The Gentleman from Indiana (Chapter 6, page 2 of 9)

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Chapter 6

In the garden, shafts of white light pierced the bordering trees and fell
where June roses lifted their heads to breathe the mild night breeze, and
here, through summer spells, the editor of the "Herald" and the lady who
had run to him at the pasture bars strolled down a path trembling with
shadows to where the shallow creek tinkled over the pebbles. They walked
slowly, with an air of being well-accustomed friends and comrades, and for
some reason it did not strike either of them as unnatural or
extraordinary. They came to a bench on the bank, and he made a great fuss
dusting the seat for her with his black slouch hat. Then he regretted the
hat--it was a shabby old hat of a Carlow County fashion.

It was a long bench, and he seated himself rather remotely toward the end
opposite her, suddenly realizing that he had walked very close to her,
coming down the narrow garden path. Neither knew that neither had spoken
since they left the veranda; and it had taken them a long time to come
through the little orchard and the garden. She rested her chin on her
hand, leaning forward and looking steadily at the creek. Her laughter had
quite gone; her attitude seemed a little wistful and a little sad. He
noted that her hair curled over her brow in a way he had not pictured in
the lady of his dreams; this was so much lovelier. He did not care for
tall girls; he had not cared for them for almost half an hour. It was so
much more beautiful to be dainty and small and piquant. He had no notion
that he was sighing in a way that would have put a furnace to shame, but
he turned his eyes from her because he feared that if he looked longer he
might blurt out some speech about her beauty. His glance rested on the
bank; but its diameter included the edge of her white skirt and the tip of
a little, white, high-heeled slipper that peeped out beneath it; and he
had to look away from that, too, to keep from telling her that he meant to
advocate a law compelling all women to wear crisp, white gowns and white
slippers on moonlight nights.

She picked a long spear of grass from the turf before her, twisted it
absently in her fingers, then turned to him slowly. Her lips parted as if
to speak. Then she turned away again. The action was so odd, and somehow,
as she did it, so adorable, and the preserved silence was such a bond
between them, that for his life he could not have helped moving half-way
up the bench toward her.

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