The Courting of Lady Jane

Josephine Daskam Bacon
The Courting Of Lady Jane, by
Josephine Daskam

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Title: The Courting Of Lady Jane
Author: Josephine Daskam
Release Date: November 6, 2007 [EBook #23368]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by David Widger

By Josephine Daskam
Copyright, 1903, by Charles Scribner's Sons

The colonel entered his sister's room abruptly, sat down on her bed, and
scattered a drawerful of fluffy things laid out for packing.
"You don't seem to think about my side of the matter," he said gloomily.
"What am I to do here all alone, for Heaven's sake?"
"That is so like a man," she murmured, one arm in a trunk. "Let me see:
party-boots, the children's arctics, Dick's sweater--did you think I could
live here forever, Cal?"
"Then you shouldn't have come at all. Just as I get thoroughly settled
down to flowers in the drawing-room, and rabbits in a chafing-dish,
and people for dinner, you skip off. Why don't you bring the children
here? What did you marry into the navy for, anyway? Nagasaki! I
wouldn't live in a place called Nagasaki for all that money could buy!"
"You're cross," said Mrs. Dick placidly. "Please get off that
bath-wrapper. If you don't like to live alone--Six bath-towels, Dick's
shoe-bag, my old muff (I hope and pray I'll remember that!) Helen's
reefer--Why don't you marry?"
"Marry? Marry! Are you out of your mind, Dosia? I marry!"
The colonel twisted his grayish mustache into points; a look of horror
spread over his countenance.
"Men have done it," she replied seriously, "and lived. Look at Dick."
"Look at him? But how? Who ever sees him? I've ceased to believe in
him, personally. I can't look across the Pacific. Consider my age, Dosia;
consider my pepper-and-salt hair; consider my bronchitis; consider--"
"Consider your stupidity! As to your hair, I should hate to eat a salad
dressed with that proportion of pepper. As to your age, remember
you're only ten years ahead of me, and I expect to remain thirty-eight
for some time."
"But forty-eight is centenarian to a girl of twenty-two, Dosia."

The colonel was plaiting and un-plaiting the ball-fringe of the bed-slip;
his eyes followed the motion of his fingers--he did not see his sister's
triumphant smile as she dived again into the trunk.
"That depends entirely on the girl. Take Louise Morris, for instance;
she regards you as partly entombed, probably"--the colonel winced
involuntarily--"but, on the other hand, a girl like Jane Leroy would
have no such nonsense in her head, and she can't be much more than
"She is twenty-two," cried the unsuspecting colonel eagerly.
"Ah? I should not have said so much. Now such a girl as that, Cal,
handsome, dignified, college-bred, is just the wife for an older man.
One can't seem to see her marrying some young snip of her own age.
She'd be wasted on him. I happen to know that she refused Wilbur Vail
entirely on that ground. She admitted that he was a charming fellow,
but she told her mother he was far too young for her. And he was
"Did she?" The colonel left the fringe. "But--but perhaps there were
other reasons; perhaps she didn't--"
"Oh, probably she didn't. But still, she said he was too young. That's the
way with these serious girls. Now I thought Dick was middle-aged
when I married him, and he was thirty. Jane doesn't take after her
mother; she was only nineteen when she was born--I mean, of course,
when Jane was born. Will you hand me that crocheted shawl, please?"
"My dear girl, you're not going to try to get that into that trunk, too?
Something will break."
"Not at all, my dear Clarence. Thank you. Will you send Norah up to
me as you go down?"
It had not occurred to the colonel that he was going down, but he
decided that he must have been, and departed, forgetting Norah utterly
before he had accomplished half of the staircase.

He wandered out through the broad hall, reaching down a hat absently,
and across the piazza. Then, half unconscious of direction, he crossed
the neat suburban road and strolled up the gravel path of the cottage
opposite. Mrs. Leroy was sitting in the bay-window, attaching
indefinite yards of white lace to indefinite yards of white ruffles. Jane,
in cool violet lawn, was reading aloud to
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