“I didn’t know,” said her mother in a voice still dull with astonishment, “that you even liked him. You’ve been so silent—indifferent—both times he was here to call....”
“Oh, I haven’t learned yet to talk to him when any one else is around,” Rose admitted. “There’s so little to say, and it doesn’t seem worth the bother. But, truly, I do like him, mother. I like everything about him. I love his looks—I don’t mean just his eyes and nose and mouth. I like the shape of his ears, and his hands. I like his big loud voice”—her own broadened a little as she added, “and the way he swears. Oh, not at me, mother! Just when he gets so interested in what he’s saying that he forgets I’m a lady.
“And I like the way he likes to fight—not with his fists, I mean, necessarily. He’s got the most wonderful mind to—wrestle with, you know. I love to start an argument with him, just to see how easy it is for him to—roll me in the dirt and walk all over me.”
The mother freed herself from the girl’s embrace, rose and walked away to another chair. “If you’ll talk rationally and seriously, my dear,” she said, “we can continue the conversation. But this flippant, rather—vulgar tone you’re taking, pains me very much.”
The girl flushed to the hair. “I didn’t know I was being flippant and vulgar,” she said. “I didn’t mean to be. I was just trying to tell you—all about it.”
“You’ve told me,” said her mother, “that Mr. Aldrich has asked you to marry him and that you’ve consented. It seems to me you have done so hastily and thoughtlessly. He’s told you he loves you, I’ve no doubt, but I don’t see how it’s possible for you to feel sure on such short acquaintance.”
“Why, of course he’s told me,” Rose said, a little bewildered. “He can’t help telling me all the time, any more than I can help telling him. We’re—rather mad about each other, really. I think he’s the most wonderful person in the world, and”—she smiled a little uncertainly—“he thinks I am. But we’ve tried to be sensible about it, and think it out reasonably. We’re both strong and healthy, and we like each other.... I mean—things about each other, like I’ve said. So, as far as we can tell, we—fit. He said he couldn’t guarantee that we’d be happy; that no pair of people could be sure of that till they’d tried. But he said it looked to him like the most wonderful, magnificent adventure in the world, and asked if it looked to me like that, and I said it did. Because it’s true. It’s the only thing in the world that seems worth—bothering about. And we both think—though, of course, we can’t be sure we’re thinking straight—that we’ve got a good chance to make it go.”
Even her mother’s bewildered ears couldn’t distrust the sincerity with which the girl had spoken. But this only increased the bewilderment. She had listened with a sort of incredulous distaste she couldn’t keep her face from showing, and at last she had to wipe away her tears.