An eventful day in other respects, that is, from a lover’s point of view, was this one of the outing by the lake. The stocking dried, and in its proper place upon the foot, and inside the shoe again, and the lunch dispatched, there was more idle rambling by the lakeside, and, of course, more lovers’ talk. At one place there was a little wood which extended to the water’s edge, and there she perched herself in a seat formed by the bent limb of an upturned tree, and he produced from his coat-pocket a paper of macaroons for her dessert, and she sat there munching them like a monkey, while he sprawled, again upon the sand. She made a pretty picture, this small, brown woman, thus exalted; to him a wonderful one. Suddenly she ceased her munching and spoke to him imperiously:
“Come here, sir.”
He rose and went to her, standing before her, obedient and waiting. She reached up and took his face between her hands, and pulled his face gently downward until the faces of the two were close together. She looked into his eyes.
“I merely called you up, sir,” she said, “to impart a certain piece of information. I am in love with you.”
TWO FOOLS STILL.
When a woman, who is all there is in the world to a man, falls into the deliciously generous mood of abandonment, and is revealing what is in her heart, the man, I understand from various excellent authorities, gets about as near heaven as he may ever do in the flesh. And Harlson formed no exception to the rule. The small personage on the limb of the fallen tree owned him as absolutely and completely as ever Cleopatra owned a slave, or Elizabeth a servitor.
“I don’t know what to say,” he murmured. “There aren’t any words—but—you understand.”
She pulled his face still closer and kissed him on the lips, though blushing as she did so, for this young woman had fancies regarding lips and regarding kisses which should be entertained by a greater number of the women of the land. Then she told him to lie upon the sand again; that she wanted to look at him. And he obeyed, machine-like.
She was in a fantastic mood assuredly. She watched him, her cheek resting upon one little hand for a long time, a thoughtful look upon her face. Then she broke out impetuously:
“How smooth and clean your face is! Do you—do you go to—you know what I mean. Do you go to a barber every day?”
He answered that he shaved himself.
“Is it very hard?” she asked.
“Well, that depends.”
She studied once more for a long time, then spoke again, on this occasion blushing furiously:
“Grant, dear, I want to do things for you always. I want to take care of you. It seems to me that, some time, I might learn, you know. It seems to me that some time I might almost”—with a little gasp—“shave you.”