It was absurd enough, but the absurdity of it did not strike either of them then.
“Oh, won’t you go to Egypt?” she begged. “Won’t you, please?”
He was firm. “No,” he declared. “Not unless you go with me. Ah— ah—Miss Martha, will you?”
She hesitated, wrung her hands—and surrendered. “Oh, I suppose I shall have to,” she said.
He did not dare believe it.
“But—but I don’t want you to have to,” he cried. “You mustn’t marry me for—for Egypt, Miss Martha. Of course, it is too much to ask; no doubt it is quite impossible, but you—you mustn’t marry me unless you really—ah—want to.”
And then a very astonishing thing happened. Martha turned to him, and tears were in her eyes.
“Oh,” she cried, breathlessly, “do you suppose there is a woman in this world who wouldn’t want to marry a man like you?”
After a while they discovered that it was raining. As a matter of fact, it had been raining for some time and was now raining hard, but as Galusha said, it didn’t make a bit of difference, really. They put up the umbrella, which until now had been quite forgotten, and walked home along the wet path, between the dripping weeds and bushes. It was almost dark and, as they passed the lighthouse, the great beacon blazed from the tower.
Galusha was babbling like a brook, endlessly but joyful.
“Miss Martha—” he began. Then he laughed aloud, a laugh of sheer happiness. “It—it just occurred to me,” he exclaimed. “How extraordinary I didn’t think of it before. I sha’n’t have to call you Miss Martha now, shall I? It is very wonderful, isn’t it? Dear me, yes! Very wonderful!”
Martha laughed, too. “I’m afraid other people are goin’ to think it is very ridiculous,” she said. “And perhaps it is. Two middle-aged, settled folks like us startin’ up all at once and gettin’ married. I know I should laugh if it was anybody else.”
But Galusha stoutly maintained there was nothing ridiculous about it. It was wonderful, that was all.
“Besides,” he declared, “we are not old; we are just beginning to be young, you and I. Personally, I feel as if I could jump over a bush and annihilate a—ah—June bug, as Luce did that night when we went out to see the moon.”
Luce himself was at the door waiting to be let in. He regarded the pair with the air of condescending boredom which the feline race assumes when confronted with the idiosyncrasies of poor humanity. Possibly he was reflecting that, at least, he knew enough to go in when it rained. Martha opened the door, but Galusha paused for a moment on the threshold.
“Do you know,” he said, “that, except—ah—occasionally, in wet weather, it scarcely ever rains in Egypt?”
(A letter from Mrs. Galusha Bangs to Miss Lulie Hallett.)