The place we went to is very historic and interesting. Something happened there that was very important in American history, but I have forgotten what it was. Whythe told me, and as it doesn’t matter, being over for such a long time, I haven’t tried to remember. The sky was so wonderful and the river so winding and lovely and the air so delicious that yesterdays did not seem important and only to-day counted; and it was when we were sitting under a beautiful big water-oak that Whythe began to be terribly sentimental and say things that would have been more suitable for moonlight and shadows and things of that sort. But suitable or not, they were thrilly to hear, and I would have enjoyed hearing them if it hadn’t been for an abominable feeling that Billy was right beside me hearing every word also, and with a look on his face as if he thought my new friend was the foolest yet. And presently when I couldn’t stand it any longer (I mean stand Billy standing by) I got up suddenly and told Whythe it was time to go home.
I interrupted him in the midst of a beautiful sentence about my eyelashes, I think, or maybe it was something else, I don’t remember; but anyhow when I jumped up he was very much surprised and wanted to know what was the matter. I couldn’t tell him, but I was perfectly furious with Billy and the look on his face, which seemed to say what I’d heard him say often about fool-flum talk and feather-headed fellows and things of that sort. And I was so mad I rode so fast Whythe couldn’t keep up with me or continue the conversation, but it has been continued since. That is the main theme, though the variations are always different. Whythe never seems to give out on variations.
Of course, all of Miss Susanna’s boarders, which are only four besides myself, had something to say in general about the faithlessness of men and the flirtatiousness of girls, and how times had changed, and how you couldn’t put your hand on any human being and feel you could trust him in these days, and how men were gobbled up before they had got their breath good after painful experiences, and dozens of other things on that order. And I had such a good time listening to them, though they didn’t talk directly to me, that I’d forget at times and nearly screech out loud at the tones of voice in which they did me up, and then I would remember and try to look serious. But seriousness doesn’t seem to fit my face—that is, seriousness over sillinesses—and it wouldn’t stay on very long.
They thought it very indelicate in me to walk away with Elizabeth’s sweetheart right before her eyes—that is, Mrs. General Games did, but Miss Araminta Armstrong, who is over fifty and by nature sentimental and sympathetic, said she supposed it was natural for youth to seek consolation, and Whythe, poor dear, had been so heartbroken at Elizabeth’s behavior that he had been receptive to other influences of a pleasing nature, and she didn’t think they ought to be so hard on him. And then, after more talk of that sort, she would sigh and look away at the mountains in the distance with a loved-and-lost look in her eyes, and Miss Bettie Simcoe would sit up and snort.