“I’m makin’ my expairaments.”
But her thoughtfulness increased. “It seems to me,” she said slowly:—“Herbert, it seems to me there must be some awful inter’sting thing we could do with so many bugs all together like this.”
“’We’!” he cried. “My goodness, whose insecks do you think these insecks are?”
“I just know there’s somep’n,” she went on, following her own line of thought, and indifferent to his outburst. “There’s somep’n we could do with ’em that we’d never forget, if we could only think of it.”
In spite of himself, Herbert was interested. “Well, what?” he asked. “What could we do with ’em we’d never forget?”
In her eyes there was a far-away light as of a seeress groping. “I don’t just know exackly, but I know there’s somep’n—if we could only think of it—if we could just——” And her voice became inaudible, as in dreamy concentration she seated herself upon the discarded ice-cream freezer, and rested her elbows upon her knees and her chin upon the palms of her hands.
In silence then, she thought and thought. Herbert also was silent, for he, too, was trying to think, not knowing that already he had proved himself to be wax in her hands, and that he was destined further to show himself thus malleable. Like many and many another of his sex, he never for an instant suspected that he spent the greater part of his time carrying out ideas implanted within him by a lady-friend. Florence was ever the imaginative one of those two, a maiden of unexpected fancies and inexplicable conceptions, a mind of quicksilver and mist. There was within her the seedling of a creative artist, and as she sat there, on the ice-cream freezer in Herbert’s cellar, with the slowly growing roseate glow of deep preoccupation upon her, she looked strangely sweet and good, and even almost pretty.
“Do you s’pose,” she said, at last, in a musing voice: “Herbert, do you s’pose maybe there’s some poor family’s children somewheres that haven’t got any playthings or anything and we could take all these——”
But here Herbert proved unsympathetic. “I’m not goin’ to give my insecks to any poor people’s children,” he said emphatically. “I don’t care how poor they are!”
“Well, I thought maybe just as a surprise——”
“I won’t do it. I had mighty hard work to catch this c’lection, and I’m not goin’ to give it away to anybody, I don’t care how surprised they’d be! Anyway, I’d never get any thanks for it; they wouldn’t know how to handle ’em, and they’d get all stung up: and what’d be the use, anyhow? I don’t see how that’s goin’ to be somep’n so interesting we’d never forget it.”
“No,” she said. “I guess it wouldn’t. I just thought it would be kind of a bellnevolent thing to do.”
This word disturbed Herbert, but he did not feel altogether secure in his own impression that “benovvalent” was the proper rendition of what she meant, and so refrained from criticism. Their musing was resumed.