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Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

Von Gerhard Speaks

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So it happened that on the afternoon of New Year's day Von Gerhard and I gravely wished one another many happy and impossible things for the coming year, looking fairly and squarely into each other's eyes as we did so.

"So," said Von Gerhard, as one who is satisfied. "The nerfs are steady to-day. What do you say to a brisk walk along the lake shore to put us in a New Year frame of mind, and then a supper down-town somewhere, with a toast to Max and Norah?"

"You've saved my life! Sit down here in the parlor and gaze at the crepe-paper oranges while I powder my nose and get into some street clothes. I have such a story to tell you! It has made me quite contented with my lot."

The story was that of the Nirlangers; and as we struggled against a brisk lake breeze I told it, and partly because of the breeze, and partly because of the story, there were tears in my eyes when I had finished. Von Gerhard stared at me, aghast.

"But you are--crying!" he marveled, watching a tear slide down my nose.

"I'm not," I retorted. "Anyway I know it. I think I may blubber if I choose to, mayn't I, as well as other women?"

"Blubber?" repeated Von Gerhard, he of the careful and cautious English. "But most certainly, if you wish. I had thought that newspaper women did not indulge in the luxury of tears."

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"They don't--often. Haven't the time. If a woman reporter were to burst into tears every time she saw something to weep over she'd be going about with a red nose and puffy eyelids half the time. Scarcely a day passes that does not bring her face to face with human suffering in some form. Not only must she see these things, but she must write of them so that those who read can also see them. And just because she does not wail and tear her hair and faint she popularly is supposed to be a flinty, cigarette-smoking creature who rampages up and down the land, seeking whom she may rend with her pen and gazing, dry-eyed, upon scenes of horrid bloodshed."

"And yet the little domestic tragedy of the Nirlangers can bring tears to your eyes?"

"Oh, that was quite different. The case of the Nirlangers had nothing to do with Dawn O'Hara, newspaper reporter. It was just plain Dawn O'Hara, woman, who witnessed that little tragedy. Mein Himmel! Are all German husbands like that?"

"Not all. I have a very good friend named Max--"

"O, Max! Max is an angel husband. Fancy Max and Norah waxing tragic on the subject of a gown! Now you--"

"I? Come, you are sworn to good-fellowship. As one comrade to another, tell me, what sort of husband do you think I should make, eh? The boorish Nirlanger sort, or the charming Max variety. Come, tell me--you who always have seemed so--so damnably able to take care of yourself." His eyes were twinkling in the maddening way they had.

I looked out across the lake to where a line of white-caps was piling up formidably only to break in futile wrath against the solid wall of the shore. And there came over me an equally futile wrath; that savage, unreasoning instinct in women which prompts them to hurt those whom they love.

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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