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0100_005E Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

June Moonlight, And A New Boarding House

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As I unpacked I thought of my cosy room at Knapfs', and as I thought I took my head out of my trunk and sank down on the floor with a satin blouse in one hand, and a walking boot in the other, and wanted to bellow with loneliness. There came to me dear visions of the friendly old yellow brocade chair, and the lamplight, and the fireplace, and Frau Nirlanger, and the Pfannkuchen. I thought of the aborigines. In my homesick mind their bumpy faces became things of transcendent beauty. I could have put my head on their combined shoulders and wept down their blue satin neckties. In my memory of Frau Knapf it seemed to me that I could discern a dim, misty halo hovering above her tightly wadded hair. My soul went out to her as I recalled the shining cheek-bones, and the apron, and the chickens stewed in butter. I would have given a year out of my life to have heard that good-natured, "Nabben'." One aborigine had been wont to emphasize his after-dinner arguments with a toothpick brandished fiercely between thumb and finger. The brandisher had always annoyed me. Now I thought of him with tenderness in my heart and reproached myself for my fastidiousness. I should have wept if I had not had a walking boot in one hand, and a satin blouse in the other. A walking boot is but a cold comfort. And my thriftiness denied my tears the soiling of the blouse. So I sat up on my knees and finished the unpacking.

Just before dinner time I donned a becoming gown to chirk up my courage, groped my way down the long, dim stairs, and telephoned to Von Gerhard. It seemed to me that just to hear his voice would instill in me new courage and hope. I gave the number, and waited.

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"Dr. von Gerhard?" repeated a woman's voice at the other end of the wire. "He is very busy. Will you leave your name?"

"No," I snapped. "I'll hold the wire. Tell him that Mrs. Orme is waiting to speak to him."

"I'll see." The voice was grudging.

Another wait; then--"Dawn!" came his voice in glad surprise.

"Hello!" I cried, hysterically. "Hello! Oh, talk! Say something nice, for pity's sake! I'm sorry that I've taken you away from whatever you were doing, but I couldn't help it. Just talk please! I'm dying of loneliness."

"Child, are you ill?" Von Gerhard's voice was so satisfyingly solicitous. "Is anything wrong? Your voice is trembling. I can hear it quite plainly. What has happened? Has Norah written--"

"Norah? No. There was nothing in her letter to upset me. It is only the strangeness of this place. I shall be all right in a day or so."

"The new home--it is satisfactory? You have found what you wanted? Your room is comfortable?"

"It's--it's a large room," I faltered. "And there's a--a large view of the lake, too."

There was a smothered sound at the other end of the wire. Then--"I want you to meet me down-town at seven o'clock. We will have dinner together," Von Gerhard said, "I cannot have you moping up there all alone all evening."

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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