THE WHITE SLAVE
Carton had sprung to his feet at the direct charge
and was facing
“Is that true—about the Montmartre?” he demanded.
Ogleby fairly sputtered. “She lies,” he almost hissed.
“Just a moment,” interrupted Dorgan. “What has that to do with Miss Blackwell, anyhow?”
Sybil Seymour did not pause.
“It is true,” she reiterated. “This is what it has to do with Betty Blackwell. Listen. He is the man who led me on, who would have done the same to Betty Blackwell. I yielded, but she fought. They could not conquer her—neither by drugs nor drink, nor by clothes, nor a good time, nor force. I saw it all in the Montmartre and the beauty parlour—all.”
“Lies—all lies,” hissed Ogleby, beside himself with anger.
“No, no,” cried Sybil. “I do not lie. Mr. Carton and this good woman, Miss Kendall, who is working for him, are the first people I have seen since you, Martin Ogleby, brought me to the Montmartre, who have ever given me a chance to become again what I was before you and your friends got me.”
“Have a care, young woman,” interrupted Dorgan, recovering himself as she proceeded. “There are laws and—”
“I don’t care a rap about laws such as yours. As for gangs—that was what you were going to say—I’d snap my fingers in the face of Ike the Dropper himself if he were here. You could kill me, but I would tell the truth.
“Let me tell you my case,” she continued, turning in appeal to the rest of us, “the case of a poor girl in a small city near New York, who liked a good time, liked pretty clothes, a ride in an automobile, theatres, excitement, bright lights, night life. I liked them. He knew that. He led me on, made me like him. And when I began to show the strain of the pace—we all show it more than the men—he cast me aside, like a squeezed-out lemon.”
Sybil Seymour was talking rapidly, but she was not hysterical.
“Already you know Betty Blackwell’s story—part of it,” she hurried on. “Miss Kendall has told me—how she was bribed to disappear. But beyond that—what?”
For a moment she paused. No one said a word. Here at last was the one person who held the key to the mystery.
“She did disappear. She kept her word. At last she had money, the one thing she had longed for. At last she was able to gratify those desires to play the fashionable lady which her family had always felt. What more natural, then, than while she must keep in hiding to make one visit to the beauty parlour to which so many society women went—Margot’s? It was there that she went on the day that she disappeared.”
We were hanging breathlessly now on the words of the girl as she untangled the sordid story.
“And then?” prompted Kennedy.