“Although,” Jane said, “you will never be able to live your own Life until she is gone, Bab.”
“There is Carter Brooks,” I suggested. “But he is poor. And anyhow she is not in Love with him.”
“Leila is not one to care about Love,” said Jane. “That makes it eazier.”
“But whom?” I said. “Whom, Jane?”
We thought and thought, but of course it was hard, for we knew none of those who filled my sister’s life, or sent her flours and so on.
At last I said:
“There must be a way, Jane. There must be. And if not, I shall make one. For I am desparate. The mere thought of going back to school, when I am as old as at present and engaged also, is madening.”
But Jane held out a warning hand.
“Go slow, dearie,” she said, in a solemn tone. “Do nothing rash. Remember this, that she is your sister, and should be hapily married if at all. Also she needs one with a strong hand to control her. And such are not easy to find. You must not ruin her Life.”
Considering the fatal truth of that, is it any wonder that, on contemplateing the events that folowed, I am ready to cry, with the great poet Hood: 1835-1874: whose numerous works we studied during the spring term:
Alas, I have walked
To heedless where I trod;
Nay, helping to trampel my fellow worm,
And fill the burial sod.
If I were to write down all the surging thoughts that filled my brain this would have to be a Novel instead of a Short Story. And I am not one who beleives in beginning the life of Letters with a long work. I think one should start with breif Romanse. For is not Romanse itself but breif, the thing of an hour, at least to the Other Sex?
Women and girls, having no interest outside their hearts, such as baseball and hockey and earning saleries, are more likely to hug Romanse to their breasts, until it is finaly drowned in their tears.
I pass over the next few days, therfore, mearly stating that my affaire de COUER went on rapidly, and that Leila was sulkey and had no male visitors. On the day after the Ball Game Tom took me for a walk, and in a corner of the park, he took my hand and held it for quite a while. He said he had never been a hand-holder, but he guessed it was time to begin. Also he remarked that my noze need not worry me, as it exactly suited my face and nature.
“How does it suit my nature?” I asked.
“It’s—well, it’s cute.”
“I do not care about being cute, Tom,” I said ernestly. “It is a word I despize.”
“Cute means kissible, Bab!” he said, in an ardent manner.
“I don’t beleive in kissing.”
“Well,” he observed, “there is kissing and kissing.”
But a nurse with a baby in a perambulater came along just then and nothing happened worth recording. As soon as she had passed, however, I mentioned that kissing was all right if one was engaged, but not otherwise. And he said: