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Norris, Frank. "Two Hearts That Beat as One".


The first person narrator, Mr Man, appears at the opening and at the conclusion of the story. The story proper is narrated by his friend from the Great Southwest, Bunt McBride. The story concerns the Three Black Crows, which is the nickname for a trio of strong men including Hardenberg, Strokher, and Ally Bazan. Before starting his narration, McBride observes that there are three things he fears. He cannot recall the latter two of them now, but the very first thing are women.

McBride was employed together with the Three Black Crows with the Cyrus Ryder's Exploitation Agency. They are exploring areas down the Gortamalar way when they meet the revolutionary Barreto Palachi. The Three Black Crows and McBride are to help Palachi to overthrow the government by delivering some Winchesters to a certain point on the Gortamalar coast. They are sent to meet Palachi's agent to receive further instructions. They are told that the agent is a woman. At this point McBride observes that they should have quitted the task immediately when they learned about the woman involved.

The agent, Sigńorita Esperanza Ulivarri, turns out to be a very beautiful woman. She gives the men one half of a card and instructs them to take on their boat the person who delivers the other half. This person is to become their leader. Hardenberg and Strokher fall in love with Esperanza. They arrange a fight whose winner will take the lady. The fight ends up in a draw, the faculties of both men are perfectly even.

After arriving to San Diego, they are surprised to see that the group rowing to their schooner consists of women only, Esperanza among them. Esperanza delivers the other half of the card. Esperanza explains that because of the police disguise was necessary and she removes her clothes to prove herself to be Barreto Palachi in person. After realizing their painful mistake, Hardenberg and Strokher jump overboard and leave the site.


- a rather conventional story for amusement

- use of dialect English, rough humour

- use of intermediate narrator (in the vein of tall tales)

- the intermediate narrator approaches the story with slightly ironical detachment

- a surprising concluding point


  • Author

    Norris, Frank. (1870 - 1902).
  • Full Title

    "Two Hearts That Beat as One".
  • First Published

    In: A Deal in Wheat and Other Stories of the New and Old West. NY: Doubleday, 1903.
  • Form

    Short story.

Works Cited

Norris, Frank. "Two Hearts That Beat as One". A Deal in Wheat and Other Stories of the New and Old West. (1903). Teddington: The Echo Library, 2006.


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