"We have this executive VPI (Volume Producing Item) contest,
"All that you can say I know," she said--"all that you can say! And I love him. There is no other man on earth. Were he a beggar, I would tramp the highroad by his side and go hungered with him. He is my lord, and I his mate--his mate!"
"That you will not be," he answered, made devilish by her words. "He is a high and noble gentleman, and wants no man's cast-off plaything for his wife."
Her breast leaped up and down in her panting as she pressed her hand upon it; her breath came in sharp puffs through her nostrils.
"And once," she breathed--"and once--I LOVED thee--cur!"
He was mad with exultant villainy and passion, and he broke into a laugh.
"Loved me!" he said. "Thou! As thou lovedst me--and as thou lovest him--so will Moll Easy love any man--for a crown."
Her whip lay upon the table, she caught and whirled it in the air. She was blind with the surging of her blood, and saw not how she caught or held it, or what she did--only that she struck!
And 'twas his temple that the loaded weapon met, and 'twas wielded by a wrist whose sinews were of steel, and even as it struck he gasped, casting up his hands, and thereupon fell, and lay stretched at her feet!