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Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

Peter Orme

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Von Gerhard took a couple of quick steps in Blackie's direction. His eyes were blue steel.

"Is this then necessary?" he asked. "All this leads to what? Has not Mrs. Orme suffered enough, that she should undergo this idle chatter? It is sufficient that she knows this--this man is here. It is a time for action, not for words."

"Action's comin' later, Doc," drawled Blackie, looking impish. "Monologuin' ain't my specialty. I gener'ly let the other gink talk. You never can learn nothin' by talkin'. But I got somethin' t' say t' Dawn here. Now, in case you're bored the least bit, w'y don't hesitate one minnit t'--"

"Na, you are quite right, and I was hasty," said Von Gerhard, and his eyes, with the kindly gleam in them, smiled down upon the little man. "It is only that both you and I are over-anxious to be of assistance to this unhappy lady. Well, we shall see. You talked with this man at the Press Club?"

"He talked. I listened."

"That would be Peter's way," I said, bitterly. How he used to love to hold forth, and how I grew to long for blessed silence--for fewer words, and more of that reserve which means strength!"

"All this time," continued Blackie, "I didn't know his name. When we'd finished our game of billiards he hung up his cue, and then he turned around like lightning, and faced the boys that were standing around with their hands in their pockets. He had a odd little smile on his face--a smile with no fun it, if you know what I mean. Guess you do, maybe, if you've seen it.

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"`Boys,' says he, smilin' that twisted kind of smile, `boys, I'm lookin' for a job. I'm not much of a talker, an' I'm only a amateur at music, and my game of billiards is ragged. But there's one thing I can do, fellows, from abc up to xyz, and that's write. I can write, boys, in a way to make your pet little political scribe sound like a high school paper. I don't promise to stick. As soon as I get on my feet again I'm going back to New York. But not just yet. Meanwhile, I'm going to the highest bidder.'

"Well, you know since Merkle left us we haven't had a day when we wasn't scooped on some political guff. `I guess we can use you--some place,' I says, tryin' not t' look too anxious. If your ideas on salary can take a slump be tween New York and Milwaukee. Our salaries around here is more what is elegantly known as a stipend. What's your name, Bo?'

"`Name?' says he, smiling again, `Maybe it'll be familiar t' you. That is, it will if my wife is usin' it. Orme's my name--Peter Orme. Know a lady of that name? Good.'

"I hadn't said I did, but those eyes of his had seen the look on my face.

"`Friends in New York told me she was here,' he says. `Where is she now? Got her address?' he says.

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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