Arms and the Woman (Chapter 1, page 1 of 16)

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Chapter 1

The first time I met her I was a reporter in the embryonic state and
she was a girl in short dresses. It was in a garden, surrounded by
high red brick walls which were half hidden by clusters of green vines,
and at the base of which nestled earth-beds, radiant with roses and
poppies and peonies and bushes of lavender lilacs, all spilling their
delicate ambrosia on the mild air of passing May. I stood, straw hat
in hand, wondering if I had not stumbled into some sweet prison of
flowers which, having run disobedient ways in the past, had been placed
here by Flora, and forever denied their native meadows and
wildernesses. And this vision of fresh youth in my path, perhaps she
was some guardian nymph. I was only twenty-two--a most impressionable
age. Her hair was like that rare October brown, half dun, half gold;
her eyes were cool and restful, like the brown pools one sees in the
heart of the forests, and her lips and cheeks cozened the warm
vermilion of the rose which lay ever so lightly on the bosom of her
white dress. Close at hand was a table upon which stood a pitcher of
lemonade. She was holding in her hand an empty glass. As my eyes
encountered her calm, inquiring gaze, my courage fled precipitately,
likewise the object of my errand. There was a pause; diffidence and
embarrassment on my side, placidity on hers.

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