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Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber


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We laid Peter to rest in that noisy, careless, busy city that he had loved so well, and I think his cynical lips would have curled in a bitterly amused smile, and his somber eyes would have flamed into sudden wrath if he could have seen how utterly and completely New York had forgotten Peter Orme. He had been buried alive ten years before--and Newspaper Row has no faith in resurrections. Peter Orme was not even a memory. Ten years is an age in a city where epochs are counted by hours.

Now, after two weeks of Norah's loving care, I was back in the pretty little city by the lake. I had come to say farewell to all those who had filled my life so completely in that year. My days of newspaper work were over. The autumn and winter would be spent at Norah's, occupied with hours of delightful, congenial work, for the second book was to be written in the quiet peace of my own little Michigan town. Von Gerhard was to take his deferred trip to Vienna in the spring, and I knew that I was to go with him. The thought filled my heart with a great flood of happiness.

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Together Von Gerhard and I had visited Alma Pflugel's cottage, and the garden was blooming in all its wonder of color and scent as we opened the little gate and walked up the worn path. We found them in the cool shade of the arbor, the two women sewing, Bennie playing with the last wonderful toy that Blackie had given him. They made a serene and beautiful picture there against the green canopy of the leaves. We spoke of Frau Nirlanger, and of Blackie, and of the strange snarl of events which had at last been unwound to knit a close friendship between us. And when I had kissed them and walked for the last time in many months up the flower-bordered path, the scarlet and pink, and green and gold of that wonderful garden swam in a mist before my eyes.

Frau Nirlanger was next. When we spoke of Vienna she caught her breath sharply.

"Vienna!" she repeated, and the longing in her voice was an actual pain. "Vienna! Gott! Shall I ever see it again? Vienna! My boy is there. Perhaps--"

"Perhaps," I said, gently. "Stranger things have happened. Perhaps if I could see them, and talk to them--if I could tell them--they might be made to understand. I haven't been a newspaper reporter all these years without acquiring a golden gift of persuasiveness. Perhaps--who knows?--we may meet again in Vienna. Stranger things have happened."

Frau Nirlanger shook her head with a little hopeless sigh. "You do not know Vienna; you do not know the iron strength of caste, and custom and stiff-necked pride. I am dead in Vienna. And the dead should rest in peace."

It was late in the afternoon when Von Gerhard and I turned the corner which led to the building that held the Post. I had saved that for the last.

"I hope that heaven is not a place of golden streets, and twanging harps and angel choruses," I said, softly. "Little, nervous, slangy, restless Blackie, how bored and ill at ease he would be in such a heaven! How lonely, without his old black pipe, and his checked waistcoats, and his diamonds, and his sporting extra. Oh, I hope they have all those comforting, everyday things up there, for Blackie's sake."

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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