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  1. Manual My Dark-Eyed Girl: An evocative saga of love and war
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The first stevedore grabbed his wrist. Orry was stunned by the threat and equally stunned by the ease with which he and his destination had been identified. He needed time to think, time to put himself in a better position to deal with these louts. He shook his wrist to signal that he wanted the stevedore to release him. After a deliberate delay the man did. Orry straightened and used both hands to put his hat back on his head. Three female passengers, two pretty girls and an older woman, hurried by. They certainly couldn't help him.

Then a small man in a uniform stepped off the gangway, an official of the line, Orry suspected. A sharp wave from one of the stevedores and the official came no farther. Somewhere behind him wagon wheels squealed and hooves rang on the cobbles. He heard merry voices, laughter. Other passengers arriving. Go complain to Brother Jonathan. Brother Jonathan was the popular symbol for the nation.

Manual My Dark-Eyed Girl: An evocative saga of love and war

A rustic, a Yankee. Orry was perspiring from tension as well as from the heat. He bent at the waist, again reaching for the trunk. A grave look concealed Orry's fear. He tried to give Orry a clumsy shake. Orry had planned his point of attack and rammed his right fist into the stevedore's stomach.

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The official cried, "Stop that," and started forward. Another stevedore flung him back so hard he nearly pitched off the pier into the water. The first stevedore grabbed Orry's ears and twisted. Then he kneed Orry's groin. Orry reeled away, falling against someone who had come up behind him, someone who darted around him and charged the three stevedores, fists swinging. A young man not much older than himself, Orry saw as he lunged back to the fray.

A shorter, very stocky chap who punched with great ferocity. Orry jumped in, bloodied a nose, and got his cheek raked by fingernails. Frontier-style fighting had reached the New York docks, it seemed. The first stevedore tried to jab a thumb in Orry's eye.

Before he hit his target, a long gold-knobbed cane came slashing in from the right. The knob whacked the stevedore's forehead. He yelled and staggered. The stocky young man jumped on Orry's trunk, poised and ready to continue the fight. Now the official by the gangway was joined by two crewmen from the steamer. The stevedores backed off, calculated the rapidly changing odds, and after some oaths that brought gasps from the two ladies who had just arrived, hurried off the pier and disappeared on the street beyond.

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Orry drew a deep breath. The other young man jumped down from the trunk.

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His fine clothes were hardly ruffled. Orry smiled too; The newcomer stood just about to his shoulder. Although there was no fat on him, he gave the impression of being very wide of body. His face was shaped like a wide U. He'd lost his hat, and his brown hair, lighter than Orry's, showed several blond streaks bleached by the sun. The young man's pale, icecolored eyes were saved from severity by a good-humored sparkle. His smile helped, too, although anyone who disliked him no doubt would have called it cocky.

The stocky lad spoke to Orry. The woman who had cried out, stout and fortyish, said, "George, don't be saucy to Stanley. He's right. You're far too reckless. It was a family, then. Orry touched his hat brim. My thanks again. He let go of the broken rope handle. Orry's quick jump saved his feet from being crushed by the trunk. The other young man held out his hand. I'm from Pennsylvania. A little town you've never heard of—Lehigh Station.


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They looked at each other as their hands clasped. Orry had a feeling this pugnacious little Yankee was going to be a friend. A few steps away George's father was berating the official who had stood by while a fight developed. The official loudly disavowed responsibility for the public pier.

The elder Hazard exclaimed, "I've got your name. There'll be an investigation, I promise you that. Scowling, he returned to his family. His wife soothed him with some murmured words and a pat or two. Then George cleared his throat and, with a mannerly air, made the proper introductions. William Hazard was a stern, impressive man with a lined face. He looked ten years older than his wife, though in fact he was not.

In addition to the parents and their two older sons, there was a sister, Virgilia—oldest of the children, Orry surmised—and a boy of six or seven.

His mother called him William; George referred to him as Billy. The boy kept fiddling with his high collar, which brushed the lobes of his ears; all the men, including Orry, wore similar collars. Billy gazed at his brother George with unmistakable admiration.

Our family's been making it for six generations. The company used to be called Hazard Furnace, but my father changed the name to Hazard Iron. My brother Cooper refused an Academy appointment, so I took it instead.

Kitty Rainbow (Kitty Rainbow Trilogy, Book 1): A powerful saga about the search for love

There was no point in airing family quarrels; no point in telling strangers how Cooper, whom Orry admired, continually disappointed and angered their father with his independent ways. The true nature of the Academy is this: it's the source of the best scientific education available in America. The sister stepped forward. She was an unsmiling girl of about twenty. Her squarish face was marred by a few pox marks. Her figure was generous, almost too buxom for her puff-shouldered, narrow-waisted dress of embroidered cambric.

Gloves and a flower-trimmed poke completed her costume. Miss Virgilia Hazard said, "Would you be kind enough to repeat your first name, Mr.