FICTION

The Earth Will Blossom Agin

His son’s war overseas and Clem’s struggle at home had the same end—a new future for the new generation

ALICE LENT COVERT October 15 1944
FICTION

The Earth Will Blossom Agin

His son’s war overseas and Clem’s struggle at home had the same end—a new future for the new generation

ALICE LENT COVERT October 15 1944

The Earth Will Blossom Agin

His son’s war overseas and Clem’s struggle at home had the same end—a new future for the new generation

ALICE LENT COVERT

AFTER the visit to Dr. Hansen, Susan remembered with shamed and angry frustration what she had been thinking that morning as she did up the work. When the war is orer and Hob comes home, everything will be the same again. There would be the boy ami his father working the land and Susan caring for the big house and doing for her two men. In the summers there would be the smell of new hay and the vaguely exciting bustle of harvesters and the long cool evenings. In the winters the blazing fire and the checker games and the pleasant, unexpected visits from neighbors.

Did 1 think one kind of life just went on and on into eternity?

She stared out the car window at the red land slipping past, holding her hands tightly together in her lap so that they would not fidget or tremble. Long, long ago Grandmother Orville used to quote a saying. Susan had forgotten its exact words but it meant never be positive about anything; to be positive robs being right of its triumph and makes being wrong too hard to bear.

Too hard to bear, too hard to bearThe words made a little chant in her head and she twisted it sharply as if to rid herself of them. The car turned in at a whitewashed gate and they were on Bryant land, and she turned to look at her husband. Clem’s face was set in stony blankness and he drove automatically, seeing nothing.

She remembered the time Clem had spanked Bob for swinging on that whitewashed gate and breaking one of the supports. Bob had shouted in absurd, tearstained defiance, “When I am big and have a little buy I’ll build him lots ’n’ lots of gates and he can swing on ’em and all his friends can swing on ’em ...”

In wild supplication she thought, come back now! You can swing on the gate as many, many times as you choose!

But Bob was big now, a tall boy who had put on a khaki suit and gone away. And Clem . . . Her eyes dwelt reluctantly on Clem. It couldn't ever be the same ¡or you now, could it, not eten if Hob were to come hornet

It had been Susan who insisted on the trip to Dr. Hansen’s when the pains in Clem’s shoulders and chest began occurring more frequently. “Like it or not, you’re going to see him today.”

It was morning and Clem had just, come from the milking. He sat before the fire, warming his hands, his cheeks ruddy from the crisp air outside, and he looked the picture of health— big, strong, vital but she remembered the night before; the way he had twisted and turned and gasped out in his sleep as if the pain cut his breath short.

“Dr. Hansen!” he snorted. ‘There's nothing the matter with me ...” If he would have objected

further a glance at his wife stopped him. Susan rarely became adamant but when she did it was pretty final. A little later he heard her saying into the telephone: “Dr. Hansen, this is Susan Bryant. Clem has been having some trouble with his chest and I'm going to bring him in to see you.” Then she laughed and said. “Of course! He’s grumpy as a bear about it! All the same, Fm going to bring him in.”

He was cross when she came back into the kitchen. “He’ll probably prescribe castor oil. I won't take it !” Susan smiled complacently. Old Dr. Hansen had delivered Clem right here in this house, 41 years before. Clem had been his very first baby and she thought the doctor must be rightly proud of him, the way he had grown into such a big handsome man. And such a good farmer, the way his father was before him. She said only, “Don’t make such a fuss.”

“But I’m not sick! Just because I have a twinge now and then ...” He went to her big stone cookie jar, selected a cruller and chewed it vengefully. “Probably rheumatism.”

“Then he can give you something for it.”

Doing her cleaning in the living room a little later she paused to smile at the pictured soldier boy who grinned back at her from the mantel “Remember . . .” She addressed the picture aloud. It was a habit of hers since Bob was gone, talking to him as though he were there in the room. “Remember what a t me we had with your father the time lie broke his wrist on the haying machine? You’d have thought doomsday had come for certain, just because he had to miss a few weeks’ work around the farm! Well, lie’s just as big a baby as ever!”

rl he soldier’s grin was sympathetic and Susan regarded him fondly. He was a younger, thinner edition of Clem, with his dark level eyes and nice features. He had Clem’s stubbornness too. As a boy lx» had been a little hard to manage sometimes, and rebellious, so that his folks had worried about him. A few of his wild pranks had been a bit serious. (Like the time he took the car without permission and wrecked it and John Lyter threatened to sue Clem because his daughter Dorothy was bruised up.

They would have liked him to be something really important, like a doctor or a lawyer, maybe, but he had always been contemptuous of study. Hunting and fishing, those were the things he liked and it had been apparent that he wanted nothing more than to spend his whole life on a farm, with a gun and a rod within easy reach.

It was only two months ago, thought Susan, that he was here, in this house. I heard him laugh and talk and carry on the way he used to, but even then he was like a stranger, looking so big and grownup in his uniform. The thought worried her vaguely and she put it

aside. She had seen little enough of Bob on his furlough. Much of his time he had spent with Carol Anders, a girl he had known from grammar school. Carol was slight and pretty and her looks were deceiving because she was a tomboy from the heart out and as wild over hunting and fishing as Bob was. Susan suspected that she was wild over Bob too and that didn’t set so well with her. “It isn’t that she’s not a lovely girl,” she sometimes said, uncertainly. “Only . . ” Only her mother had been dead for

years and her father was Dodd Anders. That made it bad. Every village had it’s ne’er-do-well-harddrinking, hard-gambling, slightly unsavory all around and Clayton had Dodd Anders. It was a shame that be had to be Carol’s father.

Bob always defended her staunchly. “If you think she’s anything like her old man, you’re wrong. She’s swell, honest as the day is long. She’d have made a great fellow !”

Well, Susan comforted herself, that was likely the answer. Bob looked on her almost as another boy. Time enough for worrying about serious girl business when the war was over and he was home again.

It was then she had looked through the long windows at the land, lying serenely quiet beneath the winter sun, and thought, When the war is over and Hob comes home we'll all be together again and nothing will be changed. Everything will be the same.

^LEM refused to take his visit to Dr. Hansen ^ seriously. “Check me over good, doc, and prove to her there’s nothing wrong. I think she’s got her eye on some young farmer and wants to get rid of me!” Susan said, in mild indignation, “Shame on you, Clem Bryant!” and both men laughed at her. They chatted a little, as old friends will. Dr. Hansen asked after Bob. He had brought Bob into the world, too, and he was proud of the youngster who was now overseas. “We think he’s in Italy,” said Susan. “We aren’t sure, of course. Naturally they won’t let him tell us. It’s six weeks now since he shipped.”

“We got a letter from him only the other day,” Clem offered, “telling us he’d arrived safely.”

The doctor was getting things out of his gleaming white cabinet. “Been in the service nearly a year now, hasn’t he?”

“Eleven months,” said Clem, “and he’s already a corporal.”

Susan felt a complacent glow. It was nice to be proud of your son and tell about the things he did. If you worried about what might happen to him, you didn’t speak of that. It was something that couldn’t happen, because it mustn’t. You must believe that it wouldn’t.

“They were awfully good to him in camp,” she said. “He had three furloughs, or whatever you call them. He got to stay at home 12 days at the last.”

The doctor prodded and punched about on Clem and listened to his chest with a stethoscope. He took his blood pressure with a gadget that reminded Susan of a bellows, and then he listened some more. He asked some questions that seemed to her not to make much sense.

Quite suddenly she saw that all the pleasant laughter was gone from his face. Clem chuckled and said, “Well, doc, which is it, colic or dyspepsia? Or are they the same thing?”

The doctor said nothing. He listened again. He asked Clem some questions about his breathing, how it felt after he’d ciimbed a hill, things like that. Then Dr. Hansen sent Susan out of the room and she went, dumbly obedient, feeling a strange terror climbing inside her.

After a long time she was permitted to come back in. Clem’s face was white, and he was angry. He looked at Susan and said loudly, “It’s a lot of bushvvah! There’s nothing v rong with mv heart!”

There was, the doctor said quietly, something bad.

There were medical terms for it, and he pronounced them. They did not register on Susan’s frightened mind.

All of a sudden Clem asked more quietly, “How long?”

“Maybe years. Maybehardly any time at all. It depends almost entirely on you.”

Susan thought, No! no! no! They can’t both go away and leave me!

That was selfish, of course. She forced herself to pay attention. Rest, quiet, no excitement, these were the things Clem must have. It was incredible. This morning he was a strong young man. Now he was young, but no longer strong, a man who would never be strong again.

“I could prescribe pills,” said the doctor wearily, “but they wouldn’t do much good. At this stage of the game nothing but quiet.” His eves, watching Clem’s face, had a worried look.

Susan thought, you brought Clem into the world. Now you’re an old man, almost ready to die, and you’ve just told Clem that his heart is worn out and that he may be—ready to die too.

Dr. Hansen was a kindly man and a lifelong friend. Why must she feel this faint stirring of resentment against him? How many people had hated a doctor because he told them the truth?

“I don’t believe it!” Clem’s voice tried hard for conviction. “I’ve got thirty good years left in me.”

“Maybe.” Long ago, probably, the old man had learned the urgent need for truth. “If you do as I say. Otherwise, no. It’s tricky, this heart business. Many a time it’s never even suspected until it’s too late. You’re , lucky to have caught it in time.”

“Lucky!” His voice rose. “You call it lucky if my farm lies out there and goes to rot? I’ve worked it into one of the best pieces of land in the country! Worked it, you understand, not sat around and wet-nursed myself because I had a pain once in awhile!”

“I’m sorry, Clem. You’ll have to get a good man and content yourself with giving orders. Lots of successful men retire at your age. In your own line you’ve been successful ...”

Susan shook her head. With Clem the land had not been just a way of making a living. It was his living, his life. It was the sort of thing a man loved, wanted to have and hold until the day he died.

“A good man? A good farmer?”

Clem laughed his contempt. “The only good farmers around here own their own land and haven’t got time for other folks’ worries! The young ones are in the Army.”

Mildly, the doctor suggested,

“Well, there’s Gandy Davis. He’s a right willing worker. Hadn’t been for so many kids and so much sickness in his family he might have got ahead.

The way he jumps around from one place to another I’d think he’d be glad of a chance to settle permanently. You’ve got a good tenant place, haven’t you?”

Glem snorted. “Gandy Davis! He may be a good worker but he’s got about as much initiative as a—a flea!

A man would have to ride herd on him every minute. I’d rather sell the place!”

“That might be better. Get yourself a place in town. Have a garden if you want it, maybe a cow ...”

“A garden in town!” shouted Clem. “A cow! What do I look like? A doddering old pensioner?” He grabbed his hat and strode toward the door. But there he turned to say in a quieter voice, “I’m sorry, doc. I had no business sounding off at you like that!”

Dr. Hansen smiled. “That’s all right. If I had a dollar a pound for all the steam that’s been let off at me I could retire myself.” Then he answered the question that had been in Susan’s mind. “I’ve been a

doctor for darned near half a century and 1 still get sick and tired of having to break bad news to folks!”

Going home there was so little Susan could say to Clem. Things were so changed now. It was unbelievable that in a few short hours they could have changed so. Even the land had an alien look, because it was no longer Clem’s, not the way land belonged to a man who could work it, feel it respond and grow.

“Gandy Davis,” said Clem, bitterly. “I’d rot in hell first!”

It was the most profane thing she had ever heard him say.

SHE made no protest when he put the farm up for sale. If he’d just have waited,she thought. Maybe a little later, when he didn’t feel so bitter . . . But it was Clem’s problem. If he felt he could not bear watching someone else take over it was his right to say. She said nothing, either, about the house they took Continued on. page 22

The Earth Will Blossom Again

Continued from page 9

in Clayton. Not that she felt it was an unfriendly house, too square and gaunt, and with the ugly, high-ceilinged rooms seeming stark and unlivable. Nor that the bare back yard was unbearable when she liad always been able to look through her kitchen window and see her garden growing. I’ll not make it harder for Clem . . .

“We’ll make it fine here,” she told j him. I wonder what Hob would think of it.

She scrubbed and polished and j sewed cretonnes, but the gaunt house defied her efforts and remained an alien j thing. The living room was tidy, a comfortless place without a heart. The sitting room, for all its blazing log fire, the gay chairs and the spotlessly crisp curtains, strange and withdrawn. One day, studying it, Susan thought, it’s that telephone! I hate those oldfashioned upright things.

„ She remembered that Ella Larch, out on the farm next to theirs, had j knitted a “fascinator” for her tele; phone, a gay knit-wool thing that had camouflaged it, made it look as though the cover concealed something mysterious and exciting. Digging in her trunk, she unearthed a ball of blue wool, and her white bone needles. She knitted eight circular rows that night after supper. At the farm we were more modern. We had one of those cradle telephones just like in the city apartments. I guess it’s looking at this monstrosity that makes me remember.

Knitting made her remember the sweater and muflier she had made for Bob for Christmas. How long ago was it now? How long had they been here now? The days in the house in Clayton seemed to run together, confusedly. Somehow she had misunderstood the overseas mailing regulations and the day she had taken the box out to the highway to catch the mailman, he looked sadly at her and said, “Lord, Mrs. Bryant, I’m sorry, but it’s too late for overseas delivery. It’s past the deadline.”

Remembering it hurt. Bob had been gone such a little while, and it was his first Christmas away from home.

Susan spread the tiny circlet over the ball of yarn, secured it with the needles and put it in the basket.

Clem was like a man in a daze. For the most part he sat around the house, looking at nothing and saying little. The dullness inside Susan gave way to sharp panic. Pretty soon, she thought, someone will buy the farm and then you’ll realize what you’ve done! You can’t give it up, not the land that was your father’s, and yours, and that would have gone on to Bob some day. But Clem appeared to have given up completely. To Susan the name Acme Real Estate became the polite name for a concern peopled with ogres. Her hatred for them was impersonal; they were only an inhuman medium for the final shattering of a lifetime’s work and hope. One day she said tentatively.

“Bob will be disappointed when he comes back and finds you’ve sold the place.”

Clem raised lack-lustre eyes. “When he comes back ...” he said vaguely, and shrugged. “A man’s a fool to plan for the future. Like it was something he could reach out and control with his hands.”

She watched him with pity and anxiety. How strange, she thought, when you love a man. It isn’t things that happen to you that matter. Things can only happen to you through him. It’s seeing how Clem has been defeated that puts the hurt in me.

Clem moved restlessly and she thought, I mustn’t keep looking at him. He’ll know that I’m feeling sorry for him. It isn’t good to feel sorry for a grown man. It only adds to his defeat.

She tried to put her mind on other things. Bob’s letter. Sentences running on. “Seems a little silly to be playing war games right here in a place where the real thing can happen any time, but I suppose we have to keep in practice ...” Complaining in humorous vein about a long hike with full equipment. Pack, gas mask, rifle.

She wondered how Bob looked in a gas mask. Well, she thought, that’s silly. You don’t think of a gas mask like it was a new hat.

Gas masks made all men look alike, weird, unearthly creatures sprung suddenly from another world. They gave all soldiers a sinister look, ally and foe alike.

She remembered Bob’s tonsillectomy when he was eight and the terrified way he had shrunk from the Éther cone. “It smothers me, mom!” Knowing that the cone was to render him unconscious she had shared his terror.

Stirring, she said, “I think I’d like a cup of coffee. Shall I bring you one?” “No,” Clem said. “No, thanks.” His tone was blank.

Because she could not reach him sharp words rose to her lips. She wanted to say, “We’re a lot better off than a lot of people! If we didn’t keep the farm, even . . . well, this house is good and tight and it’s got decent garden space and a front lawn where you can putter about. It’s a lot better than a lot of folks have!” But she could not say it. Clem was used to doing a strong man’s work. What use had he for a lawn to putter around in?

Clem said suddenly, on a savage note, “What good would the place be for the boy by the time Gandy Davis had messed it up for God knows how long? He’d rather start from the ground up.”

Maybe, she thought. You’re a lot alike, you and Bob. I guess maybe he’d understand why you’d rather sell it. Only it’s the place where you were born and raised, where Bob was born and raised. How can you bear seeing it fall into strange hands?

There were things she wanted to say, vague things crowding at her mind about a man’s failure only being inside him. But she could not. Sermons were for cowards and weaklings. Clem was neither, he was only a tired man who had been dealt a mortal hurt.

Silently she went into the kitchen. There were tears inside her but they did not reach her eyes. For so long she had been happy and there had been no need for tears, and even when Bob went away there had been her faith that he would come back and things would be the same.

I seem to hace forgotten how to cry!

The days dragged their weary lengths out into another week. Susan talked to Dr. Hansen.

“I’m worried about him. He just sits and stares at nothing.”

“He’s grieving,” said the old man. “It isn’t good for him. There’s hardly a bigger shock to a strong, proud man than to find that he’s finished with being strong.”

“No one knows. He doesn’t want anyone to know about it—about his heart. It’s as if he’s ashamed.” She made a vague little gesture. “The boy will come back and find the farm gone, and his father so changed.”

“Have you talked to him about keeping the farm?”

She shook her head. “He doesn’t seem to hear the things I say.”

On Saturday Acme telephoned. They had a prospect, they said. He was Continued on page 24

Continued from page 22 driving out on Sunday to look the place over. If it turned out to be what he wanted the price was about right. Clem said all right, disinterestedly. Susan got up and went quietly out of the room.

On Sunday Susan fixed a chicken, with the nut dreasing that Clem liked. He left it almost untouched on his plate. She saw, fearfully, that his face was grey and drawn with sleeplessness. You’re killing yourself! Silently she implored him. Don’t you see? Nothing is worth it, not even the land!

But she knew that it was not true. The land was Clem. Without one, how could there be the other?

CHAROL ANDERS came in the afternoon. Susan let her in, surprised. She had not seen the girl since Bob went away.

“I heard you were living in town now,” Carol said.

“It was nice of you to come.” Susan led her into the sitting room. Clem greeted her briefly and returned to his musing. The girl stood before the fire, refusing a chair. Her face was pale and something about her appearance was puzzling to Susan.

“Maybe you won’t be so pleased when you know why I’ve come.” Even Clem’s attention was arrested by the odd, tight note in her voice. “Bob and I . . . ” She drew her breath in quickly. “Bob and I are married. We married a week before he went away the last time. And I’m going to have a baby.” Susan and Clem did not look at each other. In the little silence that fell Susan could hear a snowbird twittering in silly fashion outside the window. Bob is away, she thought, across the 82as. Clem is sick and he is going to sell the home we have lived in all these years. This girl is the little tomboy we have known since she was a baby and I thought that Bob looked on her as a

fellow. Only she is grown and Bob is grown. She is Bob’s wife and she is going to have his baby . . .

Every thing will be the same! She felt a sick desire to laugh.

“My father,” said the girl, thinly, “has been furious ever since he found out. I wouldn’t have told you, only he said that if I didn’t he would. It seems he expects you to do something. I don’t.” Her face hardened. “I know what you think of us. Of my father. I don’t make any excuses for him. He’s what he is. It’s just that I thought if you had to know, you should hear it from me.”

Susan found her voice. “How long have you known about the baby?”

“For several weeks.”

“Have you written Bob about it?”

“I don’t want to worry him. His letters are cheerful, but I think . . she considered her words carefully, “—that they are a little too cheerful. He wants me to believe that he isn’t in any danger.”

Watching her face, Susan thought, she’s been worrying about him, night and day. How strange that there was someone else with the right to worry about him and I didn’t even know. “You’ve heard from him since he went overseas?”

“I’ve had five letters.” Carol looked leveily at Susan and said with faint pride, “He asked me to marry him when he was home on his first furlough but I thought it was better to wait a little. Then, when he learned he was shipping out, I was afraid to wait any longer. We were old enough to know our own minds. And when there’s war, and from one day to the next you never can be quite sure ...”

“Why didn’t he tell us?”

“I think he meant to, at first, but I asked him to wait.”

When he was at home, Susan was thinking, I fussed around him like he Continued on page 26

Continued from page 24 was still a child. Scolded him about smoking, about his rubbers, and changing his underwear, and eating too much sweet stuff. And at that very moment he was a man grown, with a wife! I’ve hardly the right to be angry because he didn’t tell me, because he wouldn’t think I could understand. In a way it’s our fault. Because he was a little careless about things we preached at him sometimes.

Carol said, “I didn’t think you’d approve. I suppose I couldn’t hold it against you for knowing that Bob could have done better.”

Clem stirred and said suddenly, “Do you love him?” and waited absorbedly for her answer. The girl said, “More than anything in the world,” and the big man shook his head.

“Then I don’t see how he could have done any better.”

The slight body seemed to sag then and the defiance was gone from the girl’s face, leaving it young and defenseless. “Thank you,” she said, more whispering than speaking aloud.

“You and he had made plans for the future, I suppose?”

Susan listened to him, her mind groping through surprise. At least, she thought, the girl has jarred him out of his daze !

“He wanted to come back and farm with you. He said he believed you’d let us live in the little house on your land and ...” She gestured helplessly. “We never thought there might be a baby. Not so soon.”

“Did he talk much about the farm?”

“Oh, yes, a lot! It’s what he’s living for, coming back here.”

You see, Clem. It’s like a tradition, that land, handed down from father to son. Do you see, now?

“You ought to come and stay with us,” he said heavily. “You and Mother would be company for each other, and there’s plenty of room in the house.”

Susan waited. What house? Are you going to tell her that you’re selling the farm and that there won’t be any place for Bob to come back to?

Carol studied his face. This was a proud girl, this wife of Bob’s, here in his parents’ house through no choosing of her own. She had believed they would not approve of her and she was not one to ask favors, nor take them if they were too lightly or thoughtlessly bestowed. Clem cleared his throat. “The boy was an idiot for not telling us. About time he settled down anyhow. And in Bob’s home. Where else would you belong?”

“Thank you.” Carol smiled for the first time since she had entered the room. “I couldn’t, hut thank you for asking me.”

I like her, Susan thought, suddenly. She gives you a feeling of warmth and genuineness! And she had a sense of being left out. “I’m going to write to Bob tonight,” she said impulsively “I’m going to write that you’ve told us and that we think it’s splendid, for both of you!”

Carol said only, “Thank you,” but she said it in a way that told Susan and Clem it came straight from the bottom of her heart.

She promised to come and see Susan often and let Susan show her how to make baby things. “I’ve a whole boxful of perfectly good dresses and didies and things that were Bob’s! I’ll just dig them out,” Susan said.

Carol went away, not looking defiant or frightened any more.

IT WAS astonishing then how Susan discovered that she had not lost her tears. She wept against Clem’s shoulder until she was spent and weak. “What

must the boy have thought of us, knowing that even if he was man enough in the eyes of his country to go away and fight, we still looked on him as a child and he couldn’t tell us.”

“Hush,” said Clem. “Everything will be all right now.” Then he chuckled. “That young ’un! Putting one over like that. A married man with a full-fledged family, right under our very noses. You know ...” He lifted his head and stared into space. “He isn’t a very talkative kid. You’d never have known he set such store by coming back to the farm. I sort of figured that by the time the war was over he’d have decided on something he wanted to do.” Susan quietened then, listening and waiting. That was it, she thought. When the war came on he thought Bob was lost to the farm, and then, when he couldn’t work the land himself any longer, and there was no one to hand it on to . . .

“I been thinking,” Clem said. “You take a kid . . . town is no place for him when he gets big enough to get around. He needs a farm to run loose on. Gandy Davis is no great shakes as a farmer but if a man sort of kept an eye on him . . .” He looked down at her. “You don’t like living in town very well anyhow, do you?”

She smiled secretly against his coat front. “Not very well.”

“The girl will come to us,” he said with confidence. “She’ll just need a little time to get used to the idea. You write to Bob and get him to talk to her about it too.” He added, thoughtfully, “She’s a pretty little thing, isn’t she?”

“Pretty as a picture. I imagine they’ll have a beautiful baby.”

She sat contentedly beside the fire, listening to Clem boom into the telephone, “Conover? This is Bryant. Sorry to bother you at home but I was wondering about that prospect that was going out to look at the place . . . Yeah. Well, you drop him . . . That’s what I said. The place isn’t for sale! I’ll see your commission is taken care of.”

He came back to the fire and sat down again, staring into the flames. The blankness was gone from his eyes and Susan knew he was seeing himself going around the farm, keeping an eye on Gandy; explaining to a small boy how the hay machine worked, and what made the meadow smell so sweet when it was wet, and why the field lark built her nest in the ground.

And all about them the earth would blossom again, and thrive and grow, alien no longer, because it was waiting in readiness for a new generation of Bryants. And in the big yellow house Susan and Carol would do for their menfolks and Carol would learn from Susan the things that Susan had learned from Clem’s mother.

It was the beginning of a new cycle springing from the old, in which nothing was the same but nothing had changed. Not really.

Anne Dorothea Is No Lady

When the news came through that Warrant Officer Anna Dorothea Kruger was a prisoner of war in Germany, a South African subeditor not unnaturally put up the headline, “Woman Prisoner’s Message from Zeesen.” It has since transpired that Anna Dorothea Kruger, of the President Steyn Regiment, is 6 feet tall, weighs 200 lb., and has other unfeminine characteristics. It appears that his parents were determined that one of their children should bear their mother’s name. So the Warrant Officer, as the last child, got those feminine names which have since caused him no end of trouble.— World Review.