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A Reversion To Type   By: (1876-1961)

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By Josephine Daskam

Copyright, 1903, by Charles Scribner's Sons

She had never felt so tired of it all, it seemed to her. The sun streamed hot across the backs of the shining seats into her eyes, but she was too tired to get the window pole. She watched the incoming class listlessly, wondering whether it would be worth while to ask one of them to close the shutter. They chattered and giggled and bustled in, rattling the chairs about, and begging one another's pardon vociferously, with that insistent politeness which marks a sharply defined stage in the social evolution of the young girl. They irritated her excessively these little airs and graces. She opened her book with a snap, and began to call the roll sharply.

Midway up the room sat a tall, dark girl, not handsome, but noticeably well dressed. She looked politely at her questioner when spoken to, but seemed as far in spirit as the distant trees toward which she directed her attention when not particularly addressed. She seemed to have a certain personality, a self possession, a source of interest other than collegiate; and this held her apart from the others in the mind of the woman who sat before the desk.

What was that girl thinking of, she wondered, as she called another name and glanced at the book to gather material for a question. What a perfect taste had combined that dark, brocaded vest with the dull, rough cloth of the suit and she dressed her hair so well! She had a beautiful band of pearls on one finger: was it an engagement ring? No, that would be a solitaire.

And all this time she called names from the interminable list, and mechanically corrected the mistakes of their owners. Her eyes went back to the girl in the middle row, who turned her head and yawned a little. They took their education very easily, these maidens.

How she had saved and denied herself, and even consented to the indebtedness she so hated, to gain that coveted German winter! And how delightful it had been!

Almost she saw again the dear home of that blessed year: the kindly housemother; the chubby Mädchen who knitted her a silk purse, and cried when she left; the father with his beloved 'cello and his deep, honest voice.

How cunning the little Bertha had been! How pleasant it was to hear her gay little voice when one came down the shady street!" Da ist sie, ja! " she would call to her mother, and then Hermann would come up to her with his hands outstretched. Had she had a hard day? Was the lecture good? How brown his beard was, and how deep and faithful his brown eyes were! And he used to sing why were there no bass voices in the States?" Kennst du das Land " he used to sing, and his mother cried softly to herself for pleasure. And once she herself had cried a little.

"No," she said to the girl who was reciting, "no, it takes the dative. I cannot seem to impress sufficiently on your minds the necessity for learning that list thoroughly. You may translate now."

And they translated. How they drawled it over, the beautiful, rich German. Hermann had begged so, but she had felt differently then. She had loved her work in anticipation. To marry and settle down she was not ready. It would be so good to be independent. And now But it was too late. That was years ago. Hermann must have found some yellow braided, blue eyed Dorothea by this some Mädchen who cared not for calculus and Hebrew, but only to be what her mother had been, wife and house mother. But this was treason. Our grandmothers had thought that.

She looked at the girl in the middle row. What beautiful hair she had! What an idiot she was to give up four years of her life to this round of work and play and pretence of living! Oh, to go back to Germany to see Bertha and her mother again, and hear the father's 'cello! Hermann had loved her so! He had said, so quietly and yet so surely: "But thou wilt come back, my heart's own. And always I wait here for thee. Make me not wait long!" He had seemed too quiet then too slow and too easily content... Continue reading book >>

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