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Edward Payson Roe
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 342 pages of information about A Young Girl's Wooing.

While she hesitated, he asked, gently, “Don’t you feel a little of your old sisterly love for me?”

“No, Graydon, I do not,” she replied, boldly.  “I suppose you will think me awfully matter-of-fact.  I love Mary as my sister, I have the strongest esteem and affection for Henry as my brother-in-law, and I like you for just what you are to me, neither more nor less.  The truth is, Graydon, when I woke up from my old limp, shadowy life I had to look at everything just as it was, and I have formed the habit of so doing.  I think it is the best way.  You did not see Miss Wildmere as she was, but as you imagined her to be, and you blame yourself too severely because you acted as you naturally would toward a girl for whom you had so high a regard.  When we stick to the actual, we escape mistakes and embarrassment.  Every one knows that we are not brother and sister; every one would admit our right to be very good friends.  I have listened to you with the deep and honest sympathy that is perfectly natural to our relations.  I think the better of you for what you have told me, but I’m too dreadfully matter-of-fact,” she concluded beginning to laugh, “to do anything more.”

He sighed deeply.

“Now, there is no occasion for that sigh, Graydon.  Recall that morning drive to which you have alluded.  What franker, truer friendship could you ask than I gave evidence of then?  Come now, be sensible.  You live too much in the present moment, and yield to your impulses.  Miss Wildmere was a delusion and a snare, but there are plenty of true women in the world.  Some day you will meet the right one.  She won’t object to your friends, but she probably would to sisters who are not sisters.”

Graydon laughed a little bitterly as he said, “So you imagine that after my recent experience I shall soon be making love to another girl?”

“Why not?  Because Miss Wildmere is a fraud do you intend to spite yourself by letting some fair, true girl pass by unheeded?  That might be to permit the fraud to injure you almost as much as if she had married you.”

He burst out laughing, as he exclaimed, “Well, your head is level.”

“Certainly it is.  My head is all right, even though I have not much heart, as you believe.  I told you I could be a good fellow, and I don’t propose to indulge you in sentiment about what is past and gone—­natural and true as it was at the time—­or in cynicism for the future.  I shall dance at your wedding, and you won’t be gray, either.  Come; the music has ceased, and it must be almost Sunday morning.”

“Very well.  On the day when you rightly boxed my ears, and I asked you to make your own terms of peace, I resolved to submit to everything and anything.”

“You don’t ‘stay put,’ is the trouble.  Did I look and act so very cross that morning?”

“You looked magnificent, and you spoke with such just eloquent indignation that you made my blood tingle.  No, my brave, true friend—­I may say that, mayn’t I?—­it was not a little thing for you to go away alone to fight so heroic a battle and achieve such a victory; and, Madge, I honor you with the best homage of my heart.  You have taught me how to meet trouble when it comes.”

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