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by Rex Beach
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1910. Rex Beach was well on his way to becoming a lawyer when he was hit by Gold Rush Fever and left for the Klondike to strike it rich. He never found gold, but his travels had sparked his imagination and he began to write. His tales of adventures quickly made him into a popular author. The Ne'er-Do-Well begins: It was a crisp November night. The artificial brilliance of Broadway was rivaled by a glorious moonlit sky. The first autumn frost was in the air, and on the side-streets long rows of taxicabs were standing, their motors blanketed, their chauffeurs threshing their arms to rout the cold. A few well-bundled cabbies, perched upon old-style hansoms, were barking at the stream of hurrying pedestrians. Against a background of lesser lights myriad points of electric signs flashed into ever-changing shapes, winking like huge, distorted eyes; fanciful designs of liquid fire ran up and down the walls or blazed forth in lurid colors. From the city's canons came an incessant clanging roar, as if a great river of brass and steel were grinding its way toward the sea. See other titles by this author available from Kessinger Publishing.
They rushed him with the ferocity of mad dogs, and he knocked them spinning, one after another. A whistle blew shrilly, other uniforms came running, more whistles piped, and almost before he realized it he found himself in the centre of a pack of lean-faced brown men who were struggling to pull him down and striking at him with their clubs. With a sudden wild thrill he realized that this was no ordinary street fight; this was deadly; he must beat off these fellows or be killed.
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