A boy is sustained through the horror of coming blindness largely by the cheerfulness and self-composed poetry of Susan Betts, the neighbor's "hired girl." After he is totally blind and grown up, of course he falls hopelessly in love but wouldn't be a burden. He finds consolation in work for blinded soldiers and the girl, after an illuminating conversation with Susan intimate her readiness for the "burden." Even more sentimental than Porter's other works.
me," cried the boy.
"'Course they don't! Why should they? They didn't to me--once," retorted the man impatiently. "But now--" Again he left a sentence unfinished.
"But how soon did--did you get--all blind, after that?" stammered the boy, breaking the long, uncomfortable silence that had followed the old man's unfinished sentence.
"Oh, five or six months--maybe more. I don't know exactly. I know it came, that's all. I guess if 't was you it wouldn't make no difference HOW it came, if it came, boy." "N-no, of course not," chattered Keith, springing suddenly to his feet. "But I guess it isn't coming to me--of course't isn't coming to me! Well, good-bye, Uncle Joe, I got to go now. Good-bye!"
He spoke fearlessly, blithely, and his chin was at a confident tilt. He even whistled as he walked down the hill. But in his heart--in his heart Keith knew that beside him that very minute stalked that shadowy, intangible creature that had dogged his footsteps ever since his fourteenth birthday-gift from his fat
Heartwarming story,a little bit of an anti-climax in the end.
In the days before World War I, young Keith Burton, to his terror, finds his eyesight growing dim. The boy lives alone with his absent-minded and unsuccessful artist father and their strong-minded, poetry-writing housekeeper, Susan Betts, and can't bring himself to confide his fears. Unthinking comments from a pretty young girl make matters worse.
Meant to be an inspirational tale, "Dawn" offers some great characterizations -- Susan Betts is priceless -- but fails to enthrall.