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Full text of "Wicked Nell : a gay girl of the town"

// SIIA.VU ANDREWS. 



Wicked Nell 



GAYGIRLofTHETOWN.' 



By SHANG ANDREWS, 

AUTHOR OF "CRANKY ANN;" ".THE MYSTERIES AND MISERIES OF 
CHICAGO;" " IRISH MOLLIE" " JOE AND JENNIE," &c., &c. 



latrimoniai . 



. 

'rtOWIJUL NKWS OO.. 



CHICAGO; 

COMET PUBLISHING COMPANY, 
1878. 



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

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



WICKED NELL, 

A GAY GIRL OF THE TOWN. 



CHAPTER I. 

On a warm summer* evening, 
about two years before the fire, 
Captain Hickey sat in front of the 
old Armory, puffing leisurely at a 
cigar, and from appearances indulg- 
ing in a reverie. He was probably 
calling to mind some of the strange 
and startling adventures through 
which he had passed while in the 
discharge of his duties as a thief- 
catcher. But his thoughts on that 
occasion are not to be the text of 
this story. They were disturbed 
by the approach of an elderly 
woman, whose manner indicated 
that she was in deep trouble. 

" Well, my good woman, what 
can I do for you to-night ?" said 
the Captain, motioning the woman 
to a seat on a wooden bench at his 
tide. 

"Oh, Captain Hickey," sobbed 
the woman, ' It's a sorry day that 
brought me here !" 

The poor creature was suffering 
intense mental agony , and when 
the last word was uttered she com- 
pletely broke down, and wept and 
moaned with an intensity of grief 
that was really painful to witness. 

The Captain, knowing that to 
express sympathy would only make 
matters worse, made no immediate 
attempt to pacify the woman. Fi- 
nally, however, when her burst of 
impassioned sorrow had partially 
subsided, he said ; 

" Well, madam, if there is any- 
thing I can do for you, it shall be 



done willingly. If you are in 
trouble, you should meet it bravely, 
and not give way to your feelings 
as you have done since you came 
here. What is the nature of the 
complaint you have to make ?" 

" Oh, Captain Hickey, I haven't 
the heart to tell !" 

" But you must tell, if you want 
help." 

" Captain my daughter!" 

" Ah ! I understand it all now ! 
You have a daughter that has gone 
astray ! Poor woman ! God knows 
I pity you ! Do you know where 
your girl can be found ?" 

" Indeed, Captain, I do not. If I 
did, I should never come here, to 
bring disgrace on myself and my 
own child my darling little Nell!" 

" Then I understand that you 
want me to hunt h#r up for you. 
Is that it ?" 

" That's just what I want, Cap- 
tain ; and if you'll do it, sir, the 
old widow will call down God Al- 
mighty's blessing on your head!" 

Without appearing to notice the 
woman's fervent words, the Captain 
said : 

" We must have a description of 
your daughter." 

" Oh, sir, she's as tidy a girl as 
ever you laid eyes on !" 

" That is not very definite. We 
must have an accurate description 
her age, height, the color of her 
hair and eyes, and any peculiarities 
by which she may be distinguished 
from other girls. In the first place, 



yom may give me her age how old 
is she?" 

" She'll be thirteen years old next 
month, sir !" 

" Only thirteen! Why, you don't 
think she's gone to the bad. do 

9 

you i 

"God knows I don't want to 
think so, Captain, but I can't help 
it I know it !" 

" Have you any idea where she 
can be found whether ,in a public 
house, or a private place ?" 

" It's a week now since she left 
home. She went alone; there wasn't 
a soul with her, and she wore her 
eve^day dresp, without any hat or 
shawl." 

" Had she been in the habit of 
keeping company with other girls, 
or with young men ?" 

" She was out with 'em every 
blessed night, often till twelve and 
one o'clock, and sometimes as late 
as two and three in the morning." 

" I am afraid she is lost beyond 
hope," said the Captain, " but we 
will do* our best to save her you 
may rely upon that. By the way, 
what is your daughter's name ?" 

" The neighbors call her ' WICKED 
NELL,' but her right name is Nellie 
O'Brien bad luck to the day that 
ever brought shame upon the fami- 
ly that raised her !" 

" I have heard of this Wicked 
Nell before," said the Captain, " but 
I thought she was one of the old 
settlers something like the girls 
on Wells, Griswold or Sherman 
streets." 

" She's young in years, Captain, 
but as old as any of them in 
wickedness ! Why, you'll blush 
when you hear her talk ! She's the 
very devil !" 

" I don't doubt her viciousness, 
but I long since stopped blushing at 
the words or actions of any of the 
depraved creatures of this wicked 
city. I hope I may never become hard- 



hearted, or conscience-calloused, 
as some officers are said to have 
done ; but when one is constantly 
surrounded by the most depraved 
wretches that walk the streets and 
skulk in the dark alleys, it is scarce- 
ly to be wondered at that he should 
lose confidence in humanity and 
almost become a convert to the 
doctrine of total depravity. But 
while we are talking, time is being 
lost. If you come here at eight 
o'clock to-morrow morning, I have 
no doubt you will find your girl." 

After furnishing as perfect a de- 
scription of the missing girl as she 
could, the unhappy old woman went 
towards her miserable home. 

When the men answered to their 
names at roll call, a few minutes 
subsequent to the above interview, 
Captain Hickey said : 

" Officer Morgan will be detailed 
for special duty to-night. He will 
report to me in my private office." 

Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys 
went marching to their beats, and 
Morgan repaired to the office of 
his superior. 

" Jim," said the Captain, " You 
are pretty well posted as to the 
location of the hell-holes about 
town, are you not?" 

"If I ain't I ought to be," was 
the blunt reply. 

' Well, I want you to start out 
now, and never come back until 
you find this old woman's girl 
this Wicked Nell, as she is called." 

" Oh ! if it's Wicked Nell you 
want, I'll soon run her in ! I saw 
her only yesterday, drinking beer 
with a sailor on Jackson street. I 
think I can lay my hand on her in 
less than half an hour ; but if I don't, 
I'll obey orders, Captain I'll not 
come back without her." 

"Very well. I hope you will 
have speedy success, for the heart 
of her poor old mother ia almost 
broken !" 



"Running her in won't do any 
.good, Cap. She's gone, head and 
heels, body and soul ! Why, she's 
the wickedest girl in Chicago !" 

" Then she should be taken care 
of, by all means. Do you believe, 
Jim, that she's only thirteen years 
old ? Her mother says that's her 
age." 

" I don't doubt it and to my 
knowledge she's been on the town, 
off and on, for about three years! 
People have got to look sharp after 
their babies, in these days !" 

" It is shocking, Jim, it's shock- 
ing ! We will lock this girl up to- 
night, if we get her, and to-morrow 
morning she shall have her choice 
she can go home to her mother, if 
.she will promise to be a good girl ; 
if not she gets ninety days in the 
Bridewell." 

" And do you know what she'll 
do?" 

" I think she will go home, and 
try to behave herself." 

" There's where you're mistaken, 
Captain ! As sure as my name is 
Jim Morgan, she'll defy the Court 
and go to the Bridewell! She's a 
thoroughbred, every inch of her!" 



CHAPTER II. 

When the widow O'Brien left 
Captain Hickey, she did not return 
to her home, on Franklin street, 
two blocks from the Armory. Wild 
:and wicked as she knew her daugh- 
ter to be, the old lady still had a 
mother's strong love in her breast, 
and she could not bear to see her 
Nellie go to the lock-up, even for 
one night, if such a course could 
be avoided. With the resolution 
to prevent an arrest, if possible, 
.she lingered near the Armory until 
after the first platoon had left, and 
then her bent figure and sorrowful 
face was again seen in the doorway. 

The Captain saluted her respect- 
fully. 



" I am just about sending a man 
out in search of your daughter 
a man who knows her well, and 
thinks he can find her* without 
trouble," he said, addressing the 
widow. 

" Sure, and I'm obliged to you, 
Captain, but I came back to as^k a 
favor." 

" Name it, and it shall be grant- 
ed." 

" It would break my poor old 
heart entirely, to see my little chick 
of a child behind those bars in 
those horrid ce-lls." 

" If we find her, Mrs. O'Brien, 
we must keep her, but she shall not 
be locked up in a cell. We have a 
room up stairs where she can be 
kept." 

" But, Captain, can't /go with 
the officer, and when he finds her 
won't you let her go home with me]? 
I can coax the child I know I 
can." 

" It shall be as you wish. You 
can accompany Mr. Morgan, and 
when he finds her you can have an 
interview. If she consents to go 
home and premises to stay there, 
nothing further will be done ; but if 
she refuses, and insists upon remain- 
ing with her dissolute associates, 
then there will be but one course to 
pursue she must be arrested and 
punished. She had better be in the 
Bridewell, Mrs. O'Brien, than wan- 
dering about the streets, associat- 
ing with abandoned men and wo- 
men." 

" I know it, Captain, I know it , 
and I thank you for your kindness 
God bless you !" 

Tears glad tears, that there was 
still hope, and sorrowful ones, that 
she should be forced to such a 
dreadful expedient to save her 
daughter coursed down the bronz- 
ed cheeks of this working woman, 
as she uttered these words. 

" I am merely doing my duty," 




responded the Captain, who was 
deeply touched by the woman's dis- 
tress. u It would be a cruel act, and 
an unjust one, too, if I should not 
hold out every inducement for the 
return of an erring but repentant 
child to her home. I have been an 
officer for many years, and have wit- 
nessed more suffering, more sorrow, 
more misery, more agony, more 
heart-breakings, than I could tell 
you of should we talk from now 
till daylight. God knows we have 
enough outcasts in Chicago to-day, 
without driving down and perse- 
cuting those who may be inclined 
to turn from the error of their ways. 
We are the protectors of socie- 
ty, Mrs. O'Brien, not its persecutors. 
It is our duty to sav e, not to de- 
stroy. I hope your daughter will 
abandon her evil associations and, 
eventually become a good woman. 
If by any act of mine such an end 
can be attained, I shall only be too 
glad to volunteer my assistance. 
You can go with the officer, and 
take your daughter, wherever you 
can find her." 

With tender and feeling acknowl- 
edgment and thanks, the widow and 
the officer started on their painful 

ission painful to both, for Jim 

organ was a father himself, and 

good man, and the tears of the 
ereaved mother had touched a soft 
spot in his honest heart. 

" Mr. Morgan," said the widow, 
after they had started, " the Captain 
told me you knew my little daugh- 
ter are you well acquainted with 
her ? " 

" No I am not acquainted with 
her at all ; but she has been point- 
ed out to me as ' Wicked Nell/ and 
I have seen her a great many times, 
while I have been traveling my 
beat." 

" And is the such a very, very 
wicked girl, Mr. Morgan ?" 

" For one of her age, I should ' 



say that she is the worst girl that 
I ever saw. It is hard to say this 
to a mother, of her daughter, but 
it would do no good to deceive you. 
When you know the truth you can 
perhaps act with more . effect for 
good than you could should I at- 
tempt to cover up the bad traits the 
girl has adopted." 

For a block, Mrs. O'Brien walked 
in silence ; but the experienced of- 
ficer saw tears stealing from her 
eyelids, and realized that the 
burden that weighed upon her 
heart was so heavy as to be almost 
unbearable. Hers was unspeakable 
grief. With an effort that forced 
a sigh, the woman rallied, and said : 

" Do you think you will have any 
trouble in finding my Nellie? " 

"I do not," was the reply. "I 
have seen her many times near the 
corner of Wells and Jackson streets, 
and it is my opinion that she has 
found a stopping place on the latter 
street, not far from the corner." 

While this conversation was tak- 
ing place, they had been walking at 
a brisk pace, and were nearing the 
locality mentioned. 

A sound of coarse revelry com- 
ing from a " saloon and restaurant," 
whose doors were open, greeted 
their ears. There were at least a 
dozen men in the place, and as many 
women, and from the unnatural 
tones of their voices, it was evident 
that nearly' all were, more or less, 
under the influence of liquor. Some 
were in the public saloon, and others 
were seated in stalls on the side of 
the room, drinking, eating, smok- 
ing, telling stories, and enjoying 
themselves as fancy dictated. Heavy 
curtains, capable of entirely screen- 
ing the persons in the stalls from 
observation, hung in front of them, 
but they were parted in the mid- 
dle, and evidently no ' concealment 
was desired by the motley crowd. 
Some of the women, depraved 






though they were, would be really 
handsome were it not for that brazen 
look that the harlot, let her try 
ever so hard, cannot banish. These 
creatures, however, made no effort 
to hide their calling. On the con- 
trary, it looked as though special 
pains had been taken, in arranging 
their toilettes, to display such 
charms as they had to the best ad- 
vantage. The dresses of some were 
so low in the neck as to be abso- 
lutely indecent, while others went 
to the other extreme, and let no op- 
portunity slip to display to the very 
best advantage, with the most out- 
rageous immodesty, their lower 
limbs. While this insane revelry 
was at its height, while tumblers 
were clinking merrily, and the en- 
tire company seemed to be in a jol- 
ly mood, there came flying, rather 
than walking, into the room, a young 
girl, whose rare beauty and mag- 
nificiently moulded form dimmed 
the lustre of the charms of her 
frail sisters, as bright diamonds in 
the sunlight make dull and unsight- 
ly common glass. Her entrance 
created a profound sensation, and 
for a brief moment there was a hush 
silence such as usually precedes 
a wild demonstration of delight or 
applause. But it was for a moment 
only. The girl was attired in the 
most gay and dashing, though not 
expensive apparel. Evidently there 
had been an effort made to make 
her appear " stunning," without the 
expenditure of any considerable 
suoa of money. The silence that 
her entrance produced was almost 
instantaneously followed by as bois- 
terous and wild a huzza as was ever 
heard in Chicago. There was a rat- 
tling of glasses, a clapping of hands, 
a stamping of feet, and a chorus of 
voices shouted : 

u Hurrah ! boys and gals, here's 
the pet of the petticoats! Three cheers 
and a tiger for WICKED NBLL ! " 



CHAPTER III. 

From the lips of Wicked Nell 
those luscious lips, that looked as 
pure as those of an angel there 
came an oath that would make a 
scoffer or an infidel shudder. 

" Let ( s have a drink ! " she cried ; 
" say, old Baldy, sling us a jolly 
cocktail ! I've got the blues to- 
night ! Something tells me I'm 
going to have trouble, and I want 
something to make me . brace up! 
There's nothing like a good square 
drink the real old stuff to drive 
away the blue devils ! " 

The beverage had been prepared 
while she was speaking, and she 
tossed it off as though it had been 
the most delicious nectar ever pre- 
pared with which to tickle the 
palate. 

Just at that moment Jim Mor- 
gan and Mrs. O'Brien reached the 
front of the saloon. The old lady 
clutched his arm with a start. 

" There she is ! There's my little 
Nellie!" exclaimed the mother of 
the wicked girl, and the poor wom- 
an started for the door with a ner- 
vousness that threatened hysteria. 

But the strong arm of Jim Mor- 
gan drew her back, and he fairly 
forced her along. 

So prompt was the interference 
of the officer that no one in the sa- 
loon noticed the occurrence. 

" You came near spoiling every- 
thing," he said, after the danger 
had been avoided. " Had you gone 
into the saloon, there would have 
been a " scene," and your rebellious 
daughter would have died on the 
spot rather than go with you. In 
such cases as these, judgment and 
prudence are required. We must 
use discretion resort to strategy. 
The girl does not know me as an 
officer ; and, as I am not dressed in 
uniform, it will be easy enough for 
me to coax her out of that place. 
I will take her to the house where 



she lives, and when once there, you 
can see her, and talk with her, qui- 
etly and alone." 

" Your plan is the best, I can see 
that now,' but nothing but force 
could have prevented me from going 
to my daughter, when I saw her 
in that awful place, and on my kncss 
begging her to come away with me ! 
Oh, sir, only God in heaven knows 
how I love that child." 

" Mrs. O'Brien," said Morgan, " I 
know you love that wayward girl, 
but had you gone into that saloon, 
and had fallen upon your knees be- 
fore the crowd, do you know what 
she would have done ? Why, she 
would have laughed in your face, 
and called you names that would 
have frozen the blood in your veins ! 
I have heard her swear she was 
bound to be a thoroughbred, and if 
you knew what that meant you 
would never think of upbraiding 
or pleading with her in public, be- 
fore those who know her. It is 
possible that* in her own room, 
where there are none to hear, you 
may with kind and endearing words 
persuade her to go home with you 
But you can't drive her an inch. 

" The good Lord knows I'll speak 
as gently and kindly to my Nellie 
as woman ever spoke to one she 
loved ! Bat you must go quick or 
perhap she'll go away." , 

' ; I will go now. You remain out 
of sight until I take her to the place 
she calls home, and then you can 
follow us in." 

The officer returned to the saloon; 
and found Wicked Nell sitting upon 
the knee of a tipsy young man. 
She was smoking a cigar a bad ci- 
gar at that and held in her hand 
a tumbler half filled with a poison- 
ous mixture compounded from the 
bottles behind the bar, and called 
a " cocktail." 

" Hello, Nell, old girl, how are ye?" 
exclaimed Morgan, holding out his 



hand, as though he were an inti- 
mate acquaintance. 

The girl was accustomed to such 
greetings from those whose faces 
were not familiar, and she supposed 
the officer was one of those who had 
met her in some of her adventure- 
some frolics in that vicinity. 

Nell left the intoxicated young 
man, and at once joined Morgan, 
who looked as though he might be 
what she would call a "monied 
bloke." 

"Can I see you privately, Nell ?" 
he whispered. 

'You bet you can ! Come on . r 
Let's go to my room around the 
corner." 

That was exactly what the officer 
wanted. 

Arm in arm they hurried to their 
destination a one-story wooden 
building, painted white, on Jackson 
street, five or six doors from the 
corner. 

" Come right to my room," she 
said, entering the front door and 
walking towards a room off the 
parlor. 

But Jim Morgan did not go. She 
heard a footstep behind her, but it 
was not the officer's. 

Lighting the kerosene lamp, Wick- 
ed Nell turned to her (as she sup- 
posed) companion, and stood face 
to face with HER MOTHER ! 

" My daughter ! Nellie ! Darling !" 
gasped the old lady, stretching out 
her arms and advancing. 

" How came j0# here ? " were her 
first words, uttered with freezing 
accents, and her dark eyes flashed 
fire. 

" Oh, darling, I have come to save 
you !" 

" If that's all you want, you 'd 
better go back home ! I don't need 
saving just now ! When I want hflp 
from you, I'll call on you ! " 

The poor old woman clasped her 
hands and moaned : 



1 1 






" Oh, Nellie, by the memory of 
your dead father, whose grave is 
yet fresh and unsodded, recall those 
cruel words and come home with 
me!" 

" My father died a drunkard, and 
so will his daughter ! " 

This was a heavy blow, and the 
bereft widow trembled violently, but 
could not speak. After a moment's 
pause Nellie continued : 

'* Mother, I know what you came 
here for. I know now that my gal- 
\axA, friend \s> an officer, and unless 
I go home with you I shall be ar- 
rested. Now let me tell you this : 
I will never go home. I will nei>er 
be what you call a good girl ! You 
may throw me into your rotten Ar- 
mory, but you can't kill me ! I shall 
always pe Wicked Nell, a gay girl 
of the town!" 

With a shriek of agony that star- 
tled the neighborhood, the widow 
O'Brien fell prostrate upon the floor! 



CHAPTER IV. 

When Wicked Nell saw her poor 
old mother fall to the floor, the 
girl's heart was not touched, and 
there was a sneer on her beautiful 
face as she said : 

" Old woman, that's played! " 

" You infernal little hussey," ex- 
claimed Jim Morgan, who rushed 
into the room, " What have you 
done to your mother ? Don't you 
see that you have broken the old 
lady's heart ? " 

"Oh, pshaw? If you knew the 
old woman as well as I do, you'd 
understand her little tricks better. 
That's all put on. You can just 
bet your sweet life on that ! Why, 
she's fainted more times than she's 
got hairs in her head ! It used to 
scare me once, but I've got used to 
it, and I know very well that she 
only makes believe, just as you tried 
to make believe that you wanted to 
be my friend, when the truth was 



that you was running me into a 
trap!" 

Jim looked at the girl in utter 
astonishment. 

" Well, well ! " he said, after sur- 
veying her for a full minute, from 
head to foot, " if you ain't the cus- 
sedest little devil I ever laid eyes 
on ! Why , you're worse than old 
Roxey Brooks, who was on the town 
before you were born ! " 

" Am I ? " said the girl, excitedly; 
" Oh, officer, you don't know how 
proud that makes me feel ! " 

" Proud ! Does that make you 
proud ? Do you take pride in be- 
ing the wickedest girl in Chicago?" 

" I had a thousand times rather 
be the wickedest girl than the best 
girl ! A nybody can be good ; any- 
body can put on a sweet face, and 
go to school, and to church, and say 
their prayers, and work, and be a 
drudge and a slave, and what are 
they ? Why, officer, they're just no- 
body at all ! But look at me ! Ev- 
erybody is talking about me ! Peo- 
ple look at me and point me out on 
the street, and one says to the oth- 
er, ' See ! there goes that awftl 
Wicked Nell ! " It's just jolly fun, 
and I like it ! I love this wild .ife, 
and there is no power in Chicago 
that can make me leave it ! " 

"We'll see about that, my fine 
lass," was Jim's response. 

The widow O'Brien groaned, and 
Mr. Morgan, turning from the ugly 
girl, gently raised the old lady's 
head. 

Wicked Nell laughed. 

The officer, entirely out of pa- 
tience, exclaimed: 

" You devilish brat, bring me 
some water, quick ! " 

" Niggers can bring water, sir ! 
I'm no servant I'm a lady ! " 

Turning upon her heel with all 
the dignity of a queen, Nell walk- 
ed to the mirror and commenced 
rearranging the wayward curls that 



12 



had been displaced by the evening 
breezes. This done, she again faced 
the officer. 

" You need'nt be alarmed about 
the old woman," she said, " for 
there's no danger of her croaking. 
She'll grunt and splutter and flop 
around a little, and foam some at 
the month, and in about five min- 
utes she '11 be ready to furnish 
enough chin music to last a month. 
If you '11 stand and listen, when she 
comes to, she'll talk you to death." 

"It's a pity she has'nt flogged 
you to death, you ugly little slut," 
was all the officer said, as he again 
turned his attention to the insensi- 
ble widow. 

It was as Nell had said. The pro- 
cess of recovery was accompanied 
by painful spasms, but these soon 
subsided, and Morgan helped her to 
her feet, and led her to a sofa, in 
another room. 

Nell remained in the bed room 
and slammed 'the door shut. 

" Don't attempt to go away," 
shouted Morgan, who thought she 
might slip out of a window, and 
skip away. 

" Oh, don't you ' fret," was the 
defiant reply, " Wicked Nell don't 
run, and she don't; scare either ! 
You can threaten, you can bark, 
but you can't bite ! I've got good 
friends in this town, who won't see 
me locked up, if money can get me 
out, and I guess it can. 

" Nellie, darling, won't you come 
to your mother? " The old lady's 
voice trembled, and her bosom heav- 
ed with a deep sigh. 

" No, I wont !" 

Short, sharp and biting were the 
words. 

" One minute, Nellie, just one 
minute ! " 

" Oh, hush up ! I know what you 
want to say ; you want to slobber 
and leak water out of your eyes, and 
sling in a long rigmarole that I 



don't want to hear, and wont listen 
to." 

" She's the wickedest girl that 
ever struck this town," remarked 
the indignant policeman, " and the 
best thing that we can do is to let 
her try the bugs and soup of tne 
rotten old Bridewell for a month or 
two. That'll bring her to her milk 
if anything will." 

There was a marked, a wonderful 
change in the widow's manner. No 
tears moistened her eyelids, no sob 
was heard. 

" Nellie O'Brien," she said sternly, 
" come here ! I order you to come." 
" If you'll order the drinks I might 
take a bowl with you, old woman, 
but you can't put on any lordly 
airs over me ! And don't call me 
Nellie O'Brien any more ! That's 
not my name ! The only name I 
am going to be known by in this 
town is ' Wicked Nell ! ' the gayest 
girl in Chicago ! " 

The door opened, and Nell came 
out, with hat and shawl on. 

" Nellie," said her mothe-i, " you're 
going home with me ! " 

" I'll see you d d first ! " was 
the profane reply of thelittle wretch. 

" But you shall go ! If you will 
walk along peaceably, all right ; if 
not, I'll drag you through the streets 
by the hair of your head !" 

The old woman's anger was now 
fully aroused and she started tow- 
ards her daughter ; but Nell was 
not, apparently, in the least alarm- 
ed. She stood as stiff as a post, 
and bold defiance flashed from, her 
dark and lustrous eyes eyes' that 
could almost talk when passion 
inflamed them. 

Jim Morgan stepped between 
them. 

" Mrs. O'Brien," he said, " it is 
my duty as an officer to arrest this 
girl. You heard what the Cap- 
taiin said if the girl consented to 
go home with you, she could do so, 



it not, I was to bring her in." 

"Well, why in h 11 don't you 
take me in, then ? I've got on my 
harness, I've sent word to my lov- 
er, an rl I'm all ready to waltz around 
to the stone house on the cor- 
ner ! Come, now, Mr. Peeler, give 
us your arm and let's take a prom- 
enade ! You came home with me, 
nd I thought you meant business ! 
Now, I'll go home with you, and 
sing you some of the gayest songs 
you ever listened to. We'll sing 
all night, till broad daylight, and pay 
our respects to old Milliken in the 
morning. They say the old roos- 
ter's a hard nut 11 rough on the girls 
and boys when they get snatched!" 

And thus the wild, wicked girl 
rattled on, regardless of the fact 
that every cruel word pierced a 
widowed mother's broken heart. 

" You see how it is," said the 
officer, to Mrs. O'Brien ; " there's 
no use in coaxing her, for she's as 
stubborn as a mule and ugly as the 
very devil. You'd better go home 
and come down to court at 8 o'clock 
in the morning. Perhaps a night 
under lock and key will take some 
of that wickedness out of her, and 
learn her that it is better to be a 
good girl than a bad one." 

"Oh, cheese that ! " sneered Nell. 

" Yes, take her along ! Lock her 
up ! Put her in your darkest cell ! 
And you, Nellie O'Brien, when you 
lay your head on a hard plank, and 
when the big rats run over you, 
and the damp walls send chills to 
your very bones, remember that 
your mother sent you there ! Re- 
member, too, that a mother's curse 
hangs over you ! May God Al- 
mighty send devils to your bed side 
when you sleep ! May you rot 
with disease .' May your eyes fester 
and fall out of your head ! May 
your hair turn gray in a night ! 
May the roses on your cheeks with- 
er and leave them sallow and 



sunken ! May you become a hag 
an object of scorn and 7 loathing, 
so offensive that the dogs of the 
street will snarl and growl at your 
appv< ich ! May you fill a pauper's 
grave before the snow of another 
winter shall whiten the earth ! Do 
you hear me, Nellie O'Brien ? Do 
you hear your mother's curse ?" 

The old woman had fallen on her 
knees, and the words were fairly^ 
screamed into the ears of the erring 
daughter. 

Wicked Nell laughed. 

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! Why, this is as 
good as a circus ! Go it, old gal,, 
you're a trump ! Can't you do that 
act over ? It was immense !" And 
She clapped her hands and stamped 
her feet, in imitation of the patrons 
of a variety theatre. 

" Come along you unfeeling 
wretch, come along !" The officer 
was thoroughly disgusted, and, tak- 
ing the girl's arm, he started with 
her towards the station. 

The old lady, with a sad and 
lonely heart, sought her desolated 
home, to pass a night of such 
horror as only those can realize 
who have experienced trouble such 
as was her's. Husbandless, worse 
than childless, her's was indeed a 
pitiful grief. 

" Bye-bye, Mother O'Brien," 
shouted Wicked Nell, " I'll think of 
you when the rats commence nib- 
bling at my nose, and my eyes fall 
out, and all those horrid dreadful 
things happen ! Oh, you're a gay 
old mother, you are ! You're a 
sweet plum, ain't you ? Come and 
see me in the morning /'// be 
back on the town before midnight, 
as sure as the Court House bell 
strikes twelve ?" 

With these threatening parting 
words between mother and daughter, 
the officer and his strange prisoner 
wended their way to the Armory. 



CHAPTER V. 

Captain Hickey was still at the 
station when Jim Morgan arrived 
with his prisoner. 

The Captain gave the girl a 
steady, searching look. 

" So this is the Wicked Nell I 
have heard so much about?" he said, 
inquiringly. 

"Yes, and she's the ugliest little 
cat that ever wore claws," said Mor- 
g^an, by way of reply. 

"Well, then, we'll try and tame 
her. What's your name, sissy ?" 

" My name's Wicked Nell that's 
good enough for me ! What you 
going to do with me, boss ?" 

"What am I going to do with 
you ? Oh, nothing to speak of. I 
am only going to strip off that 
toggery, chain you down to the 
floor in the darkest cell we've got, 
give you an ice water shower bath, 
and then leave you alone with the 
bugs, roaches and rats until morn- 
ing that's all! The poor little 
creatures have not had a square 
meal for several days, and I fancy 
they must be terrible hungry by 
this time." 

The Captain never looked more 
serious in his life, and Nell could 
not keep back a shulder as she 
listened. But she was a brave as 
well as a bad girl, and quickly 
rallied. 

"Couldn't you put in a few 
rattlesnakes, and one or two hy- 
enas ?" She inquired, with a mock- 
ing laugh. 

Captain Hickey's long experience 
in his profession enabled him to 
read character as readily as ordinary 
men read an open book. He saw 
that there was no use in attempting 
to frighten or intimidate that bold 
bundle of wickedness, and made no 
further attempt in that direction. 

" Take her up stairs, Jim, and 
put her in the witness room," he 
said to Mjrga'i, and the order was 



obeyed without further ceremony or 
talk. She was simply booked as 
" inmate of a house of ill-fame." 

When Wicked Nell found that 
she was to be arrested, she hastily 
penciled a brief note to her "friend," 
a real estate dealer then doing busi- 
aess opposite the Court House, on 
LaSalle street, informing him of 
che fact. The shrewd girl had 
anticipated something of the kind, 
and had received assurances that in 
case of trouble prompt assistance 
wuld be at hand. This note was 
placed in the hands of another 
inmate of the house on Jackson 
street, with full directions, and it 
was not long after her arrival at 
the Armory that the unwelcome 
missive was placed in the hands of 
the party for whom it was designed. 

Tnis person was a respectable 
man a married man, too and of 
course it would not do for him to 
figure personally in the matter. 
To do so would injure his reputa- 
tion, and subject him to exposures 
that would be disastrous in more 
ways than one. It would be ruin- 
ous in a business point of view, and 
would also make it uncomfortable 
for his peace of mind when the news 
should be conveyed, as it certainly 
would be, to his wife. But he could 
not afford, even if he felt so in- 
clined, to neglect -the girl with 
whom he had for some months been 
on terms of criminal intimacy. She 
was young and beautiful a flower 
of uncommon sweetness and he 
ha 1 no idea of abandoning her in 
the hour of her peril. And if he 
did, what then ? Why, she would 
certainly ''squeal" on him, and thus 
bring down upon his head a flood 
of disgrace that he could not well 
stand up under. 

There are always hundreds of 
expedients by which men can con- 
ceal their sins, and at the same 
time accomplish just as much as 



though they openly braved the 
storm. This highly respectable 
real estate man did not intercede 
with Captain Hickey for the release 
of Wicked Nell. But be hurriedly 
sought an interview with one of the 
numerous professionals who are 
always ready to put their names to 
any prisoner's bond, for a con- 
sideration. In this case the sum of 
$25 was paid, and at about 10 
o'clock the professional bailor made 
his appearance at the Armory, with 
an order from a Justice of the 
Peace for the release of Nellie 
O'Brien, a bond having been ac- 
cepted for her appearance at court 
in the morning. 

Captain Hickey had no alterna- 
tive. The law makes no distinctions, 
and if Nellie O'Brien gave the 
proper security, it was her privilege 
to do so, even though the act was 
calculated to do her irreparable 
injury, and perhaps prevent a 
reformation that might have been 
effected had she been subjected to 
such rigorous treatment as the 
emergency demanded. 

Her glee on being informed that 
she was at liberty to go was unboun- 
ded. She fairly danced with delight, 
and became so extravagant in her 
conduct that the bondsman felt 
called upon to warn her that there 
was danger of another arrest for 
disorderly conduct at the station, 
unless she behaved herself. 

" Where are you going, Nellie ?" 
asked the captain. 

" I'm going to the devil !" was 
the reply, as she gathered up her 
ample skirts, tossed her head back 
proudly, and sailed up A-iams street 
in company with the man whose 
autograph had proved an open 
sesame to the prison door. 

" The little wretch has told the 
truth once," was the remark the 
Captain made, as the footsteps of 



the guilty twain died in the distance. 

"That girl," he continued, ad- 
dressing the station keeper, " will 
be a wretched old bloat at twenty ! 
She may keep up appearances for a 
year or two, but after that God 
help her ! She \&friends now 
what handsome girl has not ? But 
when whisky gets in its dreadful 
work, when dissipation and exces- 
sive indulgences take the roses 
from her cheeks and the sparkle 
from ner eyej, when disease leaves 
its horrid imprint upon her face 
and form, when her white teeth rot 
and her fair hair becomes matted 
and tangled, and when all her beau- 
ty has faded as the leaves fade 
when the biting frosts come, then 
where will these friends be ? Why, 
they'll be looking iwc fresh victims ! 
They'll be searching for , other 
beautiful children to lure to de- 
struction and death ! Then Wicked 
Nell, as she calls herself, will be a 
sot a wreck a bloated, diseased, 
scorned thing ! The gutter, the sta- 
tion house and the Bridewell will be 
her home, and ten chances to one, 
the river's dark bottom will be her 
final bed ! The law is powerful, 
but in cases of this kind it is weak 
and unavailing. The thief who 
s'eals a few dollars is pounced upon 
and punished ; the murderer ex- 
piates his crime on the scaffold or 
in a life cell ; but for the man who 
steals a widow's child, who poisons 
her young mind, who drags her 
down to the level of a beast, there 
is no punishment ! His crime is 
worse than that of the assassin ; and 
yet he is screened, and honored, and 
trusted, and loved just the same as 
though he was not a baser scoundrel 
than can be found within the walls 
of the penitentiary !" 

The entrance of an officer with a 
drunken prisoner put an end to the 
Captain's soliloquy, and soon after 
he left the sta f ion. 



i6 



CHAPTER VI. 

Wicked Nell enjoyed the adven- 
tures of that night as she had not 
enjoyed anything for a long time. 
Excitement made her happy, and 
there was no such thing as getting 
too much of it. She was in reality 
a wild girl, and wherever and 
whenever she could plunge into tur- 
bulent associations and participate 
in wicked deeds, there and then she 
was in her element. As certain 
kinds of fish delight in muddy wa- 
ter, so did she revel in the moral 
filth that surrounded the locality 
she had chosen for a home. 

Her arrest and brief incarcera- 
tioa therefore served to exhilarate 
rather than depress her spirits. 
Her heart was as light as a snow- 
flake when she shook the Armory 
dust from her feet. So buoyant 
were her thoughts that she hum- 
Hied, as she n eared Fifth Avenue 
with her money-grabbing compan- 
ion: 

' Ob, I feel just as happy as a big tui-flower, 

Tbat nods and bends in the breezes, 
And my heart is as light as the wind that 

blows 

The leaves from off the treeses ! " 
" You feel merry after your trou- 
ble," said the " professional " gen- 
tleman. 

" "Who told you I'd had trouble, 
old bow-legs ? I've only been hav- 
ing a little fun I Oh, you ought 
to have seen the old woman kick ! 
And then that boss peeler why, 
he actually tried to frighten me 
with his cock-and-bull stories about 
rats and bugs, and dark cells, and 
cold shower-baths ! I wish I'd just 
slapped his face for him ! I wili 
next time, as sure's my name's 
Wicked Nell ! But come, old top, 
let's take a drink I'm devilish 
dry ain't you, old boy ? " 

Her companion seemed to make 
no objection to the proposal, and 
the two entered one of those dis- 
reputable saloons with which Wells 



street was then lined. As they 
were about to drink, a flashily dress- 
ed loafer, who had been lounging 
about the place, joined them, and 
slapping Nell familiarly on the 
back, said : 

" So you gave the peeler the slip, 
did you ? " 

" I've been played for a sucker 
once to-night, but I guess there's 
no more danger. Have a drink, 
stranger ? " 

" I'm not on that lay just now> 
but I could'nt refuse anything from 
you ! " 

" Well, if you're not on the lush 
lay-out, what is your racket ? " 

" I'm just trying to catch a girl 
that's all, sweetness ! " 

" And do you think you could 
cat :h me ! " 

" I can try almighty hard, daugh- 
ter ! " 

Nell looked at him again. He was 
rather a handsome sort of a fellow, 
with black hair, an elegant mous- 
tache, a fashionable plug hat, pulled 
well down in front, a heavy gold 
watch chain, with a big seal ; a dia- 
mond pin, a white vest, and neatly 
fitting garments. Take him as he 
stood, he was just the sort of ni 
to catch a wicked girl's eye, and Nel 
was at first inclined to look favor- 
ably on his advances. She had 
heard the other girls talk about 
their " men," and although she had 
been in a public house but a week, 
the wild little thing considered that 
she, too, must have a "man." But 
this fellow was a stranger, and she 
was shrewd enough not to let him 
know what her thoughts might be. 

"You've got a good deal of 
brass," she said, after a short pause, 
" and that goes a long way in this 
town, but how are you off for stamps? 
How are you fixed for sugar ? How 
big is your roll ? If you want to 
talk business with me, you must 
show up the dust ! " 



"This is no good place to talk 
business," he replied ;" let's take 
a walk, and then we can have a 
talk. I saw you when the coppers 
had you in tow, and I said to my- 
self, says I, " there goes a stunner 
that gal's a thoroughbred ! I've 
been waiting and watching for you, 
and now I've found you ! ' 

While he had been saying this, 
Nell bade her former escort an ab- 
rupt good-bye, and herself and the 
gallus youth, whose name, even, she 
did not know, were walking arm- 
in-arm on the sidewalk. 

"I'm going home," she said; "you 
can come along, if you feel like it." 

Their conversation on the way 
was of a trivial nature, and before 
five minutes had elapsed they were 
at the house on Jackson street. 

"Now, then," said Nell, after she 
had thrown off her hat and shawl, 
11 what's your name ?" 

" They call me Nobby Tom," the 
youth replied, as he surveyed him- 
self in the mirror, apparently to 
his own satisfaction. 

Well, Nobby," she said, "I don't 
think you and I can have any truck 
together. You look to me like a 
dead beat a bilk a masher a 
rooster who travels on his shape ! 
If I want a plaything, or a pet, I'll 
buy a poodle dog but when I get 
a man, I want one who's got sand 
in his gizzard! Can you fight ? 

Nobby Tom did'nt like these un- 
kind cuts. He turned red in the 
face when Nell used the hard 
names, and was half inclined to 
get mad ; but the fact was, he was 
not a fighter, and he was a beat. 
In the confusion of the moment, 
not knowing what to say, he said 
nothing at all. Noticing his cow- 
ardice, and despising him for it, 
Wicked Nell continued : 

" Do you see this gold chain 
around my neck, and this diamond 
cross ? The man who gave me 



these is my lover he is a gentle- 
man he is coming here to-night 
and if he should catch you in this 
room he'd scatter your brains, if 
you've got any, all over the carpets 
and the walls ! Hark ! I think 
I hear his step now ! Yes, he's 
coming !" 



CHAPTER VII. 

When Nobby Tom heard the 
words of Wicked Nell, a cold shiv 
er ran through his frame. He waa 
a big bluffer, but a rank coward, 
and the idea of being found by a 
girl's lover, in her room at night, 
with the prospect of a shooting fes- 
tival, filled him with alarm. 

" For God's sake, Nell," he cried, 
"where can I hide ? Tell, me quick!" 

The poor fellow's voice sounded 
as though he was suffering from an 
ague chill. 

Nell gave him one withering look, 
so scornful that it brought a blush 
of shame to his cheeks. 

"Crawl under the bed!" Her 
words were uttered with a con- 
temptuous curl of the lip, as she 
pointed her pretty finger to the 
foot of the bed. 

The frightened fellow needed no 
second invitation. At that time 
he could have crawled through a 
kej hole, if no other avenue of es- 
cape had been offered, for he im- 
agined he stood in imminent peril. 
But it was only imagination. 
Wicked Nell was never so happy 
as when she could cause trouble. 
She was always as full of the devil 
as a bloated bed-bug is full of 
blood. It was true that she ex- 
pected a visit from her real estate 
friend that night; but she knew 
him to be a timid, harmless man, 
who would run his legs off rather 
than engage in any dispute that 
oould, by any possibility, come to 
blows. She rather liked him be- 
cause he was generous ; but she 



could not love him, because he was 
not brave. 

" Now, you stay where you are, 
and I'll try and get you away with 
a whole hide," she said, as she 
opened the door, walked out, and 
closed the door behind her. 

" I'd like to keep the dung hill 
there all night," were her thoughts, 
."and I would, too, if I did'nt ex- 
pect company that will pay. JJut 
I'll have some fun with him any- 
way !" 

Nell found in the other room, 
a young loafer, with whom she was 
somewhat acquainted, who was 
known as Freckled Jim. He was 
a thick-set, red-headed bummer, 
who made a living by steering cus- 
tomers to the low women of Wells 
and adjoining streets, and divid- 
ing with them the spoils. Nell 
hated him on general principles, 
but at that time she had use for him. 

" Jim," she whispered, " I want 
you to come into my room a few 
minutes." 

The fellow had been trying to 
make love to her for a week, and 
supposing she had at last yielded 
to his entreaties, his rapture knew 
no bounds. Sticking out a rough 
and rather dirty paw, he exclaimed: 

" Shake ! " 

"Don't be too fast, sir," said 
Nell, drawing back a little ; "I only 
want you to play that you're my 
lover, so that we can have a little 
fun." 

Jim's chop fell about three in- 
ches, but he was not the kind of a 
man to give way to disappointment. 
Wicked Nell then, in a few words, 
explained to him the situation, and 
gave him instructions as to what 
she wanted. Then the play began. 
Opening the door just a little, she 
said: 

"Please don't come in, darling ! 
I have particular reasons for want- 
ing to be alone for half an hour." 



In a harsh, deep bass voice the 
pretended lover replied : 

" And I have particular reasons 
for coming in now ! Come, now, 
either let me in peaceably arid pleas- 
antly, or I'll let you know that I 
can come in another way ! Do you 
understand ?" 

" Well, if you will be so mean, 
I don't suppose I can help myself 
so come along, and sit down, you 
jealous old creatuie !" 

" I don't know whether I want 
to sit down or not," was the ungra- 
cious reply. 

" What's the matter with you, 
darling ? What have I done ? Are 
you mad because I sent for ycu to 
get me out of trouble ?" 

" No, not that but I have my 
suspicions !" 

" Suspicions ! What in the world 
do you suspect /" 

" What should I suspect, when 
I come here after paying twenty- 
five dollars for you, and find my- 
self barred out ? Nell, I believe 
you've been playing dirt on me !" 

The wicked girl could not help 
but laugh. 

" That's the funniest thing I 
ever heard a man say," she said, 
merrily, " tVho makes a living by 
dealing in dirt!" 

"Oh, don't try to get out of this 
by making bad jokes ! That dodge 
won't go down ! Come, Nell, own 
up have you had a man here, since 
I came !" 

" Well, suppose I had, what are 
you going to do about it ?" 

This was uttered with a display 
of spunk quite natural for a high- 
strung girl. 

" Suppose you had ! Do you 
know what I'd do if I should find 
a man in this room to-night ? I'd 
chaw his ears off ! I'd bite of his 
nose ! I'd scalp him ! I'd take 
this knife out of my boot and carve 
him ! I'd cut off his toes and fin- 



21 



geis ! I'd gouge out his eyes ! And 
then I'd drag him down to the riv- 
er, tie a big stone to his neck, and 
heave him out into the middle of 
the creek ! That's what I'd do ! " 
Nobby Tom commenced to say 
his prayers. His teeth chattered, 
and he could hardly keep from 
groaning, so great was his terror. 
Fully appreciating this, Wicked 
Nell found it quite as difficult to 
restrain herself from shrieking out- 
right, so full was she of cussedness 
and glee. She controlled herself, 
and with well- feigned distress kept 
up her role. 

" Oh, dear," she said, falling upon 
her knees, " you will drive me cra- 
zy, if you keep on in that way ! 
I'rn sure I couldn't help it, if a 
man did come ! You know what 
kind of a house this is, and what 
men expect when they come here! " 
With a terrible oath, that would 
have raised the roof off of a house 
that was not used to them, Freck- 
led Jim roared : 

" Then somebody is here ! I know 
it ! I smell him ! Oh, let me 
find him ! Let me get my hands 
on him !" 

" Mercy !" shrieked Wicked Nell, 
"Mercy!" And she fell to the 
floor, having apparently swooned. 

Freckled Jim rushed to a closet, 
and fumbled arouud among the 
clothing, exclaiming in loud tones, 
" come out of here, you cowardly 
scoundrel, come out and face me 
like a man ! " 

'' This is my only chance," thought 
Nobby Tom, and with the quickness 
of a cat he crawled from his hid- 
ing place, sprang for the door, suc- 
ce<ied in opening it, and darted out 
with lightning speed. 

The opportunity had been given 
bin: intentionally, and Freckled 
Jim, who was on the watch, managed 
to give the fleeing and frightened 
sport a parting k^ck that fairly 



made him grunt. Tom never 
ped to look behind, neither did he 
return to get his hat, which in the 
haste of his departure he left be- 
hind ; but he thanked his ; lucky 
stars that he had his nose, and his 
ears, and his fingers, and his toel / 
and C:\atall his other parts, save, per- 
haps, one, were rescued from the 
fury of that savage, blood-thirsty 
victim of love and jealousy. 

Wicked Nell was just springing 
from the floor, with a screaming 
laugh, when who should stand be- 
fore her but her real lover ! and 
there was a dark frown upon his 
brow ! 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Thus far, in this true story of real 
life, no reference has been made to 
events preceding the night of 
Wicked Nell's arrest. There are 
probably many who wonder why a 
girl of acknowledged beauty, and 
who would be a profitable card for 
the best house of ill-fame in the 
city, should seek a home in such 
a low resort as she was found in on 
Jackson street. In order to make 
our narrative clear and consistent., 
it is necessary to take a short 
backward step. 

Nellie O'Brien, as has already 
been intimated, was a precocious 
little maiden. She was, undoubt- 
edly, the wickedest child ever bore 
in this abominably wicked city. 
Even before she was ten years of 
age, her parents had no control 
over her actions, and she roamed 
the streets, night and day, associa- 
ting with the vilest characters, 
frequenting low doggeries, and par- 
ticipating in orgies that even the 
old prostitutes themselves shunned. 
In these places she was a pet. 
Profligate men and women made 
much of her, treated' her with 
marked consideration, and looked 
upon her as nothing else than a 



22 



Little Wonder. Ueiore she was 
eleven years of age she acquired 
the title of Wicked Nell, and was 
so proud of it that a frown settled 
upon her fair brow when called by 
any other name. It is horrible, 
but it is true, that about this time, 
when she was running bare-footed 
and bare-headed about the streets, 
Nellie O'Brien, the mere child, was 
seduced I It was a feat easily to be 
accomplished, but so dastardly that 
is would seem impossible that a 
wretch could be found whose black- 
ened, guilty soul would not shrink 
from the deed ! Let those who 
doubt look . at the daily record of 
crime. Let them go down to 
Indianapolis, and learn the sad 
story of seduction brought to light 
concerning the licentious conduct 
of the Superintendent of a deaf and 
dumb asylum/ who did not scruple 
to clasp in uiiholy embrace the un- 
fortunate children whose lips never 
lisped a syllable, and whose ears no 
sound ever penetrated ! Let them 
go down to New Jersey, and look 
upon the grave of a poor young 
girl who was polluted and murdereo 
by an accursed wretch who dare.- 
stand up before his fellow men and 
preach the gospel of the thorn- 
crowned Prince of Peace ! Let 
them carefully peruse the long list 
of unnatural crimes that every day 
stares at them from the printed 
pages that come damp from the 
morning press; and having done 
this, they can doubt r.o more. 

Wicked Nell, in the course of her 
wanderings, formed the acquaint- 
ance of a girl of about her own age, 
and whose ideas of morality were 
about as loose as they could be. 
The right name of this girl was 
Jane Smith, but she was known by 
the gang a-s " Red-headed Jennie." 
This gir\,' though vulgar and de- 
based, as well as debauched, could 
not compare with Nell, in the 



matter of cussedness, and was not a. 
star, as Nell was, although her 
inclinations were all in the way of 
wickedness. Jennie was riot hand- 
some, either, though far from being 
ugly in looks. 

These two girls, one day, sat 
down in the shade of a doorway 
for a talk. 

" Jennie," said Nell, " what's the 
use of our bumming around any 
longer as we have ? Let's turn 
out ! What do you say ?" 

" What do you mean by that ?" 
replied the red-head. "I should 
think is was a little too late, now, to 
talk of doing that. It seems to me 
that both of us are already on the 
town !" 

" What I mean is," said Nell, 
" that we go and live in a regular 
house, where we can make lots of 
money !" 

"If you will, I will," was Jennie's 
ready reply ; " but we want nice 
dresses and jewelry where can we 
get them ?" ' 

" Oh, that's easy enough. There's 
been a nice gentleman after me for 
six months, and I've been playing 
off on him. He thinks me a wild 
girl, but don't know that I'm bad. 
lie's offered me money more than 
a dozen times to get all the clothes 
I want, if I would let him be my 
lover. I'll send him a note this 
afternoon, meet him to night, and 
in a few days we can be rigged out 
as gay as any two girls in Chicago !" 

"Nell," exclaimed Jennie, enthusi- 
astically, " You're a bully girl ! 
I'm with you J My old dad, and 
the old woman, too, can both go to 
the devil ! I'll be my own boss, 
now ! Oh, won't it be gay ! Then 
we can wear silks, we can go hack- 
riding with the boys ! We can go 
to the matinees, and take in the 
mashers ! We can have great rolls 
of greenbacks, and live as high as 
real ladies !" 



It was thus that the compact was 
made. Wicked Nell was not mis- 
taken in ner calculations. She met 
the man she had been " playing off" 
on, who gave her all the money nec- 
essary, and early the next morning 
the two wicked and giddy young 
creatures made their purchases, 
and engaged the services of a dress 
maker. In three days they were 
rigged out like .two butterflies. 

When they had ' dressed for the 
occasion," the two girls set out in 
quest of a boarding house. 

" My friend advised me to go to 
Madame Herrick," said Nell, and 
to the noted white frame house on 
State street they directed their 
footsteps. 

The Madame answered the ring 
herself. 

" What do you want here, chil- 
dren?" she said, eying them sharply. 

"We wan't to come here to live," 
replied Nell, with bold face and un- 
flinching eye. 

" Come in!" 

Nell and Jennie entered, highly 
elated at their success. They fol- 
lowed Madame Herrick into the 
front parlor, and were lost in wonder 
and admiration as they gazed upon 
the magnificent surroundings the 
marble tables, the rich tap stry, the 
oil paintings, and the evidences on 
every hand of wealth and luxury. 

The old lady closed the door 
after them, and motioned them to a 
seat on the sofa. 

" Sit down, children," she said, 
" I want to talk to you !" 

Nell and Jennie did not relish the 
idea of being called " children," but 
they obeyed the directions of the 
owner of the house, and awaited 
her pleasure. Taking a seat in her 
easy chair, directly in front of 
them, Madame Herrick raised her 
spectacles from their natural resting 
place to her forehead, and thus 
addressed them : - 



' % You have come to my house for 
board," she said, earnestly. "Who- 
ever sent you here, could not have 
known me, or they would never 
have recommended you to ring my 
door bell. But you are here, and it 
is my duty to speak to you as I 
would were you my own children. 
Girls, I was once a Christian wo- 
man, and I know what it is to be 
good, and what it is to be bad. I 
have seen so much of this world 
and its wickedness, that I shudder 
when I think of it. Now, then, I 
want to tell you this : You two 
girls are thoughtless, heedless, giddy 
things. You have no idea what 
you are coming to. If you enter a 
douse of this kind, you will go to 
wreck and ruin within five years ! 
Neither one of you has enough sense 
to become a prostitute, even if you 
feel inclined to do so. You are the 
kind of girls who would drink, and. 
smoke, and chew snuff, and fight 
and go to the devil direct. I am an 
old woman, and I can see vicious- 
ness in both your faces enough of 
it to ruin a dozen girls, if it could 
be distributed among them. I 
wouldn't have you in my house un- 
der any circumstances, and God 
knows I wouldn't be guilty of lead 
ing to ruin any girls of your age 
I want you to take my advice 
and go right home to your mothers. 
You ought to be in school now, in- 
stead of looking for a home in a 
house of ill fame ! You can go, 
now, children, but remember what 
old mother Herrick told you ! Re 
member that Death ever lurks in 
the pathway of the outcast, and 
that all who travel in it go to swift 
and sure destruction /" 

Bold and brazen as they were, 
neither Nell nor Jennie had a word 
to say. They could not look that 
experienced old woman in the face, 
and attempt any excuses for their 
conduct. 



Without a word, therefore they 
to^k their departure. 

When once on the outside Wick- 
ed Nell gave a long sigh of relief 

" Well ! Upon my soul, that old 
woman has made a big mistake ! 
She was cut out for a Saint, just 
as certain as I was for a devil !" 
And Nell laughed immoderately at 
what she considered a first-class joke. 
" But what will we do now ? 
Where shall we go ?" Inquired 
Jennie, who felt somewhat blue over 
the prospect that had looked so 
bright but a few hours before. 

"Do!" We'll find a boarding 
house within another hour ! These 
high-toned houses won't take us in, 
I know where there are places where 
a baby would be welcomed J I know 
where they are, and I'll go there ! 
We're on the town now, Jennie, and 
I for one will stay there ! No good 
girl business for me ! No work for 
Wicked Nell ! I'm bound to lead 

a S a y ltf e -> an ^ 1'^ ^ i* *f " don't 
last a month ! What do you say, 
J.n ? Are you with me ? " 

" / '// stick by you to the death ! " 
" Shake on that ! You're a brave 
gal ! From this time on we are 
twin sisters in wickedness /" 



CHAPTER IX. 

The two bad girln, believing that 
it would be useless to make farther 
efforts to obtain admittance to a 
house of ill-fime making any pre- 
tence to decency, determined to ap- 
ply to the Jackson street den, kept 
by a debased woman named Annie 
Davis, but more familiarly known 
as Pock-marked Ann. Thither, 
therefore, they directed their foot- 
steps, after the unsatisfactory inter- 
view with Madame Herri ck. 

The place kept by Pock-marked 
Asm was as low as any that could 
be found in the city. It was a one- 
story wooden structure, with front 
door opening directly into the par- 



lor, three small bed rooms, and a 
rear shanty that served as i kitchen 
and dining room. There was a 
common cheap carpet, well-worn, 
upon the floor, a few lewd pictures 
upon the dirty walls, and other fur- 
niture to correspond. The fre- 
quenters of the place were sailors, 
laboring men and the class of crea- 
tures commonly denominated as 
pimps. 

The girls both knew Pock-marked 
Ann, and many times, as with bare 
feet and tangled hair they had loiter- 
ed about the neighborhood, she had 
invited them in, for purposes the 
foulest the human mind can con- 
ceive. 

They found Ann seated in a rock- 
ing chair, smoking a cigar. The af- 
ternoon was warm, the neighbor- 
hood was deserted, and the " ladies" 
of the establishment were reclining 
in different postures, more or les's 
indecent. There were four girls 
in the house, aside from the " land- 
lady." . 

To look at these creatures that 
we have called girls, would produce 
emotions as antagonistic as fire and 
water. The first feeling, as the 
eye rested upon their red and wa- 
tery eyes, their bloated and brazen 
faces, their decayed teeth, and 
their general appearance of degra- 
dation, would be loathing and dis- 
gust. " What man would take to 
his bosom such a wretch ?" would 
be the question that would force 
itself to the lips, as the eye 
pointed out these repulsive features. 
It would seem impossible that any 
human being could look upon them 
and not shudder and recoil yes, 
flee in fright as from the presence 
of some reptile whose sting would 
be certain death. 

And to the young men who read 
this story the author would say : 
Better, far better, take a rattlesnake 
to your bosom, and let its sharp 



2 5 



fangs, with their deadly saliva, 
pierce you in a hundred places, 
than take to your arms for one brief 
minute any one of these ulcerated 
and rotten wretches ! The poison 
of the one kills quickly ; but the 
equally venomous sting of the other 
eats slowly into the vitals, produc- 
ing lingering torture, and carries 
its victim to a death-bed whose hor- 
rors no pen can describe on paper, 
no brush depict on canvas ! The 
pages of the history of prostitution 
are all blotched over with recitals 
of the ravages of the peculiar di- 
seases incident to the brothel, and 
thousands upon thousands of robust 
young men have been swept away 
by the tide of corruption into which 
they have recklessly and thought- 
lessly plunged ! There are hun- 
dreds of these low down unfortu 
nates in Chicago to-day ! They 
leer at you from the doors and win- 
dows of their wicked homes ; they 
stare at you on the walk ; they hail 
you on the street; they embrace 
you in the saloons of Clark street 
and Pacific avenue ! Beware, young 
man, beware ! They sow the seed 
that sprouts in pain, grows in ag- 
ony, blossoms in ulcers, and ripens 
in death I 

Looking at them, then, with a full 
consciousness of their ugliness and 
their danger, and what man could 
do otherwise than turn his face away 
from them in disgust and alarm ? 

And yet, these out casts are hu- 
man beings. Once they were pure. 
Like Wicked Nell, some of them 
may have resorted to the bagnio 
from choice, but nine-tenths of them 
have been made the victims of man's 
lust and baseness ! They have been 
deceived, betrayed, abandoned, 
thrown upon the world ! . Sacred 
vows have been disregarded, solemn 
pledges have been broken the 
cruel world has turned its scornful 
back upon them, and they have 



been driven down the broad road to 
ruin, as cattle are driven to the 
slaughter pen. Resistance was vain. 
Their arms were weak, the current 
was strong, no friendly helping 
hand was held out, and on they 
were carried until they found them- 
selves floundering way out upon the 
broad sea, rudderless, compassless, 
and with the terrible knowledge 
that they were cast oft 7 , scorned, re- 
viled, loathed, despised, shunned ! 

This is the condition of those 
poor creatures God help them ! 

As the two girls entered, Pock- 
marked Ann blew a cloud of smoke 
from her mouth, and looked up at 
her visitors in surprise. To save 
her life she could not have told who 
they were, so perfectly were they 
disguised. Yet she saw they were 
young and pretty, and with a smil- 
ing face and pleasant words she in- 
vited them to come in. 

" We are looking for a boarding 
house," said Nell. 

Her voice betrayed her, and 
Anna Davis sprang from her seat. 

"As I'm a sinner," she exclaim- 
ed, " I believe this is Wicked Nell !" 

" There's no do*ubt about your 
being a sinner, and nobody ever 
said I was very good" said Nell, in 
reply; "but don't you know this 
girl, too ? " 

Pock-marked Ann looked and 
shook her head, but she finally pen- 
etrated the disguise, and replied : 

" Red-headed Jennie, by G ! " 

"Well, Mrs. Davis, are you going 
to take us poor girls in ? " 

This woman Davis really had no. 
vacant room in the hou-e, having 
but two bed rooms in all; but she 
could not afford to let this golden 
opportunity pass. There was money 
in those two young girls, and she 
would have turned every soul out of 
the house, if necessary, to secure 
them. Without hesitating after the 
question had been asked, she said: 



26 



" Of course I will take you in ! 
Haven't I invited you to come more 
than a dozen times ? Yes, take off 
your hats, make yourselves at home, 
and I'll fit up the nicest room in 
the house for you ! Wouldn't you 
like a glass of wine, now that you 
are going to be regular boarders ? " 

" Oh, I'm dying for a drink ! " and 
Wicked Nell, with her partner, 
drank off the sparkling fluid as 
though they were old stagers, in- 
stead of mere children. 

They then took off their hats, and 
as Nell threw herself upon a sofa in 
the parlor she pulled Jennie down 
also, threw her arms about her and 
exclaimed : 

" Jen, we have found a home ! 
We are on the turf ! We are two 
gay girls on the town ! " And the 
foolish girl laughed so loudly that 
the merry peal could be heard a 
block away. 



CHAPTER X. 

We have alluded to the real 
estate dealer on LaSalle street, but 
have given no name. As this is a 
trlie story, it was our intention to 
give genuine names to all the char- 
acters ; but in this instance, we are 
compelled to deviate from the rule. 
Wicked Nell's first lover was then 
sowing his wild oats at the time 
of this writing he is a far different 
man, and it would be doing him a 
great wrong to rake up the dead 
arid forgotten past, *nd narrate the 
exploits that are now recalled by 
him with the keenest regret. For 
this reason we will call him Charles 
Williams the first name only being 
real. Wicked Nell sent for him at 
once, after having found a boarding 
house, and he had visited her every 
day, up to the time he found her 
in the questionable company of 
Freckled Jim. 

Nell had not anticipated such a 
surprise, and her usual self-posses- 



sion deserted her. For the first 
time in her life, the girl blushed I 
Itwas not the blush of shame, but 
was caused by mortification and 
embarassment. Though she was 
incapable of love, yet she thought a 
great deal of Charley Williams, 
because he was liberal, affectionate, 
and kind; and to be caught in 
such a predicament was painfully 
unfortunate. 

"Nellie," said Charlie, with a 
sober face, " what does this mean ? 
What have you been doing ?" 

The girl stammered, but made no 
immediate reply. 

Her lover turned red in the face. 

" Is this the way you 'keep your 
promise ?" he continued ; " is this 
the way you keep a pledge to be 
faithful and true ?" 

" I will explain everything, if 
you will only give me time," said 
Nell, who was now upon her feet, 
and had partially regained her 
composure. 

" Before you make any further 
explanation, perhaps you had better 
tell me who this fellow is, and what 
he is doing in your room !" 

The comtempt in the man's look 
and voice nettled Freckled Jim, 
and assuming a belligerent attitude 
he said : 

" Say, you baby-faced rooster, wat 
yer got to say about it, anyway ?" 

" I was not talking to you, sir," 
Charlie replied, stepping back, and 
turning a shade paler. 

" But I'm talking to you, sir ! If 
yer don't like the looks of this lay- 
out, just square yourself, like a 
game man, and we'll have it right 
out here !" 

By this time Wicked Nell had 
stepped between them. The girl 
was " game from the ground up," if 
her lover was not. 

' Young man," she said, address- 
ing Fred, " I have got through 



with you you have done all that I 
asked you to now, git !" 

Her shapely finger pointed to the 
door, and her eyes blazed with 
excitement. 

*' All right, sis, if you say so, I'm 
off but if that sucker gives me any- 
lip again, let him look out for his 
smeller, that's all!" and with a 
loaferish swagger he left the room, 
and proceeded to some other haunt 
in the locality. 

Wicked Nell then turned to her 
lover and said : 

" Don't look so ugly, Charley, for 
I have only been having a little fun, 
and have not broken any promise. 
Sit down, now, like a good man, 
and let me wil you all about it." 

" I will sit down, and you can tell 
me what you wish but you must 
allow me to believe only as much 
or as little of what you say as I 
think proper." 

" Oh, dear, what a jealous lover 
}'ou are ! Why, any one would 
think I had done something awful, 
to judge by your looks, and your 
words." 

" Yes, and you have done some- 
thing awful ! You have deceived a 
good solid friend, for the companion- 
ship of a common loafer a dirty 
pimp ! I am not soft enough to let 
you pull the wool over my eyes, 
after what I have seen !" 

"Then you won't let me coax 
you ?" Nell was getting a little 
" riled," and there was a perceptible 
threat in her voice, if not her words. 

" I don't think you can ! I would 
be a fool to let you, with your sweet 
smiles, and your soft words, and 
your affectionate embraces, make me 
believe that black is white that 
this ruffian that you called Fred 
was not in this room that you are 
not false as you are fair !" 

" Charlie Williams, stop ! If you 
have come here to abuse me, to in- 
sult me, to charge me with some- 



thing I have not done, you had 
better take your hat and walk !" 

" It might have been better for 
me if I had told your messenger to 
walk, when she came to me this 
evening !" 

" I wish you had ! I had rather 
be in jail, and stay there, than have 
any man throw it up into my face 
that he has done me a favor, and 
is sorry for it !" 

" Did I say I was sorry ?" 

" No, but you might as well." 

" Nell, you are a strange girl. 
You are rightly named Wicked 
Nell !" 

" I know I am ! Suppose I had 
been a good girl would I have had 
anything to do with you ?" 

" Probably not ; but a girl need 
not be lost to all decency, totally 
depraved, because she has erred in 
one particular." 

" I told you that I had not 
wronged you, a little while ago, and 
you sneered at me, and might as 
well have said, 'Nell, you lie /" 

" I believed that you did lie ! I 
think so still ! If you did not, then 
circumstances lie !" 

' k Well, you can believe me or 
not, just as you choose ! It makes 
little difference to me, for I can get 
a hundred lovers before sundown 
to-morrow, if I try !" 

" Oh, I suppose you can ! But 
such lovers ! This Fred is a good 
specimen ! " 

" Fred be d d ! I have used\*.\m, 
sir, but there are gentlemen who 
are anxious to take your place ! A 
dozen of them have been writing to 
me, and sending after me, and 
coming here to see me, and I like a 
fool have told them all to keep their 
distance !" 

" You seem to be rather anxious 
to get rid of me, Nell," he said, in 
tones more kind than he had used 
before ; "are you really tired of me, 
so quick ?" 



28 



" You are the one who seems to 
begetting tired," said Nell, "but 
come now, Charlie, let's quit quarel- 
ing until I can tell you all about it, 
and then if you want to keep your 
back up, all right." 

Her lover sat down as requested, 
and Nell told him the whole story, 
just as it has been related in preced- 
ing chapters. When she had finished, 
Charlie Williams threw his arms 
around the wilful, wicked girl. 

" My darling," he said, " I believe 
you ! I was a brute to talk to you 
the way I did ! Will you forgive 
me, Nell ?" 

" With all my heart ! You were a 
brute, I know, but you werejea/vus, 
Charley, and they say that men are 
rot responsible for what they do, in 
such cases." 

The lovers had made up. 

" Now, Nell," said Charley, after a 
few more endearing words had been 
spoken, " I want to talk to you seri- 
ously, and I want you to think seri- 
ously of what I say." 

<k Well, fire ahead, then ; I'll be 
as solemn and as sober as a parson 
at a funeral." 

" This is no place for you, Nell !" 

" 1 expect to change my board- 
ing house to-morrow." 

" Where are you going ?" 

" To the Bridewell !" 

" Oh .nonsense ! You know that I 
wouldn't let you go there ! But I 
have found a nice, quiet place, where 
you can go and live like a lady, 
where there are very few visitors, 
no exciting brawls, and people would 
take you for a respectable girl. 
What do you say, my darling ?" 

" I won't do it !" 

k 'Why not, Nell?" 

*' Because I'm too wicked ! I love 
excitement ! I love tto see quarrels 
and fights ! I love the life and noise 
of Wells street ! I should die if I 
were to go off somewhere alone, 
and never see anything out of the 



way ! Why, I wouldn't be a decent, 
nice, quiet, respectable girl, if you'd 
give me all Chicago ! If you should 
offer to marry me, and take- me to 
your home, on the avenue, among 
all the big folks, I'd laugh at you ! 
No, sir I'm not going to be tied 
down, like a pet poodle. I am 
going to make every man and 
woman in this city know me, and 
when they speak of me it will be as 
the wickedest girl in Chicago ! Do 
you understand me ?" 

" I am afraid I understand you 
too well." 

" Then don't preach any more, if 
you please. You can keep me as 
long as you wish. You can shake 
me when you want to. But you can't 
change me one bit. I'm the gayest 
girl that ever wore a. bustle." 

Convinced that he could do noth- 
ing or say nothing that would 
accomplish anything, Charley Wil- 
liams dropped the sub?ect, and 
nothing further of interest to . the 
reader occurred that evening. 

CHAPTER XI. 

The scene at the Police Court, 
the morning succeeding the events 
hereinbefore narrated, was one of 
the most impressive that ever tran- 
spired before that tribunal of jus- 
tice. After the common drunks 
and disorderlies had been called 
and disposed of, and the few petty 
thieves and other offenders had re- 
ceived sentence, the clerk called : 

" Nellie O'Brien ! " 

There was no answer, but from 
the crowd of spectators there arose 
a flashily attired maiden, and, proud 
of the fact that all eyes were fixed 
admiringly, upon her, Wicked Nell 
strutted forward like a young pea- 
cock, her head erect, and her whole 
bearing indicating obstinate and 
unyielding defiance. 

" You are charged with being an 
inmate of a house of ill-fame," said 



Mr. Matson, the clerk, "are you 
guilty or not guilty." 

" GUILTY." 

Judge Banyon looked at the pris- 
oner with astonishment, not unmix- 
ed with admiration. The Judge 
had an eye for female beauty, and 
be never had seen so handsome a 
prisoner before. 

The widow O'Brien, in deep mourn- 
ing, slowly made her way to the 
side of her daughter. 

" This is my child, Judge," she 
said, feebly. 

Captain Hickey related the cir- 
cumstances of the arrest, and then 
turned to the girl, who had stood 
like a statue, apparently entirely 
unconcerned. 

" Nellie," he said, " what do you 
propose to do ? " 

" I propose to do as I please !" 
was the impudent reply. 

" She's the wickedest little wretch 
I ever saw," remarked the Captain 
to the Judge, " and it's my opinion 
that a long term in the Bridewell 
will do her more good thaa any- 
thing else. The girl seems to be 
totally dperaved. 

" This is 'orrible ! " exclaimed 
the Judge, looking upon the pris- 
oner with amazement. 

' Oh, no, LO ! You will not 
send my little girl to that dreadful 
place ! She could riot live there, I 
know she couldn't, and it would 
break my heart to see her die ! " 
The widow's voice trembled, and 
her tyes were wet with tears. 

" She had better be in her grave," 
said the Captain, " than in such 
hell-holes as she has been frequent- 
ing for a year or more. But there 
is no danger. Such wicked people 
don't die easy. You couldn't kill 
'em. They have as many lives as 
a cat." 

Wicked Nell's face denoted scorn 
and defiance. 

" Don't fret, old woman," she 



said, " your little girl\% big enough 
to take care of herself, and she wont 
go to the Bridewell ! You can bet 
your sweet life on that !" 

" Then you defy the Court, do 
you ? " said the Judge, bristling 
with indignation, and plainly show- 
ing the anger he could not conceal. 

Nell made no reply, but faced the 
court with a brazen stare. 

-'Please come home, Nellie,' 
pleaded the old woman, attempting 
to embrace her daughter. 

Pushing her away roughly, Wick- 
Nell, said scornfully 

Never!" 

The poor widow, overcome with 
emotion, staggered to a seat, and 
moaned : 

" Oh, God ! I even wish that I 
was dead " 

" There's no use in making a holy 
show of me here !" eaid Nell, " if 
you're going to send me up, do it 
right away ! You can't make me 
promise anything, and if I did, I'd 
break it as soon as I got on the 
sidewalk." 
" Ninety days," was the sentence. 

" It wont be ninety minutes be- 
fore I'll be free again ! " saucily 
responded the prisoner. 

An officer took her roughly by the 
arm, but she shook him off savagely. 

" Keep your dirty hand off from 
me !" she exclaimed vehemently, 
I happen to know something about 
this business ! I'll walk into that 
pen like a lady, but I'll soon walk 
out again! You cant any of you 
get the best of Wicked Nell ! " 

CHAPTER XII. 
The threat made by Wicked Nell, 
as like a little queen she strutted 
into the " bull-pen," was not an idle 
one. In less than an hour from the 
time of her trial and sentence she 
was at liberty, through a process 
weW known to any one who has had 
any experience in the police courts. 



Her appeal bonds were signed by a 
responsible party, and that, in real- 
ity, was the end of the case. A sil- 
ent friend, aided by his money, had 
done his work, and once more the 
wicked girl was free free to do as 
she pleased to defy the law, to 
heave a heavier load of sorrow upon 
the shoulders of her poor old mother! 

While she was walking away 
from the Armory, Nell reviewed the 
situation in her mind, and conclud- 
ed that for a time, at least, she 
would accept the offer of Charley 
Williams. She knew that she could 
not live at the Jackson street den 
without being harassed, night and 
day, by the police, and annoyed by 
her mother. The idea of being tak- 
en up every few days, for ever so 
short a time, was not very agree- 
able, and so, for the purpose of sec- 
urity, she reluctantly made up her 
mind to follow the wishes of her 
friend, and endure quiet, retired 
life as long as she could but she 
knew very well it wouldn't be long. 
There was a devil inside of her that 
no power n earth could compel to 
rest easy for any length of time. To 
be good was to be miserable. 

She knew where to find her lover. 
The decision she had made was 
quickly communicated to him, and 
it is useless to say that he was pleas- 
ed as nothing else could have pleas- 
ed him. The man was captivated 
by the girl's rare beauty, and the 
thought that he could have her un- 
der his eye for a large portion of 
the time, and feel assured that no 
other lover could claim her atten- 
tion when he was away, filled him 
with undefinable feelings of pleas- 
ure. 

The house to which he conveyed 
Wicked Nell, in a hack, was located 
on Harmon Court, and was consid- 
ered respectable. It was kept by a 
widow, as she claimed herself to be, 
and the neighbors were given to un- 



derstand that the neat and rathet 
tony little sign, " Furnished Rooms 
to Rent," was the correct index to 
her occupation. But those who were 
permitted to cross her threshold 
knew very well what kind of ten- 
ants were wanted. 

Mrs. Dodge, the keeper of this 
house, would have been grievously 
offended, had any one dared accuse 
her of keeping an assignation house 
yet such was in reality the nature 
of her establishment. She was an 
aristocratic " lady." No stranger 
could obtain admittance to her house 
unless upon the recommendation of 
one of her friends or patrons ; but 
her elegant parlors, and luxurious 
sleeping apartments were kept for 
no decent purpose, as many a poor 
girl who had been drugged and 
ruined there could testify, to her 
sorrow. Mrs. Dodge was a woman 
without a heart a soulless wretch, 
who looked upon gold with greedy 
eyes, and closed them whenever the 
gain of a few dollars would reward 
a deed of villainy. All her cus- 
tomers were not villains, as the 
world would define the term. Her 
parlors were often the rendezvous 
of lovers who had no right to seek 
seclusion, as will be seen in future 
chapters of this romance, but who 
went there under the cover of dark- 
ness, sometimes in disguise, for pur- 
poses that society would frown 
upon, were there no secrecy in their 
movements. 

Wicked Nell was shown into the 
parlor, and Charley Williams beck- 
oned the keeper to another apart- 
ment. 

" Mrs. Dodge," he said, "I want 
you to keep tnis girl for me." 

" Anything in my house is at 
your disposal, Mr. Williams." 

" I knew that before, but what I 
particularly desire now, is that you 
will keep an eye on her !" 

" Do I understand that she would 



33 



run away if she got a chance ? Is 
she to stay here against her will ?" 

" Oh, no, Mrs. Dodge, I hope I 
am not as bad as that. This is not 
an innocent girl, as you probably 
supposed. On the contrary, she 
delights in being called the wicked- 
est girl in Chicago ! It will be 
hard work for her to keep as quiet 
as lodgers in your house are re- 
quired to keep, and you may have 
some trouble with her." 

"And is she really so abominably 
wicked ? " 

"She is very wild, very thought- 
less, very reckless in fact, I may 
as well say, very wicked !" 

A pleased expression rested for 
an instant upon the face of Mrs. 
Dodge. 

" Mr. Williams," she said, " I 
think I can manage this awful girl. 
Shall you be here often ?" 

" Three or four times a week, at 
least." 

"All right. Leave everything to 
me, and you will see how nicely I 
can tame this wild flower of yours." 

"May you have good luck in 
your efforts," was the earnest wish 
of Charley Williams, as he left the 
keeper, and sought the companion- 
ship of the little beauty who had 
taken such a deep hojd upon his 
affections. 

In another hour he was gone, 
and Wicked Nell and Mrs. Dodge 
were alone together in the beauti- 
fully furnished house. 

Putting her arms around the 
child, and warmly kissing her, Mrs, 
Dodge said : 

"I am told your name is Wicked 
Nell ?" 

" You were told just right that's 
my name !" 

" You must be an awful wicked 
girl, to want such a name ? " 

" Well, I suppose. I am ! There 
is nothing too wicked for Nell ! " 

" Nothing ? " 



The woman looked at Wicked Nell 
searchingly, as though she woull 
penetrate her deepest thoughts. 

" I never knew anything so bad 
that I would not do it, if I felt like 
it!" 

" Then I know I shall like you !" 
Mrs. Dodge pressed the hand of 
her new lodger, and after a mom eat 
left the room. 

" You look like a snake ! I hate 
you!" muttered Nell, after the 
widow had disappeared. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

On the afternoon of the day Nell 
entered the house on Harmon Court, 
Mrs. Dodge came into the parlor 
with a smile upon her face. 

" Wouldn't you like to go to the 
matinee, this afternoon ?" she said, 
pleasantly. 

" Oh that would be bully !" ex- 
claimed the girl, who had never in 
her life attended a public place of 
amusement. 

" Then I will order a carriage, 
and we will take it in," was the 
elderly female's rejoinder. 
. On the way to the theatre, a 
restaurant was visited, and the 
ladies indulged in wine. 

The afternoon was well worn 
away. The play was approaching 
its close. Wicked Nell had been 
perfectly enraptured with the per- 
formance, and had not paid more 
than casual attention to Mrs. Dodge. 
Had she noticed that woman, she 
would have perceived that the move- 
ments of the actors received little if 
any attention from her. Her mild 
blue eyes eyes that gave her such 
a gentle and motherly appearance, 
were fixed upon a fair young girl 
in the audience, who seemed to have 
come alone.' The girl was young, 
very fair, and any reader of 
human nature could readily per- 
ceive that she was innocent. 

When the performance was reach- 



34 



ing its close, Mrs. Dodge leaned 
over and whispered in the ear of 
Wicked NeH : 

" Do you see that girl with the 
black hair and eyes, a little to the 
right of us ?" 

Nell looked and nodded her head. 

" Do you think you could get ac- 
quainted with her if you should 
try ?" 

" Of course I could ! What makes 
you ask ?" 

" Will you do it r 

" If there was any object in doing 
so, I would. But what's the use ? 
She ain't bad I can tell that, by 
her looks and what would be the 
use in my getting acquainted with 
her, just for half an hour or so, 
when we should probably never 
meet again ? There wouldn't be 
any fun in it, nor any money, 
either." 

" How do you know ? You try it, 
anyway ! Scrape acquaintance. 
Tell her I'm your mother, and what 
a fine home we have, Ask her to 
take some ice cream with you. To 
start, you can step on her dress, 
then make an apology, and thus 
commence an acquair. . nee that can 
be prolonged or shortened as you 
may wish." 

" Well, I'll do it just for fun ! 
And you watch and see how slick I 
pull the wool over her eyes ! Shall 
I really invite her down to the 
house ?'' 

" By all means." 

" What for ?" 

" Leave, that to me /" 

Wicked Nell felt a cold chill pass 
over her. She could see the snake 
plainer than ever, now ! 

" Oh, well, I suppose we can have 
a little amusement at the expense 
of the little girl, and she know noth- 
ing about it." 

Nell then did as directed by her 
instructor, and it was but a minute 
before she was in animated conver- 



sation with her new and strangely 
formed acquaintance. Nellie O'Brien 
was a girl of unusual intelligence. 
She knew that she must conduct her 
self with exceptional decorum, in 
her intercourse with a decent young 
lady, and acting upon this knowl- 
edge, her words were the most 
chaste, her actions the most mod- 
est and decorous. 

" This is my ma," she said art- 
lessly, as the woman Dodge in- 
truded herself upon them. 

The sly old wretch assumed a 
patronizing air, and insisted that 
the " dear little friend of her daugh- 
ter " should go with them just for 
the purpose of getting better ac- 
quainted, 

Wicked Nell felt inclined to back 
out, even after she had accom- 
plished all she hiiJ undertaken. 
She rather liked the innocent crea- 
ture she had been deceiving, and 
cordially hated the old hypocrite 
she had palmed off as her " ma." 

There was another thing that 
made Nell hestitate. The idea 
entered her head that to 
decoy that young girl into an 
assignation house, was no joke. 
The old woman had not said that 
any harm was meant, but she cer- 
tainly acted very strangely, and 
there at leaSt was a possibility that 
serious harm might be th result. 

" Oh, pshaw ! " thought Nell, " if 
I rope this girl in as the old woman 
wants me to, I guess I'm smart 
enough to get her out again, with- 
out much trouble ! I'll keep my 
$ye skinned, and if any dirt is to be 
played, let them look out for Wick- 
ed Nell!" 

The carriage was entered, and 
with lively conversation the mo- 
ments passed until the horses were 
halted in front of the assignation 
house, on Harmon Court. 

The three alighted, and soon the 
front door closed upon three parties, 



35 



only one of whom understood the 
others. Mrs. Dodge was positive 
she had an expert and willing accom- 
plice in Wicked Nell ; the strange 
girl did not dream that her friends 
were not what they seemed ; but 
Nellie O'Brien, young though she 
was, comprehended everything, and 
already her mind was occupied in 
devising schemes by which to coun- 
teract and foil the dark designs of 
the meek-looking hag ! 

CHAPTER XIV. 

"Oh, dear, I feel thirsty, and 
really, -water tastes insipid, such 
sultry weather. Children, how 
would you like a little lemonade? " 

Wicked Nell thought a sherry 
cobbler or a whisky punch would be 
much preferable, but she did not 
unmask herself by so saying. 

" I should like nothing better," 
she replied, knowing that such an 
answer was expected of her, yet 
feeling apprehensive of treachery. 
She had no reason to suspect any- 
thing wrong, so far as she herself 
was concerned, but the ominous 
words, " leave that to me," still 
rung in her ears, and she felt like 
shu'ldering for the consequences. 

The reader will perceive, when 
the characters of those two are con- 
sidered, that Nellie O'Brien was not 
the wickedest woman in Chicago. 
There was nothing malignant in her 
disposition, and except for provo- 
cation she would not do harm or 
violence to man, woman or child. 
She was wilful, wicked, reckless, 
depraved, ueceitful, and bad in 
many ways, but she had a white soul! 
Get way down to the bottom of her 
heart, and there was a germ of 
goodness that evil associations had 
not entirely wiped out. There was 
no real meanness about her, and 
she scorned to be a hypocrite. It 
was this very open-hearted frank- 
ness that caused her to delight in 



being recognized everywhere as 
wicked Nell. 

" We'll just put in wine enough 
to make the color rich," continued 
Mrs. Dodge, smiling, and inwardly 
pleased that she could so easily ac- 
complish what she had undertaken. 

And what was it that she sought 
bo accomplish ? Only the ruin of 
that confiding, that pure, that true- 
hearted that innocent girl that's 
all! 

Only a few days before, a villain, 
as he should be called, but an ele- 
gant gentleman, as he was generally 
known, had called upon Madame 
Dodge, and had made arrangements 
with her to secure for him, on the 
first opportunity, some ignorant, 
innocent .young girl, with sufficient 
beauty to attract the eye, and 
whose personal charms should be 
above the average. Mme. Dodge, 
as procuress, was known to quite 
a number of "highly respedja-ble " 
people in this city, and whenever 
any of her acquaintances desired 
work of that kind done, she was 
invariably called upon. For these 
services she was paid handsomely, 
the proceeds of one transaction 
some times amounting to a sum of 
money that would look big to a poor 
man, but which would not be con- 
sidered exorbitant to the rich spend- 
thrifts of Chicago. 

In this latest transaction, Mad- 
ame Dodge had confidently counted 
upon the assistance of Nellie 
O'Brien. When Charley Williams 
told her of the wickedness of the 
girl, she fairly gloated over the good 
fortune that had thrown such a tool 
in her way, never doubting but that 
Nell would prove a perfect big bo- 
nanza, arid little thinking that the 
wild girl would hesitate to assist 
in the devilish plot she had already 
concocted in her mind. 

Wicked Nell rather liked this 
new adventure that had been un- 



expectedly thrown in her way. 
There was excitement in it, and 
that was the food upon which she 
lived. It was more welcome to her 
appetite than any delicacies that 
could be obtained in any of the 
markets that abound in the city. 

When Mrs. Dodge made the allu- 
sion to a "a little wine," Nell's 
quick wit told her, as plainly as 
words could tell, that there would 
he something more subtle than wine 
in at least one of the beverages that 
would be offered. 

" She counts upon me as an ac- 
complice" thought our little heroine, 
" but she is making a big sucker of 
herself ! No ! I'll do anything that 
is bad ! There's nothing that is 
wicked but that I will do myself! 
But when any one asks me to be a 
sneak, and to lie, and to betray 
anybody who trusts me, they'll find 
that Wicked Nell is not that kind 
of a hair pin ! I like that little girl, 
though she is good ! I don't believe 
there's anything mean about her; 
and may I be shot as full of holes 
as the cover of a pepper box if this 
old hell-cat gets the best of her!" 

Going up to the girl, Nell stooped 
down and kissed her. 

" I /0wyou," she exclaimed, with 
more feeling than she had ever 
before shown in her life !" 

The young lady looked up in some 
bewilderment, but she looked into 
honest eyes, and for a moment the 
two children for they were only 
children in years were locked in an 
affectionate embrace. 

Nell had intended to put the girl 
on her guard, but Mrs. Dodge came 
into the room before she had a 
chance to speak. 

The procuress looked on and 
smiled ! 

" I never saw such a wicked girl," 
she thought, but no word of that 
kind escaped her lips. 

" Here, children," she said, " here 



is something that will make us all 
feel well !" 

" Thank you, ma ! " said Nell, to 
the keeper of the house. 

To her little friend she whispered, 
as she pressed her arm : 

Don't Drink /" 



CHAPTER XV. 

Madame Dodge did not suspect 
Wicked Nell of treachery. The old 
procuress was a shrewd, wary and 
suspicious creature under ordinary 
circumstances ; bnt Nell had come 
to her house with the reputation of 
being the very incarnation of wick- 
edness, and the thought that any- 
thing good could come out of such 
a little wretch, never once entered 
Madame Dodge's head. 

When Nell whispered " don't 
drink," into the ears of the strange 
girl, neither her words nor the 
warning glance that accompanied 
them, were noticed by the procur- 
ess. The girl turned deathly pale, 
and her hand trembled so violently 
that a portion of the contents of 
the tumbler fell upon the carpet ; 
and yet the old woman, in her glee 
at the easy victory that had been 
as good as already achieved, did 
not notice the girl's alarm, 

Wicked Nell did not intend that 
Madame Dodge should discover the 
deceit she had been practicing, and 
yet she was determined that the 
hag should not harm a hair of that 
fair child's head. This girl loved 
to be wicked, but her's was a cus 
sedness that had in ifc no element 
of fiendishness. She was as te*n- 
der-hearted as a child, at times, and 
her sympathies when once aroused, 
were so powerful that no consider- 
ation could induce her to abandon 
the object that had excited them. 
When she saw that the girl would 
betray the knowledge that foul 
play was being resorted to, Nell 
quietly seized her arm, and pulled 



37 



her closer, saying as she did so, in 
an undertone : 

" You're safe I" 

Then, speaking aloud, she said : 

" Ma, this is the nicest lemonade 
I ever drank. Don't you think it 
good ?" 

This latter was addressed to the 
girl ; but before the frightened 
creature had time to reply, Nell 
dexterously changed glasses with 
her! 

The strange girl comprehended 
everything, and drank, greatly to 
the inward delight of Madame 
Dodge, whose eyes shone with un- 
usual brilliancy as she saw her in- 
tended victim, sipping the drugged 
liquid until it had all disappeared. 

While the old woman was watch- 
ing as a cat would watch a mouse, 
the unsuspecting little one, Wicked 
Nell was not idle. 

"It will never do for me to drink 
this," she thought, and without at- 
tracting attention, she passed into 
the other room, quickly threw the 
"nice" lemonade out of the window, 
and returned apparently uncon- 
cerned, to the parlor, where the 
two were seated. 

" Why, what makes you look so 
pale ?" exclaimed Madame Dodge, 
advancing to the girl she had with 
Nell's assistance enticed from the 
theatre, " are you ill ? Has any- 
thing happened to you !" 

The girl was pale, but not from 
the cause tha,t the infamous wom- 
an supposed. She was frightened, 
not poisoned. 

" I think I will go now," said the 
strange visitor, rising. 

But Madame Dodge sprang for- 
ward, exclaiming : 

" Not for the world would I have 
any one leave my house when ill ! 
Why, child, you look like a corpse ! 
You might fall down and die before 
you had gone a block ! No, no ! 
You cannot, you shall not go ! You 



must lie down, and 1 will prepare 
you restoratives that will bring you 
around all right." 

"No you wont, you old rip! 1 " 

Wicked Nell did not say this, 
but she could hardly keep her 
tongue between her teeth, so vio- 
lent were her emotions, so strongly 
was she tempted to expose the 
dark designs of the procuress. 

"I am not sick, even if I am 
pale, said the dark-eyed but timid 
girl, " and I shall insist on going 
home, right away ! You have no 
right to detain me, and I shall not 
stay longer !" 

Mrs. Dodge stood in the door, 
looking determined and threaten- 
ing. 

" Oh, let the girl go," said Nell, 
: ' I'll go with her a short distance, 
and see that no harm reaches her. 
She don't look very pale to me, and 
I don't believe she's any more sick 
than you are !" 

" Nellie, leave this room instant- 
ly !" commanded Madame Dodge, 
in tones of anger. 

"Old woman, go to the devil!" 
replied Nell, defiantly, springing to 
her feet. 

The Madame was amazed ! She 
knew it was time for the drug to 
take effect, and every moment ex- 
pected that her victim would be- 
come insensible. She had also in- 
tended to explain everything to 
Wicked Nell, when the bird had 
been securely caged. It only took 
her a second to discover that she 
had made a mistake, and that she 
must " haul in her horns." 

" Why, child," she said persua- 
sively, ' I was merely joking with 

you!" 

" Oh, yes. You're a sweet old 
pill to joke with, ain't you ! But 
you can't come any of your funny 
games on Wicked Nell ! Old wom- 
an, I'm on to you ! I've tumbled 
to your racket, and if you don't 



cheese that sort of lay-out I'll 
squeal louder than a stuck pig or 
pinched kitten ! Do you hear me 
talk, you old slut?" 

" Slut!" shrieked the old woman, 
beside herself with rage, I'll teach 
you, you little hussy, to call me 
such names in my own house !" 

Rushing towards Nell, the Mad- 
ame seized her with one hand, and 
the other was raised to strike ! 

But she didn't succeed. Bang ! 
Biff ! The clenched fist of Nell got 
in its work lively, and a stream of 
blood spurted from the nose of the 
old hag, who reeled and fell. 

Nell did not propose to let the 
matinee stop that way. Her blood 
was up, and she was on fire with 
excitement. Springing upon the 
procuress, she planted her heel 
squarely in her cheek, making her 
false teeth rattle, and causing the 
old dame to howl with pain. 

" Stop ! for God's sake, stop ! 
You are killing me !" she pleaded. 

" Yes, you old hag, and you 
ought to be killed ! What was you 
going to do with this girl ? What 
did you dose her with a drug for ? 
What did you coax me to rope he) 
into your shebang for ? You 
thought Wicked Nell would help 
you, did you ? Now, let me tell 
you, while you are lying there 
on the broad of your back, that I'm 
not on that racket ! That ain't my 
style ! And I'll tell you, too, that 
I hate you ! I hate every bone in 
your rotten old carcass ! You are 
an old rip ! an old sneak ! an old 
devil ! an old snake ! an old slut ! 
d n your old soul, there's one 
more for luck !" 

As she shrieked these words, 
Nell gave the fallen woman a final 
kick, and then continued: 

" Now, lay there, as quiet as a 
kitten, until this girl gets ready to 
go ! Your drug don't work ! Per- 



haps it will kill the grass where I 
threw it, though !" 

Madame Dodge obeyed the com- 
mands of the ungovernable Nell, 
and the two girls almost instantly 
departed. 

At the corner of State street, 
Nell bid her companion good bye. 

"Where are you going ?" inquir- 
ed the stranger. 

" I am going back to the house," 
replied Nell. 

" Oh, no ! You surely will not 
go back to that wicked woman." 

" Yes, I'll go back ! And if the 
old cat gives me any more of her 
lip, I'll put another head on her, be- 
fore I get through with her !" 

Tne girl who listened did so with 
wonder in her eyes. 

" Who are you ?" she said, as she 
involuntarily clasped the hand of 
the one who had befriended her. 

" Who am I ? I am not a proper 
associate for you ! I'm Wicked 
Nell, the gayest girl in Chicago!" 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Bidding the young girl whom she 
had rescued from outrage a tender 
farewell, Wicked Nell slowly retrac- 
ed her steps, her mind filled with 
strange and conflicting thoughts. 
Had any one met her then, and 
praised her as a good girl, she would 
have rebelled with fiery enthusiasm 
and hot indignation ; yet there was 
a light feeling at her wayward 
heart, and an angeb whispered in 
her ears words like these : 

"Nellie O'Brien, you can be a 
girl of the town ; you can drink, 
you can carouse ; you can smoke, 
you can swear ; you can be wild, 
untamable, unmanagable ; you can 
play all sorts of devilish pranks in 
Chicago ; bad girl that you are, you 
can be honorable, jou can be truth- 
ful, you can be open in your shame, 
and you will find lovers, admirers, 
friends ; but the curse of mankind 



will fall upon you with the weight 
of a mountain when you sneak into 
the confidence of an innocent girl, 
with false friendship and mock 
smiles win her affections, entice her 
into a trap, and then betray her ! " 

" I left the old gal in a devil of a 
fix," she said, half audibly, and a 
wicked, exultant smile stole over 
her face; "but she had no right to 
put on such airs, and order me 
away as though I was a dog ! Oh, 
how I do hate her ! And what 
makes me hate her I wonder? 
Perhaps it's because she's wickeder 
than I am ! Wonder what she'll say 
to me ? I can lick the stuffin' out 
of her, anyhow, and I guess she 
knows it, and so there won't be 
much danger of her making a kick 
right away. I know what I'll do ! 
I'll lie to the old b h ! I'll tell 
her I'm awful sorry, that I was ex- 
cited and crazy, and that if she'll 
only forgive me I'll find another 
girl for her in less than two days!" 

Her pace increased when this 
resolution was formed, and just 
before she reached the house of 
Madame Dodge there was a world 
of meaning in her voice and her 
face as she said to herself : 

" Old woman, look out for Wicked 
Nell ! She's going to put up a job 
on you !" 

Nell was a neat little actress. She 
went around to the back door and 
looked the very picture of penitence 
as she entered. 

Madame Dodge was sitting upon 
a chair in the kitchen, and a ser- 
vant was engaged in dressing her 
wounds. The old woman drew back 
involuntarily when she saw Nell, 
and turned a trifle paler. Evidently, 
she was afraid of the wicked and 
vicious boarder. 

" Oh, Madame," said Nell, hum- 
bly, and with an attempt to shed 
tears that was entirely unsuccessful, 



"I'm so sorry for what has hap- 
pened!" 

The procuress looked at her with 
astonishment. She had not expected 
to see such, a remarkable change in 
so short a time, and she hardly knew 
what to say. Nell's quick wits were 
at work, she read the thoughts of 
the old woman, andbeforethe latter 
had opened her mouth, the girl 
continued : 

" You don't know what an awful 
temper I've got ! When I'm mad, 
I'm crazy, and don't know what 
I'm doing ! If you'd only told me 
what you wanted, there wouldn't 
have been a bit of trouble ! It 
made me jealous to think you'd try 
to fool me, the wickedest girl in Chi- 
cago, and I just changed glasses fur 
fun, to let you know how smart I 
was, intending to make it all right 
afterward ! When you ordered me 
out of the room, it made me mad, 
and I done what I could kill myself 
for now ! Please Madame, won't 
you forgive me ?" 

Nell was upon her knees, press- 
ing the old woman's hand to her 
lips, and pretending as haixl as she 
could to cry. 

The procuress was again deceived! 
That little girl, who was just learn- 
ing her first lessons in the art of 
saying one thing and meaning 
another, for the second time com- 
pletely pulled the wool over the 
eyes of an experienced old hag, 
whose education in that line cov- 
ered many long years. 

" Don't cry, child," said the Mad- 
ame, soothingly, " We shall under- 
stand ourselves better hereafter, 
and, I hope, be the best of friends ! 
Get up, now, let us * kiss and make 
up,' as the girls used to say when I 
was young." 

Nell would much rather have 
kissed an old cow, but she was 
acting a part,' and the way she 
hugged and slobbered over that 



procuress would have deceived the 
"best judge of human nature in the 
world. 

"I have injured you," she said, 
"but I will make it all up to you, 
and more too ! I'll find another 
girl for you, if you want one, just 
as pretty as the other, if there's one 
in the town ? I'll rope her in so 
neat that she won't be a bit sus- 
picious, and then you can do with 
her just what you've a mind to." 

" You are a dear little darling !" 
exclaimed the procuress joyfully. 

The old woman's face was some- 
what disfigured, and the sting of 
the bruises could still be felt, but 
the prospect held out by Wicked 
Nell was a balm that healed her 
wounds as by magic, and she pulled 
Nell down on her lap and kissed 
her a dozen times ! 

" When do you think you can 
find a nice little beauty for me ?" 
she said. 

" I'll go out to-morrow and hunt, 
and if I don't find one I'll keep on 
every day until I do ! I'll go to the 
parks, I'll watch the schools when 
they let out, and when I get my 
eye upon the gal that suits me, 
shes a goner /" 

" Brave girl, you're a regular lit- 
tle heroine ! God bless you !" 

The idea of that old rip using 
Gods name ! 

"You won't tell my lover any- 
thing that has happened to-day, 
will you, Madame ?" said Wicked 
Nell, coaxingly. She said this for 
a blind, for she didn't care "a cuss" 
whether the old woman told or not. 
In fact, she had made up her mind 
to tell Charlie Williams all about it 
herself. 

" Tell ? Why, not for the world ! 
I'll make him believe you're a per- 
fect little angel as you are !" 

Nothing further of interest oc- 
curred that night. Nell's lover 
spent the evening with her, and 



heard the story of the day's adven- 
tures from the lips of the chief ac- 
tress. He commended her actions 
in the highest terms, and secretly 
rejoiced that the beautiful girl in 
whom he had taken such deep in- 
terest, was not, after all, as 
bad as he had supposed. Charley 
Williams was a roue, a rake and a 
spendthrift, but he was not a vil- 
lian, and the fact that he had, in a 
round-about way, been instrumental 
in thwarting the dark designs of a 
wretch like Madame Dodge, pleas- 
ed him as nothing else could. Nell, 
however, did not confide to him her 
plans for the future, and he was 
kept in ignorance of the scheme 
that had been concocted in the 
brain of the little plotter who sat 
so lovingly upon his knee. 

After breakfast the next morning, 
Wicked Nell fitted herself up as 
modestly as she could, and made 
her appearance before the Madame. 

"What do you think of me?" she 
said, " don't I look innocent f 

" You look as pure and sweet as 
any girl I ever saw," was the reply, 
" but where are we going, dear ?" 

"Oh, I'm going out on business!" 

" Then you have not forgotten 
what you promised yesterday ?" 

" Wicked Nell never forgets ! " 

Had Madame Dodge been a mind 
reader, she would have recoiled 
from that sweet, innocent and pure 
looking girl ! As it was she gazed 
upon her with trusting admiration. 

" Won't you tell me your plans, 
darling ?" she said. 

" I have no plans. I am merely 
going out on a hunt, and whenever 
1 find what I want, if I can't rope 
her in, then you may call me a 
sucker !" 

" I certainly hope you will suc- 
ceed, and I shall stay in the house 
every minute, so as to be sure and 
meet you, when you get back." 

"And remember, Madame," said 



43 



Nell, " that you are my dear ma." 

" Oh, I'll remember ! The old 
woman always has her wits about 
her." 

" Good bye, ma," said Nell, 
laughing. 

" Good bye, and good luck, dar- 
ling," was the reply. 

And Wicked Nell walked away 
as happy as though no cloud had 
ever darkened her path. 

" Yes ! You're a fine ma to have! 
I'd sooner be the pup of a brindle 
cur, than have you for a mother ! 
But look out, old gal, look out ! 
Wicked Nell is the spider that is 
weaving the web, and you are the fly 
that is to be caught in it !" 

CHAPTER XVII. 
It was about 10 o'clock in the 
morning when Wicked Nell left the 
house of the procuress, and soon 
thereafter the Madame repaired to 
her darkened parlor, and indulged 
in a reverie. As the reader well 
knows, she was a woman entirely 
devoid of principle, or of the com- 
mon humanity that even the most 
depraved outcasts take pleasure in 
exhibiting. For years and years 
she had made it her business to in- 
sinuate herself into the confidence 
of young and pure-minded girls, and 
then, either by subtle persuasion or 
more forcible means, rob them of 
their virtue, through the depraved 
men with whom she had dealings 
None but the innocent had any at- 
tractions for her. It was her trade 
to destroy virtue, and to accomplish 
this the old hag would take almost 
any risk. The reward for this work 
was munificent all the way from 
one hundred to five hundred dollars. 
Rich men were her only customers, 
for they only could meet the exor- 
bitant demands she made upon those 
she had dealiags with. If the names 
of all who sought her aid could be 
ascertained, the exhibit would fiU 



the city with consternation and hor- 
ror. It is said to be a fact that, not 
many years ago, a man of high 
standing paid a notorious procuress 
(a Mrs. Middleton, who lived on 
Madison street, west of Union Park) 
the sum of three hundred dollars 
for securing a victim for him, and 
that, when he was shown into the 
room where she lay partially insen- 
sible upon a bed, the horrible dis- 
covery was made that the girl was 
his own daughter I Instances of this 
kind are, of course, very rare ; but 
in every case the poor betrayed 
child is somebody's daughter, and it 
is to be regretted that every infamy 
of this kind cannot be followed by 
quick and bloody retribution at the 
hands of an outraged father. 

Madame Dodge sat in her easy 
chair, and reviewed with calm satis- 
faction the many events in her life 
that had proved successful and re- 
munerative. There was a quiet 
smile upon her matronly face, and 
could any one have stolen in upon 
her privacy, they would have wag- 
ered dollars to nickels that she was 
a kind-hearted, benevolent, pious 
old lady, whose lines had been cast 
in pleasant places, and upon whose 
forehead no trouble had ever plow- 
ed a furrow or planted a wrinkle. 
Instead of being the incarnation of 
fiendishness, they would have taken 
her to be the very personification of 
goodness ! She thanked the lucky 
star that had guided Wicked Nell 
to her house, for she believed the 
girl to be totally lacking in every 
moral sentiment, and that she would 
be a ready and willing tool to for- 
ward any seheme that the villainy of 
man might suggest. How correct- 
ly she judged the girl, the reader 
can guess. 

Hour followed hour, and still the 
old woman remained at her post, 
ready to act her part whenever the 
time should arrive, if at all. 



44 



The sound of approaching foot- 
steps, inside her yard, aroused Ma- 
dame Dodge, and, peering through 
the blinds, she saw the man for whom 
she had been working for three 
days, thus far unsuccessfully. The 
greeting was cordial on her part so 
much so that it led the man to believe 
that his hopes had not been vain ones. 

" Any luck, Mrs. Dodge ? " he 
inquired, cheerfully. 

" Certainly ! I hope you did 
not think I would fail, did you, Mr. 
Brown ? " 

" Then you have really secured 
the prize ? " The man was so eager 
and excited that he sprang from the 
lounge, and advanced with out- 
stretched arms. 

Mrs. Dodge waved him back with 
her hand. 

" Don't be too impetuous ! " she 
said. When a person angles for a 
fish, and sees a speckled beauty nib- 
bling at the bait, it is not good pol- 
icy to pull madly at the line, just 
as though the hook were securely 
in the gills of the finny flirt ! " 

" Don't talk to me in riddles, if 
you please, but tell me plainly 
what you have done ! " 

" I have done everything that I 
could do. I have sent out a decoy 
duck, and it may not be tea minutes 
before the wild bird is safe in the 
net." 

" And who is this decoy duck 
that you speak of ? " 

" She's an innocent-looking little 
girl, who is making my house her 
home for a few days." 

There was some further conver- 
sation concerning Wicked Nell, and 
then Mr. Brown and Madame Dodge 
indulged in wine drank to the suc- 
cess of their undertaking, and its 
speedy accomplishment. 

An hour or so they spent in soc- 
ial convereation, and Mr. Brown 
was about taking his departure, 
with the understanding that he was 



to call again the next day, or was 
to be notified in case he was want- 
ed sooner. He bid the Madame 
good afternoon, and hat in hand was 
approaching tbe/ront door, when it 
was thrown open, and there stood 
before him the most beautiful crea- 
ture he had ever laid his eyes on ! 

"I beg your pardon," said Wicked 
Nell ; " if I had known a gentleman 
was in the house, I should not have 
rushed in in such a rude manner." 

Mr. Browu was enchanted ! He 
was a passionate admirer of female 
charms, and in little Nell he discov- 
ered at a single glance youth, viva- 
city, freshness, voluptuousness, and 
such rare beauty as he had seldom 
seen in woman. It was a clear case 
of love at first sight ! 

" It is /who should beg your par- 
don,' he said, gallantly, " for having 
likea great boor plan ted myselfright 
here in your path. But don't be 
frightened, my dear young woman 
I am not near so ugly as I look !" 

" The old cove is dead gone on 
me," thought Nell, as Madame 
Dodge stepped forward. 

" Ah, Nellie, darling," said the old 
woman, * I see you have returned. 
This is Mr. Brown, a particular- 
friend of mine. And this," address- 
ing herself to the gentleman, " is 
Nellie Williams, who is making my 
house her home for a few weeks." 

Mr. Brown shook hands with 
Wicked Nell, and took occasion to 
press the little gloved fingers in a 
manner that some maidens would 
call suggestive. 

The three then entered the parlor. 

" There need be no hesitation and 
secrecy between us," said the Ma- 
dame ; " this, Nellie, is the gentle- 
man I spoke to you about, and we 
are both anxious to learn the result 
of your efforts to-day." 

" Just sit down, then, and I'll tell 
you everything !" 

" Go on, go on ! But tell us first, 



45 



were you successful ?" Mrs. Dodge 
was apparently more anxious than 
her employer, whose ardor in the 
enterprise had perceptibly cooled 
since he saw Wicked Nell. 

" Didn't I tell you I would be ? 
Of course I was !" 

Nell then proceeded to relate her 
adventures. She said : 

" When I went out, I took a 
stroll along the lake front, as far 
as Madison street, but couldn't see 
anybody that suited me, and I 
knew very well that they wouldn't 
strike a mans eye. So I took the 
Madison street cars, and rode over 
to the West Side, intending to go 
to Union Park. But when I got 
as far as the Scammon School the 
scholars were at recess, and big 
and little girls were romping in the 
big yard, while across over at Mon 
roe street the High School girls 
were promenading up and down, 
some locked arms and some all 
alone. Over there 1 went, and I 
spotted the very girl we've been 
looking for. Oh, you ought to see 
her eyes ! And her shape ! And 
her skin ! She blushes like a rose, 
and is shy as a kitten. Thinks I 
to myself, you're my meat, my fine 
little lady ! I didn't rash up and 
speak to her right then and there, 
like a fool, but waited until two 
o'clock, when school was out, and 
laid for her. She took a car for 
the South Side, and so did I. Then 
she took a Cottage Grove car, and I 
tumbled in after her, and as luck 
would have it we were all alone. It 
didn't take me long to get acquaint- 
ed then, you can bet. I told her I 
lived up in Minnesota, and was 
spending a few days with my aunt, 
in the city ; that I was awful lone- 
some, and was so anxious to get 
acquainted with somebody who 
would show me about the city, and 
tell me all about the wonderful 
things to be seen. I was just going 



down to see the Douglas Monument, 
I said, and the little fool swallowed 
every blessed word, and got off with 
me, and we walked around on the 
lake shore for more than hour, she 
all the time telling me all about 
the crib, and the parks, and the 
churches, and everything she could 
think of. Then I got in my work 
beautifully. I pretended to be dead 
in love with her, and asked if I 
couldn't see her again to morrow. 
Of course I could, she said, and the 
gal has promised to go to Union 
Park with me after school, and take 
tea with my aunt on her way home! 
Now, what do you think of that ?" 

" Excellent !" said Mrs. Dodge. 

" Splendid !" said Mr. Brown. 

" To hell with you!" thought 
Wicked Nell, but she smiled her 
sweetest on them both, and neither 
them dreamed of treachery ! 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

On the forenoon of the next day, 
Madame Dodge and Wicked Nell 
had a consultation. 

" Do you think you will be suc- 
cessful, Nellie ?" inquired the pro- 
curess. 

" Think, I know I will be ! The 
arrangements are all made, and I 
don't see what is to prevent us from 
caging the bird this afternoon." 

" You seem so confident that it 
would really be cruel to disappoint 
you," responded the Madame, with 
a smile. 

"I shall not be disappointed,'' 
replied Nell, derisively. 

*' Now," said the Madame, " it 
is better that we should under- 
stand each other at the stort. As 
you have said, 1 am to be your 
aunt. What time do you think you 
will get here ?" 

" Probably about 5 o'clock. You 
know I am to meet her at the High 
School when it is out, at two, and 
then we go out to Union Park, and 



4 6 



we can't very well get here before 
five." 

"That will be plenty early enough. 
I shall be in the front parlor, and 
Mr. Brown will be here, too ; but 
he will be in the bed room, where 
he can see with out being seen. Do 
you understand?" 

" Of course I do ! Hecan look 
at her in all her innocence, when 
she does not dream that a man's 
eyes are on her." 

" That's it. Now, I don't suppose 
we could coax her to stay all night, 
could we ?" 

" Oh, I guess you can prevail on 
her !" Nell cast a wicked glance at 
the old woman, when she said this. 

" I didn't mean that I But I'll tell 
you what we can do ; she is to take 
tea with us. I shall not dose her 
very bad, at the start just enough 
to make her a little drowsy, that's 
all." 

" Will this preparation be in her 
tea ?" 

" I think that would be the best 
way to get it safely down her throat' 
don't you ?" 

"But suppose she dont drink 
tea ?" 

" I had not thought of that. In 
order to make a sure thing of it, I 
will doctor a piece of cake, and will 
so arrange it on the plate that she 
cannot miss it, when passed to her." 

And thus was the shameful con- 
spiracy concocted to betray and ruin 
an innocent girl ! 

" By the way, Madame," said Nell, 
" how is this man Brown fixed ?" 

" Oh, he's rich got lots of dust !" 

"What is his business ?" 

' He is a wholesale merchant, and 
does business on Lake street." 

" Has he a family ?" 

" Yes, a wife and four children, 
I believe." 

" Daughters ?" 

" Two, I think young ladies." 

" Well, now, wouldn't it be a 



good joke if somebody should rope 
in one of his darlings ?" 

" I don't think he would look on 
it as a joke." 

" But I would, and I'd do it, too, 
if I had a chance !" 

" You would ? Oh yeu wicked 
girl!" 

" Is it any wickeder to decoy his 
girl than it would be yours, if you 
had one?" 

" Oh, no, but we know him, you 
know, and it would make trouble 
for us." 

" Well, we won't talk about it 
any more, but I'd just like to get 
in my work on the old bloke 1" 

At the appointed hour Wicked 
Nell left the house of Madame 
Dodge, on her mission. 

But, as the reader probably sus- 
pects, she did not go to the High 
School. The pleasing story she 
had told to tickle the ear of Mad- 
ame Dodge was concocted in her 
active brain, without any founda- 
tion whatever. 

" The old woman thinks I'm a 
darling now wonder how long it 
will be before she will call me a 
wolff" mused Nell, as she tripped 
merrily along, as happy in her dev- 
iltry as any girl in Chicago. 

To the house of Anna Davis, on 
Jackson street, instead of the High 
School, she directed her footsteps. 
She found Anna, as usual, engaged 
in chewing snuff. 

"Where is Red-Headed Jen?" 
said Nell, after the usual greetings 
had been exchanged. 

" Oh, she's somewhere around the 
corner filling up her keg with 
booze, I s'pose." 

Just then Jennie Smith made her 
appearance, and the two girls went 
out to "take a walk and have a 
talk," as they expressed it. 

" Now, Jen," said Nell, "I've got 
a big thing for us to put up, if 



47 



you're only smart enough to work 
the job." 

" I'm smart enough to do any- 
thing, if there's any stamps in it." 

" That's just it ! The old cock 
is loaded ! His leather's as big as 
your leg !" 

'' What do you want me to do ?" 

" Play virgin !" 

A ringing laugh was the reply. 

" But I'm in earnest," continued 
Nell ; " you are a High School 
scholar ; I met you there, got ac- 
quainted, went to the Park with 
you, and roped you into the house 
of my aunt, on Harmon Court." 

' ; But, Nell, do you think you 
can rope me in ? I'm awful inno- 
cent ^ you know." 

" No kidding, Jen," was the re- 
ply ; " are you in for the fun ?" 

" I'm in for anything that will 
pan out. But don't you think it's 
a little too much cheek to pass me 
off for a High School girl, when I 
can hardly read?" 

" Oh, that's nothing. The old 
cove won't be thinking about read- 
ing when he sees you." 

The girls perfected all their ar- 
rangements satisfactorily, and 
when, between four and five o'clock 
in the afternoon, they started for 
the house of Madame Dodge, they 
really looked the characters they 
represented to perfection. Jennie 
wore a rather short dress, display- 
ing to good advantage a robust 
calf, but nevertheless her appear- 
ance was modest and unassuming, 
and even an expert in wickedness 
would not have dreamed that she 
was anything but a school girl. 

CHAPTER XIX. 
A little before 5 o'clock, Wicked 
Nell and her " school-girl " friend 
made their appearance at the house 
of Madame Dodge. The old pro- 
curess met them at the door, wear- 
ing one of her most saintly smiles, 



and cordially welcomed her "niece" 
and the "little friend" whose ac- 
quaintance she had so recently 
formed. They were all alone, the 
Madame said, as she conducted them 
into the parlor but a casual glance 
at the bed-room door, which stood 
ajar, convinced both girls that the 
pious-looking old lady lied. 

" You must make yourself quite 
at home here," said the Madame, 
addressing Jennie ; "we seldom have 
visitors, and when one does come 
we try to make their stay as agree- 
able as we can," 

Red- Headed Jennie, admirably 
assuming the eoyness that the char- 
acter she represented required, 
thanked Mrs. Dodge very politely, 
as she took a seat upon the sofa, 
and permitted Wicked Nell to take 
charge of her hat. 

The girls were then left alone, 
the old woman leaving to prepare 
the evening meal. At least, they 
were supposed to think they were 
alone, but they didn't. Both were 
well aware that a pair of eager eyes 
peered at them from the crack of 
that door, watching every move- 
ment they made, and gloating over 
the coming conquest. Jennie took 
especial pains to get in range, and 
make as favorable display of her- 
self as she could, in an accidental 
way. 

"Zound!" muttered Brown, as 
he gazed upon her, " she's a daisy 
a perfect little angel !" But his 
eye wandered from the " green " 
girl to Wicked Nell, and he could 
not but wish that they could, by 
some strange power, change places. 
Nell was a beauty, but she was 
wicked ; the other was also pretty, 
and innocent, too but some how 
there was a charm about Nell that 
the old man could not resist. 

The merchant was in an ecsta- 
cy of delight, and yet he was not 
happy. There sat two girls, the 



4 8 



one having the charm of innocence 
and perfection of form, the other 
an acknowledged out-cast, but oh ! 
so ravishingly beautiful ! To choose 
between these, had he the oppor- 
tunity to choose, would have been 
a hard task Wicked Nell was, he 
thought, the most lovely girl his 
eyes had ever rested upon while 
her companion, fresh from the 
school room, with all the coyness 
of blushing maidenhood, was an at- 
traction not to be overlooked by 
the worldly-minded, wicked man. 
Well might he exclaim, as in his 
seclusion he reviewed them : 

" Oh, how happy could I be with either, 
Were t'other dear charmer away !" 

It must not be supposed that Nell 
and Red-headed Jennie were all 
this time sitting quiet, like two 
sleepy little mice. They, knew that 
old Brown was inspecting one of 
them, at least, and the bad girls were 
" playing him for a sucker." 

" Oh, isn't this a real nice place?" 
said Jennie enthusiastically. 

"Yes, it is very comfortable," re- 
plied Nell; ''my aunt is a lady of 
means, and spares no expense to 
make her home comfortable and at- 
tractive." 

" Oh," exclaimed Jennie, jumping 
from her seat and pointing to a 
painting on the wall, " what picture 
is that ? " 

The painting represented a love- 
ly woman almost entirely nude. 

" I believe that is intended to 
represent an angel my aunt is a 
very religious woman," replied Nell 
with a wink she was careful old 
Brown should not see. 

" But isn't it shocking ? " 

" Why, certainly not ! It is a 
sacred picture !" 

" Oh, my, ! Supposing a man 
should come in ! I wouldn't look 
at that picture for all the money 
in Chicago ! It makes me blush 
even before you !" 



" Are you acquainted with many 
men ?" asked Nell. 

" Only a few. There's pa and 
Uncle John, and our Minister, and 
my teacher at school, and the Sun- 
day school teacher, and one or 
two neighbors that's all I know." 

" Haven't you got a beau ?" 

" Beau ! What would a little 
young thing like me do with a 
Deau? No, Indeed !" 

" She's the most innocent little 
hick I ever saw," thought Brown, 
ubbing his hands gleefully. " I 
enow what I'll do I'll pay the old 
woman what I agreed ; I'll buy her, 
and then I'll win the other darling!" 

The girls continued their con- 
versation at some length. Finally 
Madame Dodge entered the room 
and said : 

" Children, I knew you must be 
aungry, after your long rambles this 
afternoon. Tea is all ready, and a 
ood meal always makes one feel 
better. We should be thankful that 
a kind Providence has placed the 
means in our hands to gratify our 
appeti:es, while there are hundreds 
of poor people who lack for the bare 
necessities of life !" 

The old woman sighed a sympa- 
thetic sigh (the old rip !) and con 
tinued : 

" The evening meal awaits us. 
Come, dear children, come !" 

Jennie affected bashfulness, and 
d- clared she wasn't a bit hungry, but 
a little persuasion induced her to 
enter the dining room and take the 
seat offered her at the table. 

Closing her eyes and bowing her 
head, that old hag, with a hypocrisy 
that the devil himself would shrink 
from, dared to ask the blessing of 
Almighty God upon food, a portion 
of which was poisoned ! Even the 
wicked wirls who had conspired 
against her, shuddered, and felt like 
taking the hot tea that steamed in 
the silver vessel and pouring it over 



her depraved head ! 

" Thank you, I never drink tea 
my ma says it is not good for 
young girls," said Jennie, as the 
Madame handed her a well filled, 
steaming cup. 

" You may give me a glass of 
cold water, if you please, and I'll 
pass this to my friend, your niece." 

This was a little hit of deviltry 
that Nell had not expected, hut 
she appreciated the joke, and as 
she accepted the proffered cup. 
with a smile, ehe jumped up and 
hurried into the next room, return- 
ing with a goblet of water for Jen- 
nie. She did not like to trust the 
old woman out of . her sight, for 
fear the water, too might be " doc- 
tored," and Jennie did not care 
about introducing into her stomach 
anything that would take away her 
senses, even temporarily. 

When Wicked Nell was in the 
other room she called : 

" Oh, aunty ! Come here a mo- 
ment !" 

Madame Dodge hastened to an- 
swer the call. 

" Have you the cake all fixed ?" 
she whispered to the old woman. 

" It is all prepared nicely ; and I 
put up a good strong dose, too. I 
took an inventory of the girl, con- 
cluded that she could not be coax- 
ed, and thought that we would 
make a sure thing.'" 

"That was right. That's what 
I called you in for. The particu- 
lar piece is on top, isn't it ?" 

" Yec, it's right where she can't 
miss it." 

" All the others are all right, I 
s'pose ? You know / don't want 
any doses in mine ?" 

" Oh, don't be alarmed, the 
others are perfectly harmless." 

With excuses for having left 
their guest alone, the two return- 
ed. The above conversatioflHlid 
not - eqtfire more than a half 



n- 



ute, but the old dame was perfectly 
polite, and considered that she 
ought to make an excuse, just for 
effect. 

There were three pieces of fruit- 
cake on the dish, so arranged that 
the first served must take the one 
designed for her, and so on to the 
second and third. The cake was 
highly spiced made so for an ex- 
press purpose. 

Those little conspirators had ar- 
ranged for just what has been de- 
rcribed as taking place. It was all 
down in their programme. The in- 
stant Madame Dodge left the room, 
Red-Headed Jennie transferred the 
top chunk of spiced sweetness to 
the third place, and when the other 
two came back she was looking as 
demure and child-like as the pretty 
little pussy she was supposed to be. 

The meal progressed satisfactori- 
ly to all, and a brisk conversation 
was kept up, Jennie only being 
backward (as a real modest girl 
would naturally be) in talk. Nell 
pretended to sip the tea, but she 
was very careful not to swallow 
any of it, finally concluded that 
she, too, would prefer a glass of 
water it was so hot, she said, and 
warm tea made her perspire I 

When the abundance of good 
things had been sampled freely, 
Madame Dodge took up the ele- 
gant cake basket, and with a gra- 
cious smile handed it to her guest. 

" Thank you," said Jennie, as 
she took off the only slice she could 
well get hold of. 

Wicked Nell, with the proper 
amount of "thanks," took the next, 
while the third went to the old 
woman. 

" This cake is really the best 1 
have ever ate," was the enthusias- 
tic recommendation of Jennie, as 
she proceeded to " stow away " the 
liberal allowance that had been al- 
loted to her. 



" It is excellent aunty,;' chimed 
in Wicked Nell. 

" Yes, it has a pleasing flavor," 
responded the old procuress, and 
she too, demolished the large piece 
she had taken from the plate. 

The girls could hardly conceal 
the satisfaction they felt, as they 
saw that pious-looking old fraud 
smack her lips over the good strong 
dose she had fixed for the " pure," 
the "innocent," the " bashful," the 
little " school girl." 

CHAPTER XX. 

Madame Dodge entered the par- 
lor in advance of the girls, and 
hastened to the room where the 
voluntary prisoner was confined. 
- " Well, what do you think of her?" 
she said, addressing Mr. Brown, who 
was seated in an easy chair, puffing 
a cigar, and making himself as com- 
fortable as he could, under the cir- 
cumstances. 

" She is certainly a charming lit- 
tle girl," he replied, " but I'm afraid 
we shall have trouble with her. She 
is the most innocent and child-like 
girl for one of her age, that I ever 
saw. Why, I don't believe an im- 
pure thought ever entered her head." 

" Well, what does that signify ? 
You didn't want me to get an old 
thoroughbred, did you, such as you 
can find on Clark or Griswold 
street?" 

" Certainly not, Mrs. Dodge, but 
are you not afraid ? " 

"Afraid of what?" 

" Of the consequences !" 

" I really don't think I quite un- 
derstand what you are trying to 
get at." 

" Then let me talk plainer. This 
girl is young she is innocent she 
has friends. What you propose is 
that she shall be ruined 'by forcible 
means ! It strikes me that there 
is danger in such work as that ! " 

" Oh, you men are always timid. 



If there is danger it will be for me 
noiyou, to face. When you leave 
this house, who is to know that the 
eminently respectable Mr. Brown, 
the wealthy merchant, the honor- 
able gentleman, has been doing any- 
thing that would tarnish his fair 
name ? Who is to know that this 
little chit of a girl has been by him 
wronged ? I take it that you are 
not going to publish this business 
to the world ? " 

" Very well, Mrs. Dodge, if you 
assume the risk, I am ready to ful- 
fill my part of the agreement. Let 
me see I was to pay you" 

" Three hundred dollars !" 

" That is correct, I believe." 

Mr. Brown took from his pocket 
a roll of money, and counted out 
the required sum. 

" There is your pay, Madame," 
he said, " you see I am not as par- 
ticular as some people, who never 
pay for goods until they are deliv- 
ered." 

" The goods you allude to are 
just as good as delivered. In an 
hour from now that girl will be all 
your own, to do with as you may 
wish." 

" Do I understand that you have 
drugged her?" 

'" Oh, well, that would be a harsh 
way of saying it, but in plain Eng- 
lish it would be just about as cor- 
rect. The medicine I fixed for her 
is perfectly harmless, although for 
several hours she will be as helpless 
as an infant in its cradle." 

" In a half an hour, you think, 
then the lamb will be ready for the 
sacrifice?" 

" In a half an hour the little 
lady will be in readiness to receive 
her lover" 

While this conversation was tak- 
ing place, Wicked Nell and Red- 
Headed Jennie had not been idling 
a^y their time. A few whispered 
w*ds were uttered, and then they 



53 



sauntered into the parlor, talking 
as though they were really what 
they were pretending to be. But 
Nell,*cautious as a cat, made her 
way on tip-toe to the bed-room 
door, listened attentively, and over- 
heard a great part of what was 
being said : 

When the Madame came to the 
door, she said : 

"Nellie, dear, I am not feeling 
well to-night, and I think a little 
wine would revive me. Perhaps, 
also, your little friend would like a 
glass, for I am sure it would do no 
one any harm." 

" I never drank any wine, but if 
you and Nellie say there is no harm 
in it, I am sure it would not be 
wrong," said Jennie, with admi- 
rable hinocence of look and tone of 
voice. 

" Please, then, have the servant 
open a bottle, ' the old woman said 
to Nellie. 

" Oh, / can do it," said Wicked 
Nell, bounding from the room ; " I 
do love to open wine ! I'd rather 
open it than drink it !" 

Though she had been in the 
house but a few days, Nell had made 
herself fanwliar with the premises, 
and knew exactly where everything 
could be found. In a very short 
space of time the wine bottle was 
wrought from the little room where 
it was kept, the goblets were in 
readiness, but the bottle was not 
then uncorked. 

" Two good, strong doses /" These 
were the half-uttered words of 
Wicked Nell, as she poured the 
contents of a small vial into two 
of the glasses. And then she con- 
tinued : 

"The old gal is tough she 
needs a little more, to make the 
other set nicely on her stomach ! 
The nice old three-hundred dollar 
bloke will not be hurt a 
all the rest, and so here she 




And that awful girl actually 
emptied the little vial into the 
wine glass ; and then, pop went 
the cork, the sparkling fluid was 
turned out, and in half a minute 
Nell was in tne parlor ! 

" Take this one," she whispered 
to Jennie, indicating the right glass 
with her finger. 

Into the other room she glided, 
and Mr. Brown, with a smile that 
was intended to be exceedingly 
sweet, gracefully accepted the prof- 
fered glass. 

It required no particularly bril- 
liant feat of legerdemain to dis- 
pose of the wine as it was intended 
to be given out. Mr. Brown se- 
cured the heaviest ' dose, ' Mrs. 
Dodge was favored with the smaller 
quantity, while Nell and Jennie, 
the base little conspirators, placed 
the pure juice to their lips and 
drank it off with the greatest of 
gusto. 

The merchant touched glasses 
with the procuress, and then turned 
to Wicked Nell. 

" You are a strange girl," he 
said, attempting to pull her upon 
his knee. 



get devilish well acquainted," she 
replied, gliding away from him, with 
a gay laugh. " But come ! Let's 
drink!" 

" Here's hoping we will have a 
good night's rest /" 

Nell raised her glass to her lips. 

"A good night's rest ! Ha, ha, 
ha ! Good joke, little girl, good 
joke !" exclaimed Mr. Brown, almost 
convulsed with laughter. 

"A good night's rest !" repeated 
Madame Dodge, and she, too, 
laughed merrily, punching the old 
man in the ribs. 

Wicked Nell left them in their 
mirth, and joined her companion. 

"They're both fixed!" she said, 
almost betraying herself into a 



54 



shout of triumph. " The old bear 
took her own medicine without 
making up a face, and the bloke 
swallowed his as though it was the 
best drink ever sold over a bar! 
In an hour from now they'll both 
be enjoying a good night's rest I 
Then, Jen, old girl, it will be our 
turn to have fun ! Then Wicked 
Nell will be in her glory ! Why, 
we'll have more real solid-sport to- 
night than all the rest of the peo- 
ple in Chicago put together ! Oh, 
how I do wish the time would fly ! 



Just 
hour 



wait an hour, Jen, only an 



CHAPTER XXI. 

There was no happier woman in 
Chicago than Wicked Nell, after she 
had succeeded in "dosing " the old 
procuress, and the somewhat vener- 
able reprobate who had paid three 
hundred dollars for the privilege of 
ruining what he believed to be an 
innocent little girl. Her face 
beamed with excitement and pleas- 
ure, her eyes were more brilliant 
than the setting sun, and there was 
unalloyed joy in her heart. The 
cnssedness that was in her could 
with difficulty be subjugated even 
for the brief half hour that would 
intervene. She danced around the 
parlor like a frisky pup, singing the 
gayest songs she knew, and every 
now and then stopping to give her 
fellow-conspirator a hug, such as 
one friendly bear would give an- 
other, when in playful mood. 

In the meantime Mrs. Dodge and 
Mr. Brown remained in the other 
room, both of them smoking a choice 
cigar, and complacently waiting for 
the minutes to pass that would 
intervene before their triumph over 



an " innocent 
complete. 



child " should be 



" Nellie seems to be very boister- 
ous ! She is imprudent in acting in 
that way, but I suppose she thinks 



the game is fairly bagged, and 
feels exultant over her part ia the 
scheme. She is a smart girl, sir, a 
very smart girl ! Why, I souWn't 
have done any better myself than 
she did, in capturing that innocent 
dove !" 

Madame Dodge yawned as she 
said this, and continued : 

" I wonder what makes me feel so 
sleepy ? It's the warm weather, I 
suppose. The sultry days always 
make me feel dull and drowsy !" 

Another and more protracted 
yawn followed, and the old woman 
Looked wistfully toward the bed, 
secretly wishing that she could lie 
down and enjoy a comfortable nap. 

Mr. Brown enthusiastically en- 
dorsed the compliment that had 
been bestowed upon Wicked Nell. 

" She is," he said, " the prettiest, 
the liveliest, the wickedest little 
puss that was 
parent cat ! 
little spit-fire 

ing two or three days to make my- 
self agreeable to her, and I haven't 
even got as much as a kiss for my 
pains ! Am I so very ugly, Madame 
Dodge, that the wild girls should fly 
from me as they would from a 
fright ?" 

The old man here accompanied 
the old woman in a sociable " gap." 
Evidently, the disease was " catch- 



ever fondled by a 
But she's a perfect 
Here I've been try- 



" Really 



Mr. Brown / can see 



nothing repulsive or disagreeable in 
your looks. In my eyes, you have 
the appearance of a perfect gentle- 
man ! Nellie is an eccentric little 
creature, and if the truth were 
known I believe she is merely flirt- 
ing with you, with the full intention 
of submitting gracefully, and nest- 
ling cosily in your bosom, if you 
fight hard enough and long enough 
to get her. I will do a little schem- 
ing myself in your behalf, Mr. 
Brown, if you wish me to, and I 



55 



have no doubt of ultimate success. 
I seldom fail in any of my under- 
takings, you know !" 

" If you will do so, Mrs. Dodge, 
you will earn my everlasting grati- 
tude ! I'm ' stuck ' on that girl, as 
, the boys around town would say ! 
I really believe I could love her, 
wicked and full of the devil as she 
is!" 

" She shall be yours, if you want 
her," was the confident reply of the 
mistress of the house, who felt cer- 
tain that Nell was playing the old 
codger for a sucker, and was only 
waiting for a golden bait before she 
nibbled at the hook. 

" Why, what under the sun can 
be the matter with me ?" exclaimed 
the Madame, " I really feel as 
though I shall faint ! I can't keep 
my eyes open ! Mr. Brown I 
think I shall have to lay 
down !" 

With the word " down," down the 
old woman went, on the floor, as 
senseless as a log of wood, or a bag 
of potatoes. 

" Help ! for God's sake, help !'. 
shouted Mr. Brown, rushing into the 
parlor, "Mrs. Dodge has fallen to the 
floor, and I'm afraid something 
dreadful has happened to her !" 

Nell did not exhibit the least bit 
of alarm, but walked quietly into 
the room, knelt down beside the old 
lady, and stroked her hot brow. 

"Do not fear," she said, "my 
aunt is subject to these fits, and 
they are not the least bit danger- 
ous ! Sfte'll be all over it in fifteen 
minutes ! If you will help me, 
we'll lay her on the bed, and in a 
quarter of an hour, Mr. Brown, 
she'll be as wide awake and sensible 
as yon will be /" 

" I am glad of that," he said, "for 
I was afraid that something alarm- 
ing had happened, and that possibly 
she might die!" 

The old woman was then " boost- 



ed," as best they could, to the bed, 
but in the process Nell " accident- 
all" knocked out the Madame's false 
teeth, leaving the toothless old 
hag's cheeks with a sadly gaunt and 
hungry look about them. 

"Mr. Brown," whispered Nell, 
" this girl did not know that you 
were here. I will introduce you." 

" This is my uncle, the brother of 
my aunt," said the scheming girl, 
whose quick brain had already con- 
cocted a plan by which the meeting 
of these two would be beneficial to 
herself and pal. 

" I am glad to meet you, sir, and 
sorry to see your sister in the condi- 
tion she is now," said Jennie, with 
an assumed modesty that was quite 
charming, as she looked him full in 
the face not brazenly, but search- 
ingly and trustingly, as a child might 
look into the face of its father. 

The old man winced. He was 
sorry she had seen him, for she 
would certainly recognize him 
should they ever meet again. At 
the same time, be wondered why on 
earth she did not show the symp- 
toms of drowsiness, and mentally 
cursed her for not going to sleep 
like a good girl, and thus put an 
end to an interview that was far 
from pleasant to him. 

But the girl stubbornly refused 
to keel over, as the old woman had 
done, and his own drowsiness began 
to fill the old merchant with alarm. 
He had never felt in that way before 
in his life. He could not see clearly, 
and every thing in the room began 
to whirl around, in a confused and 
disorderly manner. 

" Children," he gasped, " do you 
see anything peculiar in this room? 
Don't you feel as though you were 
going to suffocate ? Open the doors 
and windows ! Quick ! I am dy- 
ing ! God have mercy on me ! 
Water ! Wa " 

The old man said no more. He 



would have fallen to the floor had 
not the girls apprehended some- 
thing of the kind, and caught him 
as he was going over. 

" Laj him out tf hderly, 
Handle with care I " 

exclaimed Wicked Nell, as they 
eased the progress of his descent, 
and laid him gently on the carpet. 

"Oh, Nell," said Jennie, "ain't 
you afraid ? I am." 

" Wicked Nell wouldn't be afraid 
of the devil !" was her reply, as she 
stood back, put her foot on Mr. 
Brown's breast, and took a good 
square look at him. 

" I've a devilish good mind to put 
a head on him," she said, as she 
raised up her foot, and made a 
movement as though to stamp in 
his face with her boot heel. 

"Oh, don't!" exclaimed Red- 
Headed Jennie, in alarm. 

" Hush, honey," said Nell, "don't 
be alarmed, I was only making be- 
lieve. Why, I wouldn't harm a 
hair in his old gray head. But 
I'll have some fun with them." 

" What are you going to do? " 

" Put 'em to bed T 

" Where is the other room ? I 
don't see any." 

" No, there isn't any, and I 
wouldn't use it if there was ! We'll 
just chuck 'em in together !" 

" Gracious ! You don't mean 
that ? There'll be a terrible kick ! " 

u Let 'em kick ! What do we 
care ? But they won't kick much 
for a few hours, not if I know my- 
self .' Why, they can't even grunt." 

Both girls indulged in a hearty 
laugh. 

" Now, then, let's undress the old 
woman," said Nell, as she started 
for the bed room. 

"You don't tell me you are 
goin to undress her ?" 

" Yes both of em!" 

Jennie was a bad girl, but she 
had not the audacious wickedness 



of Nell, and the idea promulgated 
by her sister in sin, seemed to her 
perfectly awful. 

" I don't think you'd better do it, 
Nell," she said, " I'm afraid they'll 
send us to the Bridewell, sure, when 
it's all over." 

" Why, you poor silly girl," re- 
plied Nell, " don't you see we've 
got the best of them ? What were 
you doing here ? Didn't they think 
you were an innocent little school- 
girl, and hasn't she got the money 
in her pocket now that was paid 
for your ruin ? When they wake 
up, you will not be here ! You will 
be at school, vou know in their 

. 

minds. It will be me who will 
have to face the music, and if I 
ain't smart enough to get out of the 
scrape, all right, I'll deserve to be 
sent up, that's all." 

" All right, go ahead, boss the 
job, and I'll do my share of the 
work," said Jennie, who was 
strengthened by Wicked Nell's as- 
suring words. 

It took but a few minutes to un- 
dress the old woman, and stow her 
away snugly and cosily under the 
snow-white sheets. 

Mr. Brown was a rather unwieldy 
subject, and it required considerable 
muscle to prepare him for bed, but 
the work was finally accomplished, 
not without much merriment on 
the part of the two girls, whose 
modesty was of a fire-proof charac- 
ter, and who were in no wise par- 
ticular as to what they di<4 or said. 

" Oh, ain't they a sweet pair !" 
xclaimed Nell, dancing with de- 
light. Then pushing the old man's 
dead over to the old woman's face, 
she said with mock affection : 
"Kiss your baby? 

Then both girls screamed with 
Laughter, and Nell actually laiid on 
the floor and rolled over, so great 
uras her delight. When this par- 



oxvsm was over, she got up and 

eaid : 

" Now, Jen, old gal, we'll whack 
up." 

" I don't know what you mean 
I'm sure I haven't got anything," 
replied Jennie, rather ruefully, for 
the girl did sadly need a few dol- 
lars with which to fit herself up as 
she desired to do. 

" But the old woman has got 
three hundred dollars of our money, 
and we're going to have it ! He 
didn't bargain with her for such 
a companion," she said, pointing 
to the bed, and again indulging 
in a laugh, li and when they get 
up she can make him settle !" 

While she was saying this, she 
was rummaging in Madame Dodge's 
pockets, and the money was soon 
found. 

" Don't this look like stealing ?" 
inquired Jennie, who was a little 
nervous, and hesitated, as Nell 
counted the crisp greenbacks. 

" Don't it belong to us ?" 

" Well, not exactly." 

" Does it belong to her 1 ?" 

" It don't seem that she ought to 
have it." 

"Jennie," said Nell, *' I wouldn't 
steal a cent you know very well 
I wouldn't, Jen where it would be 
mean to steal. But here this d d 
old scoundrel has paid this money 
to the old hag< for what ? Why be- 
cause she roped in, or I did for her, 
a decent girl ! That's what they 
thought, any way ! Now, wasn't 
that cowardly, and mean, and 
contemptible ? Wicked as I am, 
Jennie Smith, / wouldn't do that 
for all the money in Chicago ! If 
a girl wants to turn out, as you and 
I did, let her do it, and I'll help her 
along, but d n any manor woman 
who would force a good girl, I say, 
and if I can get the best of them 
when trying to do it, you can bet 
your life I won't throw the chance 



over my shoulder, call it stealing or 
whatever you will !" 

Jennie made no further objec- 
tions, and the money was equally 
divided. 

" Now what ? said Jennie, turn- 
ing inquiringly to her/companion. 

" Now for more fun /" exclaimed 
Wicked Nell, as she turned, gaily, 
upon her heel, and faced the uncon- 
scious couple in the bed. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

After the two girls had divided 
the money that Nell had taken 
from the pocket of Madame Dodge, 
it would be but natural to suppose 
that no more deviltry would be at- 
tempted, at least so far as the 
drugged man and woman were con- 
cerned. It required the quick 
brain and the reckless disposition 
of Wicked Nell to complete the 
joke that was being played on the 
procuress and her customer. When 
she turned to Jennie Smith, and 
exclaimed: "Now for more fun," 
she meant all that the words could 
possibly imply more than most 
people would imagine. 

"For heaven's sake, Nell," said 
Jennie, " what more can you do ?" 

Oh, I'm not half done yet. When 
a girl as wicked as I am sets her 
wits to work, on such elegant sub- 
jects, they won't get off as easy 
as that." 

Nell left the room when she 
ceased speaking, and returned in 
almost a minute, with a big lump 
of charcoal in her hand. 

' You're not going to build a 
fire, are you ?" inquired Jennie, in 
utter amazement. 

"No, but I'm going to do some- 
thing that will make things hot in 
this neighborhood to-morrow morn- 
ing," was the reply, and the mis- 
' chievous light that shone in Nell's 
I eye told plainer than words could 
j tell that she had a remarkably bril- 



liant scheme in her head. 

" Go OD with the show, then," 
said Jennie, laughing, yet showing 
that she had misgivings concerning 
the final result of the wild adven- 
tures of that night. 

By this time the evening had 
well advanced, and Nell turned on 
the gas before proceeding to. busi- 
ness. Then, advancing to the bed, 
she commenced rubbing the faces 
of the sleepers with charcoal, at 
the same time indulging in remarks 
suitable to the merry occasion. 

" What kind of a pair would this 
be to draw to ?" she inquired, while 
artistically polishing the nose of 
the merchant ; and then she added 
by way of showing her familiarity 
with the noble game of draw poker : 

" But then it would be a spade 
flush, wouldn't it ? Guess we'll have 
to stand pat at the end of the deal ! " 

" The old gal isn't as flush as she 
was a while ago, is she ?" contin- 
ued the little reprobate, still daub- 
ing on charcoal. 

Industry and perseverance were 
soon rewarded, and in a few min- 
utes, had a stranger peeped into 
that bed-room, he would have taken 
a Bible oath that two of the black- 
est mokes ever imported from Af- 
rica were snugly ensconced beneath 
the sheets. 

Nell laughed until the tears 
streamed down her cheeks, but Jen- 
nie did not enjoy the fun as well as 
she would if she had not been fear- 
ful of the consequences. She could 
not help but think that there would 
be a terrible awakening on the mor- 
row, and she was afraid herself and 
friend would be so far implicated 
as to, at least, make it very un- 
pleasant for them. 

" Now, then, Jen," said Nell, 
after enjoying the strange specta- 
cle to her heart's delight, " let's run 
around to the drug store on the 
corner, for a minute.'* 



" What in the world do you want 
there, replied Jennie, completely 
dumbfounded; "You're not going 
to commit suicide, are you?" 

" Oh, no, not so bad as that. But 
I must have another dose of that 
stuff that makes folks sleep/' 

"Another dose ! Is it for me you 
want it, or are you going to take a 
long and pleasant nap yourself." 

" Just wait a little. We're in 
for it now, sure, and we might as 
well die for a lamb as for a sheep." 

" No, Nell, I won't go a step ! 
This thing has gone far enough, 
and I'm going home ! I wish I bad 
never come here, Nell ! I didn't 
think you would rope me into such 
a scrape as this ! " 

" You? Why you are an inno- 
cent school girl ! Had it not been 
for me, you would have been where 
the old gal is now. You can go if 
you want to, though, Jen, I can tell 
you the circus ain't half over ! 
The concluding performance will be 
the best of all. But as you are so 
very timid, so much afraid of being 
out after sundown, 1 guess you had 
better start for your ma right away. 

Nell knew this would shame the 
proud and daring Red-Head, and 
it did. She said no more about 
going home, but accompanied Nell 
to State street, remaining on the 
outside while her companion enter- 
ed the store of the druggist. 

A straighter or more solemn face 
than that worn by Wicked Nell, 
when she stood before the apothe- 
cary, was never seen. 

" What do you wish, Miss ?" said 
the man behind the counter, smil- 
ing pleasantly, as he came forward, 
and noticing at the same time that 
he was dealing with a stunning 
beauty. 

" Please, sir," said Nellie, in rue- 
ful tones, "my ma is almost crazy 
with neuralgia, and she sent me here 
for something that will make her 



6i 



sleep. Have you any such medi- 
cine. 

" Oh, yes, Miss, we have drugs 
that would make her sleep a day, 
a week, a month, or forever! Which 
do you prefer?" 

" Please let me have something 
that will make her sleep very 
sound to-night. She's had an aw- 
ful time, sir, and oh, you don't 
know how bad she needs rest." 

The druggist prepared a strong 
sleeping portion. 

" Half of this will be a dose," he 
said, as he handed Nell the package. 
She paid for the purchase without 
pretending to take notice of the at- 
tempt the drug clerk had been mak 
ing to "mash" her, and hurried 
away. 

The girls did not notice that they 
wi^fellowedi as they tripped gaily 
and rapidly along the street. 

Jim Morgan was on special duty 
that evening, and had spotted Wick- 
ed Nell as she entered the drug 
store. 

" There's deviltry of some kind 

foing on," muttered the officer, 
eeping a safe distance behind. 
" Those ducks are bent on mischief 
I'll pipe 'em, and find out their 
racket. 

Like a shadow the detective fol- 
lowed, without being seen, nntil the 
girls entered the assignation house 
on Harmon Court. He then re- 
turned to the drug store and in- 
quired : 

" What did that girl want here, a 
few minutes ago ?" 

" She bought a sleeping potion, 
for the benefit of her old mother, 
who has the neuralgia." 

" The devil she did !" 

The detective said no more, but 
made quick time to the Armory, 
where a report was made of the 
circumstances to his commanding 
officer. 

Captain Hickey was a man of few 



words. Three officers were directed 
to dress themselves in citizens' 
clothes and place themselves in 
charge of Morgan. 

Wicked Nell and Jennie returned 
to the house of Madame Dodge, 
they found everything as they had 
left it all was lovely. 

" Now, Nell, do tell me what 
you are going to do with that stuff 
you bought just now, at the drug 
store," said Jennie, after they had 
entered. 

" Wait one minute, and you will 
see," was Nell's reply, as she closed 
the bed-room door, and rang a little 
bell. 

A black servant, fat and greasy 
responded to the summons. 

"Aunty, the Madame has gone 
out for a short walk with a friend, 
and while she's gone I thought you 
and I, and my friend here, might 
cheer ourselves up with a little of 
the juice that cheers. Which would 
you like best, Aunty dear, a glass of 
wine, or something else ?" 

" De Lorelmity bress your little 
heart, missus, you can gub dis child 
a little drop of old whisk ! Wine is 
fust rate for de gals, but it isn't 
strong enuf for de tuff stummucks 
of brack folks!" 

The negress rolled up her eyes to 
show her pleasure, and awaited the 
return of Nell with the "refresh- 
ments." A good, liberal dose of 
whisky was given her, and it was 
swallowed with a smack of the big 
black lips, and a grunt of satisfac- 
tion. The wench then returned to 
her quarters, and once more the 
plotting girls were alone. 

" Do you tumble to my racket 
now ?" said Nell to her companion. 

" I know that you have dosed the 
black woman, but I can't imagine 
what for. What has she done to 
you ?" 

a Nothing, and I haven't done any- 
thing very serious to her. I'm just 



62 



going to tumble her into that bed, 
with those two other niggers !" 

The proposition almost took the 
breath away from Jennie, but she 
made no objection, and agreed to as- 
sist in toting the black gal from the 
kitchen to the bed- room, as soon as 
the powder had taken effect. 

In the course of hall an hour, 
they visited the headquarters of the 
lady from Africa, and were delight- 
ed to find her sound asleep in a 
rocking chair. 

" Isn't this lucky !" exclaimed 
Nell, joyfully. " Why, we can draw 
her along, chair and all, and roll her 
right over on to the bed, without a 
bit of trouble !" 

Notwithstanding this assertion, 
the girls found it hard work, and 
when they had completed the dis- 
robing process, and had arranged 
the genuine wench on one side of 
the lecherous merchant, and the 
bogus one on the other, they were 
pretty well " tuckered out." 

" That's what I call nice and com- 
fortable ! Just see how loving the 
old coon is ! Isn't he affectionate, 
though, with one arm around each 
maiden fair ! But he ought to pay 
double ! I guess we'll charge him 
six hundred, instead of three for this 
night's repose !" 

Nell was only half in jest when 
she said this. She had serious 
thoughts about making that old rep- 
robate pay dearly for his whistle. 

The last words had scarcely es- 
caped from her lips when there was 
a violent ring of the bell, and a 
loud pounding upon the door. 

" Mercy ."' shrieked Jennie. "Wkat 
shall we do ? Can't we run ?" 

" Not much !" replied Wicked 
Nell 

" What, then can we do ?" 

" Face the music!" replied the 
brave girl, as she proceeded to open 
the door. 

But she was somewhat startled 



when she recognized Officer Morgan, 
and three other policemen, all of 
whom strode unbiddea into the 
house! 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

Though startled when she saw 
the officers, Wicked Nell's courage 
did not desert her, and she de- 
manded haughtily, as she placed 
herself in front of the leader : 

" Sir, what is your business here ? 
This is a private house a respect- 
able family lives here and as you 
are not wanted, you had better get 
out!" 

" No, I don't think we are wanted 
here, just now," was Jim Morgan's 
laconic reply, "but if it's all the 
same to you we'll stay a little while 
with you. You and I are old 
friends, you know, Nellie, and it 
isn't the square thing to go back 
on me in such an impolite manner, 
when I only called to inquire after 
your health !" 

The four men then rudely pushed 
past the girl, and walked into the 
parlor. 

"Be seated, gentlemen," said 
Nell, with mock politeness. 

" Well, come to think about it, I 
don't know as I care about sitting 
down," said Morgan; " but let me 
inquire, how's your mother? " 

" You have probably seen her 
since I have I left her in your 
company," was the reply. 

" Indeed ! Why, I thought she 
was sutiering terribly with the 
neuralgia f" 

When Wicked Nell heard this 
she knew there was no earthly es- 
cape for her, but she was deter- 
mined to be " game " to the last, 
no matter what might be the result. 

" I see that you have been 
sneaking around after a poor girl 
who never did you any harm," she 
said, defiantly, " and since you have 
discovened so much, what are you 



going to do about it ?" 

" I am going to arrest you, and 
yeur pal, here that's all ! By 
the way, who is this fine bird you 
have with you ? Oho ! nobody but 
Red-headed Jennie ! Oh, yes ! This 
must be a private house, where re- 
spectable people live !" 

" What are you going to arrest 
us for ? Can't a couple of poor 
girls reform and live decent without 
being dogged wherever they go, 
and dragged to the station house 
for nothing at all ?" 

"Nellie O'Brien, you have the 
oheek of the devil himself! You 
know very well that neither myself 
or Captain Hickey, nor any other 
officer in the city, would lay a straw 
in the way of any wicked girl who 
might desire to leave off her bad ways 
and turn into better paths ! You 
know, too, that we would help you, 
and encourage you to do right, in 
every way we could ! But when 
you tell rne you have reformed, you 
lie ! That's the plain truth. Now, 
I want you to tell me just what 
you're up to, and if I find that 
everything is all right, and that 
you have told the truth, I'll shake 
your hand like a brother, say 'God 
bless you,' and go away without 
troubling you in the least." 

" Mr. Morga ," said Nell, " what 
harm can us two girls do? We are 
rhe only ones in the h~use, except 
three servants, who are abed and 
asleep !" 

"And must I take your word for 
that ?" 

'' Oh, no ; you can search the 
house !" 

" That will be satisfactory," said 
tlie officer, " we will commence the 
Sfirch now is there anybody in 
here?" The detective approached 
the door of the bed room. 

" Yes ! The servants I spoke of 
are sleeping in that bed !" 

"S-ervants in the best bed in the 



house ? Three in a bed, too, and 
one of them a man f This is the 
strangest house I ever entered be- 
fore r 

Nell said nothing. What could 
she say ? The officer kept on in- 
vestigating. 

" Pretty nobby clothes ! Who 
ever saw a nigger servant wearing 
broadcloth and a gold watch ? And 
this wench with a silk drees and 
lace collar ! Nellie O'Brien, what 
have you been doing ?" 

" Nothing, sir upon my sacred 
word and honor, nothing at all. 
I'm sure I don't know any thing 
about it. The lady of the house 
is away, and left Jennie and I here 
all alone !" 

" Your word and honor don't go 
far when such business as this is 
going on, my fine girl ! But what's 
this ? A lump of charcoal ! Oh ! 
Now I begin to see ! You have 
drugged those people, and were 
going to rob them !" 

"Oh, no, not that! Upon my 
soul, not that ! ' 

"Of course, not that, but I'll 
search you first, and see whether I 
can find any plunder." 

" I will not lie to you again, Mr. 
Morgan ! Here is one hundred 
and fifty dollars, and Jennie has 
just the same amount ! Take charge 
of it, and when these people wake 
up, they or rather he will tell 
you whether it was stolen or not !" 

At this point Jennie Smith burst 
into tears. Wicked Nell turned 
upon her scornfully : 

"Baby!" she exclaimed, "any- 
body would think that it was us 
who had been committing a crime ! 
All the policemen in Chicago 
couldn't make mt cry ! " 

" Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo ! " sobbed Jen- 
nie, completely overcome, burying 
her face in her hands, her bdy 
swaying like a willow in a gale. 

" Oti, go get the booby a sugar 



6 4 



teat ! She acts as though she'd been 
spanked," said Nell, with a forced 
laugh. 

" Let the girl cry. It's better to 
do that than act like a little devil, 
as you do," said one of the officers. 

Nell looked at him with a curled 
lip, but made no reply. 

Morgan had secured the three 
hundred dollars, and had also search- 
ed the pockets of the parties who 
were so quietly slumbering 

" You were very liberal," he said 
to Nell ; " while you were about it, 
why didn't you take the whole bun- 
dle? Why, you left more than half!" 

"1 told you before that I didn t 
take any! The money you have got 
belongs to us girls every cent of 
it ! When that gentleman awakes, 
he will tell you that he has no claim 
to it ; and I don't think the lady 
will say that it is hers !" 

Detective Morgan then com- 
menced shaking the sleepers, but he 
might as well have attempted to 
arouse the inmates of a graveyard. 

" Oh, you needn't shake them," 
said Nell, they are sound asleep 
now, but they will wake up all right 
in the morning." 

" Did they all three have the neu- 
ralgia ? " inquired Jim, doubtfully. 

" If I should tell you everything 
just as it occurred, you wouldn't be- 
lieve me, so I won't say another 
word about it. But I will ask you 
a favor : Remain here and guard 
the house until these folks wake up, 
and all will be explained. The 
man who is blackened with char- 
coal, is a rich and respectable mer- 
chant, and it would be a great in- 
justice to take him to the station, 
for he is no more to blame than you 
are. The old woman is also un- 
conscious of her present predica- 
ment ; while the poor wench is an 
innocent victim of my own wicked- 
ness. It was all done for fun 
just for a joke and it would have 



been all right if you hadn't inter- 
fered as you did at the wrong time." 

" Just at the right time, I should 
judge," replied Jim. 

What to do, under the circum- 
stances, the detective hardly knew ; 
after reflecting a short time, he con- 
cluded to dismiss two of his assist- 
ants, and with the other remain and 
guard the house until morning, and 
then, when the victims of Nell's cus- 
sedness should be restored con- 
sciousness take such action as the 
cirmstances would warrant. A.S for 
the two girls, they were already un- 
der arrest, and, unless explanations 
hardly possible could be m ide, they 
were doomed to an examination at 
the police court. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

During the long aud tedious 
hours of the night, nothing was 
said or done that would be of inter- 
est to the readers of this story. 
The two girls, not being permitted 
to retire they were considered too 
slippery customers to be trusted 
out of sight reclined upon the 
sofa. Nell slept as soundly as 
though nothing had occurred to 
mar her peace of mind, but Jennie 
was restless, uneasy, and, at times, 
sighed despairingly, while tears 
moistened her sleepless eyes. She 
had not the recklessness, the bra- 
very, the audacity of her sister in 
sin. The officers, though, at times, 
inclined to drowsiness, kept a faith- 
ful vigil, and when, at length, day- 
light came, they congratulated 
themselves upon the near approach 
of the explanation of the strange 
mystery that the detective had dis- 
covered. 

Nell was wide awake before the 
sun had crawled out of the lake. 

" If you gentlemen would like 
some breakfast," she said, " I'll 
try my hand at getting up a square 
meal." 



A 



" You are very kind, Nell," said 
the detective, " but we -will excuse 
you from an such laborious task. 
Perhaps you would like to pile a 
couple more lodgers into that bed." 

"I hadn't thought of that," re- 
plied Nell, "but I'd doit, though, 
if I had a good chance. It would 
be capital fun to see five of you, 
like a litter of pups in one nest !" 

" Oh, Nellie! Please don't be so 
saucy," whispered Jennie, whose 
fears had increased by long delay. 

" Bah ! What do I care for peel- 
ers," responded the bold, bad girl. 

The officers smiled, and rather 
admired the courage of their hand- 
some prisoner. 

" How long do you think it will 
be before these folks will get their 
sleep out ;" inquired Mr. Morgan. 

" Let's see they tumbled over 
about 8 o'clock. I'll begin to look 
for kicks, grunts and yawps at 6." 

Half an hour or more elapsed, and 
the big black arms of the negress 
made their appearance from under- 
neath the sheet, and her knuckles 
dug into her eyes as though en- 
deavoring to scoop the china-color- 
ed orbs from out their sockets. 

" Gosh !" she said, ' dis niggah 
nebber did feel so funny befoah. ' 

Then turning half over she espied 
the blackened merchant at her side. 
" Lubly Moses !" she cried, spring- 
ing from the bed as though she had 
seen an alligator, "if dar ain't a 
big brack buck niggah !" 

The servant almost fainted, so 
great was her fright and astonish- 
ment, but the sight of Nell gave 
her assurance that she was not en- 
tirely friendless, and she turned im- 
ploringly to the cause of her trouble. 

"For de lub ob de lawd, Miss 
Nellie," she cried, "what am de 
mattah heah ?" 

"Ob, Aunty," replied Nell, with 
assumed alarm, "we are all ruined! 
These men are burglars! They have 



drugged everybody in the house, 
and are now going to murder us." 

"De Lawd hab mercy on us !' ' ex- 
claimed the wench, falling on her 
knees, and wildly gesticulating 
with her arms, her eyes rolling in 
every direction. 

The amused detectives explained 
to the frightened creature that 
there was no cause for alarm, and 
Nell finally laughed, and assured 
her that she was among friends. 

" Don't you see Madame Dodge 
over on the other side of the bed ?" 
she said, after the negress had par- 
tially recovered her senses. 

" Missus Dodge ? Oh, no, you 
can't cuoi dat on dis chicken ! Dat's 
a wench, as brack as I is ! And she 
ain't got any teefe eider !" 

Further controversy between the 
astounded servant and Wicked Nell 
was cut short by manifestations of 
consciousness on the part of Mad- 
ame Dodge. The old lady had 
twitched and twisted, and was evi- 
dently not as comfortable as she 
had been all night. After a little 
she, too, recovered the use of her 
hands, and would have rubbed the 
charcoal into her eyes had not the 
officer prevented. The black sub- 
stance was removed with a wet 
sponge, for the space of an inch or 
more, and, her recovery quickened 
by the application of the water, the 
old hag raised up and looked around. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

Madame Dodge, during a life that 
had been devoted entirely to sin, 
had passed through many adven- 
tures of a strange and exciting na- 
ture ; but in all these she had in- 
variably acted the part of the 
schemer, never the victim. When, 
therefore, she opened her eyes, with 
a racking pain in her head, and 
looked up into strange faces, and 
saw what she believed to be a negro 
by her side in the bed, her feelings 






66 



can hardly be imagined by any 
who have not at some time found 
themselves in startling and unac- 
countable positions. Her first im- 
pulse was to shriek out in alarm, 
but a single glance told her that 
she was in her own house, and this 
fact was so assuring as to tempo- 
rarily allay her fears, and prevent 
an outcry. She attempted to 
speak, but alas ! her teeth were not 
in their place, and the strange noise 
she made was so utterly unlike a 
human voice that even the officers 
were compelled to smile at the rid- 
iculous failure. Wicked Nell did 
not attempt to conceal her mirth 
and her peals of laughter could be 
heard half a block away. The other 
girl, however, was so thoroughly 
alarmed that she stood pale and 
trembling, as thoroughly frightened 
as she wonld have been had she 
stood under the gallows tree, with 
the rope dangling above her head. 

The detective saw at once the 
dilemma in which the old woman 
was placed, and, taking up the set 
of teeth that he had noticed on the 
dressing case, he handed them to 
her, saying, as he did so 

" Perhaps these implements of 
destruction, will assist you in mak- 
ing us understand you more per- 
fectly, Madame." 

The old woman snatched them out 
of his hand, and clapped them in her 
mouth with astonishing agility. 

" Mercy !" she cried, hysterical- 
ly. " What is the matter ? What 
have you been doing with me ?" 

Wicked Nell did not give the 
officer a chance to respond. 

Rushing up to the bed-side, with 
feigned distress she exclaimed : 

" The good Lord help us, my dear 
Madame, but we are all ruined I 
These men have not even respected 
your gray hairs and your venera- 
ble wrinkles 1 And this (pointing 
to Re'l-Headed Jennie) innocent 



little girl has been most foully and 
infamously wronged. Heaven bless 
TO all !" 

As the old woman looked at her, 
a faint suspicion crept into her 
mind that Nell was at the bottom 
of the whole scheme of deviltry, 
and the expression of her eyes 
her face was black as ink was not 
amiable as she turned them upon the 
wicked girl, who, once before, had 
rebelled against the regulations of 
the house, and foiled a plot that 
promised rich results. 

The officer took Nell by the arm, 
notvery tenderly, and led her out of 
the room, remarking, as he gave her 
a final shove into the parlor, " get 
out of here, you impudent hussy !" 

He then requested Mrs. Dodge 
to get up and dress herself, when 
an explanation of the mysterious 
events of the night might possibly 
be made, if all the parties can be 
prevailed on to tell the truth. 

"I'll tell the truth, and the whole 
truth of it, if that old woman and 
that nice bed-fellow of her's wants 
m* to !" said Nell, who stuck her 
head into the door, and looked de- 
fiantly at Mrs:' Dodge. Having 
kad her/;/;*, the girl commenced to 
get mad, and was rea'ly to defend 
and justify herself, should there be 
an effort made to hold her respon- 
sible for what had occurred. 

Nothing further was said, the 
door was closed, and Madame Dodge 
was left to arrange here toilet, alone. 
The old woman was mystified, she 
was mad, and she was frightened 
three uncomfortable conditions of 
the mind. It took her less than a 
minute to discover that it was Mr. 
Brown in the bed, and that both 
of them had been drugged, and dis- 
figured with charcoal. Hastily ar- 
ranging her clothing and washing 
her face, she partially opened the 
door, and in a hoarse whisper called: 

" NelKe, come here ! " 



Wicked Nell did not hesitate, but 
promptly obeyed the summons. 
She rather enjoyed the excitement 
produced by the situation, and 
walked into the bed-room with a 
firm tread and a serene face. 

The old woman glared at her 
with a stare that conveyed more 
than words could express. 

" Is this your work ?" she said, 
smothering her wrath as best she 
could, yet speaking with an empha- 
sis that betokened almost uncon- 
trollable anger. 

" I don't know what you mean, 
Mrs. Dodge," said Nell, innocently. 

" You don't ? You don't know 
anything that has taken place here 
during the night, do you ?" 

The words, and the manner in 
which they were spoken, seemed to 
imply a threat. 

Wicked Nell faced the assigna- 
tion keeper boldly. 

" Yes ! I do know everything ! 
If you want me to explain it all, 
I will call in these policemen, and 
tell them the whole truth, from the 
day I came here until this minute !" 

" You seem to be very fond of 
calling in policemen," sneered the 
old woman. 

" You are slightly mistaken 
there, said Nell, quietly, "for I have 
wasted no love on the peelers ; but 
you seem to think I had been com- 
miting some dreadful crime, and if 
I have I am willing to tell all about 
it. Shall I call them ?" 

44 No ! I can settle my difficulties 
with you, without their aid. You 
have deceived me ! You have 
treated me most shamefully, but I 
will make no complaint to the au- 
thorities !" 

" Indeed ! Why, you are really the 
kindest old lady I ever met in my 
life ! Such benevolence is rarely 
to b* met with in this wicked world 
we live in ! I begin to think you 
are a sister of charity, or an angel 



dropped down from heaven to teach 
' the world the beauties of true in- 
wardness !" 

" This is no time to quarrel," 
replied the old woman, in a more 
conciliatory manner. " What I 
want of you now is to tell me just 
what has occurred." 

" Well, then, in the first place, I 
will tell you that I have robbed you, 
and that we are all under arrest !" 

''Under arrest I Good heavens! 
What do you mean ?" 

" I mean that while I was in the 
store buying medicine, a policeman 
tracked me to this house, brought 
a squad, found you asleep, thought 
you had been robbed, found three 
hundred dollars in my pocket, and 
told me that if an explanation 
could not be made, we would all be 
sent to the Armory as soon as you 
should wake up !" 

" Then, you did steal my money!" 

" No ! You stole it, and I merely 
took it ! It is more mine than yours! 
But still I am willing to go to the 
court and tell how it all happened." 

" Don't be a fool, Nellie; we will 
none of us go to court. I shall 
make no complaint, because I know 
you will give back the money." 

"And / know that I will do noth- 
ing of the kind ! I wouldn't do it 
if I could, and I couldn't do it if I 
would, for the coppers have been 
through me for every cent. They 
imagined that I drugged you for 
the purpose of robbing you " 

'And didn't you ?" 

"No, I did not!" 

" Then what earthly reason did 
you have for doing as you've done." 

With the grace and dignity of a 
queen, Wicked Nell motioned the 
mistress of the house to a chair. 

" Do you really want to know 
why I played this trick on you, 
Madame Dodge ?" 

" I really should like to have you 
explain what appears to me to be 



68 



a most daring and unprovoked out- 
rage !" 

" Outrage ! Oh, yes ! It is an 
awful thing to perpetrate an 
outrage on such a meek and benev- 
olent old lady as you are !" 

The procuress bit her lips, but 
maintained a calm exterior and said: 

" I do not care to discuss the 
merits of my character or yours, just 
now. If you will tell me your rea- 
sons for doing as you have done, I 
will thank you !" 

" You need not trouble yourself 
about thanks, Mrs. Dodge, but if 
you will listen I will tell you an 
elegant little story. I am called 
Wicked Nell I am Wicked but I 
am not so lost to everything that 
is sacred and honorable as you sup- 
posed me to be. Wherever there 
is deviltry going on, there it is my 
delight to be, for I know that I am 
bad, and it makes me jealous when I 
see anybody that can go further ic 
wickedness than I can. Were I so 
inclined, I could tell you of a child- 
hood's history that would make 
your blood curdle in your veins i 
When I came to your house I en- 
deavored to make you think worse 
of me than I really was. But I did 
not know you then. When I found 
that you had entered into a foul 
conspiracy to decoy and ruin an in- 
nocent girl; when I learned that 
for money you would rob a virgin 
of her purity ; when with your own 
lips you unfolded to me the black 
scheme you had concocted, then I 
hated you, for I looked upon you 
as a worse devil than was ever 
spewed out of hell ! I pretended to 
be your tool ! I did get one girl to 
come here with me, but I took good 
care to get her away again ! Then I 
" inveigled " an old friend of mine 
from Wells street you prepared 
the drugs they were given to you 
your " gentleman " was also dosed 
even your black cook was put in- 



to bed with you I took the money 
that was paid you the coppers 
came and you know the rest ! 
Steeped in wickedness as I am ; 
loving everything that is wicked as 
I do I would not, for all the 
money there is in Chicago, do that 
foul thing that you would have had 
me do ! Now you know it all 
what are you going to do about it ?" 
While the above conversation had 
been going on, Mr. Brown had 
showed symptoms of returning con- 
sciousness. As Wicked Nell con- 
cluded, he sat bolt upright in bed, 
and from a mirror's reflection, on 
an opposite wall, noticed that his 
face was as black as coal could make 
it. He had not heard anything 
that had been said, but his first 
thought was that the Madame was 
the cause of his disgrace. Springing 
from the bed, he siezed the procur- 
ess by the hair of the head and ex- 
claimed, excitedly, " HAG OF HELL !" 

CHAPTER XXVI. 

Madame Dodge, when she felt the 
clutch of an enraged man's hands in 
her hair, screamed with pain and 
fright, and the two officers rushed 
into the room. The scene that met 
their eyes had in it all the elements 
of both tragedy and farce. The ter- 
ror of the old woman, and the rage 
of the man, suggested seriousness. 
But the black face, the bare white 
legs, the whole body only covered by 
a single and not very long garment, 
were so ludicrous to look upon that 
few beholders, under the circumstan- 
ces, could have kept straight faces. 
Wicked Nell, who knew the Mad- 
ame was innocent so far as her un- 
willing bed-fellow of the night was 
concerned, had julled Mr. Brown 
away from her, and was hanging on 
to him when the policeman came in. 

" Oh, you naughty man !" she said 
" how dare you jump out of bed with 
only your shirt on, when there are 



ladies in the room? Why you shock 
my modesty you old reprobate !" 

" Shock your modesty, indeed ! " 
said the officer who was assisting the 
detective ; " I should hate to see 
anything that would make the likes 
of you blush ! " 

The sight of the men, who were en- 
tire strangers to him, aud, having no 
uniform on, were not recognized as 
officers, filled Mr. Brown with 
alarm, and he began to tremble. 

" If you are here to rob me," he 
said, " you can have all that you 
can find, and I swear to you 
that I will never whisper a 
word of it only spare me personal 
violence ! Let me go away from 
here quietly and peacebly." 

" I never was taken for a robber 
before," said the detective, smiling; 
" if it will be any comfort to you, 
I will tell you that your person and 
your money are safe. I am a police 
officer, and I am here to protect the 
innocent and arrest the guilty !" 

This pretty little speech did not 
have the effect anticipated by the 
officer. The old man trembled 
worse than before, and would have 
fallen had not Wicked Nell held 
him up. 

"My God !" he exclaimed, cov- 
ering his face with his hands, " I am 
a ruined man ! " 

f( And I am a ruined girl !" moan- 
ed Nell, assuming a despairing tone, 
and striking an attitude that would 
have made many an actress envious. 

Then she whispered to the sorely 
distressed man : 

"Brace up, old cock, brace up! 
You're a little disfigured, but still in 
the ring as the boys say. Don't weak- 
en ! Be game and you're all right !" 

The situation being somewhat 
embarrassing to most of them, the 
officer said : 

" We will leave you, sir, until you 
can dress yourself, and wash your 
face, and then, perhaps, this strange 



business can be explained." 

He motioned the others out of the 
room, and followed them, closing 
the door. With one sweeping glance 
of the parlor, his brow contracted. 

Red-headed Jennie had flown ! 

Wicked Nell noticed the frown of * 
the officer, and quickly reading his 
mind and reaching his side she said 
in an undertone : 

" Don't say anything about Jen ! 
If you want her I'll turn her up in 
ten minutes ! Just wait and see 
what the old cove has to say ! " 

Knowing that he would have lit- 
tle trouble in capturing the escaped 
girl, no attempt was made to follow 
the fugitive. 

Mrs. Dodge sat in silence, gazing 
through the cracks in the shutters, 
secretly wishing that Wicked Nell 
and the other unwelcome guests 
were at the bottom of the lake. 

Laboring under excitement, it 
took Mr. Brown quite a long time- to 
prepare himself to " receive com- 
pany." When, finally, he did so, he 
turned the door-knob, opened it for 
the space of half an inch, and said : 

" Officer, can I speak with you ?" 

The detective pnt his ear to the 
crack. 

" I would like to confer with the 
lady of the house for a moment, be- 
fore I leave this room, if you will 
permit it." 

The Madame heard the request. 

" Yes, let me see him just a mo- 
ment," she said. 

" Oh, yes ! Let me see him too," 
mimicked Nell, who seemed deter- 
mined to have all the fun she could, 
no matter what might be the conse- 
quences. 

" I am sorry to say that I cannot 
permit any consultations just now," 
said the officer; " something wrong 
has been going on here. I do not 
know what it is, but I have suf- 
ficient evidence to warrant me in 
making a thorough investigation. 



There is a mystery in this business 
that must be explained !" 

" Yes, and I'm the little gal that 
can explain it," said Nell, viciously. 

She knew that she had the old 
man and woman both frightened, 
' and she was bound to keep up the 
scare as long as she could. For her- 
self she was not the least afraid. 

" Well, if I must expose myself I 
must, but this is most unpleasant 
business," were the words of the 
unfortunate man, as he emerged 
frm the room, looking as solemn 
as man ever looked before. 

" It seems to me the exposure took 
place a few minutes ago," laughed 
that wicked girl. 

Jim Morgan looked at Mr. Brown 
with an astonished gaze. He recog- 
nized the rich merchant at a glance. 

' Mr. Brown," he /said, " can it be 
possible that this is you ?" 

" You seem to know my name !" 
was the reply, " though I fail to see 
anything familiar in your face." 

" There are few business men in 
Chicago that I do not know when I 
set my eyes on them," remarked the 
detective, and continued : " I am 
glad I do know you, for now I can 
find out all that I have been waiting 
ten or a dozen hours to learn." . 

" Do I understand that you don't 
know anything that has been going 
on?" said the merchant, with an anx- 
iety that he could not surpress. 

" I know some things that have 
taken place, but not all. I know that 
you were drugged ; I know that you 
were robbed yes, and I know who 
did it, too !" looking at Wicked Nell, 
who returned stare for stare. 

"Robbed!" The merchant took 
out his pocket book, and felt for his 
watch. Both were as he left them. 

" You are mistaken in one thing," 
he said; " I have not been robbed !" 

" Have you as much money as 
you came into this house ?" 
was the query. 



Mr. Brown did not want to t<-Il 
the truth, and he was afraid that if 
be should lie he would be caught 
in it. Under such circumstances, 
be evaded answering, by stating 
that his financial condition was en- 
tirely satisfactory just as he had 
left it when the uncontrollable de- 
sire to sleep overcame him. 

" I have three hundred dollars 
aere that has been taken from 
somebody" said the detective. 

"Yes ! You took it from me !" 
Nell looked saucy and defiant. She 
began to consider herself the biggest 
toad in the puddle, because she had 
the best of it. The merchant would 
not own up that he had paid the 
Madame the money, because he 
would then be called upon to ex- 
plain what he had paid it for ! Mrs. 
Dodge would hardly claim it, for 
the very same reason. 

The officer continued, addressing 
Mr. Brown : 

" Whose money is this ?" 

" I don't know, was the answer. 

" Is it yours ?" 

" I have no claim to it." 

" Is it yours, Mrs. Dodge ?" 

" I will take charge of it," said 
the old lady, reaching out her hand, 
and hoping the trouble was over. 

" No you dont /" 

With the agility of a cat Wicked 
Nell sprang between them, and 
grabbed the old woman's arm. 

"If she says that is her money 
she lies ! " exclaimed Nell, for the 
first time losing her temper ; "every 
dollar that you took from me be- 
longs to me ! I claim it here and 
now ! If there is any one else who 
dares say that it is not mine let 
them speak, and the law will decide 
whose it is ! If I have stolen it, let 
the owner make complaint, and the 
officer do his duty !" 

She looked like a queen, whn 
erect and defiant, with flashing 
eyes, those werds were spoken. 



The merchant gazed at her in 
rapt admiration, the color mount- 
ing to his very temples, and, for- 
getting the strange, plight in which 
he was placed, he stood transfixed, 
feasting his eyes until his very soul 
became intoxicated with the mag- 
netic influences exercised over him 
by that wonderful but wicked girl. 

Not so with Madame Dodge. 
The only feeling that took posses- 
of her heart was hate ! Blind with 
the wild passion that was fast gaiH- 
ing control of her, unmindful of 
what would inevitably follow, she 
cried out : 

''Arrest that girl ! She is a thief! 
The money is mine !" 

"That's what I thought," said 
the detective, and he continued, 
without interruption : 

" Oome, Nell, get on your har- 
i.ess ! I've got you dead to rights 
this time ! You're young, but you're 
old enough for a stretch down the 
river. 

Is ell would have torn out the 
heart of the old procuress, had she 
been permitted ; but the officer held 
her with a firm grip, and Madame 
Dodge very discreetly kept out of 
the way. With wonderful self-con- 
trol and presence of mind the girl 
refrained from making an immedi- 
ate reply. With a smile that was 
anything but lovely, she said : 

' You say you thought I was a 
thief; I don't blame you; but I 
know and can prove whose money 
that is ! Now, take me to the sta- 
tion, but take her too. I have a 
charge to make against the high- 
toned Madame Dodge !" 

" I have no right to take her 
without a warrant; but I have 
found stolen money on you, and to 
the jug you go ! So get ready." 

In a minute N-.dl was ready. 

"Good bye, ma" she said, ad- 
dressing the old woman, who turned 
scornfully upon her heel. 



73 

As they were going out, Mr. 
Brown, who had until this time 
taken no part in the quarrel, called 
out, excitedly : 

"OFFICER, STOP !" 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

It was a vividly thrilling scene, or 
tableau, that was enacted in the 
house of the procuress, when Mr. 
Brown, trembling with excitement, 
interposed in behalf of Wicked Nell. 
The officer, knowing the gentleman 
to be a prominent and respectable 
citizen, could not well refrain from 
heeding the old man's words, al- 
though he was puzzled to know their 
meaning. He really believed the girl 
to be guilty, although as between 
her and Madame Dodge, upon a point 
of veracity, there would be little 
choice, had there been no more tangi- 
ble evidence of guilt. The Madame, 
pale as a ghost, turned with a half 
frightened, half bewildered look to 
her confederate in crime, and waited 
without speaking for an explanation 
of his to her strange and incompre- 
hensible conduct. Nell was also taken 
somewhat by surprise, but, young as 
she was, she had learned the art of 
concealing her emotions, and she, 
too, awaited with every appearance 
of calmness for the next move in the 
little drama in which she was taking 
such a conspicuous part. 

The silence, for a moment, was 
oppressive. It was broken by the 
agitated merchant. 

" This business must be stepped," 
he said; " that girl is not guilty !" 

Wicked Nell looked at him with 
unconcealed astonishment. Of all 
others, she had expected no kindness 
from him. She had deceived him, 
betrayed him, insulted him, and sub- 
jected him to indignities that would 
have provoked the bitter enmity of 
the best man in the world and yet, 
in the face of all this, he stood there 
her champion and defender ! 



74 



" I do not understand what you 
mean," said the officer ; "Mrs. Dodge 
claims that this girl is a thief; I 
found the money in her possession ; 
and under such circumstances it is 
my duty to arrest her ! There is no 
other course for me to pursue." 

" If Mrs. Dodge claims that the 
money you found is hers, Mrs. Dodge 
lies" was the emphatic rejoinder ; 
" the money was mine ; it was never 
hers ; and I declare to you now that 
this young girl has it as my free gift, 
and can have as much more as she 
may need ! You say, sir, that you 
know me ; if you do, you perhaps 
know that my word has never been 
questioned in the city of Chicago, 
and that I am responsible for what 
I say 1 and what I do !" 

The eyes of Madame Dodge shone 
like two balls of fire. Her whole 
frame fairly shook with rage, as she 
exclaimed, threateningly : 

" Do you dare stand up here in my 
house and deonunce me as a liar f 
Speak, sir, quick ! Unsay what you 
have said, apologize, or as sure as 
the sun rises, old man, you shall 
suffer the terrible consequences /" 

" Woman ! No, not woman, Devil /" 
said the merchant, hoarsely, " your 
threats are but idle words ! Let the 
consequences be what they may, I 
will stand between that girl and 
harm! The officer can arrest her if he 
must, but if she goes you go, too !" 

" And if I do, what will become of 
my distinguished patron the res- 
pectable 'and influential voAhonorable 
Mr. Brown ? What part will he take 
in the investigations and exposures 
that will surely follow ?" 

" He will take the part of a man ! 
If he has erred, he will acknowledge 
it, but, so long as God lets him live, 
he will not permit so foul a wrong to 
be perpetrated upon any human be- 
ing, as this one that you are at- 
tempting to commit upon a friend - 
leas ani defenceless girl !" 



" Yor are a fool ! a rash, crazy 
fool ! Do you hear me, Mr. Brown ? 
Do you know what you are doing ?" 

" Yes ! I am doing right !" 

"You will curse the hour that 
you ever said that word, sir !" 

" 1 already curse the hour that 
ever brought me to your door i" 

" What did you come here for ? 
Did I have a rope around your neck, 
or a ring in your nose, and lead you 
here, against your will ? Did I force 
you ? Did I entice yon ?" 

" Hold ! shouted Mr. Brown, with 
difficulty suppressing the passion 
that was raging in his bosom; '-you 
have said enough ! I will not listen 
to another word." 

The woman laughed scornfully. 

" It is like putting salt on a raw 
sore for me to talk to you," she said, 
derisively ; " the truth touches the 
old man on a tender spot, don't it ?" 

" A halter will some day touch 
your neck on a tender spot," was the 
prompt and scornful reply. 

While this conversation was going 
on, the officer said nothing, but his 
thoughts were keenly active. 

" Give them rope enough and 
they'll hang themselves," came into 
his mind as he listened. 

Wicked Nell had also remained a 
quiet listener, but she had, almost 
unconsciously, made her way to the 
merchant's side. She clasped his hand, 
and involuntarily raised it to her lips, 
and there was something like a tear 
that glistened in her eye as she said : 

" I am sorry, sir, oh ! so sorry for 
what I did last night ! I was a wick- 
ed, wicked girl !" 

Folding her in his arms the rich 
man pressed her to his wildly beat- 
ing heart. 

" Child," he said, " it is I who 
ought to be sorry ! It was I, an old 
man, who performed the wicked part, 
and may Heaven forgive me for it !" 

" Heaven ! What do you know 
about heaven? There's a hot corner 



75 



in hell that has been kept vacant for 
such as you," sneered the procuress. 

Nell turned with a flushed face. 

" And where will your place be 
there, you toothless hag you old 
blister you wart of humanity! Oh, 
if we are all going to hell together, I 
shall coax the devil to give me a sit- 
uation to poke up the coals and pile 
on the brimstone that will roast your 
rotten, skinny old soul ! It would do 
me good to see the grease fry out, and 
hiss and sputter on the hot ashes !" 

" Mr. officer, take that girl away, 
before I take the law into my own 
hands !" hissed the hag, savagely. 

" Oh, Mr. Policeman ! Please let 
her take all the law she wants! Why! 
she'd go and hide under the bed, if 
she and I were alone for just a min- 
ute ! She knows better than to lay 
her bony claws on me! I taught 
her a lesson a few days ago that she 
won't forget if she lives to be a 
thousand years old ! Say, old gal, 
how did you like the thumping you 
got from this child, eh ?" 

Nell advanced a step or two, and 
the old woman retreated Evidently 
she did remember, and did not care 
to have the experiment repeated. 

The officer stepped between them. 

" There must be no more disturb- 
ance here," he said, sternly. And 
them he continued : 

" Mr. Brown, I do not undersand 
what has been going on here, but I 
am satisfied that it is not in my 
power to settle the difficulties that 
have resulted so unpleasantly to all 
of you. As it is, I think I ought to 
take Wicked Nell and Madame 
Dodge both to the station. If I did 
not know you, sir, I should probably 
invite you to come along, too !" 

" I will save you the trouble on 
that score, by volunteering to go 
with you,' without an invitation," 
was the quiet reply. " I have said 
that I would protect that girl, and I 
will do it, though ruin and disgrace 



stare me in the face ! This night's 
work may be a sorry one for me, but 
I will not shrink from the responsi- 
bility. If I have been a villian, I 
will show the world that I can be a 
man as well ! Come, sir, do your 
duty! I am ready!" 

" Mrs. Dodge, you are my prison- 
er !" said the officer, laying his hand 
upon her shoulder. 

She shrank from his touch M 
though bitten by a serpent. 

" What !" she said, excitedly, "do 
you dare arrest me, and without a 
warrant, when I have done nothing!" 

"We do not need warants when 
we deal with the keepers of asssig- 
nation hells," replied the officer. 

" Sir," exclaimed the old womaa, 
white with fear and rage, " Bewarel 
If you arrest me, you do it at your 
peril ! Do it, sir, and you will never 
wear another star in Chicago ! Do 
it, if you dare !" 

" I have dared desperate men, in 
my day," said the officer, smiling, 
" and it requires but little courage 
to put the collar on a sputtering old 
woman like you. Shall I take you 
by force, or will you walk along de- 
cently and quietly, like a lady?" 

" Take me by force ! " shrieked 
the enraged procuress, throwing her- 
self at full length on the sofa, clutch- 
ing the carved back with both hands, 
and acting like a wild woman. 

" Put a star on me, and /'// make 
the old Jezebel walk like a turkey 
with a bunch of fire-crackers under 
its tail ! " exclaimed Wicked Nell, 
whose joy knew no bounds. 

" I don't think we shall need your 
services," replied the officer, who 
continued addressing the old woman: 

" Madame Dodge, I have told you 
that you were my prisoner. I was in 
earnest. Now, let me tell you* one 
thing more: Unlessyou behave your- 
self, and come along without trouble, 
I will throw you across my should- 
ers as I would a sheep, and carry 



7 6 



you all the way to the armory." 

"Drag the eld cat heels first," 
put in Nell, viciously. 

A moment's reflection convinced 
Mrs. Dodge that she was dealing 
with a man who meant what be said, 
and was not to be trifled with. And 
with a sigh that came near being a 
groan she arose, and prepared to 
obey the demands of the policeman. 

" I presume you will permit me 
to order a carriage," she said, with 
forced composure. 

"Yes," said Nell, "but you mu,t 
get two hacks, if any, for I wouldn't 
ruin my reputation by being seen 
riding in her company! " 

" You and I will ride together." 
said Mr. Brown, " if the officer will 
intrust me with the charge of so 
desperate a prisoner." 

" You are entirely responsible," 
he replied, "and even if you was not, 
we can easily keep an eye on you." 

Very soon two hacks drove up to 
the house of the procuress, and the 
whole party left, leaving the aston- 
ished negress alone in the house. 

Be-fore Nell realized what hap- 
pened, the merchant had kissed her 
plump on her crimson-tinted lips. 

<: Nell !" he exclaimed, pressing 
ker passionately to his breast, 
" darling, I love you /" 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

" Darling ! I love you ! repeated 
Mr. Brown, pressing the beautiful 
^'irl to his bosom, and kissing her. 
Wicked Nell was bewildered, and 
knew not what to say or do. The 
girl had no definite idea of the 
word love. She had never loved 
anybody in her life. True, she 
liked her lioerai iover, Onariey Wil- 
liams, because he made her presents 
and gave her money, but she kne^v 
that he was a married man, and 
the idea of him being anything 
nearer to hr than h had been fer 
the past fw months, mever entered 



her head. She had not been true 
to him, either, and that fact showed 
how shallow was even her pretend- 
ed love. Never in all her life had 
her heart been so touched as it was 
when Mr Brown stepped between 
her and the officer, and became her 
champion. Knowing that he had 
reasons to hate her, she expected 
no mercy at his hands ; and when 
she heard his words of defence for 
her, and the defiance that he hurl- 
ed at the procuress, to save her 
life she could not keep back the 
tears that forced themselves to her 
eyes. She felt she had wronged 
one whose heart was in the right 
place, even though his passions 
had prompted him to the commital 
of a fearful sin. Once she had 
hated him, but she now felt that he 
was a true friend. 

It was fully a minute before Nell 
spoke, after the passionate declara- 
tion of her companion. She did not 
repel his advance* she did not 
withdraw the hand he clasped s 
warmly ; she did not resist when 
he drew her to his besom and press- 
ed her head against his heart. 

" I do not understand you," she 
finally said, raising her eyes to his; 
' how you can forgive one who has 
abused you so shamefully ? " 

" Forgive ?" he exclaimed. ' Nev- 
er say that word to me again ! The 
first time I saw you I loved you ! 
If you should kftl me this minute, 
my last act would be a kiss, my 
last words a blessing ! Say that 
you will let me love you, and pro- 
tect you, and cherish you, and yeu 
will make me happy !" 

"But what weuld that three- 
hundred dollar-girl say?" 

There was a rouguish smfl OB 
Nell's face when she asked this. 

" God knows I never want t see 
her again," he said, and continued : 

" As GUd is my judg, M Heaven 
U my kop, I intended no harm to 



77 



an innocent girl. I was tempted to 
do what I did. I listened to those 
more wicked than I was, and but 
for you I might have yielded to 
temptations that I had not the pow- 
er to resist. But you have not 
given me one word of encourage- 
ment. Tell me, will you let me 
love you?" 

Nell, who had completely regain- 
ed her self-posession, replied : 

" You mean to ask me if I will 
^ you girl T 

" No ! on my honor, No !" 

Wicked Nell laughed, but it was 
not a merry laugh. 

" You're like all the rest of the 
world, after all," she said ; " I had 
almost believed you were honest." 

" Whatever I may have been, I 
am honest now I swear it." 

Instinctively, she pushed him 
from her. 

" I did'nt think you such a vil- 
lian," she .said, frowning sternly. 

" What do you mean ?" exclaimed 
the man, the picture of astonishment. 

" If you had told me that you 
wanted me for a kept woman, I 
might have respected you I might 
even have consented; for I entertain 
for you more than friendly feelings. 
But when you try to deceive me, 
when you attempt to make a fool 
of me, it makes me hate you again, 
worse than I did before." 

" In God's name what have I 
done ?" 

Mr. Brown held up both hands, 
and seemed deeply moved there 
was agony on his face, and his voice 
trembled. 

" Done? Oh, nothing! Nothing but 
this : You have lied I You are a hy- 
pocrite! You are making yourself a 
scoundrel, when there is no neces- 
sity for it ! Wicked Nell is not soft ! 
She is not an idiot, to be fooled by a 
few empty-sounding words ! Go play 
that confidence game on such inno- 
cent little girls as you thought you 



had trapped last night, but don't try- 
it on me ! It's too thin for the wick- 
edest girl in Chicago !" 

" Oh, this is trouble," sighed the 
astonished merchant. " If you will 
only tell me why you talk ? strange- 
ly, so wildly, so unjustly, then 
I can defend myself ! Speak, Nellie ! 
Why do you thus accuse me ?" 

" I ought to spit in your face !" 

"For what ? Oh, God ' for what?" 

" For being the boss deceiver and 
champion liar of Chicago !" 

" I implore you to explain !" 

" I'll ask you a few questions, and 
then I guess you won't want any 
more explanations." 

" Go on ! Ask anything you wish." 

" You said you loved me ?" 

"I did ! I do love you ! ' 

" And you don't want me to be 
your girl your mistress ? 

" No !" 

" Do you want to adopt me as a 
daughter?" 

" No not that." 

" Do you want me to come and 
work for you as a servant?" 

"Heavens ! no !" 

"Then I will ask you plainly, what 
do you want of me ?" 

" I will tell you. I love you wild- 
ly, madly, desperately, truly ! I will 
take you to my heart and make yon 
my honored, lawful, wedded wife !" 

" Oh you villain !" 

Nell screamed these words, and 
she turned red in the face with anger, 
while the merchant was so astonish- 
ed that he could hardly speak. 

" If an honorable proposal makes 
a man a villain, then I confess that I 
am one f the worst of villiana !" 

" Honorable ? Don't say that 
again ! You're a skunk ! I'm glad 
I played that game last night !" 

" Child, are you crazy ?" 

" No ; not crazy I'm wad !" 

" At what ?" 

" To think you take me for a flat 
a sucker a spooney !" 



* Oh, I knew not what to say or do." 

41 Well, if you don't, I can give you some 
advice I c&i tell you what to do." 

" I will do anything that you ask me to." 

' Give us your hand on that I" 

He held out his hand mechanically. Nell 
B*. .'zed it and said: 

" Go ~komt to your wife and da ffhter/" 

" If y w ife ? My daughter ?' ' 

"Tee, you: wfe, your dawjhter I O K , what 
a nice man you are, trying to pull the wool 
over the eyes of Wicked Nell, with your mar 
rying dodge. Ain't you ashamc. d of yourself ?" 

" Who told you I was married, and that I 
had a child? ' 

"The old woman squealed on you." 

' What old womar ?' ' 

" The extremely virtuous and highly ac 
complished Madame Dodge 1" 

" Madame Dod.e liedl dhe Ved like a thief ! 
I war. never married, I have no child 1" 

Nell lo ked at him as though she would 
read hia sou). 

"I swear that what I hav said is true," 
he centinue.d. " It would be folly for me to 
attempt to deceive you, when the lie could be 
so quickly nailed. Believe me, Nellie, dar- 
ling, and n;ver doubt my word again 1' 

He was about to embrace her, when the 
hack drew up in front of the Armory, and 
the whtlc party alighted. 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

It T( quired very little persuasion to induce 
Madame Dodge to withdraw the oomp'.aint 
she had made against Wicked Nell. The ride 
to the Armory had the effect to cool down 
the anger of the procuress, and she was glad 
enough to escape ,so easily from what might 
prove a serious charge. 
' "Drive us to the Tremont House, " was 
the order Mr. Brown gave to the driver, as 
himself and Wicked Nell re-entered the hack. 

In one of the parlors of that hotel, himself 
and the girl he loved had a long and earnest 
conversation. When convinced that she had 
a second time wronged her benefactor, Nell's 
self-accusations were as vehement as those 
she had heaped upon ihe head of Mr. Brown. 
Perhaps the knowledge that she had been so 
uLjust and unreasonable had a favorable effect 
on her heart, for she could cot but aoknowl 
edge to herself that the advances of her friend 
were the most pleasing that she had ever 
experienced. 

When Mr. Brown insisted upon a reply, 
Nell hung her head she was ashamed to 
look him in the face. 



1 ' Say yes, darling, say yes," he exclaimed 
earnestly, eloquently. 

" I cannot! Oh, I cannot," she said, sadly. 

" Why can you noi?". 

The words almost stuck in her throat, but 
the brave girl responded: 

" Because, sir because because Iam 
a PROSTITUTE !' ' 

With a wild outburst of tearful emotion, 
Nell tore herseif from the embrace of her 
lover, ana fell to the floor, sobbing violently. 

Tenderly the stro g man picked her up, as 
though she was but a child. 

" What you have been cannot be recalled," 
he said, sadly; "but henceforth you can b, 
you shall be, a lady / As my betrothed, or as 
my wife, there are cone who would dare treat 
you with anythiEg but respect. Am I 
not as bad, yes worse, than you ? We 
stand on equal terms. Let us pledge 
to each other, here and BOW, that 
henceforth and forever we will be true as 
steel, one to the other 1" 

His arms were open. She fell upon hi* 
broad breast, and for the first time in her life 
bestowed upon a man a kiss of love! 1 
****** 

Three years passed quickly away. During 
that time Nellie O'Brien no longer, thank 
God, Wicked Nell was an assiduous pupil 
at a female seminary not two ' undi ed miles 
from Chicago, graduating with the highest 
honors, and taking with her when she de- 
parted the love of her teachers and school- 
mates. The change in her appearance was 
rrarvelous. She had been a beautiful girl 
before now she was as lovely a woman ai 
the eye of man ever rested on with admira- 
tion, and as good and pure in heart as she w 
comely of form. 

The TV edding was a quiet one and a happy 
one, and none were happier than the mother 
of the beautiful bride, who had been kindly 
cared for by the man who became her son in- 
law. 

Jennie Smith is to-day an inmate of a house 
. f ill-fame on Pacific avenue, as bad as the 
worst of them. She has been at the Bride- 
well time after time, and will ur questionably 
die there, at no far distant day. 

Madame Dodgf left the city shortly after 
the exciting adventures of that night, and 
has never since been heard front. 

To-day, in a mag. ifioent residence on one 
of the most beautiful streets of Chicago, with 
a bright and beautiful girl-child upon her 
knee, surrounded by every luxury that 
wealth can purchase, beloved by all whe 
know her, there resides she who was noe 
WICKB NBLL, A GAY GIBL OF THB TOWN. 



THE END. 



ft 



" jC~ A > , 

-^ ' 






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