Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Biographical > A Book About Myself > CHAPTER XLIX
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 On the day of her arrival I arrayed myself in my best, armed myself with flowers, candy and two tickets for the theater, and made my way out to her aunt’s in one of the simpler home streets in the west end. I was so fearful that my afternoon assignment should prove a barrier to my seeing her that day that I went to her as early as ten-thirty, intending to offer her the tickets and arrange to stop for her afterwards at the theater; or, failing that, to see her for a little while in the evening if my assignments permitted. I was so vain of my in her eyes, so anxious to make a good impression, that I was ashamed to confess that my reportorial duties made it difficult for me to see her at all. After my free days in Chicago I wanted her to think that I was more than a reporter, a sort of traveling correspondent and feature man, which in a way I was, only my superiors were to keep me for some reason in the ordinary reportorial class taking daily assignments as usual. Instead of confessing my difficulties I made a great show of freedom.  
I found her in a small tree-shaded, cool-looking brick house, with a brick sidewalk before it and a space of grass on one side. Never did place seem more charming. I stared at it as one might at a . Here at last was the temporary home of my beloved, and she was within!
I knocked, and an attractive slip of a girl (her niece, as I learned) answered. I was shown into a long, dustless, darkened . After giving me time to weigh the taste and of her relatives according to my standards, she arrived, the beloved, the beautiful. In view of many later sadder things, it seems that here at least I might attempt to do her full justice. She seemed to me then, a trim, agreeable sylph of a girl, with a lovely oval face, red hair braided and coiled after the fashion of a Greek head, a clear pink skin, long, narrow, almond-shaped, gray-blue eyes, delicate, hands, a perfect figure, small well-formed feet. There was something of the wood or water nymph about her, a seeking in her eyes, a breath of wild winds in her hair, a glory to her mouth. And yet she was so obviously a simple and inexperienced country girl, caught firm and fast in American religious and puritanic traditions and with no hint in her mind of all the wild, mad ways of the world. Sometimes I have grieved that she ever met me, or that I so little understood myself as to have sought her out.
I first saw her, after this long time, framed in a white , and she made a fascinating picture. Here, as in Chicago, she seemed shy, innocent, questioning, as one who might fly at the first sound. I gazed in . Despite a certain something in her letters which had assured me of her affection or her desire for mine, still she held , extending a cool hand and asking me to sit down, smiling tenderly and graciously. I felt odd, out of place, and yet wonderfully to her, interested. What followed by way of conversation I cannot remember now—talk of the Fair, I suppose, some of those we had known, her summer, mine. She took my roses and pinned some of them on, placing the rest in a jar. There was a piano here, and after a time she consented to play. In a moment, it seemed, it was twelve-thirty, and I had to go.
I walked on air. It seemed to me that I had never seen any one more beautiful—and I doubt now that I had. There was no reason to be to the thing: it was plain infatuation, a burning, consuming desire for her. If I had lost her then and there, or any time within a year thereafter, I should have deemed it the most amazing affair of my life.
I returned to the office and took some assignment, which I cut short at three-thirty in order to get back to the Grand Opera House to sit beside her. The play was an Irish love drama, with Chauncey Olcott, the singing , in the title rôle. With her beside me I thought it perfect. Love! Ah, love! When the performance was ended I was ready to weep over the torturing beauty of life. Outside we found the matinée crowds, the carriages, the sense of autumn gayety and show in the air. A nearby ice-cream and candy store was crowded to . Young girls of the better families hummed like bees. Because of my poverty and uncertain station I felt , at the same time pretending to a station which I felt to be most unreal. The mixture of ambition and , pride, a gay in the air, added to the need to return to conventional toil—how these tortured me! Nothing surprises me now more than my driving emotions all through this period. I was as one .
We parted at a street-car—when I wanted a carriage! We met at her aunt’s home at eight-thirty, because I saw an opportunity of an assignment. In this simple parlor I dreamed the wildest, the most fantastic dreams. She was the be-all and the end-all of my existence. Now I must work for her, wait for her, succeed for her! Her piano technique seemed perfect, her voice ideal! Never was such beauty, such color. St. Louis took on a which it had never before possessed.... If only this love affair could have gone on to a swift fruition it would have been perfect, blinding.
But all the formalities, traditions, beliefs, of a conventional and puritanic region were in the way. Love, as it is in most places, and despite its consuming blaze, was a slow process. There must be many such visits, I knew, before I could even place an arm about her. I was to be permitted to take her to church, to concerts, the theater, a restaurant occasionally, but nothing more.
The next morning I went to church with her; the next afternoon unavoidable work kept me from her, but that night I shirked and stayed with her until eleven. The next morning, since she had to catch an early train for Florissant, I slept late, but during the next two weeks (she could not come oftener, having to spend one Sunday with her “folks,” as she referred to them) I poured my and delight on reams of thin paper. I wonder now where they are. Once there was a trunk full.
Perhaps the most interesting effect of this sudden fierce passion was the heightened color it lent to everything. Never before had I realized quite so clearly the charm of life as life, its singing, its intense appeal. I remember witnessing a hanging about this time, standing beside the murderer when the trap was sprung, and being , sickened to death, yet when I returned to the office and there was a letter from her—the world was perfect once more, no evil or pain in it! I followed up the horrors of a political , in which a city shot himself to escape the law—but a letter from her, and the world was beautiful. A negro in an outlying county assaulted a girl, and I arrived in time to see him lynched, but walking in the wood , away from the swinging body, I thought of her—and life contained not a single ill. Such is infatuation. If I had been alive before, now I was more than alive. I all over with and aspiration—to be an editor, a publisher, a playwright—I know not what. The simple homes I had dreamed over before as representing all that was charming and and shielding were now twice as attractive. Love, all its possibilities, paraded before my eyes, a gorgeous, fantastic procession. Love! Love! The charm of a home in which it would find its most appropriate setting! The brooding tenderness of it! Its healing force against the blows of ordinary life! To be married, to have your beloved with you, to have a charming home to which t............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved