Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/100

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88
MORE THAN AN AVERAGE.

dreaming sleepy dreams,—no, she was awake, alive, alert, she could not sit still a moment. She was an enchanting study. Her gown was of a soft white silky stuff that clung to her round young figure like a fish's skin, and it was rippled over with the gracefullest little fringy films of lace; she had deep, tender eyes, with long, curved lashes; and she had peachy cheeks, and a dimpled chin, and such a dear little dewy rosebud of a mouth; and she was so dove-like, so pure, and so gracious, so sweet and bewitching. For long hours I did mightily wish she would speak. And at last she did; the red lips parted, and out leaped her thought,—and with such a guileless and pretty enthusiasm, too: "Auntie, I just know I've got five hundred fleas on me!"

That was probably over the average. Yes, it must have been very much over the average.

A Tramp Abroad 0100h.jpg
A CONTRIBUTION BOX.

The average at that time in the Grand Duchy of Baden was forty-five to a young person, (when alone,) according to the official estimate of the Home Secretary for that year; the average for older people was shifty and indeterminable, for whenever a wholesome young girl came into the presence of her elders she immediately lowered their average and raised her own. She became a sort of contribution box. This dear young thing in the theatre had been sitting there unconsciously taking up a collection. Many a skinny old being in our neighborhood was the happier and the restfuller for her coming.