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The Girl and The Bill An American Story of Mystery, Romance and Adventure   By:

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An American Story of Mystery, Romance and Adventure




[Illustration: "'Perhaps you can imagine how those letters puzzled me,' he volunteered"]

A. L. Burt Company Publishers :: New York

Copyright, 1909, by Dodd, Mead and Company

Published, March, 1909


CHAPTER PAGE I The Threshold of Adventure 1 II Senhor Poritol 21 III The Shadows 41 IV The Girl of the Car 58 V "Evans, S. R." 77 VI A Chance Lead 93 VII A Japanese at Large 115 VIII The Trail of Maku 136 IX Number Three Forty One 162 X "Find the American" 178 XI The Way Out 192 XII Power of Darkness 209 XIII An Old Man of the Sea 223 XIV Prisoners in the Dark 253 XV From the Devil to the Deep Sea 279 XVI The Struggle 295 XVII A Chance of the Game 322 XVIII The Goal 347 XIX A Saved Situation 359



The roar of State Street filled the ears of Robert Orme not unpleasantly. He liked Chicago, felt towards the Western city something more than the tolerant, patronizing interest which so often characterizes the Eastern man. To him it was the hub of genuine Americanism young, aggressive, perhaps a bit too cocksure, but ever bounding along with eyes toward the future. Here was the city of great beginnings, the city of experiment experiment with life; hence its incompleteness an incompleteness not dissimilar to that of life itself. Chicago lived; it was the pulse of the great Middle West.

Orme watched the procession with clear eyes. He had been strolling southward from the Masonic Temple, into the shopping district. The clangor, the smoke and dust, the hurrying crowds, all worked into his mood. The expectation of adventure was far from him. Nor was he a man who sought impressions for amusement; whatever came to him he weighed, and accepted or rejected according as it was valueless or useful. Wholesome he was; anyone might infer that from his face. Doubtless, his fault lay in his overemphasis on the purely practical; but that, after all, was a lawyer's fault, and it was counterbalanced by a sweet kindliness toward all the world a loveableness which made for him a friend of every chance acquaintance.

It was well along in the afternoon, and shoppers were hurrying homeward. Orme noted the fresh beauty of the women and girls Chicago has reason to be proud of her daughters and his heart beat a little faster. Not that he was a man to be caught by every pretty stranger; but scarcely recognized by himself, there was a hidden spring of romance in his practical nature. Heart free, he never met a woman without wondering whether she was the one. He had never found her; he did not know that he was looking for her; yet always there was the unconscious question.

A distant whistle, the clanging of gongs, the rapid beat of galloping hoofs fire engines were racing down the street. Cars stopped, vehicles of all kinds crowded in toward the curbs.

Orme paused and watched the fire horses go thundering by, their smoking chariots swaying behind them and dropping long trails of sparks. Small boys were running, men and women were stopping to gaze after the passing engines, but Orme's attention was taken by something that was happening near by, and as the gongs and the hoof beats grew fainter he looked with interest to the street beside him.

He had got as far as the corner of Madison Street. The scramble to get out of the way of the engines had here resulted in a traffic jam. Two policemen were moving about, shouting orders for the disentanglement of the street cars and vehicles which seemed to be inextricably wedged together... Continue reading book >>

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