"FRONTI NULLA FIDES."
Now it happened that three seats behind ours, i. e., directly in front of me, there was the largest, most luminous, and withal the most ravishing pair of dark-blue eyes that were ever given a girl to do mischief with. When I say large eyes, I don't mean your overgrown, beetling, codfish eyes; nothing of the sort; for though these were large, they were deep-set and full of dreamy meditation and potential merriment, and bespoke a deal of misery in store for some poor fellow.
Now I don't want to have it supposed that I forthwith began to ogle and beam upon those eyes, just because I liked their looks. By no means. I'd like to have you know that I'm a Baptist, and Baptists are not that kind of people. But the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that those two eyes supplied a long-felt need in the completion of my temporal happiness. Somehow, it seemed the most natural thing in the world to look in their direction; and I always do what is natural when I can conscientiously. Half the misery of human life arises from opposing the dictates of nature. Accordingly I looked in that direction.
I soon became aware that that radiant duad of blueness was looking in my direction. In short, our eyes met; they looked at each other; no - not exactly at each other; that would have been improper. They looked at a sort of middle point lying half-way on the straight line between them, the focal point where their visual rays converged. This of course was very harmless. Pretty soon they smiled, both pairs at the same time; but not at each other, only at the focal point. This certainly was unobjectionable. Unobjectionable? It was more; it was delightful.
There was another pair of blue eyes in that seat. They belonged to a calm-looking, middle-aged lady, apparently the mother of the fair one; but, with a most commendable matronly circumspection, she seemed to be quite absorbed in the passing landscape, and I was willing to have it so.
For a half hour I sat there and felt that it was good to have been born. I smiled to think of my happiness, and each smile brought back an answering smile that made me happier still. And while I gazed into those living depths of blue, they seemed to undergo a strange metamorphosis. Those two eyes grew into one wide cerulean expanse, the heavens of an unknown paradise, through which there burst the brightness of a sun more radiant far than day, the brightness of a glowing soul; and I was beginning to feel poetic, and had just taken out my stylograph for the purpose of penning a tender little sonnet on the cream-colored tops of my gaiters, when the conductor shrieked out, "Portland! Portland!" Here we took on several families of Maine emigrants, who, being unable to endure the rule of the oligarchical greenbacracy by which that country is oppressed, were coming to seek new homes and new fortunes in the United States.
Now as ill fate would have it, one of these families, consisting of father, mother, and three children, established itself in one of the seats between myself and the charmer, and very seriously interfered with the line of visual communication; in fact, shut off entirely from my view the two occupants of the seat behind it.
Then began a series of manoeuvres on my part to recover the lost ground. I tried every possible position, and assumed every attitude, but failed to get any view of the hidden maiden. I distended and contracted myself to the utmost power of my elasticity, and had nearly given up in despair, when at last, by leaning forward some considerable distance, I discovered an open space between the arm of the eight-year-old boy, who was standing up on the seat, and the mother's shoulder, on which he was leaning; and through this opening I saw - O ecstasy! - the two blue eyes.
What a smile of triumph lit up my face! How tenderly my own eyes beamed into them! How intensely, how bewilderingly I gazed into them!
I noticed that they did not wear that look of ineffable sweetness that had been so marked before. They looked cold; I thought even a little severe. "The poor child," I said, "she takes it much to heart. She's really quite enraged at these intruders who so unconsciously disturbed our charming vis-a-vis. I'll have to cheer her." And thereupon I concentrated all the amiability of my naturally lovely disposition into one enchanting, bewitching smile, and cast it full into her face.
Just then the eight-year-old dropped his ginger-bread on the floor, and as he dove down after it, I saw - Great Hercules and Adam Koch! Those two females had changed places, and those were the mother's eyes!