I shall gain nothing by attempting to make you believe it was the man in the neighbouring room that interested me, so I shall not essay it. I confess, with a feeling of guilt because I am not more ashamed of it—that it was the young lady who attracted me. You will, I trust, assume I had enough interest in her father to palliate my conduct in a measure. Be generous in your judgment. How do you know you will not be in the same predicament? Think of it! A young woman beautiful beyond my feeble powers of description; her eyes of a heavenly blue; her luxuriant hair like a mass of spun gold; her complexion matched to the tint and transparency of the blush rose—and such a throat! From it came a voice as musical as the unguided waters when Winter rushes down the hills in search of Spring. Never you mind, that’s the way I felt about it, and, if you had been in my place, you’d have been just as bad as I; come, now, you know you would. Suppose I was a bachelor, and almost old enough to be her father. Does that help matters any? Is the heart less hungry because it has been starved? Just look at your history. When nuns have relapsed from other-worldliness to this-worldliness how have they been? I’ll tell you. They have been just a round baker’s dozen times worse than they would have been if they had never undertaken to cheat Nature. Look at the thing fairly. I don’t expect to dodge any blame that I deserve, yet I do want all the palliating circumstances duly noted. Many months have passed since then, and yet the thought of that sweet girl sends a thrill all over me. I wonder where she is now? I feel that we shall meet again some time, and perhaps you will see her yourself. If so, you will see that I couldn’t be expected to withstand any such temptation.
On these visits Maitland and I talked but very little, and while I was spying nothing of interest occurred—i. e., nothing of interest to him—or, if it did, things of interest to me prevented my observing it. On several occasions he alluded vaguely to things he had learned which he said he should not divulge even to me until the proper time came.
Things went on in this way for about two weeks. I visited Maitland daily, and daily the little lady in the next room wove her spell around me. If, as I am inclined to believe, thinking a great deal of a person is much the same thing as thinking of a person a great deal, I must have adored her.