Author: Harold MacGrath
Release Date: April 13, 2005 [EBook #15614]
Character set encoding: ASCII
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[Illustration: Distinctive Pictures Photoplay. The Ragged Edge. Mimi Palmeri as Ruth EMSCHEDE, Alfred Lunt as Howard Spurlock.]
BY HAROLD MACGRATH
Illustrated with scenes
from the photoplay
distinctive pictures corporation
THE RAGGED EDGE
The Master is inordinately fond of young fools. That is why they are permitted to rush in where angels fear to tread—and survive their daring! This supreme protection, this unwritten warranty to disregard all laws, occult or apparent, divine or earthly, may be attributed to the fact that none but young fools dream gloriously. For such of us as pretend to be wise—and we are but fools in a lesser degree—we know that humanity moves onward only by the impellant of fine dreams. Sometimes these dreams are simple and tender; sometimes they are magnificent.
With what airs we human atoms invest ourselves! What ridiculous fancies of our importance! We believe we have destinies, when we have only destinations: that we are something immortal, when each of us is in truth only the repository of a dream. The dream flowers and is harvested, and we are left by the wayside, having served our singular purpose in the scheme of progress: as the orange is tossed aside when sucked of its ruddy juice.
We middle-aged fools and we old fools can no longer dream. We have only those phantoms called memories, which are the husks of dreams. Disillusion stands in one doorway of our house and Mockery in the other.
This is a tale of two young fools.
* * * * *
In the daytime the streets of the ancient city of Canton are yet filled with the original confusion—human beings in quest of food. There is turmoil, shouts, cries, jostlings, milling congestions that suddenly break and flow in opposite directions.
It was a gray day in the spring of 1910. A tourist caravan of four pole-chairs jogged along a narrow street. It had rained during the night, and the patch-work pavement was greasy with mud. From a bi-secting street came shouting and music. At a sign from Ah Cum, official custodian of the sightseers, the pole-chair coolies pressed toward the left and halted.