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قراءة كتاب Vistas of New York

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‏اللغة: English
Vistas of New York

Vistas of New York

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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Auburnvale I knew everybody and every door was open to me. I feel it will be a real privilege to see what the house of a rich man like Mr. Stanwood is like. I’ll write you all about it.

And some day I’ll buy you a house just as fine as his. That some day seems a long way off, sometimes, don’t it?

JACK.

X

NEW YORK, Dec. 4, 1894.

DEAR MIRIAM,—You have never before answered so promptly, and so I write back the very day I get your letter.

I begin by saying I don’t understand it—or at least I don’t want to understand it. You ask me not to accept Mr. Stanwood’s invitation. Now that’s perfectly ridiculous, and you know it is. Why shouldn’t I go to Mr. Stanwood’s house if he asks me? He’s a rich man, and very influential, and has lots of friends. He’s just the kind of man it’s very useful for me to know. You ought to be able to see that. I’ve got to take advantage of every chance I get. If I ever start in business for myself, it will be very helpful if I could find a man like Mr. Stanwood who might be willing to put in money as a special partner.

Fact is, I’m afraid you are jealous. That’s what I don’t like to think. But it seems to me I can see in your letter just the kind of temper you were in last Fourth of July when I happened to get in conversation with Kitty Parsons. Your eyes flashed then and there was a burning red spot on your cheeks, and I thought I’d never seen you look so pretty. But I knew you hadn’t any right to be mad clear through. And you were then, as you are now. I hadn’t done anything wrong then, and I’m not going to do anything wrong now. Jealousy is absurd, anyhow, and it’s doubly absurd in this case! You know how much I love you—or you ought to know it. And you ought to know that a rich man like Mr. Stanwood isn’t going to ask a clerk in Fassiter, Smith & Kiddle’s up to his house just on purpose to catch a husband for his daughter.

I guess I’ve got a pretty good opinion of myself. You told me once I was dreadfully stuck up—it was the same Fourth of July you said it, too. But I’m not conceited enough to think that a New York girl like Miss Stanwood would ever look at me. I don’t trot in her class. And a railroad president isn’t so hard up for a son-in-law that he has to pick one up on the church steps. So you needn’t be alarmed about me.

But if it worries you I’ll go some night this week and get it over. Then I’ll write you all about it. I guess there’s lots of things in Mr. Stanwood’s house you would like to see.

So sit down and write me a nice letter soon, and get over this jealousy as quick as you can. It isn’t worthy of the little girl I love so much.

Your only
JACK.

XI

NEW YORK, Dec. 9, 1894.

DEAR MIRIAM,—I haven’t had a line from you since I wrote you last, but according to promise I write at once to tell you about my visit to the Stanwoods.

I went there last night. They live on the top of Murray Hill, just off Madison Avenue. It’s a fine house, what they call a four-story, high-stooped, brownstone mansion. The door was opened by a man in a swallow-tail coat, and he showed me into the sitting-room, saying they hadn’t quite finished dinner yet—and it was almost eight o’clock! That shows you how different things are here in New York, don’t it? The sitting-room was very handsome, with satin furniture, and hand-painted pictures on the walls, and a blazing soft-coal fire. There were magazines and books on the center-table, some of them French.

In about ten minutes they came in, Mr. Stanwood and his daughter; and they begged my pardon for keeping me waiting. Then Mr. Stanwood said he was sorry but he had to attend a committee meeting at the club. Of course, I was for going, too, but he said to Hester—that’s Miss Stanwood’s name; pretty, isn’t it?—she’d show me the photographs. So he stayed a little while and made me feel at home and then he went.

He’s a widower, and his daughter keeps house for him; but I guess housekeeping’s pretty easy if you’ve got lots of money and don’t care how fast you spend it. I felt a little awkward, I don’t mind telling you, in that fine room, but Miss Stanwood never let on if she saw it, and I guess she did, for she’s pretty sharp, too. She sent for the photographs; and she gave me a wholly new idea of the Holy Land, and she told me lots of things about their travels abroad. When you called her the Gilt-Edged Girl I suppose you thought she was stiff and stuck up. But she isn’t—not a bit. She’s bright, too, and she was very funny the way she took off the people they’d met on the other side. She isn’t as good a mimic as you, perhaps, but she can be very amusing. She’s very well educated, I must say; she’s read everything and she’s been everywhere. In London two years ago she was presented to the Queen—it was the Princess of Wales, really, but she stood for the Queen—and she isn’t set up about it either.

So I had an enjoyable evening in spite of my being so uncomfortable; and when Mr. Stanwood came back and I got up to go, he asked me to come again.

Now I’ve told you everything, as I said I would, so that you can judge for yourself how fortunate in having made friends in a house like Mr. Stanwood’s. You can’t help seeing that, I’m sure.

JACK.

XII

NEW YORK, Dec. 18, 1894.

MY DEAR MIRIAM,—What is the matter with you? What have I done to offend you? You keep me waiting ten days for a letter, and then when it comes it’s only four lines and it’s cold and curt; and there isn’t a word of love in it.

If it means you are getting tired of me and want to break off, say so right out, and I’ll drop everything and go up to Auburnvale on the first train and make love to you all over again and just insist on your marrying me. You needn’t think I’ve changed. Distance don’t make any difference to me. If anybody’s changed it’s you. I’m just the same. I love you as much as ever I did; more, too, I guess. Why, what would I have to look forward to in life if I didn’t have you?

Now, I simply can’t stand the way you have been treating me.

First off I thought you might be jealous, but I knew I couldn’t give you any cause for that, so I saw that wasn’t it. The only thing I can think of is that separation is a strain on you. I know it is on me, but I felt I just had to stand it. And if I could stand it when what I wanted was you, well, I guessed you could stand it when all you had to do without was me.

Now, I tell you what I’ll do, if you say so. I’ll drop everything here and give up trying. What’s the use of a fortune to me if I don’t have you to share it with me? Of course, I’d like to be rich some day, but that’s because I want you to have money and to hold your own with the best of them. Now, you just say the word and I’ll quit. I’ll throw up my job with Fassiter, Smith & Kiddle, though they are going to give me a raise at New Year’s. Mr. Smith told me yesterday. I’ll quit and I’ll go back to Auburnvale for the rest of my life. I don’t care if it is only a little country village—you live in it, and that’s enough for me. I’ll clerk in the store, if I can get the job there, or I’ll farm it, or I’ll do anything you say. Only you must tell me plainly what it is you want. What I want most in the world is you!

JACK.

XIII

NEW YORK, Jan. 1,

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