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The Last Woman   By:

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THE LAST WOMAN

by

ROSS BEECKMAN

Author of "Princess Zara"

Frontispiece by Howard Chandler Christy

[Illustration: Frontispiece]

New York Grosset & Dunlap Publishers

Copyright, 1909 by W. J. Watt & Company

Published August

THE THEME

If I could have my dearest wish fulfilled, And take my choice of all earth's treasures, too, And ask of Heaven whatsoe'er I willed I'd ask for you.

There is more joy to my true, loving heart, In everything you think, or say, or do, Than all the joys of Heaven could e'er impart, Because it's YOU.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE PRICE 11

II. ONE WOMAN WHO DARED 36

III. A STRANGE BETROTHAL 56

IV. THE BOX AT THE OPERA 79

V. BEATRICE BRUNSWICK'S PLOT 96

VI. A REMARKABLE MEETING 115

VII. THE BITTERNESS OF JEALOUSY 126

VIII. BETWEEN DARKNESS AND DAYLIGHT 142

IX. PATRICIA'S COWBOY LOVER 147

X. MONDAY, THE 13TH 164

XI. MORTON'S ULTIMATUM 176

XII. THE QUARREL 185

XIII. SALLY GARDNER'S PLAN 192

XIV. PATRICIA'S WILD RIDE 201

XV. ALMOST A TRAGEDY 216

XVI. THE AUTOMOBILE WRECK 232

XVII. CROSS PURPOSES AT CEDARCREST 243

XVIII. MYSTERIES BORN IN THE NIGHT 258

XIX. RODERICK DUNCAN SEES LIGHT 272

XX. THE LAST WOMAN 285

XXI. THE REASON WHY 294

XXII. THE MYSTERY 307

THE LAST WOMAN

CHAPTER I

THE PRICE

The old man, grim of visage, hard of feature and keen of eye, was seated at one side of the table that occupied the middle of the floor in his private office. He held the tips of his fingers together, and leaned back in his chair, with an unlighted cigar gripped firmly in his jaws. He seemed perturbed and troubled, if one could get behind that stoical mask which a life in Wall street inevitably produces; but anyone who knew the man and was aware of the great wealth he possessed would never have supposed that any perturbation on the part of Stephen Langdon could arise from financial difficulties. And could his most severe critics have looked in upon the scene, and have seen it as it existed at that moment, they would unhesitatingly have said that the source of his discomfiture, if discomfiture there were, was the queenly young woman who stood at the opposite side of the table, facing him.

She was Patricia Langdon, sometimes, though rarely, addressed as Pat by her father; but he alone dared make use of the cognomen, since she invariably frowned upon such familiarities, even from him.

In private, among the women with whom she associated, she was frequently referred to as Juno; and when she was discussed by the gossips at the clubs, as she frequently was (for there are no greater nests of gossip in the world than the men's clubs of New York City), she was always Juno. There was a double and subtle purpose in both cases; one felt it rather a dangerous proceeding to speak criticizingly of Patricia Langdon, lest somehow what was said should get to her ears. She was one who knew how to retaliate, and to do so quickly. She was like a man in that she feared nothing, and hesitated at nothing, so long as she knew it to be right. A precedent had no force with her; if she desired to act, and there was no precedent for what she wished to do, she established one.

All her life, Patricia had been her father's chum; ever since she could remember, they had talked together of stocks and bonds, and puts and calls, and opening and closing quotations, and she knew every slang word that is uttered in "the street," that is used on the floor of the stock exchange, or that appears in the financial columns of the newspapers... Continue reading book >>




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