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For a moment he could see her as plainly as though she were there in reality. Then the picture grew dim, and nothing remained but the green dripping boughs of the alders. He thanked the voluble informer and rode on slowly, entirely apprehensive now because of the bold thing he was doing. It was March, and apparently it was going to be an advanced one. The maples were feeling the push of the sap against the dark of their bodies.

With this, naturally, she wore her thigh-high lisle stockings into the water. One in her position had an example to set for the young ladies of the social set who were sometimes in these modern times threatening to leave off their hose when they swam. Together they found the meadow-lark’s nest in the grass and the place where the owls had hooted away the nights in the woods for thirty years. She stood with him on the church knoll which looked over the valley and had him repeat with her in German the Psalm of walking through the valley of the shadow of death and yet fearing no evil. Often Amalia talked about it to Fritz, wondering in her mind if he remembered their father’s and Herman’s harsh ways, but saying nothing about it. When Joe was born and those other times of her illnesses, Emil brought home neighbors’ girls to work.

The teacher advanced toward him, ruler in hand, but he broke into a clumping run, passed the bucket of water and was at once out on the moist prairie grass, from which vantage point he turned and gave a delicate thumb-to-nose gesture of farewell. Fritz was raising enough to eat and even selling a little corn. But now that the day had come for schooling and he was sturdily climbing high over the big wheel of the wagon, she called to Fritz to wait, ran and got her shawl and her bonnet, set her Kornmehl maus back on the stove, and went with them. The morning Emil was to start, Fritz brought the team and wagon up to the cabin to take him part of the way. Amalia had his lunch put up in the smallest egg-basket. One would have thought from the contents she expected her small son to stay a week rather than a day.

But that was always the way,–no matter what happened, people never knew it was going to happen, and so they were always caught doing just the ordinary things of life. That was why they had found the people of the Pompeiian ruins in front electricians springfield mo of ovens and at the bath and asleep. Heavens, that was a cheerful thought to drag in just now,–the ruins of Pompeii. It always seemed so senseless and stupid when you were reading it. “What were they doing there?” you always said.

Heat brought death to priceless horses and spring rains brought floods to the lowlands. It took great physical strength and a knack for careful planning to conquer this Nebraska into which these eleven families of settlers had come. But the German Gebhardts and Kratzes and Schaffers and all the others had them both. And then suddenly the strangest of all the experiences was neither Indians nor coyotes, nor yet the long dip and wave of the prairie grass, but the fact that she was to have a child.

With one last exertion of her body she flung herself onto the latch,–into the room,–pushed the door back against the mad white giant, drunk with the power of his strength, trying to follow her into the house. It was as though the house had vanished, leaving her in a welter of flying, whirling clouds of snow. Arms out, she staggered frantically, her eyes and mouth and nostrils filled with the smothering thing. One thought only possessed her, as it has possessed good mothers always,–her child. She must get to little Emil, alone in the cabin, sleeping there in his bed. As she opened the door the fury of the thing was overwhelming.

But nothing could happen here a mile out of Irving, Nebraska, in the peaceful Republican Valley, in this day and age, with electricity and radios and telephones and automobiles and . Moisture was below normal all summer even where the lands like Joe’s were rich and loamy. But farther west where the season was one of drouth, the powdered top soil was lifted into the air with every high prairie wind. It was as though Mother Nature in disturbed mood was beginning to clean her house, to set to right her disarranged plans. With a giant broom she whisked the dirt from those rooms in which she had intended only grazing lands to be. He sat now on the stone-house steps at the farm looking out at the old soap-kettle there in the yard with the dead stems of ancient flowers left in it.

Young Henry Gebhardt wrote all the names of the families on similar pieces. The numbers were placed in one hat,–the names in another. This camp was made in more permanent fashion than those of one-night duration on the way.