The Efficiency Expert

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 42

vice," suggested Harriet.

"He doesn't look it," said Elizabeth. "He looks too utterly healthy for
that. We've seen some of these drug addicts in our own set, as you may
readily recall. No, I shouldn't say that he was that."

"I suppose the poor fellow has never had an opportunity," said Harriet.
"He has a good face, his eyes and forehead indicate intelligence, and
his jaw is strong and aggressive. Probably, though, he was raised in
poverty and knows nothing better than what he is doing now. It is too
bad that some of these poor creatures couldn't have the advantages of
higher education."

"Yes," said Elizabeth, "it is too bad. Take a man like that; with a
college education he could attain almost any decree of success he
chose."

"He certainly could," agreed Harriet; and then suddenly: "Why, what's
the matter, Elizabeth? Your face is perfectly scarlet."

The other girl tapped the floor with the toe of one boot impatiently.

"That horrid creature at the next table just winked at me," she said
disgustedly.

Harriet looked about in the direction her companion had indicated, to
see a large, overdressed man staring at them. There was a smirk on his
face, and as Harriet caught his eye she saw him rise and, to her horror,
realized that he was advancing toward their table.

He stopped in front of them with his huge hands resting on the edge of
their table and looked down at Elizabeth.

"Hello, kiddo!" he said. "What are you going to drink?"

Elizabeth gave the man one look such as would utterly have frozen a male
from her own stratum of society, but it had as little effect upon Steve
Murray's self-assurance as the cork from a popgun would have on the
armored sides of a rhinoceros.

"All right," said the man, "what's the use of asking? There's only one
thing when Steve Murray buys. Here, waiter," he yelled, pounding on the
table. The nearest waiter, who chanced not to be Jimmy, who was then in
the kitchen, came hurriedly forward. "Open up some wine," commanded
Murray. "Come on, boys! Bring your chairs over here," he continued,
addressing his companions; "let's have a little party."

Elizabeth Compton rose.

"You will oblige me," she said, "by leaving our table."

Steve Murray laughed uproariously. He had dropped into a chair next to
hers.

"That's great!" he cried. "I guess you don't know who I am, kiddo. You
won't cop off anything better in this joint than Steve Murray. Come
on--let's be friends. That's a good girl," and before Elizabeth
realized the man's intentions he had

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Text Comparison with Pellucidar

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And now--why am I writing you? Heaven knows, unless it is that the persistent clicking of that unfathomable enigma out there in the vast silences of the Sahara has so wrought upon my nerves that reason refuses longer to function sanely.
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