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Cast Adrift, a fiction by T. S. Arthur


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_ CHAPTER VIII. Mrs. Bray receives a package containing two hundred
dollars--"Poor baby! I must see better to its comfort"--Pinky meets
a young girl from the country--The "Ladies' Restaurant"--Fried
oysters and sangaree--The "bindery" girl--"My head feels
strangely"--Through the back alley--The ten-cent lodging
house--Robbery--A second robbery--A veil drawn--A wild prolonged cry
of a woman--The policeman listens only for a moment, and then passes
on--Foul play--"In all our large cities are savages more cruel and
brutal in their instincts than the Comanches"--Who is responsible?

_FOR_ an hour Mrs. Bray waited the reappearance of Pinky Swett, but
the girl did not come back. At the end of this time a package which
had been left at the door was brought to her room. It came from Mrs.
Dinneford, and contained two hundred dollars. A note that
accompanied the package read as follows:

"Forgive my little fault of temper. It is your interest to be my
friend. The woman must not, on any account, be suffered to come near

Of course there was no signature. Mrs. Bray's countenance was
radiant as she fingered the money.

"Good luck for me, but bad for the baby," she said, in a low,
pleased murmur, talking to herself. "Poor baby! I must see better to
its comfort. It deserves to be looked after. I wonder why Pinky
doesn't come?"

Mrs. Bray listened, but no sound of feet from the stairs or entries,
no opening or shutting of doors, broke the silence that reigned
through the house.

"Pinky's getting too low down--drinks too much; can't count on her
any more." Mrs. Bray went on talking to herself. "No rest; no quiet;
never satisfied; for ever knocking round, and for ever getting the
worst of it. She was a real nice girl once, and I always liked her.
But she doesn't take any care of herself."

As Pinky went out, an hour before, she met a fresh-looking girl, not
over seventeen, and evidently from the country. She was standing on
the pavement, not far from the house in which Mrs. Bray lived, and
had a traveling-bag in her hand. Her perplexed face and uncertain
manner attracted Pinky's attention.

"Are you looking for anybody?" she asked.

"I'm trying to find a Mrs. Bray," the girl answered. "I'm a stranger
from the country."

"Oh, you are?" said Pinky, drawing her veil more tightly so that her
disfigured face could not be seen.

"Yes I'm from L----."

"Indeed? I used to know some people there."

"Then you've been in L----?" said the girl, with a pleased, trustful
manner, as of one who had met a friend at the right time.

"Yes, I've visited there."

"Indeed? Who did you know in L----?"

"Are you acquainted with the Cartwrights?"

"I know of them. They are among our first people," returned the

"I spent a week in their family a few years ago, and had a very
pleasant time," said Pinky.

"Oh, I'm glad to know that," remarked the girl. "I'm a stranger
here; and if I can't find Mrs. Bray, I don't see what I am to do. A
lady from here who was staying at the hotel gave me at letter to
Mrs. Bray. I was living at the hotel, but I didn't like it; it was
too public. I told the lady that I wanted to learn a trade or get
into a store, and she said the city was just the place for me, and
that she would give me a letter to a particular friend, who would,
on her recommendation, interest he self for me. It's somewhere along
here that she lived, I'm sure;" and she took a letter from her
pocket and examined the direction.

The girl was fresh and young and pretty, and had an artless,
confiding manner. It was plain she knew little of the world, and
nothing of its evils and dangers.

"Let me see;" and Pinky reached out her hand for the letter. She put
it under her veil, and read,

"MRS. FANNY BRAY, "No. 631----street, "----

"By the hand of Miss Flora Bond."

"Flora Bond," said Pinky, in a kind, familiar tone.

"Yes, that is my name," replied the girl; "isn't this----street?"

"Yes; and there, is the number you are looking for."

"Oh, thank you! I'm so glad to find the place. I was beginning to
feel scared."

"I will ring the bell for you," said Pinky, going to the door of No.
631. A servant answered the summons.

"Is Mrs. Bray at home?" inquired Pinky.

"I don't know," replied the servant, looking annoyed. "Her rooms are
in the third story;" and she held the door wide open for them to
enter. As they passed into the hall Pinky said to her companion,

"Just wait here a moment, and I will run up stairs and see if she is

The girl stood in the hall until Pinky came back.

"Not at home, I'm sorry to say."

"Oh dear! that's bad; what shall I do?" and the girl looked

"She'll be back soon, no doubt," said Pinky, in a light, assuring
voice. "I'll go around with you a little and see things."

The girl looked down at her traveling-bag.

"Oh, that's nothing; I'll help you to carry it;" and Pinky took it
from her hand.

"Couldn't we leave it here?" asked Flora.

"It might not be safe; servants are not always to be trusted, and
Mrs. Bray's rooms are locked; we can easily carry it between us. I'm
strong--got good country blood in my veins. You see I'm from the
country as well as you; right glad we met. Don't know what you would
have done."

And she drew the girl out, talking familiarly, as they went.

"Haven't had your dinner yet?"

"No; just arrived in the cars, and came right here."

"You must have something to eat, then. I know a nice place; often
get dinner there when I'm out."

The girl did not feel wholly at ease. She had not yet been able to
get sight of Pinky's closely-veiled features, and there was
something in her voice that made her feel uncomfortable.

"I don't care for any dinner," she said; "I'm not hungry."

"Well, I am, then, so come. Do you like oysters?"


"Cook them splendidly. Best place in the city. And you'd like to get
into a store or learn a trade?"


"What trade did you think of?"

"None in particular."

"How would you like to get into a book-bindery? I know two or three
girls in binderies, and they can make from five to ten dollars a
week. It's the nicest, cleanest work I know of."

"Oh, do you?" returned Flora, with newly-awakening interest.

"Yes; we'll talk it all over while we're eating dinner. This way."

And Pinky turned the corner of a small street that led away from the
more crowded thoroughfare along which they had been passing.

"It's a quiet and retired place, where only the nicest kind of
people go," she added. "Many working-girls and girls in stores get
their dinners there. We'll meet some of them, no doubt; and if any
that I know should happen in, we might hear of a good place. Just
the thing, isn't it? I'm right glad I met you."

They had gone halfway down the square, when Pinky stopped before the
shop of a confectioner. In the window was a display of cakes, pies
and candies, and a sign with the words, "LADIES' RESTAURANT."

"This is the place," she said, and opening the door, passed in, the
young stranger following.

A sign of caution, unseen by Flora, was made to a girl who stood
behind the counter. Then Pinky turned, saying,

"How will you have your oysters? stewed, fried, broiled or roasted?"

"I'm not particular--any way," replied Flora.

"I like them fried. Will you have them the same way?"

Flora nodded assent.

"Let them be fried, then. Come, we'll go up stairs. Anybody there?"

"Two or three only."

"Any girls from the bindery?"

"Yes; I think so."

"Oh. I'm glad of that! Want to see some of them. Come, Miss Bond."

And Pinky, after a whispered word to the attendant, led the way to a
room up stairs in which were a number of small tables. At one of
these were two girls eating, at another a girl sitting by herself,
and at another a young man and a girl. As Pinky and her companion
entered, the inmates of the room stared at them familiarly, and then
winked and leered at each other. Flora did not observe this, but she
felt a sudden oppression and fear. They sat down at a table not far
from one of the windows. Flora looked for the veil to be removed, so
that she might see the face of her new friend. But Pinky kept it
closely down.

In about ten minutes the oysters were served. Accompanying them were
two glasses of some kind of liquor. Floating on one of these was a
small bit of cork. Pinky took this and handed the other to her
companion, saying,

"Only a weak sangaree. It will refresh you after your fatigue; and I
always like something with oysters, it helps to make them lay
lighter on the stomach."

Meantime, one of the girls had crossed over and spoken to Pinky.
After word or two, the latter said,

"Don't you work in a bindery, Miss Peter?"

"Yes," was answered, without hesitation.

"I thought so. Let me introduce you to my friend, Miss Flora Bond.
She's from the country, and wants to get into some good
establishment. She talked about a store, but I think a bindery is

"A great deal better," was replied by Miss Peter. "I've tried them
both, and wouldn't go back to a store again on any account. If I can
serve your friend, I shall be most happy."

"Thank you!" returned Flora; "you are very kind."

"Not at all; I'm always glad when I can be of service to any one.
You think you'd like to go into a bindery?"

"Yes. I've come to the city to get employment, and haven't much

"There's no place like the city," remarked the other. "I'd die in
the country--nothing going on. But you won't stagnate here. When did
you arrive?"


"Have you friends here?"

"No. I brought a letter of introduction to a lady who resides in the

"What's her name?"

"Mrs. Bray."

Miss Peter turned her head so that Flora could not see her face. It
was plain from its expression that she knew Mrs. Bray.

"Have you seen her yet?" she asked.

"No. She was out when I called. I'm going back in a little while."

The girl sat down, and went on talking while the others were eating.
Pinky had emptied her glass of sangaree before she was half through
with her oysters, and kept urging Flora to drink.

"Don't be afraid of it, dear," she said, in a kind, persuasive way;
"there's hardly a thimbleful of wine in the whole glass. It will
soothe your nerves, and make you feel ever so much better."

There was something in the taste of the sangaree that Flora did not
like--a flavor that was not of wine. But urged repeatedly by her
companion, whose empty glass gave her encouragement and confidence,
she sipped and drank until she had taken the whole of it. By this
time she was beginning to have a sense of fullness and confusion in
the head, and to feel oppressed and uncomfortable. Her appetite
suddenly left her, and she laid down her knife and fork and leaned
her head upon her hand.

"What's the matter?" asked Pinky.

"Nothing," answered the girl; "only my head feels a little
strangely. It will pass off in a moment."

"Riding in the cars, maybe," said Pinky. "I always feel bad after
being in the cars; it kind of stirs me up."

Flora sat very quietly at the table, still resting her head upon her
hands. Pinky and the girl who had joined them exchanged looks of
intelligence. The former had drawn her veil partly aside, yet
concealing as much as possible the bruises on her face.

"My! but you're battered!" exclaimed Miss Peter, in a whisper that
was unheard by Flora.

Pinky only answered by a grimace. Then she said to Flora, with
well-affected concern,

"I'm afraid you are ill, dear? How do you feel?"

"I don't know," answered the poor girl, in a voice that betrayed
great anxiety, if not alarm. "It came over me all at once. I'm
afraid that wine was too strong; I am not used to taking anything."

"Oh dear, no! it wasn't that. I drank a glass, and don't feel it any
more than if it had been water."

"Let's go," said Flora, starting up. "Mrs. Bray must be home by this

"All right, if you feel well enough," returned Pinky, rising at the
same time.

"Oh dear! how my head swims!" exclaimed Flora, putting both hands to
her temples. She stood for a few moments in an uncertain attitude,
then reached out in a blind, eager way.

Pinky drew quickly to her side, and put one arm about her waist.

"Come," she said, "the air is too close for you here;" and with the
assistance of the girl who had joined them, she steadied Flora down

"Doctored a little too high," whispered Miss Peter, with her mouth
close to Pinky's ear.

"All right," Pinky whispered back; "they know how to do it."

At the foot of the stairs Pinky said,

"You take her out through the yard, while I pay for the oysters.
I'll be with you in a moment."

Poor Flora, was already too much confused by the drugged liquor she
had taken to know what they were doing with her.

Hastily paying for the oysters and liquor, Pinky was on hand in a
few moments. From the back door of the house they entered a small
yard, and passed from this through a gate into a narrow private
alley shut in on each side by a high fence. This alley ran for a
considerable distance, and had many gates opening into it from
yards, hovels and rear buildings, all of the most forlorn and
wretched character. It terminated in a small street.

Along this alley Pinky and the girl she had met at the restaurant
supported Flora, who was fast losing strength and consciousness.
When halfway down, they held a brief consultation.

"It won't do," said Pinky, "to take her through to----street. She's
too far gone, and the police will be down on us and carry her off."

"Norah's got some place in there," said the other, pointing to an
old wooden building close by.

"I'm out with Norah," replied Pinky, "and don't mean to have
anything more to do with her."

"Where's your room?"

"That isn't the go. Don't want her there. Pat Maley's cellar is just
over yonder. We can get in from the alley."

"Pat's too greedy a devil. There wouldn't be anything left of her
when he got through. No, no, Pinky; I'll have nothing to do with it
if she's to go into Pat Maley's cellar."

"Not much to choose between 'em," answered Pinky. "But it won't do
to parley here. We must get her in somewhere."

And she pushed open a gate as she spoke. It swung back on one hinge
and struck the fence with a bang, disclosing a yard that beggared
description in its disorder and filth. In the back part of this yard
was a one-and-a-half-story frame building, without windows, looking
more like an old chicken-house or pig-stye than a place for human
beings to live in. The loft over the first story was reached by
ladder on the outside. Above and below the hovel was laid off in
kind of stalls or bunks furnished with straw. There were about
twenty of these. It was a ten-cent lodging-house, filled nightly. If
this wretched hut or stye--call it what you will--had been torn
down, it would not have brought ten dollars as kindling-wood. Yet
its owner, a gentleman (?) living handsomely up town, received for
it the annual rent of two hundred and fifty dollars. Subletted at an
average of two dollars a night, it gave an income of nearly seven
hundred dollars a year. It was known as the "Hawk's Nest," and no
bird of prey ever had a fouler nest than this.

As the gate banged on the fence a coarse, evil-looking man, wearing
a dirty Scotch cap and a red shirt, pushed his head up from the
cellar of the house that fronted on the street.

"What's wanted?" he asked, in a kind of growl, his upper lip
twitching and drawing up at one side in a nervous way, letting his
teeth appear.

"We want to get this girl in for a little while," said Pinky. "We'll
take her away when she comes round. Is anybody in there?" and she
pointed to the hovel.

The man shook his head.

"How much?" asked Pinky.

"Ten cents apiece;" and he held out his hand.

Pinky gave him thirty cents. He took a key from his pocket, and
opened the door that led into the lower room. The stench that came
out as the door swung back was dreadful. But poor Flora Bond was by
this time so relaxed in every muscle, and so dead to outward things,
that it was impossible to get her any farther. So they bore her into
this horrible den, and laid her down in one of the stalls on a bed
of loose straw. Inside, there was nothing but these stalls and
straw--not a table or chair, or any article of furniture. They
filled up nearly the entire room, leaving only a narrow passage
between them. The only means of ventilation was by the door.

As soon as Pinky and her companion in this terrible wickedness were
alone with their victim, they searched her pocket for the key of her
traveling-bag. On finding it, Pinky was going to open it, when the
other said,

"Never mind about that; we can examine her baggage in safer place.
Let's go for the movables."

And saying this, she fell quickly to work on the person of Flora,
slipping out the ear-rings first, then removing her breast-pin and
finger-rings, while Pinky unbuttoned the new gaiter boots, and drew
off both boots and stockings, leaving upon the damp straw the small,
bare feet, pink and soft almost as a baby's.

It did not take these harpies five minutes to possess themselves of
everything but the poor girl's dress and undergarments. Cloth
oversack, pocket-book, collar, linen cuffs, hat, shoes and
stockings--all these were taken.

"Hallo!" cried the keeper of this foul den as the two girls hurried
out with the traveling-bag and a large bundle sooner than he had
expected; and he came quickly forth from the cellar in which he
lived like a cruel spider and tried to intercept them, but they
glided through the gate and were out of his reach before he could
get near. He could follow them only with obscene invectives and
horrible oaths. Well he knew what had been done--that there had been
a robbery in the "Hawk's Nest," and he not in to share the booty.

Growling like a savage dog, this wretch, in whom every instinct of
humanity had long since died--this human beast, who looked on
innocence and helplessness as a wolf looks upon a lamb--strode
across the yard and entered the den. Lying in one of the stalls upon
the foul, damp straw he found Flora Bond. Cruel beast that he was,
even he felt himself held back as by an invisible hand, as he looked
at the pure face of the insensible girl. Rarely had his eyes rested
on a countenance so full of innocence. But the wolf has no pity for
the lamb, nor the hawk for the dove. The instinct of his nature
quickly asserted itself.

Avarice first. From the face his eyes turned to see what had been
left by the two girls. An angry imprecation fell from his lips when
he saw how little remained for him. But when he lifted Flora's head
and unbound her hair, a gleam of pleasure came info his foul face.
It was a full suit of rich chestnut brown, nearly three feet long,
and fell in thick masses over her breast and shoulders. He caught it
up eagerly, drew it through his great ugly hands, and gloated over
it with something of a miser's pleasure as he counts his gold. Then
taking a pair of scissors from his pocket, he ran them over the
girl's head with the quickness and skill of a barber, cutting close
down, that he might not lose even the sixteenth part of an inch of
her rich tresses. An Indian scalping his victim could not have shown
more eagerness. An Indian's wild pleasure was in his face as he
lifted the heavy mass of brown hair and held it above his head. It
was not a trophy--not a sign of conquest and triumph over an
enemy--but simply plunder, and had a market value of fifteen or
twenty dollars.

The dress was next examined; it was new, but not of a costly
material. Removing this, the man went out with his portion of the
spoils, and locked the door, leaving the half-clothed, unconscious
girl lying on the damp, filthy straw, that swarmed with vermin. It
was cold as well as damp, and the chill of a bleak November day
began creeping into her warm blood. But the stupefying draught had
been well compounded, and held her senses locked.

Of what followed we cannot write, and we shiver as we draw a veil
over scenes that should make the heart of all Christendom
ache--scenes that are repeated in thousands of instances year by
year in our large cities, and no hand is stretched forth to succor
and no arm to save. Under the very eyes of the courts and the
churches things worse than we have described--worse than the reader
can imagine--are done every day. The foul dens into which crime goes
freely, and into which innocence is betrayed, are known to the
police, and the evil work that is done is ever before them. From one
victim to another their keepers pass unquestioned, and plunder,
debauch, ruin and murder with an impunity frightful to contemplate.
As was said by a distinguished author, speaking of a kindred social
enormity, "There is not a country throughout the earth on which a
state of things like this would not bring a curse. There is no
religion upon earth that it would not deny; there is no people on
earth that it would not put to shame."

And we are Christians!

No. Of what followed we cannot write. Those who were near the
"Hawk's Nest" heard that evening, soon after nightfall, the single
wild, prolonged cry of a woman. It was so full of terror and despair
that even the hardened ears that heard it felt a sudden pain. But
they were used to such things in that region, and no one took the
trouble to learn what it meant. Even the policeman moving on his
beat stood listening for only a moment, and then passed on.

Next day, in the local columns of a city paper, appeared the

"FOUL PLAY.--About eleven o'clock last night the body of a beautiful
young girl, who could not have been over seventeen years of age, was
discovered lying on the pavement in----street. No one knew how she
came there. She was quite dead when found. There was nothing by
which she could be identified. All her clothes but a single
undergarment had been removed, and her hair cut off close to her
head. There were marks of brutal violence on her person. The body
was placed in charge of the coroner, who will investigate the

On the day after, this paragraph appeared:

"SUSPICION OF FOUL PLAY.--The coroner's inquest elicited nothing in
regard to the young girl mentioned yesterday as having been found
dead and stripped of her clothing in----street. No one was able to
identify her. A foul deed at which the heart shudders has been done;
but the wretches by whom it was committed have been able to cover
their tracks."

And that was the last of it. The whole nation gives a shudder of
fear at the announcement of an Indian massacre and outrage. But in
all our large cities are savages more cruel and brutal in their
instincts than the Comanches, and they torture and outrage and
murder a hundred poor victims for every one that is exposed to
Indian brutality, and there comes no succor. Is it from ignorance of
the fact? No, no, no! There is not a Judge on the bench, not a
lawyer at the bar, not a legislator at the State capital, not a
mayor or police-officer, not a minister who preaches the gospel of
Christ, who came to seek and to save, not an intelligent citizen,
but knows of all this.

What then? Who is responsible? The whole nation arouses itself at
news of an Indian assault upon some defenseless frontier settlement,
and the general government sends troops to succor and to punish. But
who takes note of the worse than Indian massacres going on daily and
nightly in the heart of our great cities? Who hunts down and
punishes the human wolves in our midst whose mouths are red with the
blood of innocence? Their deeds of cruelty outnumber every year a
hundred--nay, a thousand--fold the deeds of our red savages. Their
haunts are known, and their work is known. They lie in wait for the
unwary, they gather in the price of human souls, none hindering, at
our very church doors. Is no one responsible for all this? Is there
no help? Is evil stronger than good, hell stronger than heaven? Have
the churches nothing to do in this matter? Christ came to seek and
to save that which was lost--came to the lowliest, the poorest and
the vilest, to those over whom devils had gained power, and cast out
the devils. Are those who call themselves by his name diligent in
the work to which he put his blessed hands? Millions of dollars go
yearly into magnificent churches, but how little to the work of
saving and succoring the weak, the helpless, the betrayed, the
outcast and the dying, who lie uncared for at the mercy of human
fiends, and often so near to the temples of God that their agonized
appeals for help are drowned by the organ and choir! _

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