“Just record the agreement as a note in the book, and I will sign it,” answered Jane, in her crispest and most business-like tone of voice, though I could see she was trembling with excitement, and poor Mary Elizabeth was both awe-struck and hopeful.
I’ll invite Mary Elizabeth down to Glendale, as soon as I stake out my own claim, poor dear!
And here I sit alone at midnight, with a huge, steel-bound, lock-and-keyed book that Jane has had made for me, with my name and the inscription, “In case of death, send unopened to Jane Mathers, Boston, Massachusetts,” on the back, committed to a cause as crazy and as serious as anything since the Pilgrimages, or the Quest of the Knights for the Grail. It also looks slightly like trying to produce a modern Don Quixote, feminine edition, and my cheeks are flaming so that I wouldn’t look at them for worlds. And to write it all, too! I have always had my opinion of women who spill their souls out of an ink-bottle, but I ought to pardon a nihilist, that in the dead of night, cold with terror, confides some awful appointment he has had made him, to his nearest friend. I am the worst nihilist that ever existed, and the bomb I am throwing may explode and destroy the human race. But, on the other hand, the explosion might be of another kind. Suppose that suddenly a real woman’s entire nature should be revealed to the world, might not the universe be enveloped in a rose glory and a love symphony? We’ll see!
Also, could the time ever come when a woman wouldn’t risk hanging over the ragged edge of Heaven to hold on to the hand of some man? Never! Then, as that is the case, I see we must all keep the same firm grip on the creatures we have always had, and haul them over the edge, but we must not do it any more without letting them know about it—it isn’t honest. Yes, women must solidify their love into such a concrete form that men can weigh and measure it, and decide for themselves whether they want to—to climb to Heaven for it, or remain comfortable old bachelors. We mustn’t any more lead them into marriage blinded by the overpowering gaseous fragrance called romantic love.
But, suppose I should lose all love for everybody in this queer quest for enlightenment I have undertaken? Please, God, let a good man be in Glendale, Tennessee, who will understand and protect me—no, that’s the wrong prayer! Protect him—no—both of us!
THE MAIDEN LANCE
A woman may shut her eyes, and put a man determinedly out of her heart, and in two minutes she will wake up in an agony of fear that he isn’t there. Now, as I have decided that Glendale is to be the scene of this bloodless revolution of mine—it would be awful to carry out such an undertaking anywhere but under the protection of ancestral traditions—I have operated Richard Hall out of my inmost being with the utmost cruelty, on an average of every two hours, for this week Jane and I have been in New York; and I have still got him with me.