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A Poor Wise Man by Mary Roberts Rinehart
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by Mary Roberts Rinehart


The city turned its dreariest aspect toward the railway on blackened
walls, irregular and ill-paved streets, gloomy warehouses, and over
all a gray, smoke-laden atmosphere which gave it mystery and often
beauty. Sometimes the softened towers of the great steel bridges
rose above the river mist like fairy towers suspended between Heaven
and earth. And again the sun tipped the surrounding hills with gold,
while the city lay buried in its smoke shroud, and white ghosts of
river boats moved spectrally along.

Sometimes it was ugly, sometimes beautiful, but always the city was
powerful, significant, important. It was a vast melting pot. Through
its gates came alike the hopeful and the hopeless, the dreamers and
those who would destroy those dreams. From all over the world there
came men who sought a chance to labor. They came in groups, anxious
and dumb, carrying with them their pathetic bundles, and shepherded
by men with cunning eyes.

Raw material, for the crucible of the city, as potentially powerful
as the iron ore which entered the city by the same gate.

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