Norfleet: the actual experiences of a Texas rancher's 30,000-mile transcontinental chase after five confidence men. Page: 73 of 369
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familiar faces. I watched the theaters, the cabarets and
the Atlantic "swimmin' hole."
For hours and hours I walked the broad board
walks, swept along in the same tide that floated the
millionaire; the husband who has left his wife at home.
the husband who couldn't leave his at home; the society
queen, the vamp, the little stenographer whose year's
savings will go for one week's pleasure; and the amateur
detective. With these, I was carried up and down the
great stretch of beach upon whose satiny sands, a sapphire
sea spreads a flounce of scalloped ermine.
From Tampa I drifted with the tide of gayety and
hope down to St. Petersburg. This little watering place
was not as lively as Miami, Palm Beach and Jacksonville,
but I could not afford to overlook any bets.
I spent a good deal of time at the boat landing,
watching the newcomers as they came ashore. Faces!
At the end of the day my brain reeled with the
memory of them. Seldom did I see one I had seen
before. It was tiresome work.
There is a strain, physical as well as mental, watching
for a certain face among the thousands. Mentally
one rapidly compares each new face with the one indelibly
photographed upon his brain. One selects, compares
and rejects, all in the flash of an eye.
I was well prepared for this conscious and subconscious
cataloguing of types, after developing the
pictures of my men in the dark room of memory, immediately
after I had been fleeced. To date, I had had
no opportunity to test the finished picture.
One early afternoon, I decided to call it "a day"
and go back to the hotel. I left the boat landing where
one of the lovely white liners had just emptied her human
cargo for St. Petersburg and inland points.
On the way I took a turn through the home section
of the town. I had gone only a short way when my
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Norfleet, J. Frank, 1864-. Norfleet: the actual experiences of a Texas rancher's 30,000-mile transcontinental chase after five confidence men., book, 1924; Ft. Worth, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5864/m1/73/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .