I would have gasped if I had not caught the look of awe and reverence on Carl’s face as he gazed eagerly, and with what respect, on his offering. I merely took a hunk of what was supplied, set my teeth into it, and pulled. It was salty, very; it looked queer, tasted queer, was queer. Yet that lunch! We walked farther, sat now and then under other drippy trees, and at last decided that we must slide home, by that time soaked to the skin, and I minus the heel to one shoe.
I had just got myself out of the bath and into dry clothes when the telephone rang. It was Carl. Could he come over to the house and spend the rest of the afternoon? It was then about four-thirty. He came, and from then on things were decidedly—different.
How I should love to go into the details of that Freshman year of mine! I am happier right now writing about it than I have been in six months. I shall not go into detail—only to say that the night of the Junior Prom of my Freshman year Carl Parker asked me to marry him, and two days later, up again in our hills, I said that I would. To think of that now—to think of waiting two whole days to decide whether I would marry Carl Parker or not!! And for fourteen years from the day I met him, there was never one small moment of misunderstanding, one day that was not happiness—except when we were parted. Perhaps there are people who would consider it stupid, boresome, to live in such peace as that. All I can answer is that it was not stupid, it was not boresome—oh, how far from it! In fact, in those early days we took our vow that the one thing we would never do was to let the world get commonplace for us; that the time should never come when we would not be eager for the start of each new day. The Kipling poem we loved the most, for it was the spirit of both of us, was “The Long Trail.” You know the last of it:—
The Lord knows what we may find,
And the Deuce knows what we may do—
But we’re back once more on the old trail,
our own trail, the out trail,
We’re down, hull down, on the Long Trail—the
trail that is always new!
After we decided to get married, and that as soon as ever we could,—I being a Freshman at the ripe and mature age of, as mentioned, just eighteen years, he a Senior, with no particular prospects, not even sure as yet what field he would go into,—we began discussing what we might do and where we might go. Our main idea was to get as far away from everybody as we could, and live the very fullest life we could, and at last we decided on Persia. Why Persia? I cannot recall the steps now that brought us to that conclusion. But I know that first Christmas I sent Carl my picture in a frilled high-school graduation frock and a silk Persian flag tucked behind it, and that flag remained always the symbol for us that we would never let our lives get stale, never lose the love of adventure, never “settle down,” intellectually at any rate.