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Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

Mostly Eggs

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"You can laugh, eh? Well, that iss good," commented the grave and unsmiling one.

"Sure," answered I, made more flippant by his solemnity. "Surely I can laugh. For what else was my father Irish? Dad used to say that a sense of humor was like a shillaly--an iligent thing to have around handy, especially when the joke's on you."

The ghost of a twinkle appeared again in the corners of the German blue eyes. Some fiend of rudeness seized me.

"Laugh!" I commanded.

Dr. Ernst von Gerhard stiffened. "Pardon?" inquired he, as one who is sure that he has misunderstood.

"Laugh!" I snapped again. "I'll dare you to do it. I'll double dare you! You dassen't!"

But he did. After a moment's bewildered surprise he threw back his handsome blond head and gave vent to a great, deep infectious roar of mirth that brought the Spalpeens tumbling up the stairs in defiance of their mother's strict instructions.

After that we got along beautifully. He turned out to be quite human, beneath the outer crust of reserve. He continued his examination only after bribing the Spalpeens shamefully, so that even their rapacious demands were satisfied, and they trotted off contentedly.

There followed a process which reduced me to a giggling heap but which Von Gerhard carried out ceremoniously. It consisted of certain raps at my knees, and shins, and elbows, and fingers, and certain commands to--"look at my finger! Look at the wall! Look at my finger! Look at the wall!"

"So!" said Von Gerhard at last, in a tone of finality. I sank my battered frame into the nearest chair. "This--this newspaper work--it must cease." He dismissed it with a wave of the hand.

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"Certainly," I said, with elaborate sarcasm. "How should you advise me to earn my living in the future? In the stories they paint dinner cards, don't they? or bake angel cakes?"

"Are you then never serious?" asked Von Gerhard, in disapproval.

"Never," said I. "An old, worn-out, worked-out newspaper reporter, with a husband in the mad-house, can't afford to be serious for a minute, because if she were she'd go mad, too, with the hopelessness of it all." And I buried my face in my hands.

The room was very still for a moment. Then the great Von Gerhard came over, and took my hands gently from my face. "I--I do beg your pardon," he said. He looked strangely boyish and uncomfortable as he said it. "I was thinking only of your good. We do that, sometimes, forgetting that circumstances may make our wishes impossible of execution. So. You will forgive me?"

"Forgive you? Yes,indeed," I assured him. And we shook hands, gravely. "But that doesn't help matters much, after all, does it?"

"Yes, it helps. For now we understand one another, is it not so? You say you can only write for a living. Then why not write here at home? Surely these years of newspaper work have given you a great knowledge of human nature. Then too, there is your gift of humor. Surely that is a combination which should make your work acceptable to the magazines. Never in my life have I seen so many magazines as here in the United States. But hundreds! Thousands!"

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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