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Archive for January, 2013

The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, July 18, 1919

The Tangled Web by Lottie W. Simmons

     Aunt Betty was a good neighbor, a good cook and a good hand to look after the 17-year old niece intrusted to her care – a pretty little miss with a too large appetite for ice cream sodas and the admiring glances of tall young soldiers.

     When bake-a-pie day rolled around it fell to Elizabeth to wrap up the extra half-dozen delicious ones Aunt Betty baked and generously set aside for the soldiers. Right under the crust of the most tempting pie of all she surreptitisously tucked a small strip of paper with the words: “If you like this pie call at 22 Bowdoin street Saturday evening for another.” Aunt Betty always baked on Saturday and spent the evening at the Red Cross rooms, leaving Elizabeth alone to keep house.

     It was a most delicious pie, so thought Lieut. John H-, as he tucked Elizabeth’s note inside his pocket. It was Saturday evening before he thought of it again, at just about the same time that Elizabeth was fluffing her hair and wondering if her scheme for a little fun would bring any results.

     When the bell rang Elizabeth flew to the door, a sweet little pink-faced vision in blue. Lieutenant H- was rather taken aback, but Elizabeth was equal to the occasion. “Oh, good evening,” she trilled. “So you are the one that got my note, and you want another pie? Well, come right in – I have one for you – so glad you liked it.” John H- was by this time thoroughly enjoying the most unusual situation. In a prett room with a pretty girl, tying up an extremely tempting-looking pie, all for him- well, the fates were kind, thought he. “I must compliment you on your skill as a pie-maker, Miss -,” hesitating to learn her name. Elizabeth looked blank for a second; then “F-,” she added glibly. “Elizabeth F-; and now who is going to accept this pie?” Elizabeth thrilled a little when she learned his name and his rank, and quite suddenly decided that he was very, very goodlooking. They chatted pleasantly for a few moments, after which Lieutenant H- very properly took his leave. “You may have another pie next Saturday evening – if you care to call for it,” Elizabeth said coyly at the door, which invitation was most heartily accepted by the tall lieutenant.

     The next morning Aunt Betty discovered that she was a pie short.

     “Sakes alive! you didn’t eat a whole pie last night, did you, Elizabeth?” she asked. “Mercy. no! Aunt Betty. Someone called at the door last night and I gave one away.”

     Aunt Betty had just placed the pieboard on the table when the telephone rang insistently. Elizabeth flew to answer it. “Oh, it’s for you,” she called. “Lizzie B- is sick and they want you to come right over.” “Mercy,” exclaimed Aunt Betty, “and my baking just begun! Well, I must go, that’s plain. You might make that sponge cake. Keep the fire, and don’t let the beans burn.”

     Elizabeth gazed in dismay at Aunt Betty’s figure hurrying down the walk. That meant no pie for Lieutenant H- that night. Oh, if only she could bake one! Whatever had possessed her to let him believe she could- why hadn’t she explained? What would he think of her? Disconsolately she mixed the sponge cake, but was too wise to attempt the pie. Suppertime came, and no Aunt Betty. She telephoned instead saying that she would be home early in the evening. Elizabeth was in despair. Of course auntie wold come while Lieutenant H- was there! What should she do? It was not the radiant Elizabeth of the week before who answered Lieutenant H-‘s ring at the bell, but a very sober little girl in a plain white dress. Hardly was he seated before Aunt Betty bustled in. Elizabeth introduced them the best she could, and Aunt Betty’s frown vanished before the frank smile and cordial handshake of the engaging young soldier. “If your niece will make such delicious pies,” he began when the formalities were over. “Bless my soul,” interrupted Aunt Betty, “did you bake pies today, Elizabeth? You never made pies before in your life-” Looks on the two faces before her stopped her. “Oh, Mr. H- Oh, Aunt Betty,” stammered Elizabeth; then realizing that she must either laugh or cry she began to laugh which was the best thing she could do. She explained everything to her listeners as gracefully as she could, ending with “I don’t think I am a natural-born deceiver- really; still I don’t know why I fooled you both so. Please forgive me.” John H- laughed good-naturedly, seeming neither shocked nor offended, much to Elizabeth’s relief. Aunt Betty, too, was kind as of course she would be. “You surely did weave a ‘tangled web,’ as the poet says, Elizabeth,” she said with a laugh. “There isn’t any pie for you Mr. H- tonight, but you might bring on your sponge cake- I suppose you made one? And if he will come over to dinner next Sunday there will be pie to grace our table no doubt.”

     Lieut. H- was a frequent and welcome guest at the F- home after that. “I wonder which he likes the best,” mused Elizabeth one night, “Aunt Betty’s pies, or me”; but something in his eyes as they met hers across the supper table convinced her that he would still come if Aunt Betty never placed another pie before him; also that it was high time that she was learning how to bake pies herself.

(Copyright 1919 by the McClure Newspaper syndicate.)

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, July 18, 1919

     It is impossible to contemplate the annals of Greek literature and art without being struck with them, as by far the most extraordinary and brilliant phenomena in the history of the human mind. The very language, even in its primitive simplicity, as it came down from the rhapsodists who celebrated the exploits of Hercules and Theseus, was as great a wonder as any it records. All the other tongues that civilized man has spoken are poor and feeble, and barbarous, in comparison with it. Its compass and flexibility, its riches and its powers are altogether unlimited. It not only expresses with precision all that is thought or known at any given period, but it enlarges itself naturally, with the progress of science, and affords, as if without an effort, a new phrase, or a systematic nomenclature whenever one is called for . ~ Thomas Keightly.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, July 18, 1919

“A cliff swallow will eat a thousand flies, mosquitoes, wheat midgets or beetles that injure fruit trees in a day and therefore is to be encouraged,” says the American Forestry association of Washington.

“This bird is also known as the cave swallow, because it plasters its nest on the outside of a barn or other building up under the eaves. Colonies of several thousand will build their nests together on the side of the cliff. These nests shaped like a flattened gourd or water bottle are made of bits of clay rolled into pellets and lined with straw or feathers. This bird winters in the tropics. “

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, July 18, 1919

A leading Omaha business man says that 10-cent street car fares are sure to come in the near future unless conditions change decidedly. Street car employes in an eastern city are demanding 80 cents an hour. In other cities discontent among rapid transit employes is bringing about strikes and increased wages.

The natural conclusion is that, sooner or later, with this condition assuming more alarming proportions almost daily, street car fares will reach a much higher level than at present. The supreme court of Nebraska has already decided that the Omaha company is entitled to more compensation. Although a 6-cent fare has been suggested, it is said that local stockholders will insist on a 7-cent fare. It will not be at all surprising if the latter is granted.

The big question is, how far is this thing going before the limit is reached. There are numerous small lines of business which will not be able to stand the squeeze much longer. Sooner or later a panic will result, the like of which the world has never experienced. There is no wish to oppose reasonable wages for labor, skilled or unskilled. There has got to be a limit somewhere, however.

A 10-cent fare in Omaha is not unreasonable, in the light of recent developments, and it is no wise an impossiblity. People who have enjoyed cheap transportation so long will soon learn to bring some extra pennies when the get on street cars, just the same as they do when they go after cigars, ice cream sodas and other similar articles.

Like other institutions which have have doubled their outlay in money without increasing their income, the street car company has actually cut their earnings in half, which has not only stopped all dividend payments, but has actually threatened the solvency of their property. Don’t be surprised if you are soon called upon to pay a 10-cent street car fare.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, July 18, 1919

Woman Evangelist Was Evidently Aware of the Fact, and Turned It to Advantage.

     In an Indiana city, not long ago, a woman evangelist held a revival meeting. She took no collections while the services were in progress, but on the final night she announced that a free-will offering would be in order. Interest in the meetings had been growing and the church was crowded to capacity. The ushers, with contribution plates, started in their rounds. The evangelist said she instructed them to say “Amen” whenever 25 cents was dropped into the plate: when 50 cents the usher was to say “Hallelujah!” and when $1 the usher was say “Glory hallelujah!” in a loud tone. The collection amount to $1,100.

     If there had been no emulation the total might have been small, but the evangelist knew that no person with money to give would be content with an “Amen” when a neighbor, sitting in the next pew, was acclaimed with a “Glory hallelujah!”  The same principle holds good in everyday life. If one man has a fine vegetable garden it is an incentive to his neighbors. The interest women have in pretty frocks is largely due to somebody getting one and making the others desire something equally becoming. Men would care little for position if it were not for the age-old lure that makes them want a better job than the other fellow.

     Without such emulation there would be nothing to drag men and women away from the commonplace things of life. There would be nothing to induce one boy to seek for the head of his class or persuade him that he should run for president later on. Many, of course, are content to have “Amen” said to their efforts in life, but more wanto to hear the “Glory hallelujah!” ~ Indianapolis News

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, July 18, 1919

Until the summer of 1878 such a thing as a “dust explosion” was unknown. No doubt many such explosions had occurred, but they were of small account and no investigation followed to disclose the true nature of the case.

In that summer the Washburn flouring mills at Minneapolis, then the largest in the world, exploded with terrific violence.

Several massive buildings, with granite walls two feet thick and of particularly strong mill construction, were demolished as if by an immense charge of dynamite.

The flame of the first explosion was communicated to two other mills, which were destroyed in the conflagration which followed.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, July 18, 1919

London Writer Says That is the Cause of Their Tireless and Ceaseless Toil.

Men are amazingly and amusingly ignorant with respect to the mysterious life led by their mothers, wives, daughters and aunts. For years at a time a man may go on blindly with his work and his play and remain in total ignorance about the activities of these inexplicable beings. He is dimly and dubiously aware that they are not idle. In his paroxysms in intuition he guesses that his comfort and even his happiness in some fashion may depend upon their labors. But the greater part of his existence is passed in a sublime ignoring of all the immense miracles wrought by women every day of his life.

I have come to the conclusion that women are the loneliest of God’s creatures, and that their loneliness is the great first cause of their tireless and ceaseless toil, James Douglas writes in London Opinion. Nearly every woman goes about with a lonely look on her face and the older she grows the lonlier she looks. There are very few lonely men, for men are gregarious. They are also, upon the whole, less imaginative than women. They live more on the surface. They do not possess that quality of power of living a secret inner life of contemplation and broodingly retrospective passion. Men live in and for the past and the future. They are at war with their environment. Like Noah in “The Doll’s House,” they are always waiting for the miracle to happen. One seldom sees the print of tragic intensity on a man’s face. One seldom sees anything else on a woman’s. It is this veiled tumult of the soul that drives women into frantic and feverish labors.

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