Wall, Josiah got real rested and sort o’ sot up agin. And he laid his hand agin lovin’ly on the boards as we left the seen.
Wall, on our way home I had an awful trial with Josiah Allen. Mebby what he had seen that day had made him feel kind o’ riz up, and want to act.
He and I wuz a-wendin’ our way along the lagoon, when all of a sudden he sez—
“Samantha, I want to go out sailin’ in a gondola—I want to swing out and be romantic,” sez he.
Sez he, “I always wanted to be romantic, and I always wanted to be a gondolier, but it never come handy before, and now I will! I will be romantic, and sail round with you in a gondola. I’d love to go by moonlight, but sunlight is better than nothin’.”
[Illustration: “I want to swing out and be romantic and sail round with you in a gondola.”]
I looked down pityin’ly on him as he stood a few steps below me on the flight o’ stairs a-leadin’ down to the water’s edge.
I leaned hard on my faithful old umbrell, for I had a touch of rumatiz that day.
And sez I, “Romance, Josiah, should be looked at with the bright eyes of youth, not through spectacles No. 12.” Sez I, “The glowin’ mist that wrops her round fades away under the magnifyin’ lights of them specs, Josiah Allen.”
He had took his hat off to cool his forward, and I sez further—
“Romance and bald heads don’t go together worth a cent, and rumatiz and azmy are perfect strangers to her. Romance locks arms with young souls, Josiah Allen, and walks off with ’em.”
“Oh, shaw!” sez Josiah, “we hain’t so very old. Old Uncle Smedly would call us young, and we be, compared to him.”
“Wall,” sez I, “through the purblind gaze of ninety winters we may look younger, but bald heads and spectacles, Josiah Allen, tell their own silent story. We are not young, Josiah Allen, and all our lyin’ and pretendin’ won’t make us so.”
“Wall, dum it all! I never shall be any younger. You can’t dispute that.”
“No,” sez I; “I don’t spoze you will, in this spear.”
“Wall, I am bound to go out in a gondola, I am bound to be a gondolier before I die. So you may as well make up your mind first as last, and the sooner I go, the younger I shall go. Hain’t that so?”
With a deep sithe I answered, “I spoze so.”
And he continued on, “There is such wild, free
pleasure on the deep,
But, sez I, layin’ down the sword of common sense, and takin’ up the weepons of affection,
“Think of the dangers, Josiah. The water is damp and cold, and your rumatiz is fearful.”
“Dum it all! I hain’t a-goin’ in the water, am I?”
“I don’t know,” sez I sadly, “I don’t know, Josiah, and anyway the winds sweep down the lagoons, and azmy lingers on its wings. Pause, Josiah Allen, for my sake, for liniments and poultices as well as clouds have their dark linin’s, and they turn ’em out to me as I ponder on your course.” Sez I, “Your danger appauls me, and also the idee of bein’ up nights with you.”