The scene was not exactly new to me. Moved by the spirit of adventure, or by an access of ennui which overtakes me at times, I had several times visited the gaudy establishment of Mercer, on the fashionable side of Fifth Avenue in the Fifties. In either case I had found disappointment; where the stake is a matter of indifference there can be no excitement; and besides, I had been always in luck.
Aline Solini--a beautiful Russian adventuress who has abandoned her Russian husband and is now in search of greater conquests in Europe--arrives in Marisi, in the decadent days on the eve of World War I. She has been rescued by Richard Stetton, the wealthy playboy son of an American millionaire, who is on a trip to Europe to discover himself. Instead, the somewhat dim-witted Stetton falls into