Ryder started as if he had been shot; his face turned grey. There was no sound except a faint cry of fright from Lucy.

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“My information is quite positive,” continued Montague. “It has been determined to wreck your institution!”

Ryder caught at a chair to support himself. “Who? Who?” he stammered.

“It is Duval and Waterman,” said Montague.

“Dan Waterman!” It was Lucy who spoke.

Montague turned to look at her, and saw her eyes, wide open with terror.

“Yes, Lucy,” he said.

“Oh, oh!” she gasped, choking; then suddenly she cried wildly, “Tell me! I don't understand—what does it mean?”

“It means that I am ruined,” exclaimed Ryder.

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“Ruined?” she echoed.

“Absolutely!” he said. “They've got me! I knew they were after me, but I didn't think they'd dare!”

He ended with a furious imprecation; but Montague had kept his eyes fixed upon Lucy. It was her suffering that he cared about.

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He heard her whisper, under her breath, “It's for me!” And then again, “It's for me!”

“Lucy,” he began; but suddenly she put up her hand, and rushed toward him.

“Hush! he doesn't know!” she panted breathlessly. “I haven't told him.”

And then she turned toward Ryder again. “Oh, surely there must be some way,” she cried, wildly. “Surely—”

Ryder had sunk down in a chair and buried his face in his hands. “Ruined!” he exclaimed. “Utterly ruined! I won't have a dollar left in the world.”