7. The Plungers
"They have the most select clientele in the city here."
Constance Dunlap was sitting in the white steamy room of Charmant's Beauty
Shop. Her informant, reclining dreamily in a luxurious wicker chair, bathed in
the perspiring vapor, had evidently taken a fancy to her.
"And no wonder, either; they fix you up so well," she rattled on; then
confidingly, "Now, last night after the show a party of us went to supper and a
dance--and it was in the wee small hours when we broke up. But Madame
here can make you all over again. Floretta," she called to an attendant who
had entered, "if Mr. Warrington calls up on the 'phone, say I'll call him later."
"Yes, Miss Larue."
Constance glanced up quickly as Floretta mentioned the name of the popular
young actress. Stella Larue was a pretty girl on whom the wild dissipation of
the night life of New York was just beginning to show its effects. The name of
Warrington, too, recalled to Constance instantly some gossip she had heard
in Wall Street about the disagreement in the board of directors of the new
Rubber Syndicate and the effort to oust the president whose escapades were
something more than mere whispers of scandal.
This was the woman in the case. Constance looked at Stella now with added
interest as she rose languidly, drew her bathrobe about her superb figure
carelessly in such a way as to show it at best advantage.
"I've had more or less to do with Wall Street myself," observed Constance.
"Oh, have you? Isn't that interesting," cried Stella.
"I hope you're not putting money in Rubber?" queried Constance.
"On the contrary," rippled Stella, then added, "You're going to stay? Let me
tell you something. Have Floretta do your hair. She's the best here. Then
come around to see me in the dormitory if I'm here when you are through,
Constance promised and Stella fluttered away like the pretty butterfly that she
was, leaving Constance to wonder at the natural gravitation of plungers in the
money market toward plungers in the white lights.
Charmant's Beauty Parlor was indeed all its name implied, a temple of the
cult of adornment, the last cry in the effort to satisfy what is more than health,
wealth, and happiness to some women--the fundamental feminine instinct for
Constance had visited the beauty specialist to have an incipient wrinkle
smoothed out. Frankly, it was not vanity. But she had come to realize that her
greatest asset was her personal appearance. Once that had a chance to
work, her native wit and keen ability would carry her to success.
Madame Charmant herself was a tall, dark-skinned, dark-haired, dark- eyed,
well-groomed woman who looked as if she had been stamped from a die for a