“I beg that you pardon me, beautiful Madam, and teach me the English words to say that will express all of—of the most wonderful things that I think of you. What is the one word that expresses the beauty of the blue flowers in crystal that I said your eyes to be, to myself, the first time I looked into them upon that railroad train when you rescued me from the black taffeta lady?” And as I was at that moment speaking the exact truth I spoke with a great ardor.
“I rather think that offsets Sue Tomlinson’s ‘cream jug’ compliment—and you are a dear,” she answered as she again diminished the space for my lung action. “I hear the dear General has turned you over to the Governor completely. What do you think of him?” she asked as if to manufacture conversation.
“Yes, I was made a gift to him last week, and I do not think very much of that Gouverneur,” I made answer with excellent falseness, because I had had no thoughts since my presentation to that Gouverneur Faulkner that were not of him. I had obtained the uncomplimentary remark upon the ship, from the lady of Cincinnati, who said it about the doctor of the seasickness from which she suffered.
“Between you and me, boy—if anything, even an opinion, can be wedged between us—I think the Governor is a great, overrated stupid, encouraged in his denseness by the dear General whose ideas have—have—er—rather solidified with age. I rather pity you for having to have all of your opinions and policies of life moulded by them. Yes, it is a pity.” And she sighed very near to my cheek.
“Will you not mould me to some extent yourself, beautiful flower-eyed Madam?” I asked of her with great gentleness, and did administer a nice little pressure to her shoulders like I had adventured upon the waist of the beautiful Belle in blue and silver dress which Madam Whitworth had named a pinafore.
“You are a perfect dear, and I will help you all I can. Just come and tell me all of your difficulties and I’ll try and smooth them away for you. I suppose you will find it easy to translate their French documents for them about this very boring mule deal. I have had to do it and I am glad to turn the burden of it all over to you. You may have some trouble with the English technicalities and perhaps you had best bring them in to me and I’ll run over them to see that you get them straight. Only don’t let the General know that I am helping you, for I verily believe the old dear thinks I am a nihilist ready to blow the Governor or any of his other old mules into a thousand bits.”
“I thank you, beautiful Madam Whitworth, for your offer of assistance, and I will avail myself of it at the first opportunity. Is it at your house that we can be alone?” I questioned with a daring smile that would serve both for a purpose of coquetry and also to ascertain if I would encounter in a call upon her that very disagreeable appearing gentleman, Mr. Jefferson Whitworth, who is the husband to his very beautiful wife.