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Gilman, James W. (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XIX, Number 5 (March 1920)

Kinne, B. I.
My dear!,   pp. 124-127


Page 124

WISCONSIN LITERARY MAGAZINE
March 1920
My Dear!
T     HE GREAT American odor is spearmint.
But to the great American anything is to be
democratic. Mildread and Edeath are not demo-
cratic. At any college or university pretending to an
aristocratic atmosphere, in the old sense of the word,
they would have been ordinary young ladies of bad
taste. At their western university they were some-
times called "beaners", and sometimes other things.
A "beaner" is a female who is so noticeable as to hit
your "bean" when you look at her. So Mildread and
Edeath thought themselves quite the classy maidens
of Jefferson. Therefore they knew better than to smell
of spearmint. They chewed it in their rooms, but
never in public. They were, however, both afflicted
with bad cases of Azurea. Their friends and others
suffered from it. Azurea is, in its beginning stage, a
nasal weakness. It shows itself first by a slight
tickling or tingling sensation in the nostrils. Later the
disease spreads to other parts of the body, and in ex-
treme cases girls have been known to give up ....
but this is not a medical treatise. It is a true story.
Would that it weren't.
Mildread and Edeath entered the reading room of
the University Library, paused a moment until as
many eyes had looked at them as they could hope for,
toyed with a freshly curled curl or two, gazed around
the room with a look in their eyes indicative of the
mental equivalent of nothing, and finally walked in
easy stages, stopping to "My dear" girls they parti-
cularly didn't like, across the room. They took seats
side by side at a table across the room near the French
windows, from which point they could watch both
entrance doors to the reading room. Mildread noisily
deposited an armful of books, note-books and papers
on the table, dropping her fountain pen on the floor
and her handkerchief on the chair as she did so. They
both giggled. Edeath repeated this performance and
they giggled again. Then Mildread said in a tone
calculated to attract the attention of all students at
the table:
"My dear! You're disturbing everyone, you're
certainly the limit. I'm ashamed of you."
This affected Edeath because they are sisters in
Delta Trite. So she said:
"My dear, I'm no worse than you are. You'd drop
your h's if they were detachable."
This clever comeback from Edeath sent Mildread,
and then Edeath herself, into a paroxysm of
cacophonous laughter. Meanwhile they were piling
American Martin furs, which later in the afternoon
turned out to be plain skunk, muffs and huge neck
pieces, on the table in front of them. Mildread took
her hat off and put it on the fur pile. Edeath didn't.
Edeath's hat was new.
At this point an intelligent looking gentleman, with
a rather weary face, gathered his things together, got
up, looked around the room, and moved to a seat two
tables away.
"My dear," whispered Mildread to Edeath, "do
you suppose we drove him away?"
"I hope so," said Edeath, "he looked like an in-
structor and I simply cannot do any solid work with
one of the things near me."
It will be obvious from now on in this story that at
each wordy pyrotechnic display of this sort from
Edeath, Mildread will respond sorority with, so to
speak, painful laughter.
"My dear," she said, "You're the scream of this
village. Don't say another thing to me this whole
afternoon, I can't stand it. I've simply got to buck
my head off. I'm going to do this French, the whole
play, all my outside readings in History, and at least
two of the assignments in Wadsworth's poetry. My
dear, my work's a perfest mess. Here it is almost two
o'clock, don't speak to me again."
She dived at the harmless French text, a small
volume of about fifty pages, wet her fingers and turned
over some pages, tearing two, and then glared, in a
fairly well done, although stereotyped impersonation
of reading.
"My dear, don't talk to me about pour work," said
Edeath, " I spent at least twelve hours hunting a
pony for this French thing of mine, and this minute
Reddy Dishart told me it is not translated. Wouldn't
that curl your hair?"
When Mildread could get her breath she leaned
over to Edeath, put her arm lovingly across the
shoulder of Edeath's georgette crepe, and looking at-
her book, said:
"My dear, what's it in?"
"French Scurvey, my dear."
Mildread promptly showed signs and sounds of
the expected convulsion, but Edeath stopped her.
"My dear, do you realize they have been reading
the thing in the course for a month? I simply haven't-
had the time to hunt for a pony and now when I do
snatch the time out of the jaws of eternity I find there
isn't one. I'm willing to bet you I'll have to read the
things."
Mildread dripped compassion:
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