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please, while I’m asking you.” “I don’t think I was looking at you, but if I was I beg your pardon,” said the philosopher apologetically. She pulled the tuft of grass right out of the ground and flung it from her with all her force. “Suppose a man—-” she began. “No, that’s not right.” “You can take any hypothesis you please,” observed the philosopher, “but you must verify it afterward, of course.” “Oh, do let me go on. Suppose a girl, Mr. Jerningham–I wish you wouldn’t nod.” “It was only to show that I followed you.” “Oh, of course you `follow me,’ as you call it. Suppose a girl had two lovers–you’re nodding again–or, I ought to say, suppose there were two men who might be in love with a girl.” “Only two?” asked the philosopher. “You see, any number of men MIGHT be in love with—-” “Oh, we can leave the rest out,” said Miss May, with a sudden dimple; “they don’t matter.” “Very well,” said the philosopher. “If they are irrelevant, we will put them aside.” “Suppose, then, that one of these men was–oh, ghd mk4 AWFULLY in love with the girl–and–and proposed, you know—-” “A moment!” said the philosopher, opening a notebook. “Let me take down his proposition. What was it?” FRIVOLOUS CUPID 65 “Why, proposed to her–asked her to marry him,” said the girl, with a stare. “Dear me! How stupid of me! I forgot that special use of the word. Yes?” “The girl likes him pretty well, and her people approve of him and all that, you know.” “That simplifies the problem,” said the philosopher, nodding again. “But she’s not in–in love with him, you know. She doesn’t REALLY care for him–MUCH. Do you understand?” “Perfectly. It is a most natural state of mind.” “Well, then, suppose that there’s another man- cheap ghd straighteners -what are you writing?” “I only put ghd hair straightener price down (B.)–like that,” pleaded the philosopher, meekly exhibiting his notebook. She looked at him in a sort of helpless exasperation, with just a smile somewhere in the background of it. “Oh, you really are—-” she exclaimed. “But let me go on. The other man is a friend of the girl’s; he’s very clever–oh, fearfully clever; and he’s rather handsome. You needn’t ghd flat iron put that down.” “It is certainly not very material,” admitted the philosopher, and he crossed out “handsome.” “Clever” he left. “And the girl is most awfully–she admires him tremendously; she thinks him just the greatest man that ever lived, you know. And she–she- —” The girl paused. “I’m following,” said the philosopher, with pencil poised. “She’d think it better than the whole world if–if she could be anything to him, you know.” “You mean become his wife?” “Well, of course I do–at least suppose I do.” “You spoke rather vaguely, you know.” The girl cast one glance at the philosopher as she replied: “Well, yes. I did mean, become his wife.” “Yes. Well?” “But,” continued the girl, starting on another tuft of grass, “he doesn’t FRIVOLOUS CUPID 66 think much about those things. He likes her. I think he likes her—-” “Well, doesn’t dislike her?” suggested the philosopher. ghd pure “Shall we call him indifferent?” “I don’t know. Yes, rather indifferent. I don’t think he thinks about it, you know. But she–she’s pretty. You needn’t put that down.” “I was not about to do so,” observed the philosopher. “She thinks life with him would be just heaven; and–and she thinks she would make him awfully happy. She would–would be so proud of him, you see.” “I see. Yes!” “And–I don’t know how to put it, quite–she thinks that, if he ever thought about it all, he might care for her; because he doesn’t care for anybody else; and she’s pretty—-” “You said that before.” “Oh, dear! I dare say I did. And most men care for somebody, don’t they? Some girl, I mean.” “Most men, no doubt,” conceded the philosopher. “Well, then, what ought she to do? It’s not a real thing, you cheap ghd styler know, Mr. Jerningham. It’s in–in a novel I was reading.” She said this hastily, and blushed as she spoke. “Dear me! And it’s quite an interesting case! Yes, I see. The question is, Will she act most wisely in accepting the offer of the man who loves her exceedingly, but for whom she entertains only a moderate affection—-” “Yes. Just a liking. He’s just a friend.” “Exactly. Or in marrying the other, whom she loves ex—-” “That’s not it. How can she marry him? He hasn’t–he hasn’t asked her, you see.” “True. I forgot. Let us assume, though, for the moment, that he has asked her. She would then have to consider which marriage would probably be productive of the greater sum total of—-” “Oh, but you needn’t consider that.” “But it seems the best logical order. We can afterward make FRIVOLOUS CUPID 67 allowance for the element of uncertainty caused by—-” “Oh, no! I don’t want it like that. I know perfectly well which she’d do if he–the other man, you know–asked her.” “You apprehend that—-” “Never mind what I `apprehend.’ Take it just as I told you.” “Very good. A has asked her hand, B has not.” “Yes.” “May I take it that, but for the disturbing influence of B, A would be a satisfactory–er–candidate?” “Ye–es. I think so.” “She, therefore, enjoys a certainty of considerable happiness if she marries A?” “Ye–es. Not perfect, because of–B, you know.” “Quite so, quite so; but still a fair amount of happiness. Is it not so?” “I don’t–well, perhaps.” “On the other hand, if B did ask her, we are to postulate a higher degree of happiness for her?” “Yes, please, Mr. Jerningham–much higher.” “For both of them?” “For her. Never mind him.” “Very well. That again simplifies the problem. But his asking her is a contingency only?” “Yes, that’s all.” The philosopher spread out his hands. “My dear young lady,” he said, “it becomes a question of degree. How probable or improbable is it?” “I don’t know. Not very probable–unless–unless—-” “Well?” “Unless he did happen to notice, you know.” “Ah, yes. We supposed that, if he thought of it, he would probably take the desired step–at least that he might be led to do so. Could she not–er–indicate her preference?” “She might try–no ghd pure , she couldn’t do much. You see, he–he doesn’t FRIVOLOUS CUPID 68 think about such things.” “I understand precisely. And it seems to me, Miss May, that in that very fact we find our solution.” “Do we?” she asked. “I think so. He has evidently no natural inclination toward her– perhaps not toward marriage at all. Any feeling aroused in him would be necessarily shallow and in a measure artificial–and in all likelihood purely temporary. Moreover, if she took steps to arouse his attention, one of two things would be likely to happen. Are you following me?” “Yes, Mr. Jerningham.” “Either he would be repelled by her overtures–which you must admit is not improbable–and then the position would be unpleasant, and even degrading, for her. Or, on the other pink ghd hand, he might, through a misplaced feeling of gallantry—-” “Through what?” “Through a mistaken idea of politeness, or a mistaken view of what was kind, allow himself to be drawn into a connection for which he had no genuine liking. You agree with me that one or other of these things would be likely?” “Yes, I suppose they would, unless he did come to care for her.” “Ah, you return to that hypothesis. I think it’s an extremely fanciful one. No. She needn’t marry A, but she must let B alone.” The philosopher closed his book, took off his glasses, wiped them, replaced them, and leaned back against the trunk of the apple tree. The girl picked a dandelion in pieces. After a long pause she asked: “You think B’s feelings wouldn’t ghd products be at all likely to–to change?” “That depends on the sort of man he is. But if he is an able man, with intellectual interests which engross him–a man who has chosen his path in life–a man to whom women’s society is not a necessity—-” “He’s just like that,” said the girl, and she bit the head off a daisy. “Then,” said the philosopher, “I see not the least reason for supposing that his feelings will change.” “And would you advise her to marry the other–A?” FRIVOLOUS CUPID 69 “Well, on the whole, I should. A is a good fellow (I think we made A a good fellow); he is a suitable match; his love for her is true and genuine- —” “It’s tremendous!” ghd hair dryer “Yes–and–er–extreme. She likes him. There is every reason to hope that her liking will develop into a sufficiently deep and stable affection. She will get rid of her folly about B and make A a good wife. Yes, Miss May, if I were the author of your novel, I should make her marry A, and I should call that a happy ending.” A silence followed. It was broken by the philosopher. “Is that all you wanted my opinion about, Miss May?” he asked, with his finger between the leaves of the treatise on ontology. “Yes, I think so. I hope I haven’t bored you?” “I’ve enjoyed the discussion extremely. I had no idea that novels raised points of such psychological interest. I must find time to read one.” The girl had shifted her position till, instead of her full face, her profile was turned toward him. Looking away toward the paddock that lay brilliant in sunshine on the skirts of the apple orchard, she asked, in low, slow tones, twisting her hands in her lap: “Don’t you think that perhaps, if B found out afterward– when she had married A, you know–that she had cared for him so very, very much, he might be a little sorry?” “If he were a gentleman, he would regret it deeply.” “I mean–sorry on his own account; that–that he had thrown away all that, you know?” The professor looked meditative. “I think,” he pronounced, “that it is very possible he would. I can well imagine it.” “He might never find anybody to love him like that again,” she said, gazing on the gleaming paddock. “He probably would not,” agreed the philosopher. “And–and most people like being loved, don’t they?” FRIVOLOUS CUPID 70 “To crave for love is an almost universal instinct, Miss May.” “Yes, almost,” she said, with a dreary little smile. “You see, he’ll get old and–and have no one to look after him.” “He will.” “And no home.” “Well, in a sense none,” corrected the philosopher, smiling. “But really, you’ll frighten me. I’m a bachelor myself, you know, Miss May.” “Yes,” she whispered just audibly. “And all your terrors are before me.” “Well, unless—-” “Oh, we needn’t have that `unless,’” laughed the philosopher cheerfully. “There’s no `unless’ ghd styler uk about it, Miss May.” The girl jumped to her feet; for an instant she looked at the philosopher. She opened her lips as if to speak, and, at the thought of what lay at her tongue’s tip, her face grew red. But the philosopher was gazing past her, and his eyes rested in calm contemplation on the gleaming paddock. “A beautiful thing, sunshine, to be sure,” said he. Her blush faded away into paleness; her lips closed. Without speaking she turned and walked slowly away, her ghd styler head drooping. The philosopher heard the rustle of her skirt in the long grass of the orchard; he watched her for a few moments. “A pretty, graceful creature,” said he, with a smile. Then he opened his book, took his pencil in his hand, and slipped in a careful forefinger to mark the fly leaf. The sun had passed mid-heaven, and began to decline westward before he finished the book. Then he stretched himself and looked at his watch. “Good gracious, two o’clock! I shall ghd limited edition be late for lunch!” and he hurried to his feet. He was very late for lunch. “Everything’s cold,” wailed his hostess. “Where have you been, Mr. Jerningham?” “Only in the orchard–reading.” FRIVOLOUS CUPID 71 “And you’ve missed May!” “Missed Miss May? How do you mean? I had a long talk with her this morning–a most interesting talk.” “But you weren’t here to say goodby. Now, you don’t mean to say that you forgot that she was leaving by the two o’clock train? What a man you are!” “Dear me! To think of my forgetting it!” said the philosopher shamefacedly. “She told me to say good-by to you for her.” “She’s very kind. I can’t forgive myself.” His hostess looked at him for a moment; then she sighed, and smiled, and sighed again. “Have you everything you want?” she asked. “Everything, thank you,” said he, sitting down opposite the cheese, and propping his book (he thought he would just run through the last chapter again) against the loaf; “everything in the world that I want, thanks.” His hostess did not tell him that the girl had come in from the apple orchard, and run hastily upstairs lest her

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