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|Dawn O'Hara||Edna Ferber|
Good As New
|Page 4 of 5||
Norah's face was a study. "Why Dawn dear," she said, sugar-sweet, "no doubt you know better than I. But I'm sure that you are wonderfully improved--almost your old self, in fact. Don't you think she looks splendid, Mrs. Whalen?"
The three Whalens tore their gaze from my blank countenance to exchange a series of meaning looks.
"I suppose," purred Mrs. Whalen, " that your awful trouble was the real cause of your--a-a-a-sickness, worrying about it and grieving as you must have."
She pronounces it with a capital T, and I know she means Peter. I hate her for it.
"Trouble!" I chirped. "Trouble never troubles me. I just worked too hard, that's all, and acquired an awful `tired.' All work and no play makes Jill a nervous wreck, you know."
At that the elephantine Flossie wagged a playful finger at me. "Oh, now, you can't make us believe that, just because we're from the country! We know all about you gay New Yorkers, with your Bohemian ways and your midnight studio suppers, and your cigarettes, and cocktails and high jinks!"
Memory painted a swift mental picture of Dawn O'Hara as she used to tumble into bed after a whirlwind day at the office, too dog-tired to give her hair even one half of the prescribed one hundred strokes of the brush. But in turn I shook a reproving forefinger at Flossie.
"You've been reading some naughty society novel! One of those millionaire-divorce-actress-automobile novels. Dear, dear! Shall I, ever forget the first New York actress I ever met; or what she said!"
I felt, more than saw, a warning movement from Sis. But the three Whalens had hitched forward in their chairs.
"What did she say?" gurgled Flossie. "Was it something real reezk?"
"Well, it was at a late supper--a studio supper given in her honor," I confessed.
"Yes-s-s-s " hissed the Whalens.
"And this actress--she was one of those musical comedy actresses, you know; I remember her part called for a good deal of kicking about in a short Dutch costume--came in rather late, after the performance. She was wearing a regal-looking fur-edged evening wrap, and she still wore all her make-up"--out of the corner of my eye I saw Sis sink back with an air of resignation--"and she threw open the door and said--
"Yes-s-s-s! " hissed the Whalens again, wetting their lips.
"--said: `Folks, I just had a wire from mother, up in Maine. The boy has the croup. I'm scared green. I hate to spoil the party, but don't ask me to stay. I want to go home to the flat and blubber. I didn't even stop to take my make-up off. My God! If anything should happen to the boy!--Well, have a good time without me. Jim's waiting outside.'" A silence.
Then--"Who was Jim?" asked Flossie, hopefully.
"Jim was her husband, of course. He was in the same company."
"Is that all?" demanded Sally from the corner in which she had been glowering.
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