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Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

June Moonlight, And A New Boarding House

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In the midst of my fine frenzy there came a knock at the door. In the hall stood the anemic little serving maid who had attended me at dinner. She was almost eclipsed by a huge green pasteboard box.

"You're Mis' Orme, ain't you? This here's for you."

The little white-cheeked maid hovered at the threshold while I lifted the box cover and revealed the perfection of the American beauty buds that lay there, all dewy and fragrant. The eyes of the little maid were wide with wonder as she gazed, and because I had known flower-hunger I separated two stately blossoms from the glowing cluster and held them out to her.

"For me!" she gasped, and brought her lips down to them, gently. Then--"There's a high green jar downstairs you can have to stick your flowers in. You ain't got nothin' big enough in here, except your water pitcher. An' putting these grand flowers in a water pitcher--why, it'd be like wearing a silk dress over a flannel petticoat, wouldn't it?"

When the anemic little boarding-house slavey with the beauty-loving soul had fetched the green jar, I placed the shining stems in it with gentle fingers. At the bottom of the box I found a card that read: "For it is impossible to live in a room with red roses and still be traurig"

How well he knew! And how truly impossible to be sad when red roses are glowing for one, and filling the air with their fragrance!

The interruption was fatal to book-writing. My thoughts were a chaos of red roses, and anemic little maids with glowing eyes, and thoughtful young doctors with a marvelous understanding of feminine moods. So I turned out all the lights, undressed by moonlight, and, throwing a kimono about me, carried my jar of roses to the window and sat down beside them so that their exquisite scent caressed me.

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The moonlight had put a spell of white magic upon the lake. It was a light-flooded world that lay below my window. Summer, finger on lip, had stolen in upon the heels of spring. Dim, shadowy figures dotted the benches of the park across the way. Just beyond lay the silver lake, a dazzling bar of moonlight on its breast. Motors rushed along the roadway with a roar and a whir and were gone, leaving a trail of laughter behind them. From the open window of the room below came the slip-slap of cards on the polished table surface, and the low buzz of occasional conversation as the players held postmortems. Under the street light the popcorn vender's cart made a blot on the mystic beauty of the scene below. But the perfume of my red roses came to me, and their velvet caressed my check, and beyond the noise and lights of the street lay that glorious lake with the bar of moonlight on its soft breast. I gazed and forgave the sour-faced landlady her dining room; forgave the elderly parties their shawls and barley soup; forgot for a moment my weary thoughts of Peter Orme; forgot everything except that it was June, and moonlight and good to be alive.

All the changes and events of that strange, eventful year came crowding to my mind as I crouched there at the window. Four new friends, tried and true! I conned them over joyously in my heart. What a strange contrast they made! Blackie, of the elastic morals, and the still more elastic heart; Frau Nirlanger, of the smiling lips and the lilting voice and the tragic eyes--she who had stooped from a great height to pluck the flower of love blooming below, only to find a worthless weed sullying her hand; Alma Pflugel, with the unquenchable light of gratefulness in her honest face; Von Gerhard, ready to act as buffer between myself and the world, tender as a woman, gravely thoughtful, with the light of devotion glowing in his steady eyes.

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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