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Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

The Shadow Of Terror

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"But why wait so long?" I asked. "You need it now. Who ever heard of putting off a vacation until winter!"

"Well, I dunno," mused Blackie. "I just made my arrangements for that time, and I hate t' muss 'em up. You'll say, w'en the time comes, that my plans are reasonable."

There was a sharp ring from the telephone at Blackie's elbow. He answered it, then thrust the receiver into my hand. "For you," he said.

It was Von Gerhard's voice that came to me. "I have something to tell you," he said. "Something most important. If I call for you at six we can drive out to the bay for supper, yes? I must talk to you."

"You have saved my life," I called back. "It has been a beast of a day. You may talk as much and as importantly as you like, so long as I am kept cool."

"That was Von Gerhard," said I to Blackie, and tried not to look uncomfortable.

"Mm," grunted Blackie, pulling at his pipe. "Thoughtful, ain't he?"

I turned at the door. "He-- he's going away day after to-morrow, Blackie," I explained, although no explanation had been asked for, "to Vienna. He expects to stay a year--or two--or three--"

Blackie looked up quickly. "Goin' away, is he? Well, maybe it's best, all around, girl. I see his name's been mentioned in all the medical papers, and the big magazines, and all that, lately. Gettin' t' be a big bug, Von Gerhard is. Sorry he's goin', though. I was plannin' t' consult him just before I go on my--vacation. But some other guy'll do. He don't approve of me, Von Gerhard don't."

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For some reason which I could never explain I went back into the room and held out both my hands to Blackie. His nervous brown fingers closed over them. "That doesn't make one bit of difference to us, does it, Blackie?" I said, gravely. "We're--we're not caring so long as we approve of one another, are we?"

"Not a bit, girl," smiled Blackie, "not a bit."

When the green car stopped before the Old Folks' Home I was in seraphic mood. I had bathed, donned clean linen and a Dutch-necked gown. The result was most soul-satisfying. My spirits rose unaccountably. Even the sight of Von Gerhard, looking troubled and distrait, did not quiet them. We darted away, out along the lake front, past the toll gate, to the bay road stretching its flawless length along the water's side. It was alive with swift-moving motor cars swarming like twentieth-century pilgrims toward the mecca of cool breezes and comfort. There were proud limousines; comfortable family cars; trim little roadsters; noisy runabouts. Not a hoof-beat was to be heard. It was as though the horseless age had indeed descended upon the world. There was only a hum, a rush, a roar, as car after car swept on.

Summer homes nestled among the trees near the lake. Through the branches one caught occasional gleams of silvery water. The rush of cool air fanned my hot forehead, tousled my hair, slid down between my collar and the back of my neck, and I was grandly content.

"Even though you are going to sail away, and even though you have the grumps, and refuse to talk, and scowl like a jabberwock, this is an extremely nice world. You can't spoil it."

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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