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“He buys everything he takes a fancy to,” said Montague. “They say he spends five thousand dollars a day. One of the stories they tell in the clubs is that he loved the wife of a physician, and he gave a million dollars to found a hospital, and one of the conditions of the endowment was that this physician should go abroad for three years and study all the hospitals of Europe.”

Lucy sat buried in thought. “Allan,” she asked suddenly, “what do you suppose he meant by saying he would follow me? What could he do?”

“I don't know,” said Allan, “it is something which we shall have to think over very carefully.”

“He made a remark to me that I thought was very strange,” she said. “I just happened to recall it. He said, 'You have no money. You cannot keep up the pace in New York. What you own is worth nothing.' Do you suppose, Allan, that he can know anything about my affairs?”

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Montague was staring at her in consternation. “Lucy!” he exclaimed.

“What is it?” she cried.

“Nothing,” he said; and he added to himself, “No, it is absurd. It could not be.” The idea that it could have been Dan Waterman who had set the detectives to follow him seemed too grotesque for consideration. “It was nothing but a chance shot,” he said to Lucy, “but you must be careful. He is a dangerous man.”

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“And I am powerless to punish him!” whispered Lucy, after a pause.

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“It seems to me,” said Montague, “that you are very well out of it. You will know better next time; and as for punishing him, I fancy that Nature will attend to that. He is getting old, you know; and they say he is morose and wretched.”

“But, Allan!” protested Lucy. “I can't help thinking what would have happened to me if you had not come on board! I can't help thinking about other women who must have been caught in such a trap. Why, Allan, I would have been equally helpless—no matter what he had done!”

“I am afraid so,” said he, gravely. “Many a woman has discovered it, I imagine. I understand how you feel, but what can you do about it? You can't punish men like Waterman. You can't punish them for anything they do, whether it is monopolising a necessity of life and starving thousands of people to death, or whether it is an attack upon a defenceless woman. There are rich men in this city who make it their diversion to answer advertisements and decoy young girls. A stenographer in my office told me that she had had over twenty positions in one year, and that she had left every one because some man in the office had approached her.”

He paused for a moment. “You see,” he added, “I have been finding out these things. You thought I was unreasonable, but I know what your dangers are. You are a stranger here; you have no friends and no influence, and so you will always be the one to suffer. I don't mean merely in a case like this, where it comes to the police and the newspapers; I mean in social matters—where it is a question of your reputation, of the interpretation which people will place upon your actions. They have their wealth and their prestige and their privileges, and they stand at bay. They are perfectly willing to give a stranger a good time, if the stranger has a pretty face and a lively wit to entertain them; but when you come to trespass, or to threaten their power, then you find out how they can hate you, and how mercilessly they will slander and ruin you!”

Lucy's adventure had so taken up the attention of them both that they had forgotten all about the matter of the stock. Afterwards, however, Montague mentioned it, and Lucy exclaimed indignantly at the smallness of the offer.

“That is only ten cents on the dollar!” she cried. “You surely would not advise me to sell for that!”

“No, I should not,” he answered. “I should reject the offer. It might be well, however, to set a price for them to consider.”

They had talked this matter over before, and had agreed upon a hundred and eighty thousand dollars. “I think it will be best to state that figure,” he said, “and give them to understand that it is final. I imagine they would expect to bargain, but I am not much of a hand at that, and would prefer to say what I mean and stick by it.”

“Very well!” said Lucy, “you use your own judgment.”

There was a pause; then Montague, seeing the look on Lucy's face, started to his feet. “It won't do you any good to think about to-day's mishap,” he said. “Let's start over again, and not make any more mistakes. Come with me this evening. I have some friends who have been begging me to bring you around ever since you came.”

“Who are they?” asked Lucy.