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They said just what she had known they would say, but though it is not really believable, she hardly cared.
For two weeks she had helped Doc Cranberry-and Asa-fight for Asa's life. She had been up night and day, sacrificing her bed for the kitchen-sofa, her sleep for snatched dozes, her meals for snacks, and in the store her customers, except those whom the young assisant could serve. There was the door to answer, too. Some people called only from curiosity; but it was surprising how many were really concerned about the sick man, and every day came flowers and fruit and custards, especially after he began to mend, and Asa did really begin to mend.
The day that Doc Cranberry pronounced him out of danger Myra said to herself, "Well, I guess you kind of get used to folks, and every man has a right to live, specially when he wants to like he does."
Yes, Asa loved life. But one day when he was getting his strength back he said:
"Myry, you been so awful' good to me, you 've worn yourself to a shadow, and when I seen how you was working so hard to keep me alive, I said to myself, 'Yes, I will get well; it would be a mean, low trick to die after all she's doing to save me.' And, Myry, it was really your wanting to have me live; that had just as much to do with it as Doc Cranberry. Yes, and more. And when I'm well, I'm going to show you I know how to be grateful."
She went out to the kitchen, and all at once she felt her gaunt cheeks wet with hot brine.
"Oh, I'm just played out and nervous," she thought angrily. Then she
began to brew him a special broth with almost fierce solicitude as to its strength and clarity, setting aside a bowl of chicken soup left by a neighbor that morning.
"He needs beef," she said firmly.
When the broth was made, she took it to him, and I wish I could convince you that there was a tender light, like a maternal glow, in her eyes, and that her voice was, though gruff, tender.
Now, a look like that is not easy to manufacture, and as she continued to wear it not only at home, but abroad, it began to be her unconscious witness, the testimony to a miracle which Rossville had to acknowledge the miracle of a change in heart. And the heart, then, existed despite their former theory that Myra's anatomy did not boast that organ.
"She certainly must be stuck on him," they said, marveling.
But there are always scoffers. These had their chance before long, though that should be approached through the channel of Asa.
By March he was seen every fine day on the front porch in the sun, swathed in blankets. At the end of the month he was walking, and in April Myra took him to Lancaster in the little car. She did n't know the nature of his business there, and she forebore to ask. After that first time he drove himself over.
One morning about the end of April Myra was in the store when he came in with a mysterious and very excited air. She turned, smiling. Yes, Myra had developed a smile. It was n't much yet, for it was still very young in the world. The chief point is that it made her almost young herself.
"Got something to show you, Myry." He held a paper.
She smiled again, but merely said: "Oh, is that so?" and picked a thread from his sleeve. "Well, what is it, Asa?" Then she saw his hand tremble, and she said quickly, "What is it?" "Something kind of nice." His voice trembled. He shakily unfolded the paper, a long document. Neither he nor Myra noticed the young girl assistant behind the counter. "It's "It 's about the patents for my pump." "Pump? What pump?" "Why, one I invented." His smirk blended extreme pride and tremulous suspense. His eye was like the wild tail of a dog who has treed a-you can't guess what, but just look up there and see!
"But what is it? What 's this?" She had caught the excitement without understanding its source.
"That's the deed of transference, and this here 's the the check-ten thousand dollars, yes, Myry, hope I may die ten thousand, cash, in the Lancaster Bank." After swallowing he added, "You see, this was the transaction I was busy on when I got sick." Myra also was swallowing, and she was as white as a sheet; but at that moment the reporter chap came from Lancaster to write Asa up for a big feature in the morrow's "Herald."
The scoffers tried to say that she knew about the pump all the time, and that was why she saved him; but then came the evidence of the young girl assistant in the shop, who had witnessed Myra's thunderstruck amazement. And then came Hattie Buck.
"He told me, Asa did, all about his pump the day of the blizzard, and he said he was n't going to tell her till it succeeded, and then he was going to surprise her. And I swore I 'd never breathe it to a soul, and I did n't. You folks ought to be ashamed. Even supposing Myra did used to be kind of hard-like, getting a good husband makes a woman mighty different, and I guess some of you are jealous because she got him instead of you, now he's a genius and wealthy and famous all over the State."
Some one was rash enough to ask her why she herself had n't married him.
"Me? I would have took him if I could of got him—and if Jeffrey Simms had n't already asked me. I guess I might as well tell it now as any other time; Jeffrey and me 's engaged, you know."
One day Myra said to her husband: "Asa, don't you think we ought to give a real nice wedding present to Hattie and Jeff?”
"Why, yes, Myry, we ought to do that," Asa said, pleased. "I always did like Hattie, and Jeff, too." Myra nodded.
Then they went to Lancaster to buy the wedding present, and they bought also anniversary presents for each other, as they had been married just a year.
Yes, Asa lived a long time. But he would do that, anyhow; he was that sort of man.
The Struggle for Constantinople
By HERBERT ADAMS GIBBONS
F a new Rip Van Winkle had gone comrades-in-arms in undertaking a
I to sleep at any time in tad gone
teenth century and awoke to-day, one column in the morning newspaper would afford him no sensation of surprise. Were his eye to fall first upon a despatch from Constantinople, he would read it without discovering his long sleep. Metternich and Castlereigh and Talleyrand, Palmerston and Napoleon III, Bismarck and Disraeli and Shuvaloff, would find history repeating itself with a vengeance in the Golden Horn. Throughout the World War and during the three years that have followed the collapse of Turkey, European diplomacy has been running true to form in the Near East. This is a peculiarly distressing and hopeless statement to make more than two years after the creation of the League of Nations. But the truth does not set us free unless we know the truth.
Some of my friends who believe that the world was regenerated by reason of our victory over the Germans, and that the high principles of President Wilson are triumphing in international affairs, tell me that the Near-Eastern situation is simply one failure which should not discredit the peace settlement as a whole. One hears them argue on the platform and one sees their articles, especially "letters to the editor," flooding the press. We cannot expect perfection, they say, and the United States should be ashamed not to have gone forward with our
new era in world affairs. Differences of opinion among the Entente powers? Friction in the Near East? Inability to agree upon a common policy to adopt toward Turkey? These are minor matters. The great fact is the League of Nations, which is functioning.
The trouble is that the Near-Eastern situation is not a minor matter. The bloody wars of the nineteenth century had their origin in international rivalry in the Near East. The inability of Turkey to retain her European provinces was the direct cause of the recent World War. The war began in the Balkans, and there was no hope of its ending until a decisive victory had been won in the Balkans. Nor is there hope of peace until peace is made in the Balkans. The future of Constantinople is the dominating factor in Balkan unrest in the autumn of 1921, just as it was in the autumn of 1914.
The League of Nations has no chance to live in the present international atmosphere. The United States Senate has had nothing to do with its success or its failure. The statesmen who made the Treaty of Versailles and the other treaties of 1919 and 1920 did not let the League of Nations enter into their calculations. So long as public opinion in Great Britain, France, and Italy supports, or at least tolerates, the diplomacy of European statesmen, the