I hereby promise myself that I will ask Cousin James to marry me the next favorable opportunity I get, if I die with fright the next minute, or have to make the opportunity.
Still, I can’t help wondering what does keep him so composed under the circumstances. Surely he wouldn’t refuse me, but how do I know for sure? How does a man even know if a woman is—?
When business and love crowd each other on a man’s desk he calmly puts love in a pigeon-hole to wait for a convenient time and attends strictly to business, while a woman takes up and coddles the tender passion and stands business over in the corner with its face to the wall to keep it from intruding.
Dickie has been here a whole week since the barbecue-rally, ostensibly trying to get me down to making a few preliminary sketches for the gardens to his C. & G. railroad stations, and, of course, I am going to do them. I’m interested in them and I’m sensible of the honor it is to get the chance of making them: but the moon didn’t rise until after ten o’clock last night and I’m getting nervous about that scene of sentiment I’m planning. I can’t think of gardens!
Still, I am glad he stayed and that everybody has been giving him a party and that Nell is always there, for he hasn’t had time to notice how I’m treating business and coddling—
Jane and Polk and Nell and Caroline and Lee and everybody else, including Sallie and the Dominie, have been all over my house all day and into the scandalous hours of the night, which in Glendale begin at eleven o’clock and pass the limit at twelve, and I don’t see how they stand so much of not being alone with each other. It is wearing me out.
I had positively decided on my own side steps for the scene of my proposal to the Crag, under the honeysuckle vine that still has a few brave and hearty blossoms to encourage me, with the harvest moon looking on, but moons and honeysuckle blossoms wait for no man and no woman especially. They are both fading, and I’ve never got the spot to myself more than a minute at a time yet. The Crag, with absolutely no knowledge of my intentions, except it may be a psychic one, sits there every night and smokes and looks out at Old Harpeth and maddens me, while some one of the others walks in and out and around and about and sits down beside him, where I want to be.
And as for the day time, I am so busy all day long, providing for this perpetual house-party, that I am dead to even friendship by night. Jane is doing over Glendale from city limits to the river, and I have to spend my time keeping the dear town from finding out what is being done to it.
She is hunting out everybody’s pet idea or ideal for some sort of change or improvement to his, especially his, native town, and then leading him gently up to accomplishing it so that he will think he has done it entirely by himself, but will tell the next man he meets that there is nothing in the world like a tine energetic woman with good horse sense. In fact, Jane is courting the entire male population in a most scandalous fashion, and they’ll be won before they know it.