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originally by Mary Roberts Rinehart

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

Sometimes the city had been ugly, sometimes beautiful, but always the city was throbbing, powerful, significant, and important. From all over the world there came men here who sought only a chance to work for better pay so they could bring families here, or care for them there. They came in little groups, anxious and dumb, carrying with them their pathetic bundles containing all the wealth of their lives.

They were shepherded from behind by men with cunning, cruel eyes. For those that watched such things, the city was a vast melting pot for its residents. Through its gates came the hopeful, and the hopeless. The dreamers and those who would take great pride in savaging those dreams. These aliens were volunteering to be the raw material for the crucible of the city, but in them Lily saw a strength, a strength as potentially powerful as the iron ore which entered the city by the same gate.

She knew the city would take them in.

It would give them a place of sanctuary, and then forget them. But the shepherds with the cunning eyes marked the spots where each was hid.



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