Nothing of such suggestion came to Desire. She was in one of her rare moods of good cheer.
“I suppose so,” she said, heedlessly. And then, taking up a thought of her own suddenly,—“Miss Craydocke! Don’t you think people almost always live out their names? There’s Sin Scherman; there’ll always be a little bit of mischief and original naughtiness in her,—with the harm taken out of it; and there’s Rosamond Holabird,—they couldn’t have called her anything better, if they’d waited for her to grow up; and Barb was sharp; and our little Hazel is witchy and sweet and wild-woodsy; and Luclarion,—isn’t that shiny and trumpety, and doesn’t she do it? And then—there’s me. I shall always be stiff and hard and unsatisfied, except in little bits of summer times that won’t come often. They might as well have christened me Anxiety. I wonder why they didn’t.”
“That would have been very different. There is a nobleness in Desire. You will overlive the restless part,” said Miss Craydocke.
“Was there ever anything restless in your life, Miss Craydocke? And how long did it take to overlive it? It doesn’t seem as if you had ever stubbed your foot against anything; and I’m always stubbing.”
“My dear, I have stubbed along through fifty-six years; and the years had all three hundred and sixty-five days in them. There were chances,—don’t you think so?”
“It looks easy to be old after it is done,” said Desire. “Easy and comfortable. But to be eighteen, and to think of having to go on to be fifty-six; I beg your pardon,—but I wish it was over!”
And she drew a deep breath, heavy with the days that were to be.
“You are not to take it all at once, you know,” said Miss Craydocke.
“But I do, every now and then. I can’t help it. I am sure it is the name. If they had called me ‘Hapsie,’ like you, I should have gone along jolly, as you do, and not minded. You see you have to hear it all the time; and it tunes you up to its own key. You can’t feel like a Dolly, or a Daisy, when everybody says—De-sire!”
“I don’t know how I came to be called ‘Hapsie,’” said Miss Craydocke. “Somebody who liked me took it up, and it seemed to get fitted on. But that wasn’t when I was young.”
“What was it, then?” asked Desire, with a movement of interest.
“Keren-happuch,” said Miss Craydocke, meekly. “My father named me, and he always called me so,—the whole of it. He was a severe, Old-Testament man, and his name was Job.”
Desire was more than half right, after all. There was a good deal of Miss Craydocke’s story hinted in those few words and those two ancient names.
“But I turned into ‘Miss Craydocke’ pretty soon, and settled down. I suppose it was very natural that I should,” said the sweet old maid, serenely.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.