Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/154

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MY LIFE AND LOVES.

no bucks. The nice fellers are all poor or old," she added reflectively.

I had had the best part of her wisdom, so I stripped off a five dollar bill and gave it to her. "Thanks," she said, "you're a dear and if you want to come an' see me any time, just come an' I'll try to give you a good time."—Away I went. I had had my first talk with a prostitute and in her room! The idea that a girl could want a baby was altogether new to me: her temptations very different from a boy's, very!

For the greater part of my first year in Chicago I had no taste of love: I was often tempted by this chambermaid or that; but I knew I should lose prestige if I yielded and I simply put it all out of my head resolvedly as I had abjured drink. But towards the beginning of the summer temptation came to me in a new guise. A Spanish family, named Vidal, stopped at the Fremont House.

Señor Vidal was like a French officer, middle height, trim figure, very dark with grey moustache waving up at the ends. His wife, motherly but stout, with large dark eyes and small features; a cousin, a man of about thirty, rather tall with a small black moustache, like a tooth brush, I thought, and sharp imperious ways. At first I did not notice the girl who was talking to her Indian maid. I understood at once that the Vidals were rich and gave them the best rooms: "all communicating—except yours," I added, turning to the young man: "it is on the other side of the corridor, but large and quiet." A shrug and contemptuous nod was all I got for my pains from Señor Arriga. As I handed the keys to the bellboy, the girl threw back her black mantilla.

"Any letters for us?" she asked quietly. For a minute I stood dumbfounded, enthralled, then "I'll