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Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

June Moonlight, And A New Boarding House

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"I can't come."

"Why? "

"Because I want to so very much. And anyway, I'm much more cheerful now. I am going in to dinner. And after dinner I shall get acquainted with my room. There are six corners and all the space under the bed that I haven't explored yet."



"If you were free to-night, would you marry me? If you knew that the next month would find you mistress of yourself would you--"



"If the gates of Heaven were opened wide to you, and they had `Welcome!' done in diamonds over the door, and all the loveliest angel ladies grouped about the doorway to receive you, and just beyond you could see awaiting you all that was beautiful, and most exquisite, and most desirable, would you enter?"

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And then I hung up the receiver and went in to dinner. I went in to dinner, but not to dine. Oh, shades of those who have suffered in boarding-houses-- that dining room! It must have been patterned after the dining room at Dotheboys' hall. It was bare, and cheerless, and fearfully undressed looking. The diners were seated at two long, unsociable, boarding-housey tables that ran the length of the room, and all the women folks came down to dine with white wool shawls wrapped snugly about their susceptible black silk shoulders. The general effect was that of an Old People's Home. I found seat after seat at table was filled, and myself the youngest thing present. I felt so criminally young that I wondered they did not strap me in a high chair and ram bread and milk down my throat. Now and then the door would open to admit another snuffly, ancient, and be-shawled member of the company. I learned that Mrs. Schwartz, on my right, did not care mooch for shteak for breakfast, aber a leedle l'mb ch'p she likes. Also that the elderly party on my left and the elderly party on my right resented being separated by my person. Conversation between E. P. on right, and E. P. on left scintillated across my soup, thus:

"How you feel this evening Mis' Maurer, h'm?"

"Don't ask me."

"No wonder you got rheumatism. My room was like a ice-house all day. Yours too?"

"I don't complain any more. Much good it does. Barley soup again? In my own home I never ate it, and here I pay my good money and get four time a week barley soup. Are those fresh cucumbers? M-m-m-m. They haven't stood long enough. Look at Mis' Miller. She feels good this evening. She should feel good. Twenty-five cents she won at bridge. I never seen how that woman is got luck."

I choked, gasped, and fled.

Back in my own mausoleum once more I put things in order, dragged my typewriter stand into the least murky corner under the bravest gas jet and rescued my tottering reason by turning out a long letter to Norah. That finished, my spirits rose. I dived into the bottom of my trunk for the loose sheets of the book-in-the-making, glanced over the last three or four, discovered that they did not sound so maudlin as I had feared, and straightway forgot my gloomy surroundings in the fascination of weaving the tale.

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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