Harold MacGrath (September 4, 1871 - October 30, 1932) was a bestselling American novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter.(Wikipedia
Pagan Madonna is a classical action-adventure tale (with some romance mixed in):
And yet every move you make is governed by Chance — the Blind Madonna of the Pagan, as that great adventurer, Stevenson, called it. You never stop to consider that it is only by chance that you leave home and arrive at the office alive — millions and millions of you — poor old stick-in-the-muds! Because this or that hasn’t happened to you, you can’t be made to believe that it might have happened to someone else. What’s a wood fire to you but a shin warmer? And how you hate to walk alone! So sheer off — this is not for you.
But to you, fenced in by circumstance, walls of breathless brick and stone, suffocating with longing, you whose thought springs ever toward the gorgeous sunset and the ends of rainbows; who fly in dreams across the golden south seas to the far countries, you whose imagination transforms every ratty old square-rigger that pokes down the bay into a Spanish galleon — come with me.
For to admire an’ for to see,
For to be’old this world so wide.
First off, Ling Foo, of Woosung Road, perhaps the most bewildered Chinaman in all Shanghai last April. The Blind Madonna flung him into a great game and immediately cast him out of it, giving him never an inkling of what the game was about and leaving him buffeted by the four winds of wonder.
A drama — he was sure of that — had rolled up, touched him icily if slightly, and receded, like a wave on the beach, without his knowing in the least what had energized it in his direction. During lulls, for years to come, Ling Foo’s consciousness would strive to press behind the wall for a key to the riddle; for years to come he would be searching the International Bund, Nanking Road, Broadway and Bubbling Well roads for the young woman with the wonderful ruddy hair and the man who walked with the sluing lurch.
Nice beginning, isn't it?
Got it from PG (Thanks to PGDP), MTH-treated it, used frontispiece as cover.
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