“Are you happy, Selma?” he asked, giving her a fond, firm squeeze.
She could feel his frame throb with joy at the situation as she uttered his name.
“We’ll be married right away. That’s if you’re willing. My business is going first-rate and, if it keeps growing for the next year as it has for the past two, you’ll be rich presently. When shall it be, Selma?”
“You’re in dreadful haste. Well, I’ll promise to give the selectmen notice to-morrow that they must find another teacher.”
“Because the one they have now is going to become Mrs. Lewis J. Babcock. I’m the luckiest fellow, hooray! in creation. See here,” he added, taking her hand, “I guess a ring wouldn’t look badly there—a real diamond, too. Pretty little fingers.”
She sighed gently, by way of response. It was comfortable nestling in the hollow of his shoulder, and a new delightful experience to be hectored with sweetness in this way. How round and bountiful the moon looked. She was tired of her present life. What was coming would be better. Her opportunity was at hand to show the world what she was made of.
“A real diamond, and large at that,” he repeated, gazing down at her, and then, as though the far away expression in her eyes suggested kinship with the unseen and the eternal, he said, admiringly but humbly, “It must be grand to be clever like you, Selma. I’m no good at that. But if loving you will make up for it, I’ll go far, little woman.”
“What I know of that I like, and—and if some day, I can make you proud of me, so much the better,” said Selma.
“Proud of you? You are an angel, and you know it.”
She closed her eyes and sighed again. Even the bright avenues of fame, which her keen eyes had traversed through the golden moon, paled before this tribute from the lips of real flesh and blood. What woman can withstand the fascination of a lover’s faith that she is an angel? If a man is fool enough to believe it, why undeceive him? And if he is so sure of it, may it even not be so? Selma was content to have it so, especially as the assertion did not jar with her own prepossessions; and thus they rode home in the summer night in the mutual contentment of a betrothal.
The match was thoroughly agreeable to Mrs. Farley, Selma’s aunt and nearest relation, who with her husband presided over a flourishing poultry farm in Wilton. She was an easy-going, friendly spirit, with a sharp but not wide vision, who did not believe that a likelier fellow than Lewis Babcock would come wooing were her niece to wait a lifetime. He was hearty, comical, and generous, and was said to be making money fast in the varnish business. In short, he seemed to her an admirable young man, with a stock of common-sense and high spirits eminently serviceable for a domestic venture. How full of