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Newspaper Page Text
then she must be my cousin," he
said. "I am John Campbell. My un
' cle and aunt come from Birming
ton." "Why I have heard of you!"
stammered Rita. "How odd! Ida al
ways used to speak of her city cou
sin and hoped that some day we
should meet But you have lived in
the city all your life."
"Pretty nearly," said John smiling.
"But I thought you were so lone
ly and told my brother to speak
"Well, I am," said the young man,
laughing. "At least, I was."
The ice was fairly broken, and
soon they were all chatting like old
friends, in the intervals of the per
formance. Rita found the young
man delightful, and Jim well, Jim
was pleased, because somehow it
seemed to ease his own guilty con
science. But in the midst of the
mirth a thin wisp of smoke was seen
to curl out of the side of the stage.
A moment later a thick, black cloud
drifted toward the audience.
"Fire!" shouted somebody.
The stage manager appeared and
held up his hand. "There is no dan
ger!" he said quietly. "Please leave
your seats in an orderly manner and
go toward the elevators."
The panic was checked, but as the
three drew near the entrance those
.who were in front came running
back, shrieking. The cause of the
new alarm was manifest -A roaring
sheet of flame shot up each elevator.
The top floor of the hotel below was
Caught in the terror-stricken
crowd, Rita looked at Jim in dread.
She was being crushed by the seeth
ing throng that surged back from
the elevators toward the parapet
But the next moment she felt herself
lifted in a pair of strong arms and
carried through the mob.
'"There is no danger!" she heard
John Campbell whisper in her ear.
A minute later he had set her down i
in a niche in the parapet, while he
himself and Jim stood guard in front
of her. Around them surged the wild,
uncontrollable crowd of pleasure
makers, but she rested securely. And,
still faint and almost number by the
realization of her predicament, she
heard her brother say:
"It's all right! Here come the en
gines!" The crowd cheered wildly as the
firemen appeared, and presently a
stream of water from each of a dozen
high-pressure hoses was playing
upon the upper story. The smoke be
came more intense, but the flames
died. And presently firemen appear
ed among the throng.
"It's all right now," they were
shouting. "Leave by the elevators,
Although much of the upper struc
ture of the hotel had been burned
away, the elevator shafts were not
seriously damaged. The elevators,
which had been at the bottom of the
cages, were soon running up and
d&wn and conveying the crowd to
safety. Rita, her brother, and their
new-found friend found themselves
at last in the hotel lobby, which was
quickly assuming its normal aspect
White, and still shaken, Rita sat
"I don't know how we can thank
you enough," said Jim to John Camp
bell. "I hope this is the beginning of
a friendship that will last"
"I hope so," answered John, look
ing earnestly at Rita.
Somehow they seemed waiting for
her to speak. But as she did not Jim
"I don't know whether our friend
knows it, Rita, but I ought to tell you
that Miss Ida Campbell and I "
"I know it very well," said John,
"Jim!" exclaimed Rita. "You don't
mean that ""
"Will you be very angry with me,
Rita?" asked Jim.
''Why, it's wonderful!" cried Rita,