ON the 29th of December last a young man might have been seen making his way up Washington Street at a pretty rapid pace. It was the noble Fitz-Clarence De Smythe, and he was revolving a great project in his heart. In common with the other sons of '84, De Smythe was an adorer at the shrine of Miss Evangeline Montmorenci, who dwelt at the palatial mansion No. 1884 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass., U. S. A.; but now his rivals had departed to their respective homes; for the whole winter recess he had a clear field; and his breast swelled with pride and two overcoats as he thought thereupon. He would make the fair creature the recipient of a New Year's gift which should make her his for ever, - something dainty and suggestive. What should it be? After long and arduous cogitation he had evolved an idea.
Entering a store where he was well acquainted he left an order for the following unique design:-
A diary ("For," said he, "she will think of me every day in the year!") was to be aesthetically bound, and to have an elegant section of looking-glass inserted in one cover; above this mirror were to be two hearts transfixed by an arrow; below the mirror, the words, "She whom my heart hath chosen," were to convey to the fair Evangeline, while gazing upon the glass, the sentiments which inspired the heart of the adoring De Smythe.
Chapter II.IT was the next evening. De Smythe's heart had failed him at the last moment, and he had not delivered the diary. He was sitting in his room, No. 26 Holworthy. His janitor sat beside him. De Smythe had taken a great fancy to this janitor, who had taught him to smoke. "This shall at least bring happiness to some mortal," thought the generous youth, as he drew from his pocket the object on which he had spent so much anxious thought and his last X. He unfolded the wrappings of tissue paper and presented the diary to the janitor, accompanying the gift with a description of its mechanism. The janitor was much pleased, and Fitz-Clarence went round to Adam's to brace.
When he was gone the janitor drew out the diary and took a long, lingering look at it. Then he shook his head. He feared Margaret would not understand without a good deal of explanation. Margaret was the cook at 1884 Beacon Street. She had been engaged to the janitor just three days. Taking from his pocket a photograph of this lady, finished in colors in the most approved style of the art, he, by a dexterous use of De Smythe's penknife, removed the mirror and replaced it by the picture; and then, intending to call at 1884 Beacon Street later in the evening, carefully wrapped up the diary and placed it in the breast-pocket of Fitz-Clarence's best overcoat, that he might be sure of not leaving it behind. The janitor now invaded the next room in quest of some cigars. When he returned the overcoat was gone!
During his absence De Smythe had entered. The brace had had its usual stimulating effect, and he had decided to storm once more the citadel of Evangeline's heart. Flinging on the overcoat, he rushed out to catch a car.
Chapter III.DE SMYTHE had a delightful evening. Never had his Evangeline been so charming or so gracious. He spoke of love and she did not say him nay. He was intoxicated with happiness. But all things must have an end, and about two A. M. De Smythe began to become conscious that he must go. As he put on his overcoat he felt the parcel in the breast-pocket, and, without stopping to account for its presence, drew it out and handed it to Evangeline.
"This," said he, "is a little present I have bought for one who is very dear to me. Will you undertake its delivery?"
"Why! how can I?" said Evangeline in her charming, coquettish way. "Who is she?" De Smythe's rapture was overflowing. "Look upon it," he said, "and you will behold her loveliest of faces," and rushing down the steps he ran for a West End car.
Evangeline, with gentle hand and rapt attention, drew back the wrappings.