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  Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

Mostly Eggs

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Oh, but it was clean, and sweet, and wonderfully still, that rose-and-white room at Norah's! No street cars to tear at one's nerves with grinding brakes and clanging bells; no tramping of restless feet on the concrete all through the long, noisy hours; no shrieking midnight joy-riders; not one of the hundred sounds which make night hideous in the city. What bliss to lie there, hour after hour, in a delicious half-waking, half-sleeping, wholly exquisite stupor, only rousing myself to swallow egg-nogg No. 426, and then to flop back again on the big, cool pillow!

New York, with its lights, its clangor, its millions, was only a far-away, jumbled nightmare. The office, with its clacking typewriters, its insistent, nerve-racking telephone bells, its systematic rush, its smoke-dimmed city room, was but an ugly part of the dream.

Back to that inferno of haste and scramble and clatter? Never! Never! I resolved, drowsily. And dropped off to sleep again.

And the sheets. Oh, those sheets of Norah's! Why, they were white, instead of gray! And they actually smelled of flowers. For that matter, there were rosebuds on the silken coverlet. It took me a week to get chummy with that rosebud-and-down quilt. I had to explain carefully to Norah that after a half-dozen years of sleeping under doubtful boarding-house blankets one does not so soon get rid of a shuddering disgust for coverings which are haunted by the ghosts of a hundred unknown sleepers. Those years had taught me to draw up the sheet with scrupulous care, to turn it down, and smooth it over, so that no contaminating and woolly blanket should touch my skin. The habit stuck even after Norah had tucked me in between her fragrant sheets. Automatically my hands groped about, arranging the old protecting barrier.

"What's the matter, Fuss-fuss?" inquired Norah, looking on. "That down quilt won't bite you; what an old maid you are!"

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"Don't like blankets next to my face," I elucidated, sleepily, "never can tell who slept under 'em last--"

You cat!" exclaimed Norah, making a little rush at me. "If you weren't supposed to be ill I'd shake you! Comparing my darling rosebud quilt to your miserable gray blankets! Just for that I'll make you eat an extra pair of eggs."

There never was a sister like Norah. But then, who ever heard of a brother-in-law like Max? No woman--not even a frazzled-out newspaper woman--could receive the love and care that they gave me, and fail to flourish under it. They had been Dad and Mother to me since the day when Norah had tucked me under her arm and carried me away from New York. Sis was an angel; a comforting, twentieth-century angel, with white apron strings for wings, and a tempting tray in her hands in place of the hymn books and palm leaves that the picture-book angels carry. She coaxed the inevitable eggs and beef into more tempting forms than Mrs. Rorer ever guessed at. She could disguise those two plain, nourishing articles of diet so effectually that neither hen nor cow would have suspected either of having once been part of her anatomy. Once I ate halfway through a melting, fluffy, peach-bedecked plate of something before I discovered that it was only another egg in disguise.

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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