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Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

Farewell To Knapfs'

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"We mus' part," he announced, dramatically. "O, weh! The bes' of frien's m'z part. Well, g'by, li'l interfering Teufel. F'give you, though, b'cause you're such a pretty li'l Teufel." He raised one hand as though to pat my check and because of the horror which I saw on the face of the woman beside me I tried to smile, and did not shrink from him. But with a quick movement Von Gerhard clutched the swaying figure and turned it so that it faced the stairs.

"Come Nirlanger! Time for hard-working men like you and me to be in bed. Mrs. Orme must not nod over her desk to-morrow, either. So good-night. Schlafen Sie wohl."

Konrad Nirlanger turned a scowling face over his shoulder. Then he forgot what he was scowling for, and smiled a leering smile.

"Pretty good frien's, you an' the li'l Teufel, yes? Guess we'll have to watch you, huh, Anna? We'll watch 'em, won't we?"

He began to climb the stairs laboriously, with Frau Nirlanger's light figure flitting just ahead of him. At the bend in the stairway she turned and looked down on us a moment, her eyes very bright and big. She pressed her fingers to her lips and wafted a little kiss toward us with a gesture indescribably graceful and pathetic. She viewed her husband's laborious progress, not daring to offer help. Then the turn in the stair hid her from sight.

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In the dim quiet of the little hallway Von Gerhard held out his hands--those deft, manual hands--those steady, sure, surgeonly hands--hands to cling to, to steady oneself by, and because I needed them most just then, and because I longed with my whole soul to place both my weary hands in those strong capable ones and to bring those dear, cool, sane fingers up to my burning cheeks, I put one foot on the first stair and held out two chilly fingertips. "Good-night, Herr Doktor," I said, "and thank you, not only for myself, but for her. I have felt what she feels to-night. It is not a pleasant thing to be ashamed of one's husband."

Von Gerhard's two hands closed over that one of mine. "Dawn, you will let me help you to find comfortable quarters? You cannot tramp about from place to place all the week. Let us get a list of addresses, and then, with the machine, we can drive from one to the other in an hour. It will at least save you time and strength."

"Go boarding-house hunting in a stunning green automobile!" I exclaimed. From my vantage point on the steps I could look down on him, and there came over me a great longing to run my fingers gently through that crisp blond hair, and to bring his head down close against my breast for one exquisite moment. So--"Landladies and oitermobiles!" I laughed. "Never! Don't you know that if they got one glimpse, through the front parlor windows, of me stepping grand-like out of your, green motor car, they would promptly over-charge me for any room in the house? I shall go room-hunting in my oldest hat, with one finger sticking out of my glove."

Von Gerhard shrugged despairing shoulders.

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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