The Search (Chapter 1, page 1 of 6)


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Chapter 1

Two young men in officers' uniforms entered the smoker of a suburban train, and after the usual formalities of matches and cigarettes settled back to enjoy their ride out to Bryne Haven.

"What d'ye think of that girl I introduced you to the other night, Harry? Isn't she a pippin?" asked the second lieutenant taking a luxurious puff at his cigarette.

"I should say, Bobbie, she's some girl! Where d'ye pick her up? I certainly owe you one for a good time."

"Don't speak of it, Harry. Come on with me and try it again. I'm going to see her friend to-night and can get her over the 'phone any time. She's just nuts about you. What do you say? Shall I call her up?"

"Well, hardly to-night, Bob," said the first lieutenant thoughtfully, "she's a ripping fine girl and all that, of course, but the fact is, Bob, I've decided to marry Ruth Macdonald and I haven't much time left before I go over. I think I'll have to get things fixed up between us to-night, you see. Perhaps--later----. But no. I guess that wouldn't do. Ruth's folks are rather fussy about such things. It might get out. No, Bob, I'll have to forego the pleasures you offer me this time."

The second lieutenant sat up and whistled: "You've decided to marry Ruth Macdonald!" he ejaculated, staring. "But has Ruth Macdonald decided to marry you?"

"I hardly think there'll be any trouble on that score when I get ready to propose," smiled the first lieutenant complacently, as he lolled back in his seat. "You seem surprised," he added.

"Well, rather!" said the other officer dryly, still staring.

"What's there so surprising about that?" The first lieutenant was enjoying the sensation he was creating. He knew that the second lieutenant had always been "sweet" on Ruth Macdonald.

"Well, you know, Harry, you're pretty rotten!" said the second lieutenant uneasily, a flush beginning to rise in his face. "I didn't think you'd have the nerve. She's a mighty fine girl, you know. She's--unusual!"

"Exactly. Didn't you suppose I would want a fine girl when I marry?"

"I don't believe you're really going to do it!" burst forth the second lieutenant. "In fact, I don't believe I'll let you do it if you try!"

"You couldn't stop me, Bob!" with an amiable sneer. "One word from you, young man, and I'd put your captain wise about where you were the last time you overstayed your leave and got away with it. You know I've got a pull with your captain. It never pays for the pot to call the kettle black."

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