The Romance of Elaine HTML version

14. The Life Chain
Early one morning, a very handsome woman of the adventuress type arrived with several
trunks at the big summer hotel, just outside the town, the St. Germain.
Among the many fashionable people at the watering-place, however, she attracted no
great attention and in the forenoon she quietly went out in her motor for a ride.
It was Madame Larenz, one of Del Mar's secret agents who, up to this time, had been
engaged in spying on wealthy and impressionable American manufacturers.
Her airing brought her, finally, to the bungalow of Del Mar and there she was admitted in
a manner that showed that Del Mar trusted her highly.
"Now," he instructed, after a few minutes chat, "I want you to get acquainted with Miss
Dodge. You know how to interest her. She's quite human. Pretty gowns appeal to her. Get
her to the St. Germain. Then I'll tell you what to do."
A few minutes later the woman left in her car, so rapidly driven that no one would
recognize her.
It was early in the afternoon that Aunt Josephine was sitting on the veranda, when an
automobile drove up and a very stylishly gowned and bonnetted woman stepped out.
"Good afternoon," she greeted Aunt Josephine ingratiatingly as she approached the
house. "I am Madame Larenz of New York and Paris. Perhaps you have heard of my
shops on Fifth Avenue and the Rue de la Paix."
Aunt Josephine had heard the name, though she did not know that this woman had
assumed it without being in any way connected with the places she mentioned.
"I'm establishing a new sort of summer service at the better resorts," the woman
explained. "You see, my people find it annoying to go into the city for gowns. So I am
bringing the latest Paris models out to them. Is Miss Dodge at home?"
"I think she is playing tennis," returned Aunt Josephine.
"Oh, yes, I see her, thank you," the woman murmured, moving toward the tennis court,
back of the house.
Elaine and I had agreed to play a couple of games and were tossing rackets for position.
"Very well," laughed Elaine, as she won the toss, "take the other court."