A Rogue's Life (Chapter 7, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 7

I HAD spoken confidently enough, while arguing the question of
Doctor Dulcifer's respectability with the Treasurer of the D uskydale
Institution; but, if my perceptions had not been blinded by my
enthusiastic admiration for Alicia, I think I should have secretly
distrusted my own opinion as soon as I was left by myself. Had I been
in full possession of my senses, I might have questioned, on reflection,
whether the doctor's method of accounting for the suspicions which kept
his neighbors aloof from him, was quite satisfactory. Love is generally
described, I believe, as the tender passion. When I remember the
insidiously relaxing effect of it on all my faculties, I feel inclined
to alter the popular definition, and to call it a moral vapor-bath.

What the Managing Committee of the Duskydale Institution thought of the
change in me, I cannot imagine. The doctor and his daughter left the
town on the day they had originally appointed, before I could make
any excuse for calling again; and, as a necessary consequence of their
departure, I lost all interest in the affairs of the ball, and yawned
in the faces of the committee when I was obliged to be present at their
deliberations in my official capacity.

It was all Alicia with me, whatever they did. I read the Minutes through
a soft medium of maize-colored skirts. Notes of melodious laughter
bubbled, in my mind's ear, through all the drawling and stammering of
our speech-making members. When our dignified President thought he had
caught my eye, and made oratorical overtures to me from the top of the
table, I was lost in the contemplation of silk purses and white fingers
weaving them. I meant "Alicia" when I said "hear, hear"--and when I
officially produced my subscription list, it was all aglow with the
roseate hues of the marriage-license. If any unsympathetic male readers
should think this statement exaggerated, I appeal to the ladies--_they_
will appreciate the rigid, yet tender, truth of it.

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