May 29th. Oh, damn Mrs. Walters!
This morning, the 3d of June, I went out to pick the first dish of strawberries for my breakfast. As I was stooping down I heard a timid, playful voice at the window like the echo of a year ago: “Are you the gardener?”
Since Georgiana will not marry me, if she would only let me alone!
“Old man, are you the gardener?”
“Yes, I’m the gardener. I know what you are.”
“How much do you ask for your strawberries?”
“They come high. Nothing of mine is to be as cheap hereafter as it has been.”
“I am so glad—for your sake. I should like to possess something of yours, but I suppose everything is too high now.”
“Entirely too high!”
“If I only could have foreseen that there would be an increase of value! As for me, I have felt that I am getting cheaper lately. I may have to give myself away soon. If I only knew of some one who loved the lower animals.”
“The fox, for instance?”
“Yes; do you know of any one who would accept the present of a fox?”
“Ahem! I wouldn’t mind having a tame fox. I don’t care much for wild foxes.”
“Oh, this one would get tame—in time.”
“I don’t believe I know of any one just at present.”
“Very well. Sylvia will get the highest mark in arithmetic. And Joe is distinguishing himself at West Point. That’s what I wanted to tell you. I’ll send you over the cream and sugar, and hope you will enjoy all your berries. We shall buy some in the market-house next week.”
Later in the forenoon I sent the strawberries over to Georgiana. I have a variety that is the shape of the human heart, and when ripe it matches in color that brighter current of the heart through which runs the hidden history of our passions. All over the top of the dish I carefully laid these heart-shaped berries, and under the biggest one, at the very top, I slipped this little note: “Look at the shape of them, Georgiana! I send them all to you. They are perishable.”
This afternoon Georgiana sent back the empty dish, and inside the napkin was this note: “They are exactly the shape and color of my emery needle-bag. I have been polishing my needles in it for many years.”
Later, as I was walking to town, I met Georgiana and her mother coming out. No explanation had ever been made to the mother of that goose of a gate in our division fence; and as Georgiana had declined to accept the sign, I determined to show her that the gate could now stand for something else. So I said: “Mrs. Cobb, when you send your servants over for green corn, you can let them come through that little gate. It will be more convenient.”
Only, I was so angry and confused that I called her Mrs. Corn, and said that when she sent her little Cobbs over . . . my green servants, etc.