halted, and would 
have inquired innocently what was 
wanted, but Hany pulled him along. 

" Pay no attention to anything that 
is said to you here," he said ; " you 
will find a hag in every door, and a 
hag's head in every window, and 
overy one will hail you in one way 
and another, for it is their business 
to do so." 

" What are they ? Who are they, 
Harry?" 

" Before I am through showing you 
Chicago in Chunks, w will visit some 
or all of these places. At present, it 
is only necessary that I should tell 
you that every house, with perhaps 
one or two exceptions, in this whole 
block, is occupied by the lowest and 
vilest and most besotted prostitutes 
to bs found in any city in the wor'd!" 

"My God!" exclaimed Mr. Bald- 
win, " is it possible that such a black 



spot can be found in the very heart 
of the great city of Chicjgo a Chris- 
tian city, too!" 

"When you know all, my friend, 
you will not cla^s this place as the 
worst that can be found in the heart 
of tne city." 

Again this young man's words were 
deeper than he knew! 

" J cannot understand you. You 
say that the creatures who find a 
home in these hovels are the worst, 
and yet you assert that there are more 
dangerous places still !" 

" I will explain, then. The pitfalls 
that one can see can be avoided. The 
veriest fool that walks the streets 
could not be deceived regarding the 
character of these hell-holes. The 
women, if I can call them such, who 
now hail us as we pass, carry the 
mark of shame upon their faces so 
plain that a man can read the sign of* 
sin in the darkest night. But ther^ 
are places in Chicago where no finger- 
board points to danger, where every- 
thing looks as guileless as the most 
sacred sanctuary, but where danger, 
in its darkest shape, lurks night and 
day ! These, sir, that we look at 
now, a/e places that are brazen in 
their infamy; the others are more 
damnable and more dangerous be- 
cause they are concealed traps where 
innocence is liable at any time to 
touch the spring and tall, fall never 
to rise again fall, adding one more 
victim to woman's vilenessand man's 
licentiousness!" 

Astonishment was never more 
plainly depicted than on the old gen- 
tleman's face, when he heard these 
impassioned utterances. It took him 
a full minute to find words to ex- 
press his feelings. 

" I am amazed !" he said ; "but what 
do you mean when you sp:ak of 
woman's vileness? ' 

" Woman, Mr. Baldwin, can de 
scend to far lower depths of in- 
famy than man! The very worst 
devils in the world are .^-devils, and 
if there is a hell, as true, as I stand 
here I believe it is governed by a 
woman! I will say no more now, but 
before many days go by you shall 



32 



see with your own eyes and hear with 
your own ears!" 

" I will not press you to explain. 
I had rather look at this wickedness 
than listen to a description of it, no 
matter how truthful or how accurate. 
But great heavens! what place is this?" 
he exclaimed, as Harry halted. 

"This," replied the young man, in 
a low voice, but with startling em- 
phasis, is the dark den of Chicago!" 



CHAPTER XII. 

Josephine Baldwin, the day after 
her father had left his home, sat alone 
in one of the grand parlors, with no 
apparent occupation. But she was 
busy she was thinking and her 
thoughts were sad ones, too. The 
father that she loved was away, and 
that of itself was a circumstance that 
made the hours weary and lonesome; 
but there was another whose features 
were vividly engraved upon her mind, 
and to him her thoughts turned with 
melancholy interest. Where was he? 
What was he doing ? Was he really 
a bad, unprincipled man, and was 
there no means by which he could be 
reclaimed? Why did she take his 
wrong actions so deeply to heart ? 
For a long time, she had not seen him. 
They had never been on terms of in- 
timacy. He had never in his life 
made any overture by which to be- 
tray any other feeling for her than 
that of the respect to which her sta- 
tion entitled her. But there was an 
indescribable something a magnetic 
influence of some unexplainable na 
ture that caused the heart of Jose- 
phine Baldwin to warm and her pulse 
to quicken whenever the name of 
Harry Harper was mentioned, or 
whenever her thoughts turned toward 
him. 

She sat there for a full half hour, 
and never moved. She was in a semi 
trance, with hardly the power to con- 
trol her actions. 

The bell rang sharply, and the ser- 
vant took from the handset a District 
Telegraph Messenger a note directed 
in a feminine hand to Miss Baldwin. 

She opened the missive with un- 



concern, for it was not unusual for her 
to receive messages from some of her 
many lady friends. 

" An invitation to a party, I sup- 
pose." she said, languidly. 

But her eyes put on a more serious 
expression as she glanced over the 
written page. 

The note read as follows : 

PALMER HOUSE, CHICAGO, Aug. 16. 
My Dear Miss Baldwin : Though to 
you I am an entire stranger, yet I 
trust you will pardon me for intrud- 
ing upon your attenion for a moment. 
I am traveling for my health- this 
summer, and have no other compan- 
ions than the servants who accom- 
pany me. My home is in New Or 
leans, and my mother gave me your 
address, assuring me that herself and 
your dead mother were schoolmates 
together, and as dear to each other 
is sisters. She was confident, she 
said, that the daughter of her friend 
would be glad to meet the child of 
the frieud of her girlhood. I should 
be very happy indeed to have you 
call on me at my rooms at the Pal- 
mer; but if you prefer I shall esteem 
it a privilege to call on you at your 
residence. 

Very sincerely yours, 

ISABELLA MARTINDALE. 

Without a shadow of suspicion that 
there was any treachery in this well- 
worded note, Josephine answered it 
at once, warmly assuring Miss Mar- 
tindale that she would be more than 
welcome, and pressing upon her to 
come without delay, and make her 
home with them while in the city. 

This was exactly what Cranky 
Ann (for the reader will of course 
recognize her as Isabella Martindale) 
had anticipated, although she had 
really taken rooms at the Palmer 
House, in order to make assurance 
doubly sure. 

On that afternoon, a lady of uncer- 
tain age, from her looks, was driven 
in a stylish carriage to the house 0f 
Mr. Baldwin, and was cordially 
greeted by the merchant's accom- 
plished and hospitable daughter. 

Cranky Ann had done herself great 



33 



credit in the success with which she 
had disguised herself. The cosmetics 
that had been brought into use had 
been skilfully applied, and a beautiful 
blonde wig, in direct contrast to her 
own black hair, made the transforma- 
tion complete, and Crank would not 
have been seriously doubted had she 
given her age at not much more than 
twenty. She was literally loaded 
down with diamonds, which were 
displayed with rare good taste, and 
her whole appearance indicated a gen- 
teel young lady of great wealth. 

In response to the urgent entreat- 
ies of Miss Baldwin, the elegant 
"southern lady" consented to re- 
main as the guest of Josephine for 
the few days that she intended to re 
mam in Chicago. 

The son of the merchant was intro- 
duced, and the dashing blonde beau- 
ty, with her charming manners, her 
inodest conduct, and her rare con- 
versational powers, together with her 
marked nobility of birth, made a deep 
impression upon him. 

Before Cranky Ann had been 
there two days, Jeremiah Baldwin, 
the young merchant, the heir to a 
large fortune, was madly in love! 

The street-walker had played her 
cards to perfection. 

On the second day, Crank managed 
to obtain an interview with Jack 
Dunning, to whom she revealed her 
success, and related all the partic- 
ulars, with the exception of her own 
conquest; that little circumstance she 
very wisely kept locked in her own 
bosom. 

** Do you know young Mr. Bald- 
win?" she asked, after having in- 
formed him of what she had done. 

" No, I think not," was the reply, 
but he may know me, for I am pret- 
ty well spotted around town." 

" Then it would be foolish for you 
to call on me at his house, for you 
know, Jack, that a high-toned lady, 
like myself, could not recognize as an 
acquaintance, even, a disreputable 
scoundrel like yourself." 

Jack's face crimsoned, but he con- 
quered his angry feelings. 

" You are right ; I must not call 



on yon ; therefore we mast manage 
so that you and your friend shall caH 
on my mother f ' 

"And for this special occasion 
what fortunate old female vagabond 
will be honored by personating your 
beloved mamma?" 

" There is a house on Wabash ave- 
nue, among the five hundreds, that 
will answer the purpose, I guess." 

" Oh, fes ! I know the place welL 
It is an assignation house." 

"Once more you are correct, 
Crank. The keeper is a particular 
friend of mine. She is a very moth- 
erly old lady, too, and can easily 
pass herselt off as one of the finest 
old ladies in the land." 
s* " Yes, and she is a fine lady, Jack. 
She would make a splendid appear- 
ance with a rope around her neck. It 
ought to have been there long agol* 

" You are getting to be exceed- 
ingly moral, Miss Crank. Why 
should my venerable friend be pre- 
sented with such an undesirable or- 
nament?" 

" Because she is a murderess!" 

" Who has she murdered ? I never 
heard anything of the kind." 

" She has not, it is true, cut any- 
body's throat, nor used a knife or 
pistol, and it is possible that she 
never took a life. But she has stab- 
bed the life out of innocence as often 
as any cut-throat ever plunged a 
knife into the heart of his victim! 
That is worse than murder, Jack 
Dunning!" 

"Really, Crank, when the revival- 
ists get here you would make a big 
hit by going down to the Tabernacle 
as an exhorter! How long have you 
felt that way? It has always been 
my impression that Cranky Ann was 
not too good to engage in this worse- 
than-murder business." 

The street- walker had spoken with- 
out thinking. Perceiving that she 
had betrayed herself, and that it was 
necessary to stop short and tarn 
about, she laced Jack with a laugh 
that had every appearance of being 
genuine. 

" I was merely shooting off my 
mouth to see what effect it would 



have on you, Jack," she said ; " and 
don't you forget that old Crank is a 
thoroughbred, and the wickedest 
woman that ever wore a brass-heeled 
gaiter boot!" 

Jack telt relieved. 

"That's the kind ol talk I like, old 
gal," he said, with a hilarity that was 
not feigned; "and now, when shall 
we two meet again ?" 

"To-morrow afternoon, if that will 
suit you," was the reply. 

"To-morrow afternoon, then, you 
will call on your friend, and your 
friend' s son will give you and your 
companion a warm and hearty wel- 
come!" 

After some further conversation of 
a common-place nature, Crank sepa- 
rated from her companion in guilt, 
and returned to the residence of the 
merchant. 

The following day, by the artful 
and persuasive accept ions which her 
education helped Crank to use with 
powerful force, Josephine Baldwin 
consented to accompany the "South- 
ern lady" on an af ernoon call upon a 
much-esteemed acquaintance! 

CHAPTER XIII. 

"The dark den of Chicago!" re- 
peated Mr. Baldwin, after Harry Har- 
per had ceased speaking, as they 
halted on Pacific avenue; "what do 
you mean by that, Harry?" 

" This is the wart on the fair body 
ot Chicago! This is the blistering 
curse of this unhappy city. It is 
the den ot depravity by the side of 
which all other dens are blameless! 
It is the dance house of old Dan Web- 
ster!" 

" I have heard of such a man. He 
is colored, I believe." < 

" He's a nigger," was the response, 
"but he is, though ignorant, and un- 
able to read a word or write his 
name, one of the most cunning ras- 
cals to be found in this country. He 
is wealthy, and is known about town, 
where he is known at all, as the Col 
ored Croesus. Will you go in?" 

"You are the Captain in this ex- 
ploring expedition," was the reply; 



"wherever you go I follow." Aud 
the old gentleman smiled. 

But he did not smile a moment 
later, for a scene met his gaze that 
would have bewildered and stagger- 
ed a man of more experience in the 
wickedness of this world than Alan- 
son Baldwin. 

What did he see? 

It is not necessary that we should 
lumber these pages with a detaled 
description of the room or its loca- 
tion. Our story is one of those 
graphic recitals of facts that will not 
tolerate the dullness of the prosaic 
and uninteresting descriptions that 
are characteristic of the writings of 
Dickens and authors of less repute. 
The readers of this romance expect 
and demand life in every word, a 
sensation in every paragraph. Aad 
they shall have it ! 

Imagine a large-sized room, with 
low ceiling, dimly lighted by kero- 
sene lamps, black and smoky, and 
you have a three-line description of 
this place that is better than a column 
of generalities. It is the inmates and 
their actions, and not the place or it* 
surroundings, that require attention 
here. 

Reader, were you ever in hell? Did 
you ever have the nightmare? Were 
you ever afflicted by some horrid 
dream, in which were mixed up de- 
mons ot darkness and every conceiv- 
able object of loathing in human 
form? It you have been, then you can 
have some conception of the scene 
that met the merchant's eyes as the 
door of the dance hall closed, and he 
found himself in the midst of a gath- 
ering ol the filth and scum of Chi 
cago. 

The "band" was laboring with ve- 
hement industry, and the music pro- 
duced was ear piercing, though not 
soul-stirring. There were probibly 
fifty couples on the floor, keeping 
lively step to the fiddlers' f sawings 
and scrapings, and every mortal was 
sweating from head to foot, making 
the close room fairly sickening to the 
organs of smell of any decent man. 

The males were mostly negroes 
"big buck niggers," as Harry called 



thtrn and the females were (oh, 
horrible!) white %irls! 

There were a few wenches, it is 
true, but the others outnumbered 
them two to one 1 

" I can't stand this ! I shall suffo- 
cate! Let us go!" whispered Mr. 
Baldwin* 

** Wait a few minutes; you'll soon 
get over it; I want to explain to you 
the character of some of the persons 
in this place." 

" If I don't die from the effects of 
this horrid atmosphere, I'll try and 
remain a short time, but it must be 
very short, Harry. I can't stand it 
long." 

"Do you see those girls?" said 
Harry. 

"Yes, yes ! Great heaven ! I do see 
them! A I did not I could never be- 
lieve these things could exist in Chi 
ago!" > 

" And do you know what they are?" 

" I can guess but oh, Harry, it is 
awful! 11 

" These girls some of them, you 
will perceive, are quite young are 
not what are known as common pros- 
titutes." 

" For God's sake, then, what are 
they?" 

"They are working girls'" 

" Impossible !' 

The old gentleman was the picture 
of astonishment. 

" Where do they work ?" he in- 
quired. 

"They are the scrub girls and 
chambermaids of the first-class hotels 
of Chicago. While at work they come 
in contact with these negroes. Daily 
association with them wears off the 
repugnance that they may at first 
feel, and finally they consent to come 
after working hours to such places as 
this, and indulge in revels as disgust- 
ing as they are sickening." 

"But these are not all girls of that' 
class ?" 

"Oli, no. Many of these white 
creatures are confirmed courtesans, 
who have descended step by step 
from sin in silk to the condition in 
which you now see them to the 
lowest degree ol shame that a human 



being can reach. For instance, do 
you see this little woman with a short 
dress, who is coming this way? -You 
would think by her short skirts, and 
her petite figure, that she was a girl 
in her teens ; but she is one of the 
oldest and most abandoned prosti- 
tutes in Chicago. She is the mother 
of three nigger children, and that 
whitewasher whose arm she holds is 
their father. She is " 

The short- skirted female came 
within two feet of them while Harry 
was speaking, and Mr. Baldwin had 
an opportunity to look her squarely 
in the eyes. As he did so, he started 
back in horror, his face turned as 
white as the frescoed ceilings of his 
own parlors, his eyes glared with a 
wild and unnatural stare, and he 
would have fallen to the floor had not 
Harry's strong arm prevented. 
I" Mr. Baldwin! "exclaimed Harry, 
" this is indeed too much for you to 
bear; let us go out at once." 

"No! no! There! There!" His 
trembling finger pointed to the girl 
Harry had been describing. 

"What of her?" inquired Harry, 
in utter amszement. 

" Great God have mercy on her!" 

" Do not be excited, Mr. Baldwin; 
there are hundreds such as she in 
Chicago." 

"No! there is but one! That is 
my sister's child!" 

CHAPTER XIV. 

On the day following the startling 
discovery made by Mr. Baldwin at 
the dance house of old Dan Webster, 
the merchant labored under great 
mental excitement and suffering. 
Both his sister and her husband had 
been dead several years, and it had 
been supposed that the daughter was 
also in her grave, she having mys- 
teriously disappeared when quite a 
young girl. The mob at the dance, 
though many of them saw the old 
man being held up by his young 
friend, paid no attention to the cir- 
cumstance, supposing that he was 
drunk. Harry instantly conducted 
him to the street, assuring him that 



36 



he knew the girl well ,and could find 
her at any t me, and that it would be 
folly to set ; an interview with her 
that night. They then proceeded to 
their room i i the business part of the 
city, where a sleepless night was 
passed by the elder of the two. When- 
ever his eyelids closed, there con- 
fronted him a vision of a fair young 
girl mingling with the debased black 
and white wretches whom he had 
seen mingling promiscuously togeth- 
er on that same night 1 

The next afternoon, feeling that a 
walk would do him good, and per- 
haps revive his spirits, he resumed 
the disguise that he had worn the 
previous night, and sauntereM out, 
with no do' nite idea as to the direc- 
tion he shoald take, or the destination 
he should i each. First he gassed his 
own store, and passed within two 
feet of his son, who knew him not. 
Then, guided by some inward mon- 
itor, he strolled down Wabash ave- 
nue, until he reached his own home. 
Oh, how he longed to enter, if but 
for a moment, and press his beloved 
daughter to his breast ! But he had 
embarked upon a mission, and he had 
i the courage to resist the impulse that 
forced him to lay his hand upon the 
gate, as ha passed. He saw hfs 
daughter at one window, while at the 
other sat a strange lady ! 

" I wonder who that can be?" he 
mused ; " I certainly never saw her 
before, and it is singular that a per- 
fect stranger should appear, upon 
such app arent familiar terms, so soon 
after my departure 1" 

But the subject was soon dismissed 
from his mind, as he leisurely pro- 
ceedef down the avenue, busy with 
his thoughts sad and gloomy 
thoughts. 

Twenty-second street was reached 
before he was conscious of the time 
he had been walking; and, turning, 
he proceeded as far east as the little 
depot at the head of South Park ave- 
nue. Here, fanned by the pure lake 
breezes, he remained for half an hour 
or more, and then started on his re- 
turn, taking the same route by which 
he had come. On reaching the Ha- 



ven School he halted to watch the 
pranks of the playful children, who 
were enjoying with wild delight their 
afternoon recess. 

" Alasl't he sighed, " she was one 
of these the last time I saw her?" 

At that moment he looked up and 
started back with a shudder that was 
involuntary ; for there, within ten feet 
of him, approaching at leisure pace, 
was his own daughter, accompanied 
by the strange lady ! 

Josephine passed him by without 
the slightest look or token of recog- 
nition ; but her companion gazed at 
the old man with a wild stare, and 
turned pale and trembled as he re- 
turned it with a searching, penetra- 
ting gaze. 

" That's the old man I promised 
to meet again," thought Cranky Ann, 
" and on my soul I believe he has 
recognized mel* 

But she continued on her way and 
never looked around. 

" Who in the world can that wo 
man be ?" was the question Mr. Bald- 
win asked himself. " If I did not 
know that I was thoroughly disguised, 
I would swear that she knew me ; for 
a stranger, and a lady at that, would 
never have devoured me with her 
eyes, as she did. And she started, 
too, and turned pale, and looked 
frightened. This is a mystery that 
I cannot understand ; but this I do 
know, that she is every inch a lady, 
or Josephine Baldwin would not be 
seen in her company ! I wonder 
where they are going? Shall I follow 
them ? No ! though in the disguise 
of an ignorant countryman, I will not 
forget that I am Alanson Baldwin 
and a gentleman /" 

Ah ! old man, had you known the 
trutb your very soul would have 
frozen with horror, and all the powers 
of hell and the devil could not have 
held you back ! 

4 " Why do they walk, I wonder?" 
he continued, in an inaudible conver- 
sation with himself; " it is almost a 
mile from here to my house, and 
surely Josephine would not travel all 
that distance on foot, when the fam- 
ily carriage is at her disposal at any 



37 



hoar of the day. Really, I feel mys- 
tified; my own daughter did not 
know me, and yet that other woman 
didf There is something strange 
about this something that I cannot 
understand something so myste- 
rious that I am almost inclined to 
hurry on after them, and find out 
where they go, and who this woman 
is! But pshaw! I have no fears, and 
speculations are idle and unavailing 
my dear little Josie is all right, 
and even a suspicion concerning her 
friend is mean and cowardly!" 

He then took an avenue car and 
returned to his room, where he found 
Harry, reading a famous Saturday 
sporting paper, and smoking a cigar. 

The young man smiled. * 

41 Been out taking in the town on 
your own hook ?" he inquired. 

'Oh, no; I have lefi all that for 
you, and have simply been taking the 
air and indulging in a walk down the 
avenue." 

"Down the avenue! Then you 
must have passed your house." 

" Yes ; I not only walked past my 
own home, but also took a peep into 
the store, where I saw my son and 
employes busily at work, little think- 
ing that the eyes of the old man was 
upon them." \ 

" And did you see your daughter, 
too?" 

" Oh, yes ; I saw her twice./ And 
the old gentleman related the inci- 
dent already known to the reader. 

" What do you think of it, Harry?" 
he inquired. 

" I think this," he replied, " that 
Miss Baldwin would never counte- 
nance the acquaintance or accept the 
friendship of any man or woman 
whose integrity was not above sus- 
picion !" 

He spoke warmly and earnestly. 

u Well said, my young friend, well 
said ! And that reminds me of some- 
thing Josie said about you /" 

About me ! It is not possible that 
Miss Baldwin would stop for a mo- 
ment to think of such a person as I 
am I 

His heart was in his throat. He 
could hardly speak. 



" Ok, yes ! She urged me to make 
all possible haste to the station house, 
and by all means to secure your re- 
lease, no matter what you had done. 
And when I returned and explained 
everything she made me do it, Har- 
ry and she read the letter you had 
written, the dear child defended you 
with wonderful eloquence, and de- 
clared her belief that, though wrong, 
you were honest, and would have 
faithfully and manfully kept your 
promise 1" * 

"God bless her!" 

The old man noticed the deep fer- 
vency with which these words were 
uttered, but he attributed the cause 
for so much emotion to the natural 
gratitude that any one would feel to- 
wards a warm and zealous defender. 
He did not dream of the great joy 
that gladdened the heart of his young 
friend as he heard the story of the 
girl's sympathy and confidence ! She 
at least did noli think him a thief, and 
he was happy ! 

CHAPTER XV. 

It will be remembered that, in a 
preceding chapter, mention was made 
of a remarkable dream that disturbed 
the slumbers of Cranky Ann, on the 
night that she revealed a portion of 
her life-tale to the philanthropic mer- 
chant. 

It was merely a dream, and yet it 
was so natural, so life like, so vivid 
that on awakening the poor street- 
walker's mind was dazed, and it re- 
quired several minutes to restore her 
to complete consciousness. But 
when reason did come, and she real- 
ized that her imaginings of the hours 
before had been but the fallacies of 
dreamland, she groaned aloud and 
muttered : 

"God! Twas onty a dream, after 
all!" 

Upon retiring, her mind had not 
been in a settled condition, but she 
heroically endeavored to stifle mem- 
ory, and keep back the surging 
thoughts that madly struggled in the 
effort to push themselves fcrward. 
That which she had related to Mr. 



Baldwin had revived recollections 
that were agonizing, and she cursed 
herself for the weakness that had led 
her to let loose her tongue at the re 
quest of a stranger. Yet there was 
a magnetism in his presence, a charm 
in his words, that she could not re- 
sist. She felt that she was in the 
presence of a good man better than 
any that she had conversed with tor 
years and the sensation was so 
strange and so pleasant that she could 
refuse him nothing. She had met 
and conversed with a great many 
respectable gentleman before but they 
were such only in name they were 
the hypocrites whose prayers were 
long and loud in public, but who 
were like an apple with a fair and 
tempting skin, beneath which, to the 
very core, all was rottenness. 

Cranky Ann's eyelsds had scarcely 
closed when fancy fluttered its fleecy 
wings, and the fairies of imagination 
danced fleetingly before her. Once 
more she was a child. The bloom 
of youth was upon her cheeks, and 
the vigils of virtue had guarded her 
honor. Purity was written upon her 
face and beamed from her eyes and 
the blighting breath of scandal had 
not scorched her reputation nor sul- 
lied her name. Her heart was light 
as the fleecy flakes of the winter's 
snow Time passed. Years were 
compressed into minutes, through 
the magic potency of the dream god. 
The tempter came. With his smooth 
words, his persuasive and appealing 
eyes, his gentle manners, he won the 
maiden's heart. Without thought, 
with never an idea that she was do 
ing wrong, with no suspicion that the 
lover was other than he seemed, with 
no lack of confidence in every word 
he uttered, but with child-like faith 
that no power on earth could shake, 
she fell into the toils. Bliss was brief. 
The devil's horns and hoofs were 
soon revealed. Covered with 
shame as with a garment, over- 
whelmed with grief, middened with 
a consciousness of her own guilt and 
her betraj er's baseness, she shrank 
from the gaze of family and friends, 
and went out upon the world branded. 



The dream was broken by a misty, 
hazy, half-conscieus interlude, and 
once more fitful fancy resumed its 
sway. But oh! how changed the 
vision! The beautiful maiden had 
been transformed into a hateful, hid- 
eous hag. She lay in a filthy hovel, 
upon a bed of straw. Her face was 
swollen, blotched and blistered. Her 
hair was matted and tangled. She 
was clothed in the most loathsome 
rags, with the vermin crawling in 
the seams, and feeding upon 
her flesh. Her feet were bare, 
and her hands were clotted with the 
blood and filth that had been scraped 
from festering sores. Wretchedness 
such as that had never been seen be- 
fore. Despair blazed from her blood- 
shot eyes, and from head to foot she 
quivered as one stricken with palsy. 
The black angel of death stood over 
her, and as he waved his crimson 
wand the wretch upon the pallet gave 
one mighty shriek, and fell back 
stark, stiff, lifeless; and in the out- 
lines of the sickening corpse Cranky 
Ann saw reflected her own image ! 

No wonder the street walker 
groaned. No wonder she started. 
No wonder she exclaimed, with the 
blood treezing in her veins : 

" God! 'Ttvas only a dream! 



CHAPTER XVI. 
The house to which Cranky Ann 
conducted Miss Baldwin was an im- 
posing edifice, elegantly furnished, 
presided over by a woman whom we 
will call Madame Gibson. It was 
simply a very aristocratic, high toned 
assignation house. There was an air 
of perfect respectability about the es- 
tablishment, and even the neighbors 
were not aware, at that time, of its 
true character. Madame Gibson was 
an elderly woman, somewhat inclined 
to corpulency, with hair sprinkled 
liberally with gray. She had remark- 
ably clear black eyes, wore gold spec- 
tacles, and her whole appearance was 
rather attractive for one of her years. 
Her real character will be clearly de- 
fined before this romance is conclu- 
ded. 



40 



With the exception of the Madame 
and two servants, (colored), there 
was no one in the house at the time 
we introduce her; but evidently she 
was expecting a visitor, for she was 
standing at a window of the front 
parlor, peering through the blinds 
with eyes that seemed too anxious 
for ordinary curiosity. 

u He wrote me a note that he would 
be here this afternoon early," she 
said to herself, " and here it is nearly 
3 o'clock and no signs of his appear- 
ance. That he means business I 
know, for Jack Dunning is one of thit 
kind; and he is one, too, who is will- 
ling to bleed freely provided his wishes 
are faithfully complied with. He is no 
common customer, for he is too shrewd 
to pay the price I demand for apart 
ments, when he knows where to find 
others, that will answer the same 
purpose, for one quarter the amount ; 
but when he requires a long head, a 
brave heart, and a cunning brain, he 
knows where to find it, and knows, 
too, that he will have to pay for 
iff ' 

" Ha ! here he conies," she contin- 
ued, with animation, as she has- 
tened to the front door to admit her 
expected friend and patron, even be 
fore he had rang the bell. 

"My dear Madame," exclaimed 
Jack, shaking her warmly by the 
hand, " I am delighted to find j-ou at 
home. Did you receive my note?" 

44 Yes, and it is lucky you wrote 
one, for I had intended to enjoy an 
afternoon ride to day." 

"For pleasure, I suppose?" he 
queried, with an expressive glance in 
her face. 

" Oh, for that matter, I always 
combine business with pleasure," she 
replied; 'the old woman always 
keeps her eyes open, if she does look 
through spectacles." 

" And pretty sharp eyes they are, 
too," he gallantly rejoined, as they 
walked into the parlor. 

Both having taken a seat on the 
same sofa, Madame Gibson looked 
up with a questioning gaze. 

" I know what you would ask," he 
said. 



" Yes ? Well, if you are a mind- 
reader, please tell me, what would I 
ask?" 

" You want to know my business 
here." 

" You are partly right, and partly 
wrong. If you have any special 
business with me, of course it is but 
natural that I should have some curi 
osity as to its nature; but one thing 
I can assure you, Mr. Dunning you 
will always find a cordial welcome to 
the hospitalities of my house, whether 
you come to seek my services, or as 
a friendly caller !" 

Jack Dimming did not repeat his 
thoughts! It he had, one word would 
have been sufficient " Gammon." 
He knew that Madame Gibson would 
do anything for money, and that as to 
friendship she was a thoroughbred 
wolf. But notwithstanding this 
knowledge, he thanked her very 
warmly for her kind assurances, and 
then proceeded: 

" Madame, it will only take me one 
little minute to explain the reason of 
my visit this afternoon. I wish to 
engage you!" 

" That is a queer wish, Jack; pray 
make your meaning a little more 
plain."" 

" "Well, then, I want you to act a 
part for a day or two. Do you think 
you could consent to own me for a 
son for that length of time ?" 

" I should be proud of you if you 
were my son," was the flattering re- 
ply. 

" But that does not answer m.jr 
question." 

" Really, I know I am thick head- 
ed, but I must own that I don't quite 
understand you. 

" Then I will explain fully. Two 
ladies will call here this afternoon. 
One ot them, Miss Isabella Martin- 
dale, you must recognize as a friend 
you have met in New Orleans. She 
is in mv employ. The other is a reat 
lady, Miss Baldwin by name, with 
whom I am madly in love, but have 
no acquaintance. While they are 
here, 1 will happen in. I am your 
son, and of course you will introduce 
me as such. Atter that, I can man- 



41 



age the little play myself. An oppor- 
tunity is all I ask." 

" Now I understand the whole 
business, as well as though I had 
studied it a month. You say the 
ladies will be here this afternoon?" 

* At or near 4 o'clock." 

"But suppose the young lady, by 
some strange freak, does not prove 
as tractable as you imagine P' 

" If such should be the case," and 
there was a wicked gleam in the two 
eyes that he flashed upon the Mad- 
ame, " then you and I may have oc- 
casion to engage in further business 
transactions /" 

" I understand 1" was the reply. 

There was more meaning in these 
two words than could be explained 
in an entire printed page. The voice 
and the eye can tell more in a second 
than words can express in an hour. 

It was fortunate for them that a 
quick understanding had been per 
fected, for just at that moment the 
clear-sounding bell announced that 
at least one more visitor had ar 
rived. 

Jack Dunning did not desire to 
meet his charmer at once. He con- 
sidered that it would be much the 
better plan to wait until she should 
become partially acquainted with his 
mother^ and then quietly drop in on 
them, and secure the introduction he 
coveted. 

Retiring to a rear room, where he 
would be unobserved, he awaited 
further developments ; awaited them 
with an anxiety he had never felt be- 
fore. 

A servant answered the bell, and 
at once conducted the ladies, who 
were none other than Cranky Ann 
and Josephine Baldwin, to the main 
parlor. 

Madame Gibson was so completely 
astonished, so thoroughly surprised, 
so exceedingly pleased, that the 
tears actually rolled down her cheeks, 
as she hugged and kissed, and kissed 
again, her dear friend 7 

Her joy knew no bounds. She 
was almost speechless with ecstacy. 

And then there was another hug, 
still other kisses, and further 



vigorous and protracted shaking erf 
hands. 

After these demonstrations of de- 
light, that had been admirably acted, 
partially ceased, " Miss Martindale " 
in due form introduced Madame 
Gibson to Miss Baldwin. But she 
did not make use of the old woman's 
right name. Oh, no! Such a course 
would have been fatal to any future 
plans, and Jack Dunning had been 
very careful to caution her. " Mrs. 
Robinson ' ' was the name used for 
the occasion a name that was pure 
ly fictitious, and that would afford no 
clue should after events require the 
very respectable old lad y to retire to 
some secluded city retreat. It was 
not probable that a stranger would 
remember the number of a house, 
in a neighborhood where nearly all 
residences resembled each other ; but 
she would certainly remember a nanu 
and who could tell her of the 
whereabouts of " Mrs. Robinson," 
when no such woman existed ?" 

These schemers were sharp, shrewd, 
cunning ; they had laid their plans 
deep; they had prepared for any 
emergency; they were bound to win, 
by fair means or by foul ! 

" Mrs. Robinson" was exceedingly 
polite and entertaining to her visit- 
ors, and Miss Bald win could not help 
but form a very favorable opinion 
concerning her. The old woman was 
educated, and well versed not only 
in the etiquette of the parlor, but in 
the genial topics that make conversa- 
tion pleasant and one's society agree- 
able. 

As for Cranky Ann, she astonished 
even herself. She had not thought 
it possible for her to represent a lady 
so well. It was, indeed, perfection 
itself. 

And there are many more women 
of the town in Chicago who, were 
they so disposed, could so conduct 
themselves as to make many a reai 
lady envious ! 

Half an hour was passed in an in- 
terchange of sentiments that would 
naturally find expression at a meet- 
ing of two friends who reside so far 
apart as are the cities of New Orleans 



42 



and Chicago, in which Miss Baldwin 
took small part; but she was not en- 
tirely neglected, and soon found her- 
self on quite familiar terms with her 
new acquaintance. 

Cranky Ann knew that Jack Dun- 
ning was waiting with all the pa- 
tience he could muster, in another 
part of the house. It required no 
great skill to find an excuse for mo- 
mentarily leaving the parlor, and, as 
soon as she decently could, she beck 
oned a servant who was passing 
through the hall, and followed her 
out, leaving; the old woman to enter- 
tain Miss Baldwin while she sought 
Jack. 

He was watching for her. A door 
in the rear of the hall opened, and he 
beckoned her to approach. 

The servant, of course, was deaf, 
dumb W^A. blind} They always are 
in such places. 

Jaek was looking his very best. 
He was what many would consider a 
handsome man. 

" Crank ! is everything all right ?" 
he whispered, eagerly. 

" Everything is O. K., and now, 
while I am away, is the time for you 
to march forward and receive the in- 
troduction that you have so set your 
heart upon." 

" Shall I go into the parlor now? " 

"No; you had better go out 
through the back gate, slip around 
through the alley, and ring the front 
door-bell. That would look as though 
you had been away all the time." 

" Your head is level, Crank I will 
go at once." 

u Wait a minute, Jack!" command- 
ed the street walker. 

" What do you want?" he inquired, 
impatiently. 

44 1 want to tell you this : Don't be 
too rash ; don't be impetuous; don't 
over-act your part. Make a favorable 
impression if you can, but don't go 
at it as a butcher does when he com- 
mences a, day's work in slaughtering 
beeves. I shall not have a chance, 
probably, to speak to you again, 
alone, before we leave for her home." 

" Is she going home to-nigkt ?" he 
impaired, almost savagely. 



"Certainly! Why not? Do yow 
expect to win a woman in an hour?" 

u I may not win her, but I will 
have her !" was the significant reply. 

14 Yes, but not to day not to- 
night! There is plenty of time. You 
and your mother can call on /, and 
after that, perhaps, an afternoon ride 
on the boulevards, and after that " 

" I am satisfied with your plan, 
Crank! To-day I meet the beauty! 
To-morrow or the day after we meet 
again! The following day a ride! 
After that" 

The smile upon his face as he shot 
through the back door, with the in- 
complete sentence upon his lips, wa 
sardonic it was devilish! 

"After that.'" repeated Cranky 
Ann, between her shut teeth ; ' after 
that, Jack Dunning, you will find a 
wolf in your path a hungry she-wolf, 
who would tear the liver from your 
foul carcass and feed it, warm and 
dripping, to bitch curs, before stie 
woulu permit you to harm one hair 
of that girl' s head! Oh, I am glad 
that I am a party to this unholy and 
most devilish conspiracy ! I am glad 
that Jack Dunning met me instead of 
some wretch withaut a soul^ when in 
search ol some one to help concoct and 
execute an infamy blacker than hell ! 
Guilt and gain, 'tis true, prompted 
me to this wickedness! I did not 
hesitate to sell myself for a few pal- 
try dollars to assist in a scheme wor- 
thy only of the queen of hell, the 
devil's wife I But from this time 
forth, though I may seem to serve my 
master, I will be the soldier that will 
stand guard over virtue ! Jack Dun- 
ning shall only win her hate, her 
contempt, her scorn ! I will poison 
her mind ! I will do anything, every- 
thing against him and this whorish 
slut whom I have caressed this hour 1 
I will foil them in their vile plans 
peaceably, if I can; but if not, let 
them beware when the tigress is at 
bay r 

And when she returned to the par- 
lor and was honored with an intro- 
duction to this same Jack Dunning 
whom she had so bitterly denounced, 
her face was wreathed in smiles, and 



43 



there was a holy calm upon the brow 
that had been so recently black and 
furrowed with anger ! 

Ah, Cranky Ann! you were in- 
deed an excelent actress that after 
noon! 



CHAPTER XVII. 

We left Harry Harper and Mr. 
Baldwin together in the room they 
had rented down town the former 
happy in ihe thought that the fair 
daughter of his companion had spoken 
of him, not only in kindness, but 
with earnest enthusiasm. 

Had he but known, at that instant, 
where Josephine Baldwin was, he 
would have prayed God for the wings 
of an eagle, that he might fly to her 
relief ! 

But he was all unconscious that 
danger was hanging like a threaten- 
ing cloud over her innocent head 
that base conspirators were planning 
and plotting in an endeavor to en- 
trap and ruin her ! 

For a few moments there was si- 
lence in that room. One was fondly 
and tenderly nursing in his mind the 
outlined image of a great j->y; the 
other was brooding over the dark 
shadows of an overpowering grief. 

Mr. Baldwin first broke the si- 
lence. 

" Harry," he said, " when am I to 
see my niece?" 

A shade passed over the young 
man's brow, but it was momentary, 
and he replied seriously : 

"Mr. Baldwin you are a much old- 
er man than I am in years, but in ex- 
perience in the lower walks of society 
you are but a child, while I am a 
veteran. I' am sorry that this unfor 
tunate recognition took place, be- 
cause it was a shock from which you 
will not soon recover; it will always 
be a cloud hovering near you, ready 
to leap between you and sunshine at 
any time or in any place, unless you 
will listen to calm advice from so un- 
worthy a person as myself." 

44 And what would you advise, my 
by?" 

There was a painful earnestness in 



the old man's gaze, his voice trem- 
bled, and it was with visible effort 
that he kept back tears of sorrow. 

" You will not be offended if my 
language is plain?" 

44 1 shall expect you to speak just 
as you think." 

' 4 1 am glad you feel that way, my 
kind friend, because I would not lor 
the world say one word that would 
cause you unnecessary pain. The 
girl that you recognized is, I am sor- 
ry to say, one of the lowest creatures 
in this city. There is a report that, 
years ago, she was very charming * 

44 She was beautiful beuutitul!" 

Harry did not notice the interrup- 
tion, but continued : 

44 It is said that, even after she had 
been on the town lor five years, she 
retained the fresh appearance of a 
school-girl, and was accorded the dis- 
tinction of being the queen of the 
circle in which she moved But her 
charms quickly faded, and it was not 
long before Dolly Washington for 
that was the name by which she was 
known became a drunken little sot 
the most conspicuous among those 
whom the police are called upon to 
arrest. That was some twelve years 
or more ago. Not having the means 
to pay btr fines, nor friends when 
most she needed them, poor Dolly 
frequently found herself in the Bride- 
well, sometimes for short terms and 
then again for long ones. For two 
or three years she hardly ever re- 
mained at liberty more than a week 
at a time. When drunk she was very 
ugly and quarrelsome so vicious 
that very few men cared to meet her, 
while she was a perfect terror to those 
of her own sex. On one occasion, 
when in the place culled the 4 Bull 
Pen ' at the old Armory a little en- 
closure where the prisoners, both 
male and female, were huddled to- 
gether, previous to being called be- 
fore the Judge lor trial D )lly met.a 
negro- ^whkewasher named Tom Wil- 
son, who had been arrested for drunk- 
enness, and who had plenty of money 
to pay his fine The girl was sick, 
penniless and down-hea*ted. The 
negro took pity on her, paid her fine, 



44 



gave her a small sum of money, and 
bought her an entire new suit, so 
that she could present a neat and 
tidy appearance. Dolly's heart was 
touched. She looked beyond his 
black skin, and saw only the kind 
heart that beat in the bosom of the 
whitewasher. - really believe that 
she loved him from that hour. la 
less than a week they were married, 
and for a year or more they lived 
happily and contentedly together. 
During that time a child was born 
as beautiful a babe as I ever saw. 
Shortly after that Dolly's appetite 
fa/ strong drink overcame her, and a 
fearful quarrel with her husband was 
the result. Both were arrested, but 
the little yellow innocent that she 
held in her arms, together with sol- 
emn promises of future good behavior, 
secured their discharge. A recon- 
ciliation had taken place in the same 
' Bull Pen ' that brought them togeth- 
er at first, and Tom and his white 
wife went happily back to their home. 
Since then they have lived peaceably 
and at war at stated intervals. Tom 
was very jealous at first, and has 
many a time threatened to kill nig- 
gers and white men who have paid un- 
due attention to his dear Dolly, but 
time has produced a change, and now 
he permits her to do just about as 
she pleases, frequently going with 
him himself to just such places as old 
Black Dan's dance house." 

Harry paused for a full minute, 
expecting to hear something from the 
old gentleman. But Mr. Baldwin 
did not open his lips. His bowed 
head rested upon his hands, and his 
mind was deep in thought. Harry 
continued : 

" Mr. Baldwin, I have given you a 
brief outline of the history of this 
unfortunate young woman, whom you 
believe to be your sister's child." 

" Believe !" exclaimed the aroused 
listener, " I know she is! I would 
swear to it!" ' 

** I am sorry to say that I know it, 
too,' 're plied Harry. "She told me this 
afternoon that she had seen her lath- 
er, her mother and her uncle within 
two weeks, but that she wouM not 



have them recognize her for the 
world." 

" You have seen her, Harry ? 
Where?" 

" At her home." 

" Then you know where the poor 
child lives!" 

" She lives within four blocks ot 
the spot where we now stand." 

" Then let us go to her at once!" 

The old gentleman was excited. 

' I do not think we had better go, 
Mr. Baldwin," was Harry's calm re- 
sponse. 

"Not go? Not rescue my niece 
from worse thaj death?" gasped the 
merchant, in amazement. 

"You could 'not rescue her," was 
the confident reply. 

" Why not why not?" 

" Because, Mr. Baldwin, she loves 
her children, she loves her home, and 
she loves her husband /" 

The old merchant groaned. 

" How do you know this ?" he said, 
with quivering voice. 

"Because she told me so." 

" You did not betray me? You 
did not tell her you had found her 
relatives?" 

" Heaven forbid that I should be 
guilty of so base an act !" 

" Then tell me how you came by 
this knowledge." 

" I will do so, gladly. Your neice 
lives in the basement of a house of 
ill tame known as the Long Branch, 
on Van Buren street, west of Clark 
a long, narrow, one-story -and-base- 
ment wooden building, occupied 
above by white prostitutes and be 
low by poor negro families. After 
the discovery made by me last night, 
I determined to seek her out, and sat- 
isfy myself as to whether anything 
could be done that would better her 
condition. I found her surrounded 
by her little ones, and seemingly per- 
fectly happv. She received me cor- 
dially, and we had a long talk. I 
told her that there were reports going 
the rounds that her parents and rel- 
atives were people of high respecta- 
bility, and she candidly confessed 
that these reports were true, and told 
me enough to convince me that she 



knows you all. I then said, ' Dolly, 
suppose your people would overlook 
the past, and welcome you with open 
arms to the old home that you de- 
serted, what would you say?' 'What 
should I say, Harry ?' was her ques- 
tioning reply ; ' I'll tell you what I'd 
say it would be, never T 'Why 
not ? ' I inquired. * Harry Harper,' 
she replied, ' look at me ! What sort 
of a lady would I make, in my fath- 
er's parlor, with these nigger children 
on one side, and Tom Wilson, the 
white washer, on the other ?' ' But it 
would not be necessary to take them 
with you,' I said, ' they could be pro 
vided for elsewhere.' 'What!' she 
exclaimed, ' do you think I would 
separate trom my little ones, or my 
Tom ? No / These are my pets ; I 
am their mother, and God knows I 
love them. Tom is black, I know ; 
but he took me when I was down ; he 
saved me from hardship and prison ; 
he has been good to me; he has over- 
looked faults that a white man would 
never forgive ; and were his skin ten 
times blacker, I would love him just 
the same, for his heart is white ! I 
am satisfied with my condition. I 
am happy here. Would I, could I 
say as much if I should tell these 
children that I brought into the world 
that they were black brats, that their 
father was a low-down nigger, and that 
I was a born lady, and would return 
to the luxuries of my avenue home ?' 
I tell you, Mr. Baldwin, that girl 
spoke with an eloquent tongue, and 
I could make no answer. You know 
it all now." 

The merchant could hardly speak, 
so powerful were his emotions. But 
at length he found his voice. 

" Harry," he said, sadly, " the girl 
is right! Much as I could wish to 
rescue her from that den in which she 
lives, I would not do it even if she 
should consent, for I know it would 
make her miserably unhappy ; and I 
feel, too, that it would be an act that 
God would frown upon to take a 
mother from her children or a wife 
from her husband. ' Let her live as 
she has lived ; let her be happy if she 
can ; but if must look after her, trid 



see that she never comes to want." 
" I am glad you feel that way," was 
Harry's response. A heavy load 
had been lifted from his mind. 

He shortly after left the room, 
promising to return at an early hour 
in the evening, when the two would 
take a stroll under the gaslight. 



CHAPTER XVJII. 

Cranky Ann and Josephine made 
quite a lengthy call at the residence 
of " Mrs. Robinson," but they left 
for home long before dark. 

Madame Gibson had exerted her- 
self to the utmost to make the callers 
feel that they were welcome in the 
broadest sense of the word; and 
when they left, both the old lady and 
her "son" were eloquent in their im- 
portunities for a renewal of the ac- 
acquaintance so auspiciously begun. 
UpOQ the invitation of Miss Baldwin, 
and the eager solicitation of u Miss 
Martindale," it was arranged that 
mother and son should call at the 
Baldwin mansion on the following 
Monday, (the Sabbath only interven- 
ing-) 

" They seem to be extremely pleas- 
ant people, do they not ?" said Miss 
B to her companion, as they leisure 
ly proceeded homeward. 

Crank hesitated. 

" The lady does seem to be very 
agreeable and entertaining," she 
finally replied. 

"The lady does! Why, you seem 
to ignore her son altogether." 

" I am a very candid woman, Miss 
Baldwin, and plain of speech, and if 
I should express to you my opinion 
of the young man of whom you have 
spoken, I am afraid you would con- 
sider me not only vulgar and rude, 
but impudent and offensive." 

" By no means 1 These are people 
that neither one of us have seen be- 
fore, and if you have discovered any- 
thing out of the way, or even sus- 
picious, it is your duty to make me 
your confidante." 

" I cannot say that I have seen any 
thing out of the way, Miss Baldwin; 
but I have never yet been deceived 



47 



in a human face ! I can read the mind 
of man or woman with rare accu- 
racy." 

u And what, pray tell me, did you 
read in the mind of young Mr. Rob- 
inson ?" 

" I would not dare to tell you all I 
read !" 

Miss Baldwin was getting inter- 
ested. 

" Why, Miss Martindale," she said, 
" you talk as though there was some- 
thing terrible about this handsome 
sonof your friend. Asforme, Imust 
confess that he interested and pleased 
me very much. He is polite, gen- 
teel, pleasant, attentive, sociable, and 
a gifted conversationalist. Now, 
what else could be desired?" 

" He is all that, Miss Baldwin, I 
must confess," returned Crank, "but 
ihe is, too, something more than that ! 
Oh, if you knew what I know ! " 

" You alarm me ! Did you ever 
see him before?" 

\ Crank had gone further than she 
had intended to; but she was equal 
to the emergency. 

" Why, no ! Of course I never 
saw him before, and perhaps I ought 
not to have spoken as I did. Some- 
times I forget myself, and talk of 
things as positive facts that are merely 
conjectures of mind. Whenever I 
wish to do so, I really believe I can 
tell exactly what a person is thinking 
of." 

Miss Baldwin looked at Crank cu- 
riously. 

" Will you permit me to put you 
to the test ?" she inquired. 

" I have no objection," was Crank's 
reply, but she felt uneasy she was 
was getting into deep water, and 
could not swim. 

"Then tell me this: What am I 
thinking about now ?" 

Cranky Ann fixed upon Josephine 
a penetrating gaze, as though she 
would read her very soul. She then 
said in very solemn tones : 

" Miss Baldwin, I have read your 
mind ! Were you to speak your 
thoughts at this moment your words 
would be : * Is this woman sane or is 
she crazy ?' " 



Josephine Baldwin came very near 
staggering, and she certainly turned 
very pale. 

" Word for word!" was all she said 
in reply, and there was a pause; but 
her mind quickly rallied, and she 
turned toward Cranky Ann with 
great earnestness and said : 

* Miss Martindale, I believe you 
are gifted with wonderful powers of 
penetration, to say the least. You 
repeated to me my very thoughts, 
though I lisped not a syllable. If 
you can thus read my mind, you can 
with equal certainty read his. You 
have made use of expressions that 
are calculated to alarm me. You 
have indicated to me that there is 
something about him that is mys- 
terious, if not dangerous. Now, my 
friend, tell me his thoughts this after- 
noon !" 

She had taken the arm of her com- 
panion, and was looking steadily, 
searchingly, pleadingly into her face. 

Crank hesitated a moment, and 
then said: 

*' Miss Baldwin, did you ever see 
a beautiful snake ? " 

The young lady shuddered. 

" I have seen serpents that were 
beautiful, and yet they were hideous 
they were repulsive," she said in 
reply. 

"But they were not more repulsive 
than this accomplished gentleman 
would be to you, could >ou look 
with my eyes." 

"You have not answered my 
question what were his thoughts ?" 

" I cannot repeat them !" 

" What were their nature ?" 

" Deceit / Treachery ! Lust!" 

" And yet you did not repel him ? 
You even inviied him to visit us at 
our house !" 

" Miss Baldwin," replied Crank, 
" this man acted like a gentleman ; I 
assume to be a lady ; how, then, could 
I have done otherwise ?" 

" That is true," said Josephine, re- 
flectively ; " it is possible that you 
were mistaken, and in that event you 
would have wronged one who is in- 
nocent. But we will have another 
opportunity to read this man, and I 



4ft 



will m3*sen take observations on the 
sly." " 

The residence of Mr. Baldwin was 
reached without further conversation 
of interest. 

Upon entering the parlor, a servant 
handed Cranky Ann a letter, with a 
city post mark, addressed to " Miss 
Isabella Martindale, care Alanson 
Baldwin, No. Wabash avenue." 
It read as follows: 

** PALMER HOUSE, Saturday. Miss 
Martindale : A lady now stopping at 
our hotel requests me to invite you 
to call upon her without delay. She 
is a friend of yours from the South. 

CLERK. 

"I wonder who this can be?" 
mnsed Crank, as she handed the note 
to Josephine for perusal. 

"Oh!" she continued, "I know! 
It's my cousin Anna, and she gave no 
name because she wanted to surprise 
me 1 Oh, I must go right off and 
meet her! We shall go to the the- 
atre to-night, and I don't believe I 
can possibly get away from her be- 
fore Monday!" 9 

The decietful girl had written the 
note herself. She wanted to get 
away from her prison to pull off 
the mask to be herself for a short 
time, at least. 

Miss Baldwin was very sorry to 
lose the companionship of her visitor, 
and so expressed herself; but she 
could interpose no objection, and 
in a very short time Cranky Ann 
was in her own room, with her gor- 
geous garments laid aside, her face 
painted, her hair frizzed, and attired 
in an old wardrobe. 

Later in the evening she sauntered 
out. 

" There are two men that I don't 
want to meet to-night Jack Dun- 
ning and the old man I saw for the 
second time this afternoon," she said, 
proceeding leisurely along. 

She had scarcely walked a block 
when she came to a sudden halt, and 
quickly dodged into a hall way. The 
next minute Harry Harper and Mr. 
Baldwin passed. 

" I wonder who that man is ?*' said 
Crank, as she gazed alter them ; "the 



first time I met him, Harry Harper 
was near by, and now I find them 
together, as familiar as father and son 1 
There's something up, and old Crank 
will not be many days older before 
she finds out all about it!" - 

And she proceeded down the street, 
all unconscious of the fact that she 
would meet with an exciting adven- 
ture that very night 1 

CHAPTER XIX. 

Mr. Baldwin felt greatly relieved 
in mind after he had heard the state- 
ment made by Harry Harper concern- 
ing Dolly Washington. He regret- 
ted, of course, that a niece of his 
should have descended to such deg- 
radation ; but he admired the courage 
with which she clung to her offspring, 
and to the black man she so foolish- 
ly consented to marry. Knowing 
that Dolly was happy and contented, 
he dismissed her for the time being 
from his thoughts, inwardly deter- 
mining that, further than assisting 
her in case of need, he would never 
interfere between her and hers. 

"This is Saturday night," said 
Harry to Mr. Baldwin, that evening, 
after they had partaken of a substan- 
tial supper at a famous restaurant. 

** I was aware of that fact," said 
the merchant, complacently ; " but I 
did not consider it of enough impor 
tance for special mention. Is there 
anything very peculiar about Satur- 
day night?" 

" Nothing: very peculiar, but in my 
experience I have found it much 
livelier around town on that evening 
of the week than on any other. Mon- 
ey is more plentiful and more peo- 
ple are at leisure." 

" Have you the programme marked 
out for to-night, Harry ?" 

"I have been thinking over the 
matter for a few minutes. I guess 
we'd better take in two different 
kinds of wickedness Sin in Siik and 
Chicago Under Ground" 

" Very well ; and let me assure you 
of this, Harry I shall be astonished 
at nothing that I shall see. My eyea 
are getting wide open already." 



49 



Later in the evening the .two 
leisurely walked down State street 
Alter they had passed Van Buren 
Harry said: 

44 Did you see that woman dodge 
into a hall-way?" 

'I thought I saw a petticoat flut- 
tering, but paid no attention to it." 

" That was yonr friend, Cranky 
Ann, the girl so full of wonderful 
mysteries. Ah! my friend, I am 
afraid you will have tough work in 
making anything but a hardened old 
street- walker out of that piece of baa 
flesh." 

" At any rate, Harry, there can be 
no harm in trying. The more aban- 
doned the wretch, the more the ne- 
cessity for putting forth an effort in 
her behalf. I have faith that I can do 
that woman good." 

" We shall see what we shall see," 
was Harry's rather incredulous re- 
mark, as they passed on down the 
street, turning on Harrison and pro- 
ceeding to Fourth avenue. There 
they took another turn to the north, 
when the old gentleman remonstra- 
ted: 

" Why, Harry, you seem to be 
taking the back track. Are you 
about to return to where we started 
fron?" 

"Not exactly," was the reply; 
" you have not far to go." 

Scarcely had they ceased speaking 
when they found themselves in front 
of a mammoth stone front four-story 
building. 

" We will make a short call here," 
said, Harry, at the same time mount- 
ing the stone steps leading to the 
front door. 

" Excuse me," said Mr. Baldwin 
" if you have friends here that you 
wish to see, I will wait for you on the 
outside. I am not in condition to 
appear in respectable society 1" 

" The society that you will meet 
here will not object to your appear- 
ance. This is not what is called a 
respectable house. It is one of the 
most elegant palaces of sin in this 
country, owned by a woman who 
might now be one of the finest ladies 



in the land, had she not been in hard 
luck, as we sporting folks call it." 

Expressing surprise that so grand 
a structure should be devoted to so 
foul a purpose, Mr. Baldwin hesitated 
no longer. 

The merchant had determined, no 
matter what he saw, not to allow 
himself to seem astonished; but when, 
for the first time in his life, he looked 
upon Sin in Silk, he became confused 
and bewildered. 

And well he might be 1 

The grand hall, with mirrors reach- 
ing to the high ceiling; one hundred 
feet of parlors, connected by folding 
doors that, when opened, combined 
the whole into one immense room; 
the walls adorned with hundreds of 
oil paintings, of great value; the spot- 
less ceilings frescoed with the match- 
less taste of an unequalled artist; the 
carved furniture ornamented with 
miniature paintings of chaste design ; 
the velvet carpets soft and pliant to 
the foot's touch; and all the surround- 
ings grand beyond description. 

But this was nothing ; ne had seen 
elegance before. That which so as- 
tonished him was the presence of a 
dozen or more magnificently dressed 
women women as beautiful and 
lovely in appearance as any ladies 
that he had ever met in his life. 
Among them was one that partic- 
ularly attracted his attention. She 
wore skirts that reached to the knees 
only, and really looked to be but a 
mere child. The "ladies * who were 
lounging about in the hall, approached 
as Harry and Mr. Baldwin entered, 
and the " child " singled out the old 
gentleman, clasped her fair arms 
around his neck, pulled down his 
head, and kissed him ! 

Mr. Baldwin had recovered his 
equinimity, and not only made no 
objection, but Harry, who had 
watched the movement with an 
amused smile, could have sworn that 
the kiss was returned with commen- 
dable warmth. Proceeding to the 
back parlor, they seated themselves 
in close proximity, and without cere- 
mony entered into animated conver- 



50 



sation, the nature of which will form 
a separate chapter in this romance. 

In the meantime, Harry, who was 
always a favorite with the ladies, 
made himself agreeable in his own 
" sweet" way, and time passed rap- 
idly. 

Visitors came and departed. The 
merry popping of the wine cork was 
frequently heard, and Madame Wil- 
liams, the keeper of the house, was 
happy. 

Harry was seated on a lounge in 
the hall, and of course all who came 
in were compelled to pass in review 
before him. The bell rang, and with 
natural curiosity, when the door 
opened, he glanced at the face of the 
visitor. 

"My God !" he exclaimed, as his 
eyes tell upon the person who had 
entered. 

It was Jeremiah Baldwin, son of 
the merchant ! 

A girl sprang forward as he en- 
tered, to welcome "her Charley," as 
she called him, and arm in arm, in 
very loving contiguity, they walked 
down the hall, toward the very par- 
lor wht re sat the old gentleman on 
the same sofa with the short skirt 
ed" child." 

" They must not meet," Harry 
thought as he quickly arose and fol- 
lowed. 

But he was not quick enough. 
They were in the door before he 
reached them. Hoping that the old 
gentleman was so busily engaged in 
talking that he would not recognize 
his son, Harry fairly pulled him back 
by main strength, and whispered : 

" I wieh to speak to you in private 
for one moment." 

For an instant young Baldwin 
turned red in the face, and stammered. 
But it was only an instant. Extend- 
ing his hand, he said, frankly: 

" Harry, I confess that I would not 
have cared to meet you here ; but as 
we have met, I will not attempt to 
deny that I come here whenever I 
(eel like it, and that I am really not 
:ishamed to own it, although it would 
be mqre pleasant to meet none but 
strangers." 



" It was not that to which I had 
reference," returned Harry; " I con 
sider that it is neither my business, 
nor that of anybody else, where you 
go or what you do. But I have a 
particular friend in that parlor, who 
would prefer to be alone ; and it you 
and your lady would occupy this 
room, you would greatly oblige 
me." 

" Most certainly we will ! I would 
not for the world disturb your friend 
in any little flirtation that he may 
wish to have with any of Madame 
Williams' fair boarders." 

"Thank you, Charley" said Har- 
ry, with a smile. 

He turned, and there, not two feet 
from them, standing in the door, 
stood Alanson Baldwin! He had 
heard the entire conversation! 



CHAPTER XIX. 

The meeting of father and son in 
the house of Madame Williams was 
such a surprise as the old gentleman 
had never before experienced. At 
first he was shocked ; but he brought 
all the resolution that he could com- 
mand to his aid, and, suppressing his 
emotions, determined to learn the 
full extent of his son's sinfulness. 

As has been stated, he listened to 
the conversation between Harry and 
his boy. 

Extending his hand cordially, and 
grasping that of the younger Bald- 
win, he said, with forced hilarity: 

" 1 am always glad to shake the 
hand of any friend of Harry Harper ! 
Come, now, boys, and you too, my 
fair bundle of loveliness, let's ad- 
journ to the back parlor and test the 
quality of Madame Williams' wine!" 

Harry was the most astonished in 
dividual in that party. He had ex- 
pected a " scene," and could only 
wonder in amazement at the unex- 
pected jollity of the merchant. 

The wine was brought by a colored 
seivant, and all drank. 

Harry felt uneasy, as he detected 
a strange gleam in the eyes of the 
father as he touched glasses with his 
eon under such remarkable circum- 



51 



stances. But he had no opportunity 
to interfere, even if he had felt in- 
clined ; and, believing that it would 
be better to let them talk it out, he 
managed to attract the attention of 
the two girls. 

The old man noticed this with a 
smile ot approval. 

"Do you reside in the city?" in- 
quired Jerry, as they took seats on 
a sofa. 

" Well, I am here part of the time, 
and away the other part. But by 
the way, your face looks familiar. It 
seems to me that I have seen you 
before." 

" And then he whispered: 
. " Are you not old Baldwin's 
^on ?" 

"Hush! "was the reply; "I see 
that you recognize me, and your 
voice seems familiar, though I cannot 
recall your features ! But do not 
call me by my right name here, 
where I am known simply as Charley. 
How long have you been acquainted 
with my father ?" 

" We were inseparable companions 
for years!" 

" Indeed ! It is strange that I never 
met you before! But I am so busy 
at the store that I may have met and 
forgotten you. One thing, however, 
I must ask of you, and I am sure you 
will not refuse that you will not 
mention this meeting to my father." 

" Not for the world! But sup 
pose the old man should find it oat? 
What would you say? What would 
you do ?" 

" I will tell you what I would say, 
and wlnt I would do! I would talk 
and act like a man ! I would deny 
nothing, but I w6uld justify myself 
so clearly that I know he would not 
have one word of censure!" 

" My young friend, you speak like 
a man who believes what he utters, 
and yet you talk wildly. Would you 
dare stand face to face with your own 
father, and attempt to make any ex- 
cuse for being found in a house of 
this kind ?" 

" Not only with my father, sir, but 
with my God!" 

" I believe you are sincere in what 



you say, but I cannot but think that 
you have permitted yourself to be 
influenced by false and dangerous 
arguments. Tell me, now, my boy, 
what would you say to me, suppo- 
sing that I were your father?" 

" That would be impossible, sir ! 
My father would sooner cut off his 
right arm than visit a place of this 
kind!" 

" Are you sure of that?" 

" Sure of it ? I am so sure that I 
would wager my existence that he 
was never in all his life within the 
walls of a house of infamy!" 

" But supposing that I should tell 
yoi} that I have seen your father buy 
wine for a party of revelers in this 
very room what would you say 
then ?" 

" I would say," exclaimed the 
young man, springing to his feet, 
greatly excited, " I would say this : 
You are a liar and a dog /" 

He raised his hand to strike, but 
quicker than thought Harry Harper 
was between them. 

The merchant did not even arise 
from his seat; but he was deeply 
moved, for there were tears in his 
eyes! 

" Let him strike, Harry, let him 
strike." he said, with broken accents, 
"for I deserve blows for my cruel 
words. Young man, (addressing his 
son), I beg your pardon; I went too 
far, in an attempt to produce a forc- 
ible illustration." 

Jeremiah Baldwin's impulsive na- 
ture was subdued in an instant, and 
he expressed regret for his violent 
manifestations of a moment before. 

" Tell me the illustration you allu- 
ded to," he said, resuming his seat. 

" It was this : Your father, I know, 
has unbounded confidence in your 
honesty and integrity. He believes 
you to be the ver soul of honor. 
He would to-morrow place his entiiv 
fortune in your hands, and feel as 
safe as though it was under lock and 
key in his own home. Suppose some 
meddling mischief-maker shou'd g > 
to him and remark, ' I saw your son 
in a house ot ill fame last night," 



52 



gentle- 



He 



what do you think the oM 
man would say ?" 9 

The young man hesitated, 
tried to speak, but could not. 

"He would not probably be as 
demonstrative as his son, but would 
he not be equally as indignant?" 

" I believe he would," was the re- 
sponse, "but I also believe that, after 
he heard what his son had to say in 
his own defense, he would think long 
before he would utter one wcrd ot 
censure or reproach." 

" I have a curiosity to know what 
would be the nature of that defense," 
said the merchant, with a tone of in- 
quiry in his voice. 

"It would take a long time for 
me to give my views at length, but I 
can give you an outline briefly." 

" Go on, I am all attention." And 
the old gentleman settled back in his 
seat preparatory to hearing that 
which seemed to interest him so- 
deeply. 

CHAPTER XX. 

Harry Harper, though he had been 
industriously engaging the attention 
of the ladies, after lather and son had 
become reconciled, felt something 
more than natural curiosity concern 
ing the nature of the strange inter- 
view, and his quick ears were active 
in taking in, as completely as possible, 
all that was said. The girls, too, 
finally became interested in what was 
being said on the other side of the 
room, and, naturally enough, young 
Baldwin's audience was more atten- 
tive than he probably would have 
desired. 

" I told you that I should be very 
brief," said the young man, reflec- 
tively, " but the fact that you are so 
well acquainted with my father makes 
it necessary that I should the more 
carefully explain to you my defense 
in being found in a place ot this kind. 
I might tell you a lie, and say that I 
was innocently betrayed into com- 
ing here by companions in whom 
I blindly trusted; but I would 
scorn to descend to such cow- 
ardice. I have been here many 



times before, and I came with a full 
knowledge of the character of the 
house. Why did I come ? you may 
ask. I can only tell you in reply, 
that I came for the same reason per- 
haps that you did that others do 
who frequent houses where charac- 
less young women flaunt their charms 
in the face of he who visits, and are 
ever ready to sell themselves for 
money. If, instead of being a man 
ot the world, you were what they call 
a strictly moral citizen, you would 
hold up both hands in horror, and 
turn from me with pious disgust, 
without hearing one more word. 
That you are here now is proof that 
you are not a person of that stripe." 

The old gentleman was a little un- 
easy in his seat, but he said nothing, 
and his son continued : 

" The history of prostitution com- 
menced, I might say, with the his- 
tory of the world. The first sin ever 
committed was the sin of lust. It 
was followed by banishment, lust as 
it is to-day, with this exception: 
the Creator made no distinction be- 
tween man and woman; while we, 
more wise than He, exalt the strong 
man, and condemn to everlasting in 
famy the weak woman! During all 
the succeeding thousands of years, 
it has existed in one form or another, 
and to-day we find it in Cnicago, as 
well regulated, I think, as it is pos- 
sible to regulate an acknowledged 
yet ineradicable evil. There is not 
an officer, high or low, in the city of 
Chicago, who does not know that 
this is a house of ill-fame and yet 
it is never molested. Why ? Sim- 
ply because it ought not to be. No 
thief, no loafer, no outlaw of any 
kind, is tolerated here. No one is as- 
saulted, or insulted, or robbed here. 
You are now as safe as you would 
be in the best hotel in the city. 
Knowing that it is useless to attempt 
to abate the social evil, the author- 
ities confine themselves to an earnest 
endeavor to blot out its most objec- 
tionable features, and as far as pos- 
sible conceal its hideousness from the 
public gaze. I have now told you 
the reasons for the existence of houses 



53 



of this kind, and I have acknowl- 
edged my object in coming here. I 
have told you, too, that I have a de 
fense, and I have a good one. You 
read the daily papers, of course. Take 
up the Times, for instance, any morn- 
ing of the seven in the week, and 
glance down the calendar. What 
will you see ? * Every other heading 
will be : Suicide /' ' Seduction /' 

* Desertion /' 'A bortion ! ' * Rape /' 

* Infanticide ! ' ' Murder ! ' What 
does this mean ? It means, sir, in 
each case, that a lying, leacherous, 
lustful man has led a weak but trust- 
ing woman to her doom ! Led her 
there by his eloquence; led her there 
by false promises; led her there by 
brute force ! It matters little what 
may have been the primary steps, i 
the result in each case is the same. 
Man's most powerful passion is Lust. 
Deny it, and I will point you to a 
list of scandals in high places that, 
p'acedone upon another, would reach 
the clouds. Add to these the thou- 
sands on thousands of crimes of the 
same nature that never reach the 
public eye, and you have a frightful 
column ! * If you ask me if it is sin- 
ful to visit the house of Miss Wil- 
liams, or any other decent place of 
the kind, I boldly answer, no! lam 
but human, sir, I have the same 
passions that all these bad men ex 
hibit in their infamy. I cannot pre- 
vent it any more than I can prevent 
the gnawings of hunger when the 
stomach demands food. I do not 
believe that I am responsible for it. 
Now, then, sir. I am considered to 
be a young man in good circumstan- 
ces. An indulgent father has spared 
nothing in preparing me for society 
and business. // is not necessary for 
me to come here ! There are a thou- 
sand innocent girls in Chicago that 

I could ' catch ' with the flimsiest 
tale with a dozen words used at the 
right time and in the proper place. 

II I chose, I could make liaisons with 
married women every day in the 
week. I know it, for many a time 
they have more than half revealed an 
inclination that way. Only to day a 
young man boasted to me of the girls 



he had fooled, and the women lie had 
debauched ! My blood boiled with 
indignation, and I could have struck 
him in the face, had I acted as I lelt. 
Do you now know why I come here? 
Have I not said enough? or must I 
continue to the end. and say, as ear- 
nestly as man ever spoke, that I visit 
these girls because I am an honorable 
gentleman, who would not soil his 
soul with treachery, or pollute his 
lips with kisses that would bring dis- 
grace, shame, crime and death upon 
the deluded victim ? I can lay my 
hand upon my heart and call on the 
God that made me to witness that I 
never wronged the innocent, that I 
never betrayed a Jriend, and that I 
uever brought sorrow to even the 
humolest fireside ! Should the fact 
of my being here be published to all 
Chicago to-morrow morning, there 
would be howls of censure from every 
diaection, I know. And among those 
who howled the longest and loudest 
would be lechers who prowl about 
like wolves in search of prey, ever 
hungry for a feast the bones of which 
will be the skeleton of one loved and 
lost ! Oh. sir, Heaven forgive me, 
but when I think of these wretches I 
can find but three words with which 
to express my feelings God damn 
them!" 

The young man spoke with deep 
feeling, and his utteranceswere truly 
eloquent. After but momentary 
pause he continued : 

" I have made to you, sir, the same 
explanation that I would make were 
you my own father, instead of a 
stranger. I come here, I spend my 
own mony, and I believe I am per- 
fectly justified in doing so." 

The old man had listened eagerly, 
and beneath his disguise Harry Har- 
per could detect a flushed face not 
of anger, but rather pride. He grasped 
his son by the hand and said : 

14 Young man, were /your father I 
would say l God bless you, my son / ' ' 

' I thank you, sir, tor your good 
opinion," rejoined the younger Bald- 
win; and then he called: 

" Come, Delia dear 1 Good nigh t, 
gentlemen ! " 



54 



Delia and her " Charley " lelt the 
room, and when the eyes of Harry 
and the merchant met, there was in 
the glance a world of meaning ! 

CHAPTER XXI. 

" I wonder what I'm out for to- 
night?" thought Cranky Ann, as she 
leisurely proceeded on her way, after 
Harry Harper and the mysterious old 
man had disappeared. 

She really was out, for once, with- 
out a purpose. There was no neces- 
ity for her to " ply her vocation '* at 
that particular time, for she was in 
the employ of a good paymaster; and 
to her credit be it said, she despised 
the street-walking business as sin- 
cerely as any woman in the city. 

" She was not looking for a " suck- 
er" that night. What should she 
do? 

A convenient turn soon brought 
Crank to C.'ark street, and she found 
herself standing, she scarcely knew 
why, in front of an old clothes shop. 

A fantastic idea entered her quick 
brain, and she walked into the store. 

Ten minutes afterwards she was 
again upon the street with a bundle 
under her arm, retracing her steps, 
and walking rapidly toward her 
room. 

In a quarter of an hour from the 
time Cranky Ann disappeared up the 
stairway that led to her apartments, 
a prim looking young man, plainly but 
neatly dressed, with a handsome 
brown mustache, and carrying a 
nobby little cane, made his appear- 
ance at the lower door. 

It was old Crank, cleverly dis- 
guised ! 

" I can't have any fun in petticoats," 
she thought ; " everybody knows me 
as the street walker, and the chances 
are that I would get the collar the 
minute I stepped off my regular beat; 
but I fancy that, as an elegant young 
gentleman, I can go unmolested 
wherever my sweet will may choose 
to take me." 

Crank enjoyed herself amazingly 
that evening. She took in several of 
the billiard rooms, a number of prom- 



inent saloons, the Adelphifor a short 
time, then the Coliseum, and finally, 
at about 11 o'clock, entered the 
Toledo. 

She saw Jack Dunning and a com- 
panion seated at an obscure table, 
drinking beer, and engaged in earn 
est conversation, evidently being 
verv little interested in the music of 
the Vienna Orchestra, that drowned 
the voices of those who sought to- 
converse in the hall. 

Crank recognized in the compan- 
ion of Jack a notorious burgl-ir. Feel- 
ing interested in the parties,and deter- 
mining to find out what scheme was on 
foot, the took a seat directly back o- 
them, and strained her ears to list 
ten. 

At first she could hear not a single 
word ; but the music suddenly ceased, 
and she distinctly heard Jack say : 

" > tell you there's not a man In 
the house. The old man is out of 
town, and the young feller is in the 
arms of his lady-love on the avenue. 
The coast is clear. There's lot of sil- 
ver ware and jewelry, even if you don't 
get any mjney, and no danger at all. 
You and your gang can do the job, 
but remember (holding up one finger) 
halves!" 

" In course ! You gets an even 
half of the swag." 

Crank heard no more for some 
time, though she was crazy to take 
in every word. The two men finally 
arose to depart; but before leaving 
Jack whispered, so loud that Cranky 
Ann caught the words : 

"Three o'clock No. Wabash 
avenue 1" 

Had Crank been an ordinary wo- 
man she would have screamed and 
fainted on the spot. 

As it was, she started and tnrned 
pale, but not a sound escaped her 
lips. 

Jack Dunning had named the num- 
ber of Mr. Baldwin's house! 

Not satisfied with an at' e m pt to 
ruin the daughter of the me: chant, he 
was basely plotting the robbery of the 
old man's home! 

Not for a moment did the street- 
walker hesitate. 



55 



"Your game is up," she muttered, 
menacingly, casting a look of hate 
upon Jack Dunning, as he sauntered 
out. 

What should she do ? 

This was a serious question. She 
believed the statement of Jack con- 
cerning young Baldwin, because, 
from experience, she was aware that 
many a nice young man was not ex- 
actly what he seemed. She knew the 
only male servant employed at the 
house slept in the barn, and that the 
others lodged in a remote part of the 
house. Suppose she should inform 
the police? Her own identity would 
at once be disclosed, and who would 
believe a masquerading street- 
walker? 

" If I could only find young Mr. 
Baldwin !" she thought, as she walked 
with quick steps in a southerly di- 
rection, leaving the Toledo; "but 
how can I ? He does not go by his 
right name, I am sure of that, and it 
would be foolish to attempt to find a 
man without a name in one of the 
Fourth avenue houses. I don't know 
o! but one other man in Ch cago that 
I could trust. If I could see Hart}' 
Harper, I would tell him who I am, 
disclose the discovery that I have 
made, and ask him to heJp me; and I 
know he'd do it, for he is a lion in 
bravery, and I do think he's honest, 
no matter if he is one of the boys." 

What induced the girl to enter a 
variety concert hall (in a cellar) she 
could not explain. The music and 
singing attracted her attention, and 
down she went. 

Her sharp eyes took in the au- 
dience at a sweep. 

Joy! There, tn one of the front 
eats, sat Harry Harper and the old 
gentleman with whom she had a tol- 
erably intimate zcquaintance ! 

Taking a card, she wrote upon she 
blank side these words: 

"MR. HARPKR I would like to 
speak with yon, alone; will not de- 
tain you buta moment. Please come 
to the rear a - once. A FKIKXD." 

Telling Mr. Baldwin that he would 
be back in a minute or two, Harry 
followed the usher, and was ap- 



proached by Crank, who led him to 
a place in the room where they could 
not be overheard. 

"Do you know me, Mr. Harper ?" 
she inquired. 

" Can't say that I do," replied 
Harry, after a careful look, "and yet 
I'd swear I've seen you somewhere." 

"They call me Cranky Ann, Har- 
ry," she said, with a smile; " now I 
guess you know me !" 

The young man was astonished, 
but peifectly convinced. He was so 
completely surprised that he waited 
in wondering silence for an explana- 
tion. 

" Harry," she said, " I have c.^me 
to you lor advice and assistance " 

" Are you in trouble, Crank ?'* he 
asked in kindly tones. 

" No," was the reply, " but others 
are threatened with danger. I made 
the discovery in an accidental way, 
while skylarking in this disguise. I 
cannot call on the police tor help, as 
you well know ; and when I saw you 
sitting there I said to myself, 'there's 
the boy for the business." " 

"Goon," said Harry, who felt 
somewhat flattered. It is pleasant to 
be thought well of, even by a street- 
wa ker. 

" I have discovered that the house 
of a merchant is to be robbed at 3 
o'clock to-morrow morning!" 

Crank then explained to Harry the 
manner in which she had gained her 
information. 

'Where is the house situated?" 
asked Harry, whose thoughts had 
been busy. 

" The residence threatened is that 
ot Mr B ildwin, on Wabash avenue !" 

Crank was about to proceed and 
exp nin concerning the absence of the 
merchant and his son, but the men- 
tal excitement with which Harry was 
struggling attracted her attention. 

His lace was livid. His eyes glared 
with a madman's fury. His hands 
trembled. He was almost beside 
himself with some powerful passion. 

The excitement died away as 
quickly as it had appeared, and left a 
rigid face, in which could be read 
calmness finmess and danger ! 



56 



"Will, you assist me, Harry?" asked 
Crank, after a brief pause. 

" Will It You need not ask that 
question more than once. Yes ! If 
necessary, I will be with you to the 
death! And, Cranky Ann," he con- 
tinued, "you will lose nothing by 
what you have done to-night ! You 
are a thousand times better than 
many who pretend to despise you!" 

There was a balm of comfort to the 
heart of the street-walker in these 
words, but she was anxious to come 
to an understanding. 

" What shall we do ?" she inquired ; 
" you know we have but three hours 
in which to prepare ; after that we 
must act J" 

" Have you no plan ? " questioned 
Harry, who had not thought of de- 
tails. 

" Yes ! I will go to the house qui- 
etly, as a private detective, and in a 
guarded way inform Miss Baldwin of 
the threatened invasion, at the same 
time assuring her that ample assist- 
ance will be at hand, and that no 
harm can possibly result. While I 
am doing this you can also make such 
preparations as you think best/ I 
presume you will have no trouble in 
separating from the eccentric old 
gentleman I saw you with?" 

"I shall take him to his room and 
leave him there. Your plan looks 
feasible, and I have no doubt will 
work admirably. But where shall we 
meet?" 

" The burglars will be on time to 
the minute. At half past 2 I will 
meet you in front of the house, and 
we will both enter." 

" Will Miss Baldwin be there ?" 

" I shall advise her to remain in her 
room, and have no fears." 

"That will be the best plan," 
mused Harry. But he would have 
felt lighter at heart had another an 
swer been given. 

"By the way, Harry," remarked 
Crank, "is there any way of finding 
out where young Mr. Baldwin can be 
found?" 

Harry wondered why he had not 
thought of that before. 



" I can put my hand on him with- 
in fifteen minutes," was the reply. 

" Good ! Then there will be three 
of us two brave men and one des- 
perate woman, as good as most men 
and let the housebreakers be- 
ware!" 

Harry gave Crank his revolver, and 
and then they separated, he returning 
to the seat he had vacated, as cool 
and unconcerned as though nothing 
had happened. Two minutes later, 
by special invitation, they entered 
the wine room, where we will leave 
them, with the promise that their 
experience among the big-legged and 
nearly naked beauties of that far- 
famed resort shall be fully narrated 
in another chapter. 

Crank clutched the revolver with 
a nervous grip when she reached the 
street. She only wished that the 
hour was at hand when she might be 
called upon to use it 1 

" Jack Dunning," she hissed, " I 
am in your employ 1 It is my duty 
to watch you ! / -will stick to you 
closer than a brother!" 

And the street -walker laughed. 

But it was a cold, harsh, soulless 
laugh 1 



CHAPTER XXIL 

As stated in a former chapter, Mr. 
Baldwin, in company with the ex- 
tremely young looking girl in short 
skirts, retired to the rear parlor, where 
for half an hour they were left undis- 
turbed and unobserved by the gay 
gathering that had assembled in 
Madame Williams' parlors. 

When the wine that had been or- 
dered was brought them, the old 
man's pretty little companion mod- 
estly declined to accept the spark- 
ling liquid. 

" Do you not drink wine ? he 
asked, somewhat astonished at the 
fact that she ghould refuse to partake 
of the temptfng beverage. 

" No, sir, I never drink anything 
which is intoxicating," said the girl, 
with a half-sad tone of voice. " 1 
have not become so low as that /" 

" Then you have not been in this 



58 



house a very long time, I imagine." 

" I came here three weeks ago, sir," 
arswered the female, and she hung 
her head, and Mr. Baldwin imagined 
he discovered a blush on her fair 
young face. 

"Will you tell me why you came 
here?" 

" Oh, sir, you must not ask me 
that 1 It is enough for you to know 
that I am her. Men who visit such 
places as this would take very little 
interest in thereasons which induced 
some of us girls to resort to the lives 
we are leading." 

"Really, young woman, }>ou in- 
terest me. Indeed you do ! Let 
me prevail upon you to reveal the 
cause of your entering into this this 
this business, I suppose you call 
it" 

" Sir 1" returned the girl, sorrow- 
fully, " I cannot comply with your 
request at least not here .' Tnere 
are quick ears all around us, and the 
Madame does not permit us to reveal 
to strangers our lite histories not, 
at least, in the parlors." 

" Then cannot we go to some other 
room, where we will not be anno) ed 
by the presence of listeners ?" 

" Yes, sir, we can go into my room. 
if you have no objection." 

" I certainly have not the least ob- 
jection, lor I am anxious to learn w hy 
a young girl of your intelligence, and 
your beauty and refinement, should 
descend to the position you now oc- 
cupy." 

" Then we will quietly leave the 
company, and retire to the privacy 
of a solitary apartment. This way, 
sir, if you please," she continued, 
as she led the way to the rear stair- 
way, unobserved by Harry, who was 
making himself agreeable to the girls. 

When they had reached the sec- 
ond floor the girl opened the door of 
her bed-room, and invited Mr. Bald- 
win to walk in. 

Then, for the first time, the pecu- 
liar nature of his position became man- 
ifest to his mind. He hesitated when 
he saw the snow-white covering of 
the bed, and finally remarked. 



" My child, have you no other 
parlors than those below ?" 9 

" There are no parlors up stairs," 
was the reply ; " but this is mv room 
and we will not be interrupted:" 

" I did not apprehend any interrup- 
tion, but this, you see, is a <5<?</-room, 
and not exactly the place for a man 
of my age and standing, although, I 
assure you, I came here to-night for 
no bad purpose. Let that be under- 
stood, and I shall not object to this 
room, however suspicious may be the 
circumstances." 

" Indeed, sir, the thought of your 
being a bad man never entered my 
mind. I can see in your face that 
you are not accustomed to visiting 
such places as this, and your words 
and actions tell my heart that you 
are a kind, noble, genrous, humane 
man." 

:' I thank you for your confidence, 
young woman," was the rep 1 }' of the 
old gentleman, as they entered the 
room and were seated he in a large 
arm chair, and she on an ottoman at 
his feet. 

" Now, then, my poor child, will 
you tell me your name ?" 

"Do you want my ^eal name, or 
the one by which I am called here?" 

" And have you more than one 
name ?" 

' Certainly ! All the girls have 
fancy ' names, generally the name 
of their man." 

" Their man ! What do you mean 
by that ?" 

" Why, you must know, sir, that 
nearly every woman here has a friend 
something like husband who is 
called her man." 

" No, I did not know it ! What an 
ignorant old lool I am ! Have you 
got a man ? ' ' 

" Indeed I have not, nor do I want 
one. Oh, how I do despise those low 
creatures, those lazy vagabonds who 
live up-^n the generosity of a fallen 
woman!" 

" You do not mean to tell me that 
these girls I saw down stairs actually 
support and clothe these men?" 

"They do, sir. They buy their 
clothing, give them money, and tur- 



nish them with everything they may 
ask.' 

" And what do they receive in re- 
turn ?" 

" Curses and blows !" 

" Blows ! Do they really "whip 
them ?' ' 

" Did you not notice a girl down 
stairs with a discolored and blood 
shot eye ? Her man leltthose tokens 
of his love upon he r this morning. 
Why, they all expect to be whipped 
once or twice a week, and the men 
who are the most brutal are thought 
the most off by their mistresses !" 

" Can it be possible ! But you 
told me you had two names. What 
are they?" 

-v^ " Little Maude is the name I go by 
here." 

"And your right name?" 

" Will you not divulge it?" 

" Upon my sacred honor as a man, 
I will not !' ' o 

" I believe you, sir; my real name 
is Madeline Black." 

"Madeline, you have told me } our 
name; now, let me know how you 
came to such a place as this." 

" I told you I had been here but 
three weeks. A month ago I came 
to this city a stranger and an or- 
phan" 

"Poor child !" interrupted Mr. 
Baldwin, who noticed tears in the 
bright eyes of the unfortunate girl. 

'I had but little money, and that 
was soon gone. Then I applied at an 
intelligence office lor a situation. 
The very day I went there a gentle- 
man engaged me to work in his fam- 
ily. I went with him, and found 
when it was too late that he was a 
villain. The nexf morning I awoke 
in his arms ! Frightened, almost 
crazy, I rushed from the house 
When on the street my sober senses 
came. I realized my shame, and re- 
linquished all hopes of ever redeem- 
ing myself from the disgrace of that 
night. I sought outahackman, made 
known my intentions to become a 
woman of the town, and he brought 
me here. Oh ! if I could only go 
home once more, how happy I should 
be !" 



" Mav I ask," said Mr. Baldwin, 
" why do you not go home ?" 

" Alas! my kind friend, I cannot. 1 
have no money with which to pay my 
board here, none to pay car fare on 
the cars, and no frjends to assist 
me 1" 

" How much would it require to 
take you home and pay all your in- 
debtedness ?" 

" Oh the amount almost frightens 
me ! I could not get away from here 
tor less than one hundred dollars !" 

" Jf that is all, then you shall have 
it this very night ! Indeed, I will 
conduct you from this abode of sin 
myself ! I have not the money with 
me now, but I can borrow it yes, 
thank God, my word is good for that 
amount, a thousand times over I 
Come, poor girl, we will stay here no 
longer. Let us return to the par- 
lor." 

Their return created as little atten- 
tion as their departure, and neither 
Harry nor any one else had noticed 
that they had been out of the room 
to which they first repaired. 

The scene then transpired that has 
been narrated in previous chapters. 

After the merchant's son had dis- 
appeared with " Delia" on his arm, 
Mr. Baldwin sat for a short time in 
silence. He then seemed to discard 
the subject entirely from his mind, 
and his thoughts turned to the young 
girl with whom he had conversed. 

" Harry," he said, " I would like 
to speak with you privately." 

That young man deserted the " la- 
dies," and in an instant was beside 
his friend. 

" Have you any money with you?" 
asked the merchant. 

" Plenty of it," was the reply; " I 
have doubled up on that thousand 
that I borrowed from you the other 



Then I wish you would let me 
have one hundred dollars until to- 
morrow." 

" May I ask what you want it for?" 
inquired Harry, as he pulled a well- 
filled wallet from an inside breast 
p cket. 

' Oh, I wish to use it to-night." 



60 



"Where?" 

Here 1" 

Harry insisted on particulars. The 
youngf man commenced to smell a 
rat. 

" I want to se^id a poor unfortun- 
ate girl back to the home she left a 
month ago," explained the good- 
hearted merchant. 

" And who is that poor unfortun- 
ate gill," inquired Harry ; and an 
amused smile played upon his hand- 
some face. 

Mr. Baldwin pointed to the female 
who had revealed to him her sad his- 
tory. 

" You don't mean the girl with the 
short dress ?" 

The old man gravely nodded. 

Harry laughed boisterously. 

The merchant frowned. 

" Do you know her?" he finally in- 
quired. 

" Do I know her ? I should think 
I did ! I know every hair in her head ! 
Hav known her tor years! Why, 
that girl is known all over town as 
Little Maud, the Big Fraud /" 

Mr. Baldwin was completely sur- 
prised. Concluding that there was 
not much prospect of doing any act 
of charity in that house, he signified 
a desire to go, and, without even say- 
ing good-night to the girl who had so 
worked upon his feelings, he took the 
arm of his friend and was quickly on 
the street again. 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

Cranky Ann, in her life of sin, had 
participated in many scenes of ex- 
citement. She had witnessed bar- 
room and ball-room fights by the 
score; she had jumped from high win- 
dows to escape from her na'ural en- 
emies, the police; she had been 
dragged half-naked through the 
streets, and shoved roughly into a 
damp cell ; she had looked down the 
steel barrel of a cocked revolver, and 
never moved a muscle ; but never be- 
fore had she been so corap etely and 
thorough'y excited as on the night 
when she left the Clark street variety 
den, and walked with firm tread in 



the direction that gave promise of 
thrilling adventure before daylight. 

It is easier to plan than to execute. 
Crank's programme had been marked 
out, but her part was harder to per- 
form than she had supposed, f 

" It's midnight," she muttered as 
she turned toward Wabash av- 
enue; "Miss Baldwin has been 
in bed an hour, at least. How 
shall I attract her attention without 
alarming her ? There is but one 
way I must boldly ring the bell, and 
trust to luck." 

Crank took particular pains to 
make all the noise she could, when 
she opened the gate leading to 
the merchant's mansion. She pulled 
the bell vigorously, and then walked 
up and down the portico in front of 
the house, her footsteps being heavy 
enough to be heard a block off. 
Knowing that Miss Baldwin's room 
was on the second floor, in front, she 
walked leisurely to the gate, where 
she could be seen from the open win- 
dow above, and hummed a familiar 
tune. 

As she expected, a female voice in- 
quired: 

" What is wanted ?" 

" I wish to speak with Miss Bald- 
win a moment," was the reply. 

" I will call my brother " and she 
was about to leave, when Crank 
quickly replied : 

"Your brother, Miss Baldwin, is 
not at home I left him only a short 
time since, when he le!t the store 
with a western merchant, and stated 
that he would not be home before 
2 or 3 o'clock," 

"Wait a moment," was the only re- 
ply, and the young lady was gone. 
But she quickly returned. 

" You are right about my broth- 
er's not being at home," she said. 
" As your business cannot concern 
me you can call in the morning, at 
any hour, and he will be here to meet 
you." 

" My business is very important, 
and it concerns^*?**,' ' was the response 
of Cranky Ann, who spoke with such 
appealing voice that it completely 



61 



disarmed the young lady of any fears 
she may have entertained. 

"You seem to be a friend," said 
the voice from above, " and I will 
meet you in a moment." 

" I am indeed your friend," was 
the solemn reply of the street- 
walker. 

Miss Baldwin turned on the gas in 
the parlor and in the hall, and then 
opened wide the door. 

Their eyes met, and there was no 
more distrust on the part of the lady. 

With consummate skill in the use 
of words, Crank revealed the plot to 
rob the house in such a way that 
Miss Baldwin was not alarmed in the 
least. 

' You can now return to your room, 
and place implicit trust in my pjwer 
to protect you," said Crank, at the 
same time displaying the revolver 
that Harry had provided her with. 

" But you are not going to meet a 
gang of burglars alone?" asked Miss 
B., alarmed for the safety of her pro- 
tector. 

"Oh, no! A friend of mine will be 
here to assist me. He knows your 
brother, and is now looking for him." 

" You say he knows my brother ? 
Then he must know me, also. Will 
you tell me his name ?" 

' I do not think you ever saw or 
heard of him. He has probably met 
your brother in the store," replied 
Crank, who had no idea that Harry 
Harper's acquaintance extended be- 
yond the saloons, gambling rooms 
and houses of ill-fame. 

* But it is possible that I may know 
him," returned Miss B., whose curi- 
osity had been aroused ; " please tell 
me his name." 

" Oh, I have not the slightest ob- 
jection. The name of my young 
friend is H rry Harper!" 

"Harry Harper.''' 

Her heart gave a great bound, and 
the blood rushed to her cheeks and 
temple?. A- d then she said as calm 
ly as she could : 

" Yes, I think I have heard my 
brother speak of the young gentle- 
man! And now, I witl return to my j 



room, as you suggested, and trust 
entirely to vou." 

" And Harry" she whispered to 
her wildly beating heart, as she quick- 
ly left the parbr and a cended the 
stairway, with the light of a great 
passion sparkling in her datk eyes. 

Cranky Ann p iced the parlors with 
an impatient tread. 

An hour, that seemed an age, 
elapsed. 

R'pid footsteps were heard ap- 
proaching. They halted at the gate, 
and two men entered. 

A pair of lustrous eyes peered 
through the closed shutters of the 
second floor. They rested a second 
upon the merchant's son, and 
then followed the form of Harry 
Harper until it disappeared beneath 
the porch. 

Josephine Baldwin felt safer then 
than she would have felt had the 
house heen surrounded by a hundred 
policemen. Her brother quickly ap- 
peared at her door to tell her that all 
was right, but she needed no such as- 
surance she had a blind confidence 
in at least one ot her protectors ! 

Crank posted young Baldwin con 
cerning the "business at the store " 
that detained him, and was cordially 
thanked for her shrewdness. But 
the merchant's son was not enlight- 
ened concerning Crank's sex. It was 
not necessary that he should know 
that a common street walker had 
saved his home from invasion while 
he was almost within hailing distance, 
wrapped in the close embrace of 
slumber ! 

The watchers anxiously waited. 

"Ten minutes to three!" whis- 
pered the merchant's son. 

Crank was looking through the 
shutters with eyes penetrating as 
those of a night bird. A man was 
slow'y passing and a hack drove leis 
urely by. Seiziog Harry by the col- 
lar, she fairly dragged him to the 
window. 

" Do you know that man ?" she 
whispered, huskily. 

Harry looked at him almost sav- 
agelv. 

" I have met him, I think," he said, 



62 



*'but I cannot recnll his name. But 
see ! he halts, and looks searchingly 
this way ! Is he the burglar, Crank ?" 

"No! that is a friend of mine! 
His name is Jack Dunning! It was 
an accident that made him stop. He 
has gone now." 

"Jack Dunning Jack Dunning," 
mused Harry; " I have heard of him, 
I have met him, but I do not know 
much of him." 

At that instant young Baldwin 
rushed excitedly into the room. 

"They have come!" he said; they 
are in the back yard now there ara 
three of them !" 

'Three against three man for 
man 1" cried Crank, taking the lead 
in spite of Harry, who could have 
forced her back. 

" That's a game girl," he thought, 
as he looked at the intrepid street- 
walker admiringly. 

*' They are forcing the basement 
door!" she whispered, hoarsely: and 
with surprising familiarity with the 
house, she was halt way down 
the stairway before the other two had 
started. 

With reckless daring she rushed to 
the outer door, unbolted it with a 
jerk, turned the key, and stood face 
to face with three masked robbers ! 

The villains heard other footsteps 
approaching, they saw the glittering 
mounting and polished steel of a re 
volver, and, taking to their heels ran 
to the alley, where stood a hack ready 
to receive them. 

Crank was at their heels, and twice 
her revolver spoke with peculiar and 
emphatic eloquence. 

A groan followed the last shot, but 
the men clambered into the carriage, 
the horses sprang at the crack of the 
whip, and away they went. 

Bang! bang! Cranky Ann stood 
in the middle of the alley, and fired 
at the retreating hack. When the 
vehicle was about thirty feet away, 
the i pper portion of a man's body 
appeared through the side window, a 
steady arm was raised, a sharp click 
followed, and a loud icport rang out 
on the clear night air. 

The street walker threw up both 



hands, and with a groan of agony fell 
into the arms of Harry Harper ! 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

The reader who has ever entered 
the *' wine room " ot a variety the- 
atre can imagine the state of mind of 
the merchant when he followed Harry 
Harper through the door that led to 
that resort. He had mingled with 
low-down creatures who frequent 
Dan Webster's dancing den; he had 
walked arm-in arm with a street- 
walker, and had in her room been 
tempted; he had witnessed volup- 
tuous ease in its most luxurious garb, 
in the parlors of the reigning queen 
of the demi-monde. These glimpses 
of fast life had prepared him for al- 
most any shape that the great evil 
might assume; but for all this, he was 
staggered, confused, confounded, 
when he entered that " wine room." 
It was a eight that his imagination 
had not provided for, and tor a mo- 
ment the old gentleman was dazed 
with the bewildering dazzleinent of 
the "scene of enchantment" that 
met his eyes. 

The room was not more than fifteen 
feet square, with a " private box " in 
one corner, an entrance to the "stage" 
in the other, and a multitude of arm 
chairs for the accommodation of the 
" ladies " and their visitors. 

There were a dozen "actresses" 
in the room, all so nearly nude that 
it would have been scarcely less in- 
decent had they discarded the few 
flimsy garments that adorned their 
limbs and bodies. 

At a distance of twenty or thirty 
feet, the scene would have been in- 
toxicating to almost any man's mind ; 
but upon close inspection the beau- 
ties were stripped of their charms, 
and disgust rather than admiration 
would be the result. 

While the best of us could hardly 
be expected to shut our eyes to the 
revealed charms ot lovely woman, 
there are few who would not turn 
from such exhibitions as that which 
met the gaze of Mr. Baldwin, in the 
Clark street cellar. 



63 



Beauties they may have been once, 
but contact with dissipation and sin 
had long ago robbed them of their 
heritage, and left them miserab e 
wrecks, that no fictitious trappery 
could make attractive to other than 
than the most debased of mortals. 

They were bloated, pimpled, sore- 
eyed, toul-rnouthed, disgusting spec 
imens of lost womanhood. This could 
not be concealed by the lavish appli- 
ance ot paint and pawder, and Mr. 
Baldwin shuddered, when, after he 
had taken a chair, one of them drop- 
ped on his knees and placed her 
bare arms affectionately around his 
neck. 

She was attired in tights that ex- 
posed all that could well be seen, and 
the other extremity was almost com- 
pletely destitute of covering of any 
kind. 

' My dear," she said, trying to be 
affectionate, 4i won't you buy me a 
drink? I feel as dry as a smoked 
fish." 

" Certainly you can have a drink. 
What do you wish ?" 

" Well, sometimes I drink lemon- 
ade, sometimes beer, and then again 
wine ; but this time I guess I'll take 
a little whisky. You look like a 
whisky-drinker yourself, and I al- 
ways like to be agreeable and socia- 
ble with my friends." 

Just then another painted damsel 
sidled up. 

"Can't I have something too ?" 
she said, with a poorly simulated 
pout. 

" Why, yes, of course \ The ladies 
can all take what they wish," replied 
the old gentleman, so loud that none 
failed to hear him. 

The boss beer jerker of the estab 
lishment was busy for a minute in 
taking orders for whisky, gin, brandy, 
rum punches, beer and other bev- 
erages such as were dispensed at the 
bar. 

' What is yours?" he said, ad 
dressing Mr. Baldwin. 

" I'll take whisky straight!" 

Harry Harper, who had been cu- 
riousty watching the merchant's 
movements, was betrayed into a sud- 



den start. He could not believe in 
his own earsl 

He looked at the old man sharply, 
and a sly wink assured him that his 
friend had not altogether taken leave 
of his senses. 

The drinks came, and a close ob- 
server might have detected Mr. 
Baldwin in a clever feat of jugglery, 
as he neatly disposed of his raw 
whisky in the spittoon 

He handed the girl who had or- 
dered them a five dollar bill, and re- 
ceived a sweet " thank you," but not 
a nickle in change. 

At the same time the " fair " crea- 
ture gave his hand a suggestive 
squeeze, which he returned with in- 
terest ! 

Evidently the venerable visitor 
did not intend to be taken for a 
greenhorn. 

Fifteen minutes and another round 
of drinks, sickened the merchant, and.., 
he expressed deep regret that he was 
compelled to tear himself away from 
such agreeable com pain'. In the 
meantime he had made engagements 
with thiee females, all of whom were 
to meet him on the following day. 
Each insisted that the present was a 
much better opportunity, as the 
"show " was nearly cut, but the lib 
eral old cove was sorry that circum- 
stances would not permit of such an 
arrangement, and promised faithlully 
to make good his appointments for 
the following day a promise he had 
no notion of fulfilling. 

The visit was one that the mer- 
chant will never forget. It opened 
his eyes to the wickedness that 
thrives in the very heart of this great 
city, and convinced him tkat the an- 
gels of the wine room are as depraved 
devils as ever wore singed wings. 

" You will have to occupy our 
room alone to-night," said Harry, af- 
ter they had gained the street and 
taken in a deep draught of pure air. 

" Oh, you young rascal !" was the 
only reply made. 

Harry made no explanation, con- 
cluding that it would be better to let 
Mr. Baldwin rest under a delusion 
that did injustice to himself, rather 



64 



than throw out any insinuations that 
would raise a suspicion in the old 
man's mind. 

They separated, the one to reflect 
upon what he had seen of Chicago 
under ground, the other to engage in 
an adventure in which his whole 
heart and soul was enlisted 1 



CHAPTER XXV. 

Harry Harper was laboring under 
the most intense excitement when he 
heard the report of the pistol from 
the hack, and saw Cranky Ann throw 
up her hands. He would have pur- 
sued the robbers had not the brave 
girl fallen ; but as it was, much as he 
desired to bring the villains to jus- 
tice, he could not abandon one who 
had proven herself to be true as steel, 
even though she was a pick-up of the 
street. 

There had been another witness to 
the encounter. From the rear win- 
dow, Josephine Bald win, withflushed 
face and heaving bosom, had watched 
with eager eyes all that had taken 
place. The reckless daring and un- 
daunted bravery ot the young "man" 
who had first warned her of danger, 
filled her with admiration, and when 
she saw the hero fall a piercing scream 
escaped her lips. Rushing to the 
scene of the encounter with stream- 
ing hair and frightened look, she iell 
upon her knees beside the prostrate 
form, tore the cap from the head of 
the sufferer, and revealed to her as- 
tonished gaze locks as long and flow- 
ing as her own ! 

"Great heaven!" she exclaimed, 
" this is not a man's hair ! It is a 
woman who has saved us from rob- 
bery, and sacrificed her own life!" 

Gently the senseless form was con- 
veyed to the house, and young Bald- 
win went hurriedly in quest of a 
physician. 

The body of Cranky Ann was placed 
upon a sofa in the back parlor, and 
Miss Baldwin went up stairs to pro- 
cure a pillow, while Harry Harper 
commenced a search in the yard and 
alley, to secure it he could some evi- 



dence by which to identify the rob- 
bers and murderers. 

When Josephine Baldwin returned 
with the pillow and such restoratives 
as are usually kept in every family, 
she stopped in the door as suddenly 
as though she had been shot, and a 
ghastly pallor overspread her fair 



The body of Cranky Ann was no- 
where to be seen ! 

The alarm was given, Harry was sum- 
moned, a search was made, the street 
was scanned up and down, and not a 
trace could be found ! 

The corpse had been stolen ! 

The front door was wide open, and 
Harry Harper concluded that the 
bold burglars had invaded the house, 
and taken away the evidence of their 
great crime ! He knew full well that 
unless the body could be found, no 
trial or conviction for murder could 

be effected. 

***** 

On Monday morning, between 10 
and 11 o'clock, Miss Isabella Mar- 
tindale, the Southern lady, made her 
appearance at the residence of Mr. 
Baldwin ! 

She was magnificently dressed, and 
seemed to be in excellent health and 
spirits ! 

She had, she said, enjoyed in an 
unusual degree her visit with her 
cousin, who had merely spent the 
Sabbath here, and was already onhei 
way to the East. 

It will be observed that Cranky 
Ann could tell a lie as easily and 
readily as she could shoot a burglarl 

Miss Baldwin had entirely recov- 
ered from the effects of the startling 
encounter with the midnight maraud- 
ers, and regaled " Miss Martindale " 
with a complete and graphic account 
of the adventure, including the heroic 
conduct of the mysterious person 
who had warned her of the contem- 
plated robbery, the death shot of the 
burglars, the unexpected discovery 
of the sex of the victim, and the sud- 
den and unexpected disappearance 
of the corpse. Miss Baldwin was 
eloquent in her praises of the dis- 
guised woman, and her eyes filled 



66 



with tears as she explained how brave 
and desperate was the attack upon 
the ruffians, and how piercing was the 
death cry of the poor girl whose body 
had been riddled with a cold and 
cruel bullet! 

" Whoever she was, whatever may 
have been her faults, however dark 
may have been the stains upon her 
soul, however deep in sin she ma 
have plunged, my prayer shall ever 
be, ' May God have mercy on her 
soul !'" 

There was moisture in the eyes of 
Josephine Baldwin as she fervently 
uttered these words. 

But what caused the deep emo- 
tion of Isabella Martindlale ? Wh}' 
did she tremble and turn pale ? 
What strange power thrilled her soul 
and'forced unwilling tears from eyes 
that seldom wept ? Why did she 
gasp for breath and reel as one par- 
alyzed ? 

Miss Baldwin attributed this un- 
usual display of emotion to a sym- 
pathetic !eeling for the unfortunate 
unknown. > 

It had been many, many years 
since pure lips had said to Cranky 
Ann, "God bless you," and the 
words sank deep down into her heart. 
They were more precious to her than 
gold, and for a moment she was 
transfixed with the irresistible im- 
pulse of a great and overpowering 
joy. 

That afternoon, " Mrs. Robinson " 
and " her son" drove to the door of 
the Baldwin mansion with one of the 
most elegant turn-outs in Chicago. 

Miss Baldwin received them cor- 
dially, and Cranky Ann's face beamed 
with gracious smiles. 

But could Jack Dunning and Mad- 
ame Gibson have read her thoughts, 
they would have shuddered, for be- 
neath her smile there lurked the 
amiability of the hyena rather than 
the dove ! 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

The bullet aimed at Cranky Ann by 
the burglar would have terminated her 
existence had it not been for circum 



stances that would seem almost prov- 
idential in their nature. The bat 
that she had purchased at the second- 
hand clothing store was at least two 
sizes too large for her head. In or- 
der to overcome this difficulty, when 
the street- walker reached her room 
she padded the leather lining with 
several thicknesses of brown paper, 
in that manner securing a perfect fit. 
The bull that would otherwise hare 
buried itself in her skull was resisted 
by leather and paper, and glanced 
upward, but had no effect upon the 
disguised woman, except to tempo- 
rarily stun her. She was conscious 
when the cap was torn from her head, 
and her sex discovered. But she 
made no demonstration, for her light- 
ning brain had been at work, and 
she determined to escape before rec- 
ognition was possible. The oppor- 
tunity came sooner : than she expect- 
ed. The instant she found herself 
alone and unwatched, Crank sprang 
to hei- feet with the agility of a fright- 
ened deer, made her way noiselessly 
to the front door, and disappeared 
around the nearest corner with the 
swiftness of the wind. Without en- 
courtering a soul, she was within a 
very short time in her own room on 
State street. The exciting adventure 
through which she had passed, to- 
gether with the unusual exertion of 
her flight, somewhat unnerved the 
heroic girl, and she threw herself 
panting and exhausted upon the 
bed. 

The cool night air had an invig- 
orating and inspiriting effect, and 
when, not long afterward, the clear 
eastern sky was streaked with threads 
of silver and gold, and dawn succeed- 
ed darkness, Cranky Ann's excite- 
ment had all passed away, and she 
was again in full possession ol all her 
wonderful faculties. 

But she did not arise. She laid 
upon her bed and abandoned her 
mind to thought. 

Way back, as far as memory could 
reach, she wandered in her wakeful 
dream. All the act a of her life passed 
in rapid review before her. The 
strange story of her life, as related to 



67 



Mr. Baldwin only a short time pre- 
vious, was vividly portrayed in the 
brilliant colorings of active imagin- 
ation. Quickly the scene shifted, 
until finaHy came the last act in her 
checkered career. When, in her 
mind's eye, she looked upon the dark 
and hateful days of her sinful life, 
there was an expression of pain, 
agony and remorse upon the face of 
her who had been a heroine an hour 
before ; but the thought of that one 
good deed drove away the black 
clouds as the sun's brightrays drives 
darkness from the face of the earth, 
and left there a smile as peaceful as 
that which plays' upon the features 
of an infant in its sweetest dreams. 

And from the corners of the street- 
walker's closed eyes there came tears 
not of sorrow, not of anger, not of 
agony, but of thankfulness; she wept 
her thanks to that Unseen Power that 
had guided her steps for good on 
that night of adventure and peril. 

Cranky Ann was startled by a sharp 
rap upon the door. Brushing away 
the tell-tale tears, she turned the 
key, and Harry Harper grasped her 
hand and held it in a firm and cor- 
dial clasp, and his voice was hoarse 
and husky as he said : 

"Crank, God bless you, I'm glad 
that I have found you 1" 

The girl did not speak, but she 
returned the warm pressure of his 
hand, and her heaving bosom told 
with an eloquent tongue how deep 
was her emotion. 

Leading her to a seat, Harry hur- 
riedly asked: 

" Were you hurt, Crank ?" 

" No I was merely stunned for a 
moment," was the reply, and then 
she related the miraculous story of 
her escape from instant death. 

" But you ought not to have fled 
as you did," said Harry; "Miss 
Baldwin and her brother are both in 
deep distress regarding your fate. 
They believe that you were killed, 
and that your body was stolen by 
the murderers, who hoped in that 
way to escape the death penalty, 
should they be tracked down. 
ome, Crank, go back with me, and 



not only relieve their minds, but let 
them at leat thank you for what you 
have done !" 

"Not for the world!" was her 
quick and passionate reply. 

"Why not, Crank?" 

" I cannot tell you now, Harry, 
but before another week passes you 
and they will knoW something about 
C ranky Ann, the street walker, that 
will cover up at least some of the 
wicked deeds that distort and dis- 
figure the record of her life 1" 

" But why delay a week ? Why 
not tell the story now ? I ana cer- 
tain, Crank, that there will never be 
a better opportunity, and I know 
that it would relieve brother and sis- 
ter Irom an anxiety that mus't be 
painful." 

" I cannot even explain my rea- 
sons," said Crank in reply; "but if you 
wish you may say to the youug lady 
and gentleman that the person wkt 
warned them of danger was a prof 
ligate woman who daily walks the 
streets and solicits from the passing 
crowd, and that she is entirely un- 
worthy of a single thought from such 
as they. You may also say that she 
was not injured by the bullet, and 
that she is glad to have been of some 
slight service in protecting them 
from the scheming depredators." 

" Crank," replied Harry, earnest- 
ly i "you are throwing away the op- 
portunity of a lifetime. Though you 
are a pcor unfortunate street walker, 
you are as brave and as noble a girl 
as ever breathed the breath of life " 

" Hush 1" cried Crank, impulsive- 
ly? "you forget yourself, Harry Har- 
per! You forget who I am! Yon 
forget that for long, long years I hre 
walked the streets of Chicago, an ob 
ject of loathingand scorn a despised 
outcast, from whom purity has turned 
with cold and haughty frown, and 
upon whom none but the vicious and 
corrupt have smiled 1 You forget 
the reputation that the world gives 
to Cranky Ann, the street prostitute! 
You forget yourself when you call a 
creature like me a brave and noble 
girl 1 No, sir! I am a woman of the 
town, and the tears of all the angels 



68 



could not wash away that stain ! I 
do not want the thanks of those good 
people, and I will not go near them, 
tor I know, and you know, too, that, 
however generous the irapu'se ot 
thankfulness might be, there would 
creep into their hearts a feeling of 
loathing should they even touch the 
hand of the public strumpet who had 
been of momentary service to them 1" 

The girl spoke vehemently, and 
was moved almost to tears, so earnest 
were her words. 

Harry, too, was unusually af- 
lected. 

" The words that you have used 
are the fruits of excitement," he said, 
" and have no foothold outside a dis- 
ordered imagination. True, the 
world in general hates prostitutes, 
because it believes them naturally 
bad, and incapable of anything good ; 
but once let it be known that the 
lowest and filthiest outcast that 
wades through the depths of Chica- 
go's slums has performed such an 
act as you did not much more than 
an hour ago ; let any harlot that 
walks these streets rise up in defense 
of the life or virtue of any innocent 
girl threatened with peril, and there 
is not a decent man or woman in this 
great city who would not shout the 
voice oi praise, and who would not 
warmly welcome her to their hearts, 
their homes and their affections !" 
Cranky Ann listened with an ear- 
nest, eager, hepeful look in her flushed 
face and inflamed eyes. 

"God! "she exclaimed, "I only 
hope that what you say is true!" 

Harry endeavored to prevail upon 
her to return to the residence of the 
merchant, but she resolutely refused. 
As he was about going she said: 

" Harry Harper, you have spoken 
and acted kindly toward me, and you 
do not know how thankful I am. 
Within the next few days I may 
need the help of a friend. It is pos- 
sible that I may ask him to face dan- 
ger, and strike with a strong arm. 
If I should seek that friend in you, 
what would you say ?" 

Harry never opened his lips, but 
he took the right hand ot Crank in 



both of his, and she was satisfied 
with the answer ! 

"Whenever I send, come quick- 
ly I" 

" I'll be there, staunch and true!" 

And he was gone ! 

Crank fastened the door, darkened 
the room as much as possible, dis- 
robed, and was quickly in bed. Her 
last words before sleep came were: 

* Is it true ? Is there one ray of 
hope for the old street walker ? ' 

She closed her eyes, and not an 
ugly dream disturbed the sweetness 
ot her slumbers. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

Madame Gibson, under the name 
of Mrs. Robinson, accompanied by 
Jack Dunning, who assumed to be 
her son, made her appearance at the 
Baldwin mansion at the appointed 
hour on the Monday afternoon suc- 
ceeding the day that witnessed the 
exciting events narrated in this ro- 
mance. * 

The Madame, in personal appear- 
ance, was impressively respectable. 
Maturity had set its rigid stamp upon 
her face, and without artful appli- 
ances she was really a magnificent- 
looking lady one who would com- 
mand attention and respect wherever 
she might be. On this occasion she 
took particular care that neither in 
look, in act, nor in speech should she 
betray the treachery that was hidden 
by the mask of mildness, gentleness, 
and loving kindness. 

Jack Dunning was equally careful 
in the performance ol the part he had 
undertaken. But he did not know 
that the vivacious and voluptuous 
young lady on whom he had cast his 
baleful eyes had been timely warned, 
and was watching his every move 
ment with a scrutiny close and care- 
ful. Josephine Baldwin could not but 
admire his manly appearance, and 
the polished politeness with which 
he addressed her. But at times, when 
he thought himself unobserved, there 
was a lascivious look in his expressive 
face that did not escape the notice of 
the fair heiress. * That he admired 



69 



her, she did not doubt ; but whether 
it was the admiration of the roue and 
the rake or that of honesty and ex- 
alted manliness, was a matter upon 
which grave doubts suggested them 
selves in her mind, as she listened to 
the smooth-sounding compliments 
that were addressed to her as they 
rode along the avenues and the boule- 
vards. 

Cranky Ann, in the character of 
Isabella Martindale, the Southern 
lady, was perfection itself, and even 
Jack Dunning, knowing, as he did, 
that she was only a common street 
walker, could not but admire the 
mar ner in which she represented the 
high-toned lady that she assumed to 
be. There was no look of recogni- 
tion between the villain and the wo- 
man he had hired to aid in his wicked 
designs. She and he were taking the 
leading parts in a drama of real life, 
and it had been arranged at the re- 
hearsal that they were to act in every 
way as though she were really a lady 
and he actually an upright and hon- 
orable young man. But the disguised 
street- walker had a little plot of her 
own concocting to add to the play as 
originally prepared ; and though she 
was outwardly amiability itselt, her 
mind was excited by thoughts that 
only wonderful self control could con- 
ceal from the attention of those with 
whom she was conversing in the most 
woildly and matter of iact of wa*ys. 

To all but Crank the ride was a 
pleasant one. The heartless procur 
ess was gloating over the ease with 
which she was earning her reward ; 
the reckless libertine, infatuated with 
the charms of the lovely woman 
whom he had determined at all haz- 
ards to win, was jubilant at heart at 
the prospect of an early accomplish- 
ment of the ends at which his base 
designs aimed ; the merchant's daugh- 
ter, having no suspicions that a con- 
spiracy threatened her, was full of 
life and animation; the street-walker, 
while she smiled and gave voice to 
such words as a stranger would nat- 
urally use when enjoying a trip un- 
der the shades of great forest trees, 
and fanned by the soft sighs of a 



mighty inland ocean, was all the time 
planning a counter-conspiracy that 
would bring down wrath and ven- 
geance on her own head, instead of 
ruin and destruction upon that of the 
proud beauty who sat at her sido. * 

Thus the minutes and the hours 
rolled on, until the lengthening shad- 
ows told them that evening, with its 
darkness and its dampness, would 
soon be upon them. But the cool 
breezes were so soothing in their 
effects that no one thought of turn- 
ing the heads of the horses home- 
ward or if they did so think, no 
mention was made of it, and it was 
quite dark when the happy party 
halted in front of the house of Mad- 
ame Gribson. 

That scheming woman insisted 
upon the honor of entertaining her 
friends under her own roof, for a 
short time, at least, and without 
marked hesitation the three ladies, 
preceded by Jack Dunning, entered 
the assignation house. 

As Josephine Baldwin was being 
assisted from the carriage by "Mr. 
Robinson," two gentlemen were 
passing. One, an elderly man, she 
did not knoqy; but the other WHS 
Harry Harper,' and for some reason 
that she did not herself realize, she 
was thankful that he did not recog- 
nize her while she was graciously re- 
ceiving the attentions of another 
man. 

Crank, too, recognized the hand- 
some young sporting man, and she 
thanked God that he was so near. 
Something told her that he would 
soon return that way, and she had no 
trouble in penciling, unobserved, 
upon a slip of paper, these words : 

"HARRY: You said you would 
come whenever I called on you. Be 
here at 11 o'clock to-night, without 
fail, and come prepared for any emer- 
gency. CRANK" 

In fifteen minutes she stood at the 
gate, fan in hand, apparently enjoy - 
irg the ever- welcome air of sultry 
summer evenings, but in reality 
watching eagerly for the appearance 
of a well-known form. 

She had not long to wait. Hairy 



70 



and Mr. Baldwin came sauntering 
leisurely along, the former on the in- 
side of the walk. The instant he 
reached the spot where Crank waited 
he felt the pressure of a hand in his 
own, and when, like a flash, the un 
known grip was withdrawn, a cram- 
pled note to d him that an explana- 
tion would be made whenever be 
should get an opportunity to read. 
He merely glanced at the woman, but 
he did not know her, although he did 
know the character of the house, and 
supposed that the missive so myste- 
riously received was of no more im 
portance than wculd be an invitation 
to a soiree of a questionable character. 
Indeed, such he supposed it to be, 
and was in no particular hurry to pe- 
ruse the hastily written lines. 

But when he did read the words that 
Cranky Ann had penned, it had the 
effect of an electric shock, and, taking 
hold oi the arm of the old gentleman 
with a grasp that was more vigorous 
than he supposed, he sa.d: 

" Mr. Baldwin, we must make 
haste ! I have an appointment to- 
night that I must keep to the very 
second. Let us take a street car, and 
reach our room as quickly as possi 
ble. I suppose I might leave you 
here, but with the assistance of the 
cars there is plenty of time, and I 
may need one or two small articles 
that I left behind when we started on 
our rambles up and down the ave- 
nue." 

Mr. Baldwin was somewhat sur- 
prised at the abruptness of the an- 
nouncement made by his young 
friend. He had supposed that, as the 
irght advanced, they were at least to 
remain together, and probably see 
some ,more of Chicago after dark; 
and the old man hinted as much to 
his companion, though he was care- 
l ui to make no direct mention of the 
matter. 

Harry was silent for some time. At 
h iigth he said: 

" I see, Mr. Baldwin, that you are 
:> trifle disappointed at what I have 
told you ; but let me assure you that 
until within a very short time ago I 



hid no idea that I would be called 
away from \ ou." 

The merchant was inclined to 
doubt. He said: 

"Of cours ', I understand that I 
have i o claim upon your time, and * 
would not demand it if I had; but it 
Appears to me that you are somewhat 
eccentric in your statements. What 
do you mean by a very short timet" 

" I mean that uniil about five 
minutes ago I had no idea that I 
should be called away from you. This 
may seem strange to you, who have 
been with me constantly for several 
hours. But this little note, that was 
handed me as we have been walking 
along, will convi ce you that I am not 
trying to deceive you." 

Mr. Baldwin took the note signed 
by Cranky Ann, and carefully pe- 
rused it. 

" Who gave you this, Harry?" he 
inquired. 

" I do not know, positively," he 
replied, " but nay impression is that 
Crank handed it to me herself. She 
is a strange girl, Mr. Baldwin, tind 
some day you will know more of her 
than you do now, even though she 
has related to vou the history of her 
life." 

The cars soon brought them down 
town On the way neither had epokr n/ 
After they reached the pavement Mr. 
Baldwin said : 

''Harry, what does this sudden 
and mysterious call on you mean?" 

" I cannot tell you," was the reply; 
" the woman who handled it to me 
stood at the gateway of a very select 
assignation house, to which none are 
admitted who are not known to the 
keeper. If it was not Crank herself 
who gave it to me, it was some other 
girl, probably of the same class. That 
she will be there, I am certain; but 
concerning what she wants of me, or 
why she wants me to come armed, I 
am entirely ignorant." 

" Why not let me go with you, 
Harry ?" 

This proposition was one that had 
not entered the head of Harry Har- 
per, and it startled him. From the 
actions of Cranky Ann, and from the 



1-1 



tenor ol his brief message on paper, 
he believed that an adventure not 
entirely fiee from danger, was before 
him. He had seen Crank face to face 
with peril, and he knew that such a 
feeling as that of fear had never found 
a place beneath her breast. When, 
therefore, she asked for help, it was 
not the call of a weak and timid wo- 
man, but rather the war cry of a star- 
tled tigress when its young was 
threatened with danger from a pow 
erful foe. Into such an adventure 
he did not wish to lead the man whom 
he regarded as something more than 
a friend, and whose daughter he held 
in an esteem that he scarcely dared 
admit even to himself. But hew 
could he sayjno? 

" I am afraid," he replied, after a 
pause, "that you would not relish an 
adventure of this kind, Mr. Baldwin. 
Jt may possibly be dangerous busi- 
ness that I am called upon to engage 
in." 

" Then why do you go? What par- 
ticular claim can this woman have 
upon you, that she should call upon 
you to risk perhaps your life in her 
behalf?" - 

The woman herself has no claim, 
but she seems to be speaking for 
some one else it may be some one 
who stands in need of the protection 
of an arm stronger than her own." 

" The danger, at the worst, cannot 
be very great, and I hope you will 
not insist upon sharing it alone, Har- 
ry, unless" the old man paused a 
moment "unless it is of a private 
nature, the details of which are only 
known to Cranky Ann and her very 
confidential friend." 

He smiled as he said this, and the 
tone of his voice was not such as 
could give offense, though the words 
might have been so considered had 
the} 7 come from almost any other 
source. 

'I assure you that there isj'noth 
ing that I know cf that concerns me, 
in what may transpire to night. I 
have warned you of possible danger. 
I have endeavored to dissuade you 
Irom keeping me compnm, because I 
would not knowing!}' lend you to 



any spot where a disturbance would 
be likely to take place. But if, know- 
ing all that I have told you, you in 
sist upon going, then I can only take 
you by the hand and pledge to you 
the protection that lies in this right 
arm, and such trusty weapons as may- 
be necessary to meet whatever force 
may threaten." 

" Then let us at once . prepare for 
action," said the enthusiastic mer 
chant, as they entered their room. 

Two hours later, Harry Harper and 
a well-dressed gentleman, who look- 
ed to be about 35 y^ars of age, with 
dark hair and waxed mustache, en- 
gaged a hack opposite the Sherman 
House, and instructed the driver to 
take them without delay to the vi- 
cinity of the assignation house. 

The merchant had assumed a new 
disguise, ,and he was embarking 
upon a mission that, before two 
hours should pass, would freeze his 
blood with horror ! 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

An hour was spent in pleasant con 
versation by the strange party that 
had congregated in the parlor ot 
k * Mrs. Robinson." During that time 
Jack Dunning had exercised every 
art within his knowledge to please 
Miss Baldwin ; and he had succeeded ! 
His manner was so respectful, his 
words and actions were so gentle- 
manly, and his deceit so thoroughly 
covered up, that the merchant's 
daughter discarded the doublings ot 
the afternoon, cast aside as unworthy 
of credence the warnings of "Miss 
Martindale," and permitted herself 
to be charmed by the human snake 
who was seeking to encompass her 
ruin. 

All this time Cranky Ann conduc- 
ted herself as a lady of education and 
refinement should. Though caretul 
not to interfere with or interrupt the 
interview that was kept up between 
the youti couple, &bt sufficiently 
identified herself with the conversa- 
tion to make her presence agreeable, 
and at the same time watched with 
sharp eyes the movements of the pro- 



curess, and the villain who had em 
ployed her. 

Jagk secretly admired the street- 
walker's genius in playing her part 
but he would have shuddered could 
he have read the thoughts that agi- 
tated the brain of Cranky Ann as she 
smiled upon him, upon the girl who 
had already been caught in a trap, 
and upon the hag whose roof covered 
them! 

In the neighborhood of 10 o'clock 
Crank detected signals passing be- 
tween Madame Gibson and Jack, 
and she well knew that deviltry was 
on foot. 

The Madame a moment later ex- 
eused herself, and soon after Jack, 
under a plausible pretext, also left 
the room, and the two friends were 
alone! 

"Ok, if I could but warn her!" 
thought Crank. 

But how could she ? ^n the eyes 
of Josephine Baldwin, Isabella Mar- 
tindale was a lady, and as such could 
not know of any conspiracy, unless 
she herself were as guilty as the oth- 
ers. 

As these thoughts ran through her 
mind, the right hand of the street- 
walker disappeared beneath her skirts, 
and when withdrawn buried itself in 
her bosom. These strange actions 
were expressly designed to attract 
the notice of the merchant's daugh- 
ter, and they were successful. 

" You seem to be somewhat nerv- 
ous, Miss Martindale," said Jose- 
phine. 

" Ah! then you detected my move- 
ments just now, I perceive," was the 
reply. 

" I confess that I did think you 
somewhat eccentric in your acts; atd 
now that you have made mention of 
the matter youiself, I hope you will 
not think it rude if I inquire your 
reasons tor what many would deem a 
strange performance." 

' Most certainly not," was the re 
pi v ; and then Crank continued : 

" We are two women, all alone." 

The street- walker crossed the room, 
and t ok a seat on the same sofa with 
Miss Baldwin. 



" Yes, we are alone at present, it 
seems," replied Jopsephine. 

" No one can see, no one can hear." 

" It would appear not." 

Crank then arose, raised her skirts, 
and exposed, beneath the striped silk 
hose, convenient for use at any mo- 
ment, a silver-mounted revolverl 

Miss Baldwin's eyes opened wid 
with wonder, but she had not an op- 
portunity to speak before Crank had 
seized her hand, and thrusting it 
quickly beneath the folds of her dress, 
it rested upon the cold ivory handle 
of a stilletto ! 

Withdrawing her hand like a flash, 
the daughter of the merchant recoiled 
and trembled. 

" Do not be alarmed," said the 
street- walker, in a voice whose gen- 
tleness and mildness were in strange 
contrast with the ugly weapons that 
she carried. 

" Now feel of my muscle," she re- 
sumed. 

Miss Baldwin did so. It was hard 
as iron. 

" Please tell me why you carry 
these terrible implements," pleaded 
the innocent young woman, whose 
alarm had vanished. 

" I can tell you in a few words," 
said Crank; 1 , "it is the custom J of 
Southern ladies to perfect themselves 
in the use of such weapons as may at 
some time be needed lor self protec- 
tion. And it is also usual, in our 
country, to develop to the fullest ex- 
tent every physical gilt of nature. 
As forme, I consider myself the equal 
of any man in the art of using the re- 
volver or the knife, and there are few 
men who are capable of standing up 
before me without a weapon of any 
kind. Thus, you see, while travel- 
ing, I am my own protector, and 
never have cause for nervousness or 
fear." 

In coining this clever fabrication, 
Cranky Ann had a motive, that per- 
haps the reader has already conceived. 
She knew that in less than an hour an 
exciting scene would be enacted in 
that house; she could not warn Jose- 
phine Baldwin of the impend ing dan- 
ger; but she could and would give 



the young lady some assurance of pro 
tection, and this was the quickly de- 
vised way she took to do it. 

Putting her arms affectionately 
around the neck of her companion, 
Cranky Ann drew her to her bosom 
and kissed her. And then she said 
with a kindly smile: 

" So you see, my dear Miss Bald- 
win, that whenever you are near me 
you have a companion who, though 
not so pleasing nor so gallant as the 
handsome young son of our amiable 
hostess, is yet fully as able to pro- 
tect and preserve you from all harm." 

Josephine was about to reply, but 
she was interrupted by the entrance 
of Madame Gibson. 

14 What !" exclaimed the procuress, 
" can it be possible that my son has 
been so unpardonably rude as to 
leave you two ladies all alone ?" 

The old woman looked and talked 
as though she was really surprised! 

44 The ladies will excuse me, I know, 
mother," said Jack, who entered at that 
moment, ' 4 when they know that it 
was for their own comfort that I left 
them." 

14 The day has been quite close," 
he continued, "and I am sure that 
the refreshments that I have ordered 
from the restaurant over the way 
will be more acceptable than would 
have been my dull company!" 

The " refreshments " were being 
prepared in that very house 1 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

When Madame Gibson caught the 
eye of Jack Dunning, she knew that 
he wanted to see her alone, and that 
she would quickly follow when he 
left the parlor. She waited for him 
in the hall, and when he made his 
appearance they silently and with 
noiseless tread disappeared through | 
a rear door, and made their way to a 
room in the basement, where none 
could hear. 

"Well?" said the Madame, inquir 
ingly, as she faced him. 

There was a dark, foreboding scowl 
upon his face. 

" There is but one thing to be 



done!" he muttered, in low tones 

The procuress understood him 
well, but she disliked his looks, and 
pretended she did not know what he 
meant. 

44 1 see that you are getting alon^ 
swimmingly," she said, with a forced 
smile. 

14 Getting along hellishly, you had 
better say," was the coarse and gruff 
reply. 

"Why, my son, I really thought 
you had captivated the gentle liitle 
dove. It I am any judge, you have 
progressed remarkably fast in your 
love-making." 

"Then you are no judge. I tell 
you, Madame Gibson, that girl is a 
lady, and all the arts of the devil 
could not lure her from the path of 
rectitude. I can see that she is 
pleased with my attentions, as any 
lady would be with the attentions of 
a gentleman for whom she entertains 
respect; but should I make one im- 
proper, or even indelicate advance, 
she would spurn me from her with 
indignant scorn, and forever after 
there would be between us a moun- 
tain of ice!" 

Again that sardonic query was pro- 
pounded: 

" Well ?" 

44 You know your business" was the 
suggestive response, and a devilish 
light gleamed -in the eyes that met 
her own. 

44 Don't you think you had better 
try peaceable measures for a few 
days, Mr. Dunning? A man ot your 
peculiar powers of persuasion could 
hardly fail to win the confidence of 
almost any young beauty in Chi- 
cago." 

" No ! I will not try anything ol 
the kind, lor I know that I should fail. 
To-night we have her ! Let her go, 
and the opportunity has passed for- 
ever! There is no occasion to wait 
another half hour, not another min- 
ute, for they are golden now ! Crank 
has done her part well. She is true 
as steel and sharper than chain light- 
ning! One glass of wine wili do the 
business! Come! We are gone too 
long already ! Let a collation be 



75 



prepared, and trust no hand but your 
own in arranging her glass of wine .'" 

"I have already ordered lunch. 
As to the rest, trust mt /" 

No more was said, and as the read- 
er already knows, they both returned 
to the parlor. 

Not two minutes had elapsed when 
a colored waiter announced that lunch 
was waiting them, and the entire 
party proceeded to a large room, el 
egantly furnished, in another part of 
the house. 

" A little wine before we dine, 
mother," suggested Jack, smiling at 
the rhyme he had unwittingly perpe- 
trated. 

" You need not have spoken, my 
son, tor I had anticipated the wants 
of our friends," replied the Madame, 
blandly, as she proceeded to a closet, 
and presently appeared with a silver 
tray, on which were four wine glasses, 
well filled. 

It was offered to Cranky Ann 
first. 

Had not Jack Dunning been thor 
oughly deceived, he would have 
thought it strange that the face of the 
street- walker should turn to scarlet, 
and that her eyes should blaze with 
unwonted fire. But in his joy he did 
not notice anything, and thought of 
nothing but the prize that was already 
within his grasp. 

Crank's jeweled hand was steady 
when she took the glass, though* her 
heart was beating wildly, and it was 
with difficulty that she could sit still 
in her chair and witness the drugging 
ot one whom, in three short days, 
she had learned to love as she had 
never loved man or woman before. 

But she had sworn a solemn oath 
that the villains should be foiled. 
She had two trusty weapons, two 
strong arms, and aheart as braveand 
true as ever beat in human breast. 

"Harry wi 1 not tail me," she 
thought; " I feel that he is near me 
now; but if he does " 

She pressed hfr hand upon her 
swelling hosom, and felt the dagger's 
shape ! The revolver, too, was in 
its place ! 

"A toast!" she said, just as they 



were raising the wine glasses to their 
lips. 

"A toast!" repeated Madame Gib- 
son, gleefully. 

Jack was somewhat confused, but 
he q lickly gathered his thoughts and 
prop ised : 

'* Let us eat, drink, be merry and 
laugh long and loud !" 

" Hold !" cried Crank, as the glasses 
were again raised ; " let me offer a 
sentiment!" 

" You honor us greatly, Miss Mar- 
tindale," bo Wed theMadarue and her 
son ; and in clear tones t he street 
walker said, as she raised her glass : 

" He laughs loudest who laugiis 
lastr 



CHAPTER XXX. 

Jack Dunning and Madame Gib- 
son were both deceived by the sin- 
gular toast offered by Cranky Ann, 
just as they were raising the wine 
glasses to their lips. 

" He laughs loudest who laughs 
last! Excellent! Excellent!" ex- 
claimed Jack; " I drink to it with all 
my heart !" 

" And I too," said the procuress, 
raising her glass. 

" Oh, God ! why does he not 
come?" were the unspoken words 
that trembled upon the lips of Cranky 
Ann, whose mental excitement was 
terrible. Should she permit Miss 
Baldwin to drink the " prepared " 
wine? She had delayed as long as 
was possible. It was eleven o'clock! 
The supreme moment had arrived ! 
The poisoned cup already touched 
the lips of the innocent young wo- 
man ! Another instant, and through 
her blue veins would course n subtle 
drug ! Swifter than an electric cur- 
rent the thought flashed upon the 
mind of the street -walker: 

" Miss Baldwin is a woman of del- 
icate constitution. The sleeping 
draught may be too strong. // may 
kill!" 

These thoughts ran through her 
mind a thousand times qmcker than 
tongue could utter them, and the 
street- walker no longer hesitated 



76 



Josephine Baldwin should not drink 1 
She listened with ears sharp as 
those of an Indian on the war path, 
but heard no approaching footstep. 
Her whole system was worked up 
to a fearful pitch of excitement. Her 
veins were swollen to twice their 
usual size, her muscles were like 
cords ol iron, her eyes flashed with 
unnatural brilliancy ! The street 
walker was on fire with excitement ! 

With a sweet smile upon her beau 
tiful face, Josephine Baldwin raised 
the frosted glass ! 

But it never reached her lips ! 

So quick that the movement could 
hardly be perceived. Cranky Ann 
seized the arm of hert'riead, and the 
tender vessel that held the drugged 
wine dropped to the marble table and 
was shattered to pieces! 

The shock was so great that with 
one shrill shriek, Miss Baldwin fell 
fainting to the carpeted floor! 

Both Madame Gibson and Jack 
Dunning were thunderstruck 1 Their 
surprise and astonishment were so 
great that for a moment neither could 
speak ! 

With a fearful oath Jack sprang to 
bis feet, and glared with savage fury 
upon the street- walker, who remained 
in her chair, with a calmness and firm- 
ness that was indeed wondertul. 

" Crank, d n your soul, what have 
you done ?" he hissed. 

" I have merely spilled a little 
pure wine, Jack," was her provingly 
cool reply. 

"Slutl hussy! traitor!" cried the 
infuriated man, losing all control of 
himself, " you shall pay for that wine 
with your own blood !" 

He had already drawn a knife, and 
was ready to spring upon her, when 
Madame Gibson interfered. That 
quick-witted woman did not care to 
have a tragedy enacted in her houre. 
The consequences, not the crime^ was 
what troubled the old woman. 

" Jack," she said, with all the mild- 
ness she could in her excitement 
muster, " do not forget yourself ! By 
attacking this false woman, you lose 
your beautiful prize! Seel She is 
senseless upon the floor ! Go and 



take her, and leave this friend of 
yours to me! You can settle with 
her hereafter !" 

Probably no other argument would 
have struck Jack Dunning with such 
force. In his rage, he had for a mo- 
ment forgotten the sole object of that 
night's adventure. 

" You are right, Madame," he said, 
"for the present I will leave this 
street- walking hag in your care, but 
I will have a settlement with her 
hereafter. I will teach her a lesson 
that she will never forget. I will see 
you again, Cranky Ann," were his 
sarcastic words, as he turned and 
made a movement in the direction of 
the prostrate young lady. 

'You will please come with me 
into another room," was the severely 
spoken solicitation of the procuress 
to the street -walker. 

"You will please go to hell, where 
you belong," returned Crank, with 
mock gravity. 

But she was not in a merry mood 
just then! With a quick movement 
she drew back her right arm, and 
planted a blow in the face of the hag 
that sent her reeling and staggering 
across the room. In her fall she 
struck the marble mantle, and the 
next second she, too, was insensible 
on the floor, with a gash in her head 
that looked ugly and bled freely. 

This little by-play took place be- 
fore Jack Dunning had reached Miss 
Baldwin. He turned with the wild 
glare of a demon in his black eyes, 
and once more the bright blade of 
that dreadful kniie glittered in the 
gas-light! 

" May the devil damn your sou 1 !" 
he cried, as he drew the knife. 

"Stop!" exclaimed Cranky Ann, 
in a commanding voice. 

The maddened man could not re- 
sist the order. He stood like a pan- 
ther waiting to spring upon his prey. 

" Jack Dunning," said the street- 
walker, with a command over her 
emotions that was wonderful, "throw 
away that knife and I will fight you 
hand to hand !" 

" Fool 1 I could choke the life out 
of your rotten carcass in five seconds, 



77 



but I had rather see the crimson as it 
flows from your false heart ! You 
will never betray another man as you 
have me ! If you have a prayer to 
say, Cranky Ann, say it quick, for in 
a minute from now you will be in 
hell !" 

*' I have one short little prayer, if 
you will let me say it!" 

She was calm, but oh! how painful 
was the effort ! 

" Go on, you cursed slut, and be 
quick 1" 

" It is only this!" and her voice 
suddenly leaped with the violence ol a 
hurricane from her throat as she 
screamed: 

" God damn Jack Dunning /'* 

There was a cocked revolver in her 
hand as she spoke, but in the blind- 
ness of his iury he saw it not 1 

Just as he sprang toward her the 
heroic girl pulled the trigger ! 

The treacherous weapon proved 
false ! 

With a presence of mind that'was 
remarkable, Crank avoided the at- 
tack of her infuriated enemy by 
quickly stepping aside. 

In doing so the revolver was again 
cocked, and held in her left hand, 
while in her right was firmly clasped 
a weapon that never fa Is ! 

At that moment there was a crash 
at the front door, and Harry Harper, 
as it led by instinct, leaped into the 
room! 

'Thank God you have come!" 
cried Crank. 

Like a tiger at bay Jack leaped 
upon her. 

But a hand more power f ul than his 
own had him by the neck before he 
reached the defiant girl, and then and 
there, without a word, a "rough-and- 
tumble" fight occurred such as has sel- 
dom been witnessed in Chicago. The 
knife was quickly wrested from the 
villain's hand, Cranky Ann taking 
possession of it. The brave girl 
watched the battle with eager eyes, 
and stood ready at any time to ren 
der Harry such assistance as might 
be needed. * 

But he required none. 

In less than five minutes Jack 



Dunning yelled like a whipped cur 
for mercy. The blows and the kicks 
that he had received were given with 
such rapidity and force that his only 
defence was a vain effort to avoid 
them. 

As soon as he begged for mercy 
Cranky Ann, who had a high sense of 
what is known among sporting peo- 
ple as " honor," interceded in his 
behalf, and the battle ended. 

"When a man says enough" said 
Crank, " I hate to see him pounded ; 
but God knows Jack Dunning de- 
serves to die a dog's death this verjr 
night, and I believe he would if he 
had been left to me !" 

Jack was fearfully disfigured. He 
had nothing whatever to say, but 
sneaked out of the house at once. 

There wag another witness to this 
contest. The merchant, completely 
horrified, and scarcely knowing what 
to do or say, stood at the open door, 
staring with startled gaze upon a 
sight such as he had never seen be- 
fore 1 

The confusion over, Harry Harper 
looked around, and his glance rested 
upon the senseless and bleeding form 
of Madame Gibson. 

" Who did this?" he inquired. 

" 2 did 7" replied Crank, with par- 
donable pride in her voice and looks, 
"and I'm glad of it!" Harry then 
turned, and his gaze fell upon the 
prostrate form of Josephine Baldwin. 
He recognized her instantly, and 
with a deathly pallor in his face and 
trembling voice, he grasped Crank 
by the arm and whispered huskily : 

" In the uame of God, how came 
she here ?" 

At the same time he confronted 
Mr. Baldwin, and the idea flashed 
upon his mind that it would be a 
kindness to hide from him the fact of 
his daughter's presence in that 
bouse. 

But he was too late. The old gen- 
tleman had caught one glimpse at 
the woman on the floor, and wildly 
rushing forward he exclaimed with 
choking utterance: 

"Josephine! My child I" 



78 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

The scene at the assignation house 
was one so exciting and so thrilling 
thata description would be utterly im- 
possible. 

Jof-eplune Baldwin heard her fath- 
er's wild cry. She knew the voice, 
and with returning consciousness 
gazed hewilderingly around the 
room. 

Father and daughter embraced 
each other with streaming eyes, and 
a warmth and terror that only comes 
with grief. 

Harry Harper {urned to Cranky 
Ann. who was the only person in the 
room that had retained anything like 
composure. 

" I know you, Crank," he whis- 
pered, " by your voice ; and I believe 
you can explain this whole unhappy 
affair. Will you do so ?" 

' This is hardly a suitable place 
lor this young lady to remain in," 
replied Crank; "If you have a car- 
riage, we had better at once leave 
it." 

This advice of the street-walker 
was acted upon, and in two minutes 
all were ready to go. 

" What shall be done with this 
woman ?" inquired Harry, pointing 
to the procuress. 

" Let her die ! Let the hag rot !" 
was the reply of the indignant and 
excited woman. 

And they left her as she was, and 
were soou wheeling in silence toward 
the residence of the merchant. 

Upon arriving, Cranky Ann, with- 
out addressing any of the others, and 
purposely avoiding the gaze of Miss 
Baldwin, called Harry aside, and 
they held a "whispered consultation, 
at the end of which Harry took Mr. 
Baldwin by the hand and said : 

" My friend, there is a mystery to 
be cleared up to-night. In half an 
hour we will return, and then you 
shall both know all." 

Entering the hack, they rapidly 
drove away. 

In the meantime Mr. Baldwin nar- 
rated to his daughter a part of his 
experiences while in the company of 



Harry Harper, c mitting, however, aH 
reference to Cranky Ann. 

Josephine also had a strange story 
to tell the visit of Miss Martindale, 
the attempted robbery, the rescue, 
the strange disappearance of the 
brave young man, and, finally, that 
afternoon's ride, and its incompre- 
hensible termination 

The bell rang, and both Mr. Bald- 
win and his daughter answered the 
summons. 

When the door opened Harry Har- 
per walked in, followed by Cranky 
Ann, painted, powdered, and dressed 
exactly as she was when Mr. Bald- 
win first met her on the street, a lew 
days before. 

The merchant stood back in amaze- 
ment ! 

" Harry," he said, " why have you 
brought that woman to my house ? ' ' 

Josephine, in alarm, came forward 
and demanded: 

" What have you done with Miss 
Martindale, Mr. Harper ?" 

"Miss Martindale no longer!" ex 
claimed the street- walker; and before 
any one could interrupt her she stood 
in the middle of the parlor and con- 
tinued : 

" I came here in disguise, Miss 
Baldwin ! I was a false friend to you 
at first, but at the last, true ! Here- 
after, you must not know me, for I 
am not Miss Martindale, a lady, as 
you supposed, but only CRANKT ANN, 
THE STREET WALKER! only a poor 
girl on the town 1" 

She almost broke down with emo- 
tion as she uttered the words. 

Harry Harper then told his story, 
and in doing so he did not fail to 
place the acts of Cranky Ann in a 
light truly heroic. 

When Josephine Baldwin had 
heard all, she fairly rushed towards 
Cranky Ann, clasped her arms about 
the street- walker' s neck, folded her 
to her bosom, and wept as though 
her heart would break 1 

" Not know you ? " she cried ; " not 
know the preserver of my life ? Not 
know the brave woman who has stood 
as a shield of steel and wall of iron 
between me and harm ?* 



79 



She fairly hugged poor Crank, and 
the two women wept ! 

Miss Baldwin continued: 

" Henceforward you are my friend 1 
I care not what you have been ; I know 
what you are, and I know that you 
are brave, noble and true ! If before 
you come here you were bad, it must 
have been because you were driven 
to it, as good and noble women are, 
alas ! so often driven to do that which 
in their souls they loathe ! Whatever 
maybe your name, whatever your 
shame, whatever your guilt, 1 love 
you, and from this day onward yo j 
are my chosen companion, my dear 
friend ; and whoever does not wish to 
recognize you, can pass me by too 1" 

Alan son Baldwin then came for- 
ward. His hand trembled as he 
reached it out to clasp that of Cranky 
Ann, and he embraced her as a father 
would embrace a child. 

" My daughter has spoken like a 
true woman," he said, manifesting 
much feeling, " and her faljter can do 
no less than say amen to every word. 
Your sad history, my dear young 
woman, I have heard from your own 
lips !' In me you probably recognize 
the disguised man who^went with 
ou to your room, and by Kind words 
yersuaded you to reveal the history 
pf your checkered career. You prom- 
ised to meet me againgin ten days 
The time has not~^^ - me' 

developr-- 1Jta Ol to-night convince 
laic th r tne reasons for your delay 
ed to exist. You little 

ugh that the bad man who em- 
>loycd you that night, was conspir- 
ing against the daughter of him who 
sought to save you from sin 1 You 
euiered into that dark compact with 
iesitation;your better instincts pre- 
vailed ; four heart was warmed to 
me; you turned upon villainy with 
horror; you became the champion 
and defende/r of right and virtue ; you 
have saved )me and mine from worse 



than death; and now, in return, I beg 
of you to accept fie poor offering of 
a home, and of friends who will cher- 
ish and love you as earnestly, as 
faithfully and as truly as though you 
had never been a woman of the 
town I" 

The old man kissed her as he con- 
cluded, and Crank, entirely overcome 
by such unexpected kindness, wept 
like a child ! 

That washer answer. It was more 
eloquent than words; for one tear, 
one pressure of the hand, one sigh of 
relief from a terrible bondage, re- 
veals the heart's promptings as noth- 
ing else can. 

Our story is well nigh told. Cranky 
Ann burned every rag she wore as a 
street- walker. She assumed another 
name, and now stands high in the es- 
timation of all who know her. 

Harry Harper at once accepted a 
position of trust in the store of Alan- 
son Baldwin. He discontinued his 
wild and dissipated habits, makes the 
residence of his employer his Tioine, 
and himself and Josephine 'baldwiw 
are constant ons at hours 

when duty does tfr} require his atten- 
tion. jS* 

MadamgtiMbson was not seriously 
hurt; an^Wack Dunning has not bee* 
seen im the city since that night on 
-.. mch his dark designs were so suc- 
cessfully frustrated. 

The son of the merchant was cured 
ot his infatuation for " Miss Martin- 
dale," but he is a staunch friend of 
'hat woman in her new name and 
life, and is proud to call himself her 
brother. 

Alanson Baldwin does not wish to 
see any more of CHICAGO IN CHI;> 
He is satisfied with the tew nights of 
adventure and excitement which he 
has already experienced ; and to his 
dying day he will bless the night on 
which he met CRANKY ANN, THB 
STREET WALKBR. 




TUK- KND. 







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