Page:The ransom of Red Chief and other O. Henry stories for boys.djvu/325

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�� ��XXIV

A BLACKJACK BARGAINER

THE most disreputable thing in Yancey Goree's law office was Goree himself, sprawled in his creaky old armchair. The rickety little office, built of red brick, was set flush with the street the main street of the town of Bethel.

Bethel rested upon the foothills of the Blue Ridge. Above it the mountains were piled to the sky. Far below it the turbid Catawba gleamed yellow along its discon- solate valley.

The June day was at its sultriest hour. Bethel dozed in the tepid shade. Trade was not. It was so still that Goree, reclining in his chair, distinctly heard the clicking of the chips in the grand jury room, where the "court- house gang" was playing poker. From the open back door of the office a well-worn path meandered across the grassy lot to the court- house. The treading out of that path had cost Goree all he ever had first inheritance 301

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