He indicated a movement toward her.
“Now, you needn’t attempt to take any liberties with me,” Miss Hugonin announced, decisively, “because if you do I’ll never speak to you again. You must let me go now. You—you must let me think.”
Then Felix Kennaston acted very wisely. He rose and stood aside, with a little bow.
“I can wait, child,” he said, sadly. “I have already waited a long time.”
Miss Hugonin escaped into the house without further delay. It was very flattering, of course; he had spoken beautifully, she thought, and nobly and poetically and considerately, and altogether there was absolutely no excuse for her being in a temper. Still, she was.
The moon, however, considered the affair as arranged.
For she had been no whit more resolute in her refusal, you see, than becomes any self-respecting maid. In fact, she had not refused him; and the experienced moon had seen the hopes of many a wooer thrive, chameleon-like, on answers far less encouraging than that which Margaret had given Felix Kennaston.
Margaret was very fond of him. All women like a man who can do a picturesque thing without bothering to consider whether or not he be making himself ridiculous; and more than once in thinking of him she had wondered if—perhaps—possibly—some day—? And always these vague flights of fancy had ended at this precise point—incinerated, if you will grant me the simile, by the sudden flaming of her cheeks.
The thing is common enough. You may remember that Romeo was not the only gentleman that Juliet noticed at her debut: there was the young Petruchio; and the son and heir of old Tiberio; and I do not question that she had a kind glance or so for County Paris. Beyond doubt, there were many with whom my lady had danced; with whom she had laughed a little; with whom she had exchanged a few perfectly affable words and looks—when of a sudden her heart speaks: “Who’s he that would not dance? If he be married, my grave is like to prove my marriage-bed.” In any event, Paris and Petruchio and Tiberio’s young hopeful can go hang; Romeo has come.
Romeo is seldom the first. Pray you, what was there to prevent Juliet from admiring So-and-so’s dancing? or from observing that Signor Such-an-one had remarkably expressive eyes? or from thinking of Tybalt as a dear, reckless fellow whom it was the duty of some good woman to rescue from perdition? If no one blames the young Montague for sending Rosaline to the right-about—Rosaline for whom he was weeping and rhyming an hour before—why, pray, should not Signorina Capulet have had a few previous affaires du coeur? Depend upon it, she had; for was she not already past thirteen?
In like manner, I dare say that a deal passed between Desdemona and Cassio that the honest Moor never knew of; and that Lucrece was probably very pleasant and agreeable to Tarquin, as a well-bred hostess should be; and that Helen had that little affair with Theseus before she ever thought of Paris; and that if Cleopatra died for love of Antony it was not until she had previously lived a great while with Caesar.