She was good-looking, of course—a rather boyishly splendid young creature of somewhere about twenty, with a heap of hair that had, in spite of its rather commonplace chestnut color, a sort of electric vitality about it. She was slightly prognathous, which gave a humorous lift to her otherwise sensible nose. She had good straight-looking, expressive eyes, too, and a big, wide, really beautiful mouth, with square white teeth in it, which, when she smiled or yawned—and she yawned more luxuriously than any girl who had ever sat in his classes—exerted a sort of hypnotic effect on him. All that, however, left unexplained the quality she had of making you, whatever she did, irresistibly aware of her. And, conversely, unaware of every one else about her. A bit of campus slang occurred to him as quite literally applicable to her. She had all the rest of them faded.
It wasn’t, apparently, an effect she tried for. He had to acquit her of that. Not even, perhaps, one that she was conscious of. When she came early to one of his lectures—it didn’t happen often—the men, showed a practical unanimity in trying to choose seats near by, or at least where they could see her. But while this didn’t distress her at all—they were welcome to look if they liked—she struck no attitudes for their benefit. A sort of breezy indifference—he selected that phrase finally as the best description of her attitude toward all of them, including himself. When she was late, as she usually was, she slid unostentatiously into the back row—if possible at the end where she could look out the window. But for three minutes after she had come in, he knew he might as well have stopped his lecture and begun reciting the Greek alphabet. She was, in the professor’s mind, the final argument against coeducation. Her name was Rosalind Stanton, but his impression was that they called her Rose.
The bell rang out in the corridor. He dismissed the class and began stacking up his notes. Then:
“Miss Stanton,” he said.
She detached herself from the stream that was moving toward the door, and with a good-humored look of inquiry about her very expressive eyebrows, came toward him. And then he wished he hadn’t called her. She had spoiled his lecture—a perfectly good lecture—and his impulse had been to remonstrate with her. But the moment he saw her coming, he knew he wasn’t going to be able to do it. It wasn’t her fault that her teeth had hypnotized him, and her hair tangled his ideas.
“This is an idiotic question,” he said, as she paused before his desk, “but did you get anything at all out of my lecture except my bit of facetious advice to young girls about to marry?”
She flushed a little (a girl like that hadn’t any right to flush; it ought to be against the college regulations), drew her brows together in a puzzled sort of way, and then, with her wide, boyish, good-humored mouth, she smiled.