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Buttered Side Down Edna Ferber

That Home-Town Feeling

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Said he to Tony:

"Let me have the London Times."

Well, there you are. I turned an accusing eye on Tony.

"And you said no stories came your way," I murmured, reproachfully.

"Help yourself," said Tony.

The blonde lady grasped the Kewaskum Courier. Her green plume appeared to be unduly agitated as she searched its columns. The sheet rattled. There was no breeze. The hands in the too-black stitched gloves were trembling.

I turned from her to the man just in time to see the Adam's apple leaping about unpleasantly and convulsively. Whereupon I jumped to two conclusions.

Conclusion one: Any woman whose hands can tremble over the Kewaskum Courier is homesick.

Conclusion two: Any man, any part of whose anatomy can become convulsed over the London Times is homesick.

She looked up from her Courier. He glanced away from his Times. As the novelists have it, their eyes met. And there, in each pair of eyes there swam that misty haze about which I had so earnestly consulted Tony. The Green Plume took an involuntary step forward. The Adam's Apple did the same. They spoke simultaneously.

"They're going to pave Main Street," said the Green Plume, "and Mrs. Wilcox, that was Jeri Meyers, has got another baby girl, and the ladies of the First M. E. made seven dollars and sixty-nine cents on their needle-work bazaar and missionary tea. I ain't been home in eleven years."

"Hallem is trying for Parliament in Westchester and the King is back at Windsor. My mother wears a lace cap down to breakfast, and the place is famous for its tapestries and yew trees and family ghost. I haven't been home in twelve years."

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The great, soft light of fellow feeling and sympathy glowed in the eyes of each. The Green Plume took still another step forward and laid her hand on his arm (as is the way of Green Plumes the world over).

"Why don't you go, kid?" she inquired, softly.

Adam's Apple gnawed at his mustache end. "I'm the black sheep. Why don't you?"

The blonde lady looked down at her glove tips. Her lower lip was caught between her teeth.

"What's the feminine for black sheep? I'm that. Anyway, I'd be afraid to go home for fear it would be too much of a shock for them when they saw my hair. They wasn't in on the intermediate stages when it was chestnut, auburn, Titian, gold, and orange colored. I want to spare their feelings. The last time they saw me it was just plain brown. Where I come from a woman who dyes her hair when it is beginning to turn gray is considered as good as lost. Funny, ain't it? And yet I remember the minister's wife used to wear false teeth--the kind that clicks. But hair is different."

"Dear lady," said the blue-eyed man, "it would make no difference to your own people. I know they would be happy to see you, hair and all. One's own people----"

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Buttered Side Down
Edna Ferber

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