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Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

The Absurd Becomes Serious

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I pretended to look up the road, and then I did look in earnest. No wonder the Schimmelpfennig eye and mouth had worn the leering expression. The blond god in gray tweed was swinging along toward me! I knew that he was blond because he wore no hat and the last rays of the October sun were making a little halo effect about his head. I knew that his-gray clothes were tweed because every well regulated hero on a country road wears tweed. It's almost a religion with them. He was not near enough to make a glance at his features possible. I turned around and continued my walk. The yellow cart, with its impudent Schimmelpfennig leer, was disappearing in a cloud of dust. Shades of the "Duchess" and Bertha M. Clay! How does one greet a blond god in gray tweed on a country road, when one has him!

The blond god solved the problem for me.

"Hi!" he called. I did not turn. There was a moment's silence. Then there came a shrill, insistent whistle, of the kind that is made by placing four fingers between the teeth. It is a favorite with the gallery gods. I would not have believed that gray tweed gods stooped to it.

"Hi!" called the voice again, very near now. "Lieber Gott! Never have I seen so proud a young woman!"

I whirled about to face Von Gerhard; a strangely boyish and unprofessional looking Von Gerhard.

"Young man," I said severely, "have you been a-follerin' of me?"

"For miles," groaned he, as we shook hands. You walk like a grenadier. I am sent by the charming Norah to tell you that you are to come home to mix the salad dressing, for there is company for supper. I am the company."

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I was still a bit dazed. "But how did you know which road to take? And when--"

"Wunderbar, nicht wahr?" laughed Von Gerhard. "But really quite simple. I come in on an earlier train than I had expected, chat a moment with sister Norah, inquire after the health of my patient, and am told that she is running away from a horde of blue devils!--quote your charming sister--that have swarmed about her all day. What direction did her flight take? I ask. Sister Norah shrugs her shoulders and presumes that it is the road which shows the reddest and yellowest autumn colors. That road will be your road. So!"

"Pooh! How simple! That is the second`disappointment you have given me to-day."

"But how is that possible? The first has not had time to happen."

"The first was yourself," I replied, rudely.

"I had been longing for an adventure. And when I saw you 'way up the road, such an unusual figure for our Michigan country roads, I forgot that I was a disappointed old grass widder with a history, and I grew young again, and my heart jumped up into my throat, and I sez to mesilf, sez I: `Enter the hero!' And it was only you."

Von Gerhard stared a moment, a curious look on his face. Then he laughed one of those rare laughs of his, and I joined him because I was strangely young, light, and happy to be alive.

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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