“Have you said anything about this to Sallie?” he asked weakly as he dipped the end of his cigar into his glass of water and watched the sputter with the greatest interest.
“Not yet, but don’t you feel sure that she will consent?” I asked, with confidence in my plan at fever heat. “Sallie is so generous and she can’t want to see me live lonely always, without any family at all. Now, will she?”
“She would consent!” he answered slowly, and then he laid his head down on the table right against my arm and shook so that the candlesticks rattled against the candles. “But I don’t,” he gasped, and for the life of me I couldn’t tell whether he was crying or laughing, until he sat up again.
“Eve,” he said, with his eyes fairly dancing into mine, “if women in general mean to walk over political difficulties as you are planning to walk away with this one of mine, I’m for feminine rule. Don’t you dare say one word about such a thing to Sallie. Of course, it is impossible as it is funny.”
It was a tragedy to have such a lovely scheme as I had thought up on the spur of the moment, knocked down suddenly by a half dozen positive words from a mere man, and for a moment my eyes fought with his in open rebellion. Then I rose haughtily and walked out on the front porch.
“Dear,” he said, as he followed me and took my hand in his and drew me near him, “don’t you know that your wanting to put your shoulder under any burden I may be bearing lifts it completely? There are things in this situation that you can’t understand. If I seem to make sacrifices, they come from the depths of my heart and are not sacrifices. Will you believe me?”
How can he help loving Sallie with her so emphatically there?
I answered him I suppose to his liking and he went on across the road to Widegables and left me alone in the cruel darkness.
Please, God, when things seem to be drowning me like this make me swim with head up. Amen!
Polk Hayes is an up-to-date, bright man of the world, with lots of brains and I should say about the average masculine nature, and a great deal more than the average amount of human charm. However, he has got no more brains than I have, has had really fewer advantages, and it ought to be easy for me to hold my own against him. But I am about to fail on him.
For the last two weeks he has been constantly with Nell and has got her in a dreamy state that shows in her face and every movement of her slim body. And yet I know without the shadow of a doubt that he is just biding his time to try me out and get me on his own terms. My heart aches for Nell, and I just couldn’t see him murder her girlhood, and it will amount to that if he involves her heart any more than it is. I made up my mind to have it out with him and accordingly let him come and sit on my side steps with me late yesterday afternoon, when I have avoided being alone with him for a month.