“Never mind her, Ess!” cried Charlie; “you’ll tell me all in good time, especially if it’s anything worth knowing.”
Esther made no reply, but, releasing her sister, hurried out of the room, and went upstairs to Charlie’s chamber, where he found her on retiring for the night.
“I’m glad you’re here, Ess,” said he, “you’ll indulge me. Here is the key—open my trunk and get me out a nightcap; I’m too tired, or too lazy, to get it for myself.” Esther stooped down, opened the trunk, and commenced searching for the article of head-gear in question. “Come, Ess,” said Charles, coaxingly, “tell me what this is about you and Mr. Walters.”
She made no reply at first, but fumbled about in the bottom of the trunk, professedly in search of the nightcap which she at that moment held in her hand. “Can’t you tell me?” he again asked.
“Oh, there’s nothing to tell, Charlie!” she answered.
“There must be something, Ess, or you wouldn’t have blushed up so when Cad was about to speak of it. Do,” said he, approaching her, and putting his arm round her neck—“do tell me all about it—I am sure there is some secret!”
“Oh, no, Charlie—there is no secret; it’s only this——” Here she stopped, and, blushing, turned her head away.
“Ess, this is nonsense,” said Charlie, impatiently: “if it’s anything worth knowing, why can’t you tell a fellow? Come,” said he, kissing her, “tell me, now, like a dear old Ess as you are.”
“Well, Charlie,” said she, jerking the words out with an effort, “Mr.—Mr. Walters has asked me to marry him!”
“Phew—gemini! that is news!” exclaimed Charlie. “And are you going to accept him Ess?”
“I don’t know,” she answered.
“Don’t know!” repeated Charlie, in a tone of surprise. “Why, Ess, I’m astonished at you—such a capital fellow as he is! Half the girls of our acquaintance would give an eye for the chance.”
“But he is so rich!” responded Esther.
“Well, now, that’s a great objection, ain’t it! I should say, all the better on that account,” rejoined Charlie.
“The money is the great stumbling-block,” continued she; “everybody would say I married him for that.”
“Then everybody would lie, as everybody very often does! If I was you, Ess, and loved him, I shouldn’t let his fortune stand in the way. I wish,” continued he, pulling up his shirt-collar, “that some amiable young girl with a fortune of a hundred thousand dollars, would make me an offer—I’d like to catch myself refusing her!”
The idea of a youth of his tender years marrying any one, seemed so ludicrous to Esther, that she burst into a hearty fit of laughter, to the great chagrin of our hero, who seemed decidedly of the opinion that his sister had not a proper appreciation of his years and inches.
“Don’t laugh, Ess; but tell me—do you really intend to refuse him?”