“Nothing. Take it!” and she dropped it lightly on my face and disappeared. As I stood twirling it ecstatically under my nose, and wondering how I could get her to come back to the window, the edge of a curtain was lifted, and a white hand stole out and softly closed the shutters.
In the evening Sylvia went in to a concert of the school, which was to be held at the Court-house, a chorus of girls being impaneled in the jury-box, and the principal, who wears a little wig, taking her seat on the woolsack. I promised to have the very pick of the garden ready, and told Sylvia to come to the arbor the last thing before starting. She wore big blue rosettes in her hair, and at that twilight hour looked as lovely, soft, and pure as moonshine; so that I lost control of myself and kissed her twice—once for Georgiana and once for myself. Surely it must have been Sylvia’s first experience. I hope so. Yet she passed through it with the composure of a graduate of several year’s standing. But, then, women inherit a great stock of fortitude from their mothers in this regard, and perpetually add to it by their own dispositions. Ought I to warn Georgiana—good heavens! in a general way, of course—that Sylvia should be kept away from sugar, and well under the influence of vulgar fractions?
It made me feel uncomfortable to see her go tripping out of her front gate on the arm of a youth. Can it be possible the he would try to do what I did? Men differ so in their virtues, and are so alike in their transgressions. This forward gosling displayed white duck pantaloons, brandished pumps on his feet, which looked flat enough to have been webbed, and was scented as to his marital locks with a far-reaching pestilence of bergamot and cinnamon.
After they were gone I strolled back to my arbor and sat down amid the ruins of Sylvia’s flowers. The nigh was mystically beautiful. The moon seemed to me to be softly stealing down the sky to kiss Endymion. I looked across towards Georgiana’s window. She was there, and I slipped over and stood under it.
“Georgiana,” I whispered, “were you, too, looking at the moon?”
“Part of the time,” she said, sourly. “Isn’t it permitted?”
“Sylvia left her scissors in the arbor, and I can’t find them.”
“She’ll find them to-morrow.”
“If they get wet, you know, they’ll rust.”
“I keep something to take rust off.”
“Georgiana, I’ve got something to tell you about Sylvia.”
“What? That you kissed her?”
“N—o! Not that, exactly!”
May 21st. Again I asked Georgiana to be mine. I am a perfect fool about her. But she’s coming my way at last—God bless her!
May 24th. I renewed my suit to Georgiana.
May 27th. I besought Georgiana to hear me.
May 28th. For the last time I offered my hand in marriage to the elder Miss Cobb. Now I am done with her forever. I am no fool.