Emilie Loring’s Washington, D.C. novels are on my mind this week, as I visit the nation’s capital. One year after its first publication, It’s a Great World! was syndicated in U.S. newspapers, complete with illustrations. They’re not how I imagine Jeff and Eve to look, but it’s fun to have pictures!
(If you haven’t read this one yet, find the Detroit Free Press for October 11, 1936. The entire book is published there in a single, Sunday supplement.)
“It’s a big country, isn’t it?”
“Very big, South America.”
“And frightfully lonesome?”
“I can’t bear to think of you down there alone. Take me.”
“Of course I can’t take you.”
“You could if we were married.”
“Married!” His eyes brimmed with laughter.
“Don’t laugh at me! M-a-r-r-i-e-d. That’s the way to spell it. You’ll find the word in the dictionary. It’s an old custom but it’s still being done.”
… “Look at me, Eve. Do you mean this to be a real marriage or am I to be shunted off as soon as you secure your money?”
Soft color stained her face.
“My goodness, I–I didn’t think of it that way, but if–if you think it should be a real marriage, all right. Ever known me to be a cheat, Mister Kilburn?”
… She wouldn’t know for a while that there would be but a few shreds of property, if any, to transfer. Would she blame him for not telling her the truth at once?
… “If you had seen Jeff’s face, heard his voice when Annie told him that Moya was unhurt–” She choked back a sob–“You wouldn’t go to South America with him or anywhere else.”… She paused on her way to the door. “Good-bye, Jeff, happy landings.”
“So you are a cheat, after all.”
Three months passed…
The broad deck was deserted. Passengers were settling their belongings in their cabins for the long voyage. A long voyage. Why hadn’t he gone by plane? Why had he allowed Jock Holden to make arrangements for him? That answer was easy. He had been too sick at heart about Eve to care how he went. It would be a perfect night. If only Eve were with him. He’d better sign off on that line of thought.
A uniformed boy touched his shoulder.
“Mr. Kilburn? Radio for you, sir.”
His throat tightened. Was it a message from Eve? He waited until the boy had vanished into a companionway before he opened it. He frowned down at the words;
“EVER SEE A MOVIE THE MAN WHO PLAYED GOD? “J. H.”
… “I couldn’t let you go alone, Jeff. I–I was afraid that a man-eating widow–
… He whispered incredulously: “Eve! Eve!”
“Are you sorry I’m here, Jeff? You’re white as a sheet. Have I crashed in on your life a second time and spoiled it?… I’ve scattered Eve–Eve Kilburn cheques all over New York.”
“Eve Kilburn.” He cleared his voice. “Nice name. Don’t be so breathless, darling.”
… “You’ve never told me that you love me, Jeff.”
He flung an arm around her shoulders and laughed.
“Haven’t I?” He drew her close. “You’re going to hear a lot about that on this trip, Mrs. Kilburn.”