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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Moving Picture Girls At Rocky Ranch: Great Days Among The Cowboys - Chapter 3. A Daring Feat
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The Moving Picture Girls At Rocky Ranch: Great Days Among The Cowboys - Chapter 3. A Daring Feat Post by :Ronald Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :2402

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The Moving Picture Girls At Rocky Ranch: Great Days Among The Cowboys - Chapter 3. A Daring Feat

CHAPTER III. A DARING FEAT

"Oh, Ruth, did you hear? We are to go out West!"

"Are you glad, Alice?"

"Indeed I am. Why, we can see Indians and cowboys, and ride bucking broncos and all that. Oh, it's perfectly delightful!" and Alice, who had been taking down her jacket, held it in her arms, as one might clasp a dancing partner, and swept about the now almost deserted studio in a hesitation waltz.

"Can't I come in on that?" cried Paul Ardite, as he began to whistle, keeping time with Alice's steps.

"No, indeed, I'm too tired," she answered, with a laugh. "Oh, but to think of going West! I've always wanted to!"

"Alice always says that, whenever a new location is decided on," observed Ruth, with a quiet smile.

The work of the day was over, and most of the players had gone home. Ruth and Alice were waiting for their father, who was in Mr. Pertell's office. They had intended going shopping, thinking Mr. DeVere would be detained, but he had said he would be with them directly.

And the two girls had brought up the subject of the new line of work, broached by Mr. Pertell in mentioning the matter of the spy.

"I hope nothing comes of that incident," said Mr. DeVere, as he came from the manager's office, while Ruth and Alice finished their preparations for the street.

"I hope not, either," returned the manager, slipping into his coat, for, like many busy men, he worked best in his shirt sleeves. "Yet I don't like it, and I am frank to confess that the International concern has more than once tried to get the best of me by underhand work. I don't like it. I must keep track of that Wilson. Good night, ladies. Good night, Mr. DeVere."

The good nights were returned and then the two girls, with their father, Russ and Paul, went out.

"That was an unfortunate occurrence," remarked Mr. DeVere.

"Oh, Daddy! How hoarse you are!" exclaimed Ruth, laying a daintily-gloved hand on his shoulder. "You must use your throat spray as soon as you get home."

"I will. My throat is a little raw. There was considerable dust in the studio to-day. I like work in the open air best."

"So do I," confessed Alice. "Now, Daddy, you must stop talking," and she shook her finger at him. "You listen--we'll talk."

"You mean _you will," laughed Ruth, for Alice generally did her own, and part of Ruth's share also.

They walked on, talking at intervals of the incident of the spy and again of the prospective trip to the West.

"Do you know just where we are going, Russ?" asked Ruth, as she kept pace with him.

"Not exactly," he replied, stealing a glance at the girl beside him, for she was a picture fair to look upon with her almost golden hair blown about her face by the light breeze, while her blue eyes looked into the more sober gray ones of Russ. "I believe Mr. Pertell intends to go to several places, so as to get varied views. I know we are to go to a ranch, for one thing."

"Fine!" exclaimed Alice, with almost boyish enthusiasm, as she walked at the side of Paul. "Daddy, do you want me to become a cowgirl?" she asked, turning to Mr. DeVere, who was in the rear.

"I guess if you wanted to be one, you would whether I wanted you to or not," he replied, with an indulgent smile. "You have a way with you!"

"Hasn't she, though!" agreed Paul.

They reached the apartment house where the DeVeres and Russ lived. Paul came in for a little while, but declined an invitation to stay to tea.

"I've got quite a piece of work on for to-morrow," he said, as he left.

"What is it?" asked Alice.

"There's to be a new play, 'An Inventor's Troubles,' and one of the inventions is a sort of rope fire escape. There's a rope, coiled in a metal case. You take it to your hotel room with you, and in case of fire you fasten the case to the window casing, grab one end of the rope, and jump. The rope is supposed to pay out slowly, by means of friction pulleys, and you come safely to the ground."

"Did you invent that?" asked Ruth, who had not heard all that was said.

"Oh, no, some fellow did, and the city authorities are going to give him a chance to demonstrate it before they will recommend it to hotel proprietors. And I'm to be the 'goat,' if you will allow me to say so."

"How?" asked Alice.

"I'm to come down on the rope from the tenth story of some building. This will serve as the city test, and at the same time Mr. Pertell has fixed up a story in which the fire escape scene figures. I've got to study up a little bit before to-morrow."

"It--it isn't dangerous; is it?" asked Alice, and she rather faltered over the words.

"Not if the thing works," replied Paul, with a shrug of his shoulders. "That is, if the rope doesn't break, or pay out so fast that I hit the pavement with a bump."

"Oh, is it as dangerous as that?" exclaimed Alice, looking at Paul intently.

"Don't worry," and he smiled. "I guess the apparatus has been tested before. I'm getting used to risks in this business."

"What time to-morrow is it?" queried Ruth.

"Right after lunch," Russ responded. "I've got to film him."

"Then I'm coming to see you!" declared Alice. "I'm off directly after lunch. I haven't much on for to-morrow."

"Oh, Alice! You wouldn't go!" cried her sister.

"Of course I would, my dear!"

"But suppose something--happened?" Ruth went on in a low voice, as Russ and Paul started out together.

"All the more reason why I should be there!" declared Alice, promptly, and Ruth looked at her with a new light of understanding in her eyes. And then she looked at Paul, who waved his hand gaily at the younger girl.

"Dear little sister," murmured Ruth. "I wonder----?"

"I'll look for you there," called Paul, as he went on down the hall.

"And I'll be there," promised Alice.

"Do you feel better now, Daddy?" asked Ruth, in their rooms.

"Much better--yes, my dear. That new spray the doctor gave me seems to work wonders. And my throat is really better since our trip South. I feel quite encouraged."

It was after supper in the DeVere apartment. The two girls were seated at the sitting-room table with their father, who was looking over a new play in which he had a part. Alice was reading a newspaper and Ruth mending a pair of stockings.

"Well, there's one good thing about going out West," finally remarked the younger girl, as she tossed aside the paper, and caught up a hairpin which her vigorous motion had caused to slip out of her brown tresses.

"What's that--you won't have to fuss so about dress?" asked Ruth, for her sister did not share her ideas on this subject.

"No, but if we do go there won't be any trouble about that International company trying to steal Mr. Pertell's secrets."

"I don't know about that," observed Mr. DeVere, slowly. "If they are after his big drama they may even follow us out West."

"Oh, I hope not!" exclaimed Ruth, pausing with extended needle. "I don't like trouble."

"There may be no trouble," her father assured her, with a smile. "In fact, now that the spy is detected, the whole affair may be closed. I hope so, for Mr. Pertell works hard to get up new ideas, and to have some other concern step in, and rob him of the fruits of his labor, would be unjust indeed."

Rehearsals and the filming of plays in the Comet studio were over the next morning about eleven o'clock.

"Come on," said Paul to Ruth and Alice. "I'm to get a bonus on account of the fire escape stunt, and I'll take you girls out to lunch. Come along, Russ. It's extra money and we might as well enjoy it."

"You are too extravagant!" chided Ruth.

"Oh, I like to be--when I have the chance," Paul laughed. "It isn't often I do."

"Well, then, we may as well help you out," agreed Russ. "Right after lunch we'll give you a chance to show us what you can do on that patent rope."

The little meal was a merry one, in spite of the fact that the two girls were a little nervous about going to see Paul descend from the tenth story of a building on a slender rope. Ruth had finally consented to accompany her sister.

Together they went to the place where the test was to take place. It was a tall office structure, and, as word of what was afoot had spread, quite a throng had gathered.

Mr. Pertell had made arrangements with the authorities to have Paul work in a little theatrical business in connection with the test, and the inventor of the fire escape was also to be in the moving pictures.

There was a little preliminary scene, as part of the projected play, and then Paul went into the building with the inventor to prepare for his thrilling descent.

The apparatus seemed simple. It was a round, metallic case, inside of which was coiled a stout rope. At the end was a broad leather strap, intended to be fastened about the person who was to make the jump. The case, and the coil of rope, were to be fastened to a hook at the side of the window. Then Paul was to jump out, and trust to the slow uncoiling of the rope to lower him safely.

"Are you all ready?" asked the inventor, after he had explained the apparatus.

"As ready as I ever shall be," answered Paul a little nervously. He looked down to the ground. It seemed a long way off.

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