Verty raised his stone.
Longears smelt at the chestnut in his master’s grasp, his cold muzzle nearly touching it.
The stone crashed down.
Longears made a terrific spring backwards, and retiring to some distance rubbed his nose vigorously with his paws, looking all the while with dignified reproach at his master.
The nose had not suffered, however, and Longears was soon appeased and in a good humor again. The incident caused a great accession of laughter, and after this the chestnuts having been eaten, the party rose to walk on.
UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE.
“Keep your promise.”
“Please to indicate it.”
“I refer, sir, to your college album.”
“Oh, certainly! here it is, my darling—all ready.”
And Mr. Ralph Ashley, between whom and Miss Fanny this dialogue had taken place, seated himself beneath a magnificent tulip-tree; and with a movement of the head suggested a similar proceeding to the rest.
All being seated, the young man drew from his breast-pocket a small volume, bound in leather, and with a nod to Fanny, said:
“I have changed my mind—I can’t read but two or three.”
“Broken your promise, you mean.”
“No, my own;—oh, no.”
“Ralph, you are really too impudent!”
“I call you ‘my own’ in advance? Eh?”
Fanny had uttered the words without reflection—intending them as a reply to Mr. Ralph’s sentence, the words “in advance,” being omitted therefrom. Everybody saw her mistake at once, and a shout of laughter greeted the reply.
Ralph assumed a close and cautious expression, and said:
“Well—I will be more careful in future. The fact is, that people who are to be married, should be as chary of their endearments, in public, as those who are married.”
General laughter and assent—except from Fanny, who was blushing.
“Nothing is more disagreeable,” continued Ralph, philosophically, “than these public evidences of affection; it is positively shocking to see and hear two married people exchanging their ‘dears’ and ‘dearests,’ ‘loves’ and ’darlings’—especially to bachelors; it is really insulting! Therefore, it is equally in bad taste with those who are to be married;—logically, consequently, and in the third place—and lastly—it is not proper, between myself and you, my Fanny—hum—Miss Fanny!”
This syllogistic discourse was received by Fanny with a mixture of blushes and satirical curls of the lip. “Hum!” more than once issued from her lips; and this expression always signified with the young lady in question—“indeed!”—“really!”—“you think that’s mighty fine!”—or some other phrase indicative of scorn and defiance.