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An Oregon Girl by Alfred Ernest Rice

[Illustration: Virginia "cautiously pushed aside the portiere, then entered the room."]

An Oregon Girl

Alfred Ernest Rice

1914

SCENES: Portland, Oregon, and environs.

TIME: Within the last fifteen years.

PERSONAE:

John Thorpe: Director, Investment Co. Constance: His wife Virginia: His sister, An Oregon Girl Dorothy: His five-year-old daughter Hazel Brooke: His niece Smith: His Irish coachman Philip Rutley: Ex-president, Investment Co. Jack Shore: Ex-secretary Investment Co. James Harris: Retired merchant Mrs. Harris: His wife Sam Harris: His nephew, and hero Joe Corway: Secretly engaged to Virginia, but forsakes her for Hazel Mr. Williams: Attorney at Law Dr. Mackay: The Harris family physician Simms: A detective Wells: Harris' coachman Gene, Spike: Boys Ship's officers, and others

INTRODUCTORY

In the year 19-- a legend adorned with gold and bearing the significant words, "The Securities Investment Association, Mr. Philip Rutley, President, Mr. Jack Shore, Secretary-Treasurer," appeared on the glass panel of a certain office door on Third street, in the city of Portland, Oregon.

These two men were middle-aged bachelors, and moved in select society. Through their social standing they had persuaded two wealthy men of the city to lend their names as stockholders and directors in the company; but the Investment Company's business failed to meet the expenses which the social living of the two promoters felt were demanded of them, and the inevitable happened, viz., a resort to dishonest manipulations of sundry bond transactions by which the two wealthy directors had to "make good."

It resulted, on discovery, in the immediate closing of the office and prosecution of the offenders was ordered; but because of their social standing and promise to leave the city at once, criminal proceedings were suspended.

Three years elapsed. In the medium-sized room of a plainly furnished flat, in a genteel suburb of the "Bay City," a man sat brooding over the ill luck which had pursued him for the past few years. This man, as he sat with elbows on his knees and chin resting on his hands, was looking through the open window and out over the bay, out over that far off rugged ridge of purple and gray and white that projected up in the clear ethereal blue, northward, gazing with eyes fixed into nothingness, for he was deeply absorbed in a review of his past career and of the sunny time he had enjoyed while living in Portland.

His straw colored hair, verging to a sandy hue, framed a smooth shaven face of marked strength and intelligence. His eyes of a bluish gray, were bright when shielded by spectacles, worn more from fashion than necessity, glittered with keenness and energy.

Jack Shore rarely allowed his naturally aggressive and buoyant spirits to remain for long depressed by a gloomy retrospect; but the purpose of his prolonged stare at vacancy on this occasion was attributable to the necessity of another visit to Mr. Loan-on-personal-property.


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