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Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

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So Spring danced away, and Summer sauntered in. My pillows looked less and less tempting. The wine of the northern air imparted a cocky assurance. One blue-and-gold day followed the other, and I spent hours together out of doors in the sunshine, lying full length on the warm, sweet ground, to the horror of the entire neighborhood. To be sure, I was sufficiently discreet to choose the lawn at the rear of the house. There I drank in the atmosphere, as per doctor's instructions, while the genial sun warmed the watery blood in my veins and burned the skin off the end of my nose.

All my life I had envied the loungers in the parks-- those silent, inert figures that lie under the trees all the long summer day, their shabby hats over their faces, their hands clasped above their heads, legs sprawled in uncouth comfort, while the sun dapples down between the leaves and, like a good fairy godmother, touches their frayed and wrinkled garments with flickering figures of golden splendor, while they sleep. They always seemed so blissfully care-free and at ease--those sprawling men figures--and I, to whom such simple joys were forbidden, being a woman, had envied them.

Now I was reveling in that very joy, stretched prone upon the ground, blinking sleepily up at the sun and the cobalt sky, feeling my very hair grow, and health returning in warm, electric waves. I even dared to cross one leg over the other and to swing the pendant member with nonchalant air, first taking a cautious survey of the neighboring back windows to see if any one peeked. Doubtless they did, behind those ruffled curtains, but I grew splendidly indifferent.

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Even the crawling things--and there were myriads of them--added to the enjoyment of my ease. With my ear so close to the ground the grass seemed fairly to buzz with them. Everywhere there were crazily busy ants, and I, patently a sluggard and therefore one of those for whom the ancient warning was intended, considered them lazily. How they plunged about, weaving in and out, rushing here and there, helter-skelter, like bargain-hunting women darting wildly from counter to counter!

"O, foolish, foolish anties!" I chided them, "stop wearing yourselves out this way. Don't you know that the game isn't worth the candle, and that you'll give yourselves nervous jim-jams and then you'll have to go home to be patched up? Look at me! I'm a horrible example."

But they only bustled on, heedless of my advice, and showed their contempt by crawling over me as I lay there like a lady Gulliver.

Oh, I played what they call a heavy thinking part. It was not only the ants that came in for lectures. I preached sternly to myself.

"Well, Dawn old girl, you've made a beautiful mess of it. A smashed-up wreck at twenty-eight! And what have you to show for it? Nothing! You're a useless pulp, like a lemon that has been squeezed dry. Von Gerhard was right. There must be no more newspaper work for you, me girl. Not if you can keep away from the fascination of it, which I don't think you can."

Then I would fall to thinking of those years of newspapering--of the thrills of them, and the ills of them. It had been exhilarating, and educating, but scarcely remunerative. Mother had never approved. Dad had chuckled and said that it was a curse descended upon me from the terrible old Kitty O'Hara, the only old maid in the history of the O'Haras, and famed in her day for a caustic tongue and a venomed pen. Dad and Mother--what a pair of children they had been! The very dissimilarity of their natures had been a bond between them. Dad, light-hearted, whimsical, care-free, improvident; Mother, gravely sweet, anxious-browed, trying to teach economy to the handsome Irish husband who, descendant of a long and royal line of spendthrift ancestors, would have none of it.

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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