A Young Girl's Wooing eBook

Edward Payson Roe
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 431 pages of information about A Young Girl's Wooing.
and before the summer was over she thought little of a gallop of ten miles, with the breath of the Pacific fanning her cheek.  When Mr. Wayland drove with his wife up through Mission and Hot Springs canons, or eight miles away to the exquisitely beautiful Bartlett Canon and the fine adjacent ranches, she accompanied them on horseback.  As she flashed along past date-palms, and through lemon and orange groves, she began to appear semi-tropical herself.  She also became Mr. Wayland’s companion on his botanizing expeditions, and her steps among the rocks of the foothills and on the slopes of the mountains grew surer, lighter, and more unwearied.  Color stole into her face, and a soft fire into her dark eyes when animated.  Mrs. Wayland looked on with increasing delight, and thought, “She is growing very beautiful.  I wonder if she knows it?”

Indeed she knew it well.  What young girl does not?  But Madge had a motive for knowledge of which Mrs. Wayland did not dream.  In the main the girl was her own physician, and observed her symptoms closely.  She knew well what beauty was.  Her vivid fancy would at any time recall Miss Wildmere as a living presence; therefore her standard was exceedingly high, and she watched her approach to it as to a distant and eagerly sought goal.  Other eyes gave assurance that her own were not deceiving her.  The invalid on whom at first but brief and commiserating glances had been bestowed was beginning to be followed by admiring observation.  Society recognized her claims, and she was gaining even more attention than she desired.  As her strength increased she accepted invitations, and permitted the circle of her acquaintance to widen.  It was part of her plan to become as much at home in the social world as Graydon himself.  Nor was she long in overcoming a diffidence that had been almost painful.  In one sense these people were to her simply a means to an end.  She cared so little for them that she was not afraid, and had merely to acquire the ease which results from usage.  Diffidence soon passed into a shy grace that was indefinable and yet became a recognized trait.  The least approach to loudness and aggressiveness in manner was not only impossible to her, but she also possessed the refinement and tact of which only extremely sensitive natures are capable.  A vain, selfish woman is so preoccupied with herself that she does not see or care what others are, or are thinking of, unless the facts are obtruded upon her; another, with the kindest intentions, may not be able to see, and so blunders lamentably; but Madge was so finely organized that each one who approached her made a definite impression, and without conscious effort she responded—­not with a conventional and stereotyped politeness, but with an appreciative courtesy which, as she gained confidence and readiness of expression, gave an unfailing charm to her society.  With few preconceived and arbitrary notions of her own she accepted people as they were, and made the most of them.  Of course there were some in whom even the broadest charity could find little to approve; but it was her purpose to study and understand them and lose forever the unsophisticated ignorance at which Graydon had used to laugh.

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A Young Girl's Wooing from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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