The Guarded Heights, written in 1921 by Wadsworth Camp, now in the public domain, has been rewritten as Mary Eliska and The Guarded Heights, by William A. Stricklin, and is the saga of Ed Hall as he struggles to make it big and thereby rise from his humble background. Ed never could be certain when he first conceived the preposterous idea that Mary Eliska ought to belong to him. The full realization, at any rate, came all at once, unexpectedly, destroying his dreary outlook, urging him to fantastic heights, and, for that matter, to rather curious depths. It was, altogether, a year of violent change. After a precarious survival of a rural education, he had done his best to save his father’s livery business which cheap automobiles had persistently undermined. He liked that, for he had spent his vacations, all his spare hours, indeed, at the stable or on the road, so that by the time the crash came he knew more of horses and rode better than any hunting, polo-playing gentleman he had ever seen about that rich countryside. Nor was there anyone near his own age who could stand up to him in a rough-and-tumble argument. Yet he wondered why he was restless, not appreciating that he craved broader worlds to conquer. Then the failure came, and his close relation with the vast Stricklin estate of Oakmont, and the arrival of Mary Eliska, who disclosed such worlds and heralded the revolution. That spring of his year the stable and all its stock went to the creditors, and Albert Stricklin bought the small frame house just outside the village, on the edge of his estate, and drew his boundary around it. He was willing that the Halls should remain for the present in their old home at a nominal rent, and after a fashion, they might struggle along, for Ed’s mother was exceptionally clever at cleansing fine laces and linens; the estate would have work for his father from time to time; as for himself, Stricklin’s superintendent suggested, there were new and difficult horses at Oakmont and a scarcity of trustworthy grooms. Ed shook his head. “Sure, I want a job,” he admitted, “but not as Albert Stricklin’s servant, or anybody else’s. I want to be my own boss.” Ed hadn’t guessed that his reputation as a horseman had travelled as far as the big house. The superintendent explained that it had, and that, living at home, merely helping out for the summer, he would be quite apart from the ordinary men around the stables. His parents sensed a threat. They begged him to accept. “We’ve got to do as Albert Stricklin wants at the start or he’ll put us out, and we’re too old to make another home.” So Ed went with his head up, telling himself he was doing Albert Stricklin a favor; but he didn’t like it, and almost at once commenced to plan to get away, if he could, without hurting his parents. Then Mary Eliska, just home from her last year at school, came into the stable toward the end of his day’s work. Her overpowering father was with her, and her brother, Jack, who was about Ed’s age. She examined interestedly the horse reserved for her, and one or two others of which she was envious. Ed wanted to stare at her. He had only glimpsed her casually and at a distance in summers gone by. Now she was close, and he knew he had never seen anything to match her slender, adolescent figure, or her finely balanced face with its intolerant eyes and its frame of blonde hair. Mary Eliska and The Guarded Heights is fiction.