Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/110

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MY LIFE AND LOVES.

"What age are you?" was his next question.

"Sixteen", I lied boldly.

"Sixteen!", he repeated, "you don't look it but you speak as if you had been well educated". I smiled; I had already measured the crass ignorance of the peasants in the steerage.

"Have you any friends in America?" he asked.

"What do you want to question me for?" I demanded, "I've paid for my passage and I'm doing no harm".

"I want to help you", he said, "will you stay here until we draw out and I get a little time?"

"Certainly", I said, "I'd rather be here than with those louts and if I might read your books—"

I had noticed that there were two little oak book-cases, one on each side of the washing-stand, and smaller books and pictures scattered about.

"Of course you may", he rejoined and threw open the door of the bookcase. There was a Macaulay staring at me.

"I know his poetry", I said, seeing that the book contained his "Essays" and was written in prose. "I'd like to read this".

"Go ahead", he said smiling, "in a couple of hours I'll be back'" When he returned he found me curled upon his sofa, lost in fairyland. I had just come to the end of the essay on Olive and was breathless.

"You like it?" he asked. "I should just think I did", I replied, "it's better even than his poetry", and suddenly I closed the book and began to recite:

"With all his faults, and they were neither few nor small, only one cemetery was" worthy to contain his remains. In the Great Abbey—"

The Doctor took the book from me where I held it.

"Are you reciting from Olive?" he asked.