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Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

Dawn Develops A Heimweh

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"I don't mind tellin' you, Beatrice Fairfax, that that was a darn good story you got on the Millhaupt divorce. The other fellows haven't a word that isn't re-hash."

All of which is most unwomanly; for is not marriage woman's highest aim, and home her true sphere? Haven't I tried both? I ought to know. I merely have been miscast in this life's drama. My part should have been that of one who makes her way alone. Peter, with his thin, cruel lips, and his shaking hands, and his haggard face and his smoldering eyes, is a shadow forever blotting out the sunny places in my path. I was meant to be an old maid, like the terrible old Kitty O'Hara. Not one of the tatting-and-tea kind, but an impressive, bustling old girl, with a double chin. The sharp-tongued Kitty O'Hara used to say that being an old maid was a great deal like death by drowning--a really delightful sensation when you ceased struggling.

Norah has pleaded with me to be more like other women of my age, and for her sake I've tried. She has led me about to bridge parties and tea fights, and I have tried to act as though I were enjoying it all, but I knew that I wasn't getting on a bit. I have come to the conclusion that one year of newspapering counts for two years of ordinary, existence, and that while I'm twenty-eight in the family Bible I'm fully forty inside. When one day may bring under one's pen a priest, a pauper, a prostitute, a philanthropist, each with a story to tell, and each requiring to be bullied, or cajoled, or bribed, or threatened, or tricked into telling it; then the end of that day's work finds one looking out at the world with eyes that are very tired and as old as the world itself.

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I'm spoiled for sewing bees and church sociables and afternoon bridges. A hunger for the city is upon me. The long, lazy summer days have slipped by. There is an autumn tang in the air. The breeze has a touch that is sharp.

Winter in a little northern town! I should go mad. But winter in the city! The streets at dusk on a frosty evening; the shop windows arranged by artist hands for the beauty-loving eyes of women; the rows of lights like jewels strung on an invisible chain; the glitter of brass and enamel as the endless procession of motors flashes past; the smartly-gowned women; the keen-eyed, nervous men; the shrill note of the crossing policeman's whistle; every smoke-grimed wall and pillar taking on a mysterious shadowy beauty in the purple dusk, every unsightly blot obscured by the kindly night. But best of all, the fascination of the People I'd Like to Know. They pop up now and then in the shifting crowds, and are gone the next moment, leaving behind them a vague regret. Sometimes I call them the People I'd Like to Know and sometimes I call them the People I Know I'd Like, but it means much the same. Their faces flash by in the crowd, and are gone, but I recognize them instantly as belonging to my beloved circle of unknown friends.

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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