THREE WEEKS TOO LATE.
Qui va a la chasse perd sa place.
De la main a la bouche se perd souvent la soupe.
all value enhances!
When a man’s busy, why, leisure
Strikes him as wonderful pleasure.
Faith! and at leisure once is he,
Straightway he wants to be busy.
Two weeks more passed: two weeks that seem to me so many years when I look back upon them. Many more walks, early and late, many evenings of music, many accidents of meeting. It is all like a dream. At seventeen it is so easy to dream! It does not take two weeks for a girl to fall in love and make her whole life different.
It was Saturday evening, and Richard was expected; Richard and Kilian and Mr. Eugene Whitney. Ah, Richard was coming just three weeks too late.
We were all waiting on the piazza for them, in pretty toilettes and excellent tempers. It was a lovely evening; the sunset was filling the sky with splendor, and Charlotte and Henrietta had gone to the corner of the piazza whence the river could be seen, and were murmuring fragments of verses to each other. They were not so much absorbed, however, but that they heard the first sound of the wheels inside the gate, and hurried back to join us by the steps.
Mary Leighton looked absolutely lovely. The blue organdie had seen the day at last, and she was in such a flutter of delight at the coming of the gentlemen that she could scarcely be recognized as the pale, flimsy young person who had moped so unblushingly all the week.
“They are all three there,” she exclaimed with suppressed rapture, as the carriage turned the angle of the road that brought them into sight. Mrs. Hollenbeck, quite beaming with pleasure, ran down the steps (for Richard had been away almost two months), and Mary Leighton was at her side, of course. Charlotte Benson and Henrietta went half-way down the steps, and I stood on the piazza by the pillar near the door.
I was a little excited by their coming, too, but not nearly as much so as I might have been three weeks ago. A subject of much greater interest occupied my mind that very moment, and related to the chances of the tutor’s getting home in time for tea, from one of those long walks that were so tiresome. I felt as if I hardly needed Richard now. Still, dear old Richard! It was very nice to see him once again.
The gentlemen all sprang out of the carriage, and a Babel of welcomes and questions and exclamations arose. Richard kissed his sister, and answered some of her many questions, then shook hands with the young ladies, but I could see that his eye was searching for me. I can’t tell why, certainly not because I felt at all shy, I had stepped back, a little behind the pillar and the vines. In an instant he saw me, and came quickly up the steps, and stood by me and grasped my hand, and looked exactly as if he meant to kiss me. I hoped that nobody saw his look, and I drew back, a little frightened. Of course, I know that he had not the least intention of kissing me, but his look was so eager and so unusual,