“Look here,” he said, “it’s not fair. You and Curtis see all the decent-looking women and shelve all the rest on me. I’ll stand it no longer.” And he spoke so determinedly, that Hamar thought it politic to humour him.
“Very well, Matt,” he said, forcing a laugh. “I’ll try and arrange differently in future. After to-day you shall have your share of the pretty ones—anything to keep the peace. Only—remember—no falling in love.”
[Footnote 22: Lest the reader should query this, let him consult the police in any of our big centres, and he will learn that crime and prostitution is immensely on the increase among children. In Newcastle it is estimated that there are over two thousand girls, of under fourteen years of age, voluntarily leading immoral lives, and making big incomes.]
THE PERSECUTION OF THE MARTINS
Hamar’s one great idea on reaching stage four was to utilize the torments as a means of getting Gladys. Though he saw crowds of pretty girls every day, none appealed to him as she did—and the very difficulty of getting her enhanced her value and stimulated his passions.
“I will give her one more chance,” he said to himself, “and then if she won’t have me I’ll plague her to death.”
He went to the Imperial, and passing himself off as her father to the new official at the stage-door entrance, was shown into the ante-room (which led to her dressing-room). It took a good deal to scare Hamar, but he admitted afterwards that he did feel a trifle apprehensive whilst he awaited her advent; and his anticipations were fully realized.
“Why, father!” she began, as the door of her dressing-room swung open and she appeared on the threshold, clad in a shimmering white dress, that intensified her fair style of beauty, “what brings you—” The smile on her face suddenly died away.
“You!” she cried, “how dare you! Go! Go at once! And if you dare come here again or attempt to molest me in any way, I’ll prosecute you!”
Hamar, dumbfounded at such an exhibition of wrath, slunk out of the room without uttering a syllable.
“The vixen,” he muttered as soon as he found himself in the street. “A thousand cats in one! Treated me like mud. Jerusalem! I’ll pay her out. And I’ll lose no time about it either. She’ll look differently at me next time we meet.”
He hurried back to Cockspur Street and going into the laboratory, threw himself into a chair and—thought.