At this moment the maid entered the room. As she stepped forward the young man caught sight of her. Wasting no time, and before the surprised mother and daughter could stop him, he had folded the maid in his arms and kissed her also. She screamed, and finally ran away.
There was an aunt visiting them. This gentle, middle-aged spinster was dozing in the next room. Aroused by the maid’s screams, she hurried into the room. But no sooner did this remarkable young man visitor see her than he promptly grabbed her, and covered her face with kisses.
The girl’s father all this time had been quietly smoking on the piazza. Hearing the commotion he hurried also into the room, just in time to see the spinster lady, almost fainting with terror, tear herself loose.
“He’s been kissing every one of us,” murmured the girl’s mother. “There must be something the matter with him.”
The girl’s father caught the young man squarely by the shoulders and faced him about.
“He kissed me at the station—before everybody!” sobbed the girl. “Then he kissed mama and the maid and Aunt Jane.”
“What is the meaning of this?” said the girl’s father, sternly. “How dare you, sir, abuse our hospitality?”
The young man shuddered. His eyes closed. Still in the clutch of his host, there was a tragic silence. Then he opened them once more and gazed feebly about him. He passed his hand wearily over his forehead.
“Forgive me!” he whispered. “It is not my fault. I live in bachelor quarters in town. My friends had all gone away and there was nothing for me to do but go to the moving picture shows night after night. I have been doing this for weeks. In the moving pictures the young man hero kisses everybody he meets. It’s the regular thing—nothing but kissing, kissing, all the time. My mind has been unhinged by it. Forgive me and take me to some asylum.”
Then he burst into tears, threw his arms about the old gentleman—and kissed him, and they led the poor wretch away.
At a military church service during the South African War some recruits were listening to the chaplain in church saying, “Let them slay the Boers as Joshua smote the Egyptians,” when a recruit whispered to a companion:
“Say, Bill, the old bloke is a bit off; doesn’t he know it was Kitchener who swiped the Egyptians?”
An American lady at Stratford-on-Avon showed even more than the usual American fervor. She had not recovered when she reached the railway station, for she remarked to a friend as they walked on the platform: “To think that it was from this very platform the immortal bard would depart whenever he journeyed to town!”
“I canna get ower it,” a Scotch farmer remarked to his wife. “I put a twa shillin’ piece in the plate at the kirk this morning instead o’ ma usual penny.”