"Well, now I come to think, she did show something; maybe it was surprise; I hadn't thought of that,—I took it for gratification."
"O, undoubtedly you were right; it must have been gratification; it could not be otherwise than gratifying to be assaulted by a stranger with such a question as that. Then what did you do?"
"I offered my hand and the party gave me a shake."
"I saw it! I did not believe my own eyes, at the time. Did the gentleman say anything about cutting your throat?"
"No, they all seemed glad to see me, as far as I could judge."
"And do you know, I believe they were. I think they said to themselves, 'Doubtless this curiosity has got away from his keeper—let us amuse ourselves with him.' There is no other way of accounting for their facile docility. You sat down. Did they ask you to sit down?"
"No, they did not ask me, but I supposed they did not think of it."
"You have an unerring instinct. What else did you do? What did you talk about?"
"Well, I asked the girl how old she was?"
"Undoubtedly. Your delicacy is beyond praise. Go on, go on,—don't mind my apparent misery,—I always look so when I am steeped in a profound and reverent joy. Go on,—she told you her age?"
"Yes, she told me her age, and all about her mother, and her grandmother, and her other relations, and all about herself."
"Did she volunteer these statistics?"