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Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

Kaffee And Kaffeekuchen

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As I looked at Von Gerhard in the light of the street lamp I saw a tense, drawn look about the little group of muscles which show when the teeth are set hard. When he spoke those muscles had relaxed but little.

"One man does not talk ill of another. But this is different. I want to ask you--do you know what manner of man this--this Blackie is? I ask you because I would have you safe and sheltered always from such as he-- because I--"

"Safe! From Blackie? Now listen. There never was a safer, saner, truer, more generous friend. Oh, I know what his life has been. But what else could it have been, beginning as he did? I have no wish to reform him. I tried my hand at reforming one man, and made a glorious mess of it. So I'll just take Blackie as he is, if you please--slang, wickedness, pink shirt, red necktie, diamond rings and all. If there's any bad in him, we all know it, for it's right down on the table, face up. You're just angry because he called you Doc."

"Small one," said Von Gerhard, in his quaint German idiom, "we will not quarrel, you and I. If I have been neglectful it was because edged tools were never a chosen plaything of mine. Perhaps your little Blackie realizes that he need have no fear of such things, for the Great Fear is upon him."

"The Great Fear! You mean!--"

"I mean that there are too many fine little lines radiating from the corners of the sunken eyes, and that his hand-clasp leaves a moisture in the palm. Ach! you may laugh. Come, we will change the subject to something more cheerful, yes? Tell me, how grows the book?"

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"By inches. After working all day on a bulletin paper whose city editor is constantly shouting: `Boil it now, fellows! Keep it down! We're crowded!' it is too much of a wrench to find myself seated calmly before my own typewriter at night, privileged to write one hundred thousand words if I choose. I can't get over the habit of crowding the story all into the first paragraph. Whenever I flower into a descriptive passage I glance nervously over my shoulder, expecting to find Norberg stationed behind me, scissors and blue pencil in hand. Consequently the book, thus far, sounds very much like a police reporter's story of a fire four minutes before the paper is due to go to press."

Von Gerhard's face was unsmiling. "So," he said, slowly. "You burn the candle at both ends. All day you write, is it not so? And at night you come home to write still more? Ach, Kindchen!--Na, we shall change all that. We will be better comrades, we two, yes? You remember that gay little walk of last autumn, when we explored the Michigan country lane at dusk? I shall be your Sunday Schatz, and there shall be more rambles like that one, to bring the roses into your cheeks. We shall be good Kameraden, as you and this little Griffith are-- what is it they say--good fellows? That is it--good fellows, yes? So, shall we shake hands on it? "

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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