MY CASTLE IN THE AIR.
Until last summer I had failed to find my ideal; but, while travelling from Portland to Bangor, I met her. The train had just stopped at a small way station; but, as I was deeply interested in "Troublesome Daughters," I paid no attention to the passengers who got in, except that I was dimly conscious of some one asking me if the seat next me was engaged. I replied "No without raising my eyes from my book. A female sat down beside me. A few minutes passed by in silence, when the woman sighed heavily. Now if there is one thing more than another which affects me, it is a woman's sighs (pity the pun). I dropped my book and looked. Heavens! What a vision! Beautiful light brown hair, very dark brown eyes, perfect features, and a figure that would have thrown all the Venuses of Milo in the shade. My ideal was realized, for that she was a country girl, the basket which she carried, containing an apple and a sandwich, bore direct testimony. I noted all these points in a twinkling of an eye, for two years in a class like '82 develops one's eye for female beauty amazingly. My heart throbbed as she gazed at me in a pensive manner and sighed again. I resolved to storm the fort at once, and, bracing myself on recollections of conquests in the 'Port, I began: "O most bewitching stranger, know that you have before you a youth who for five summers has sought a maiden like you. A youth who wants to find a girl untarnished by the chromo civilization of the 19th century. She must know nothing of germans, lawn tennis, or the opera; her mind must be as fresh - as fresh - as - as a freshly cleaned blackboard on which I shall stamp the imprint of my superior intellect. She must be a country girl, in fact. I will come and board for the summer months at her father's house; daily I will accompany her to the old oaken bucket, and fill and carry her pail to the house; during the day we will roam hand in hand through the woods while I pour sweet poetry in her ear; then at even-time we will go to the meadow and bring the cattle home, and I will stand by my dear one in the barn-yard, repeating 'The Cotter's Saturday Night' while she milks the bosky cows. Then in the fall I will leave her, promising, as I press her to my bosom, to return in a week and marry her. Winter will come, but not I; the sweet maid will droop and fade, no longer singing about her daily task; finally she will die and be laid away in the cold earth, while a stranger from the city (that's I) will come and drop a tear over her grave. Say, dearest maid, will you be such an one to me? That sigh betokens regard, I know; speak quick, I pray you, in order that I may get a stop-over for the next station."
She turned her large lustrous eyes upon me and spoke: "Well, of all the living fools, you be the biggest. You're right about my not knowing nothing about lawn tennis and such like, and I guess father could kinder take you to board for the summer at six dollars a week, money paid every Saturday, but all them other things you said hain't no more sense to 'em than apple-parings. Think I'd have you carrying my water-pail round and pestering me all day 'pouring sweet poetry in my eye'? I think I see myself! As for your reciting the 'Potter's Saturday Night' while I milk, I guess them clothes of yours ain't meant to travel round our barn-yard much, 'sides, the smell of the yard ain't always agreeable to city folks. And I wasn't sighing about you, but because ma didn't put any doughnuts in my lunch basket; and I looked at you because you looked so like red-headed Sam Smith who is gone daown to Waterford College." All this volleyed at me in a nasal twang from a mouth lined with bad teeth, accompanied by a healthy smell of onions, was too much for me, and I was driven to the smoking car and the solace of a cigar.