Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/228

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.




Festus, a rejected suitor. Stella, the cruel rejecter.

Scene.—A handsomely furnished apartment in the house of Stella. Table, c., with rich cover, books, flowers, etc. Tête-à-tête, r. c., arm-chairs, r. and l. of table, c. Entrances, r., l., and c. Enter Festus, l., in evening costume.

Festus. "Thus far into the bowels of the land have we inarched on without impediment." Here am I once more in the place from which, but one short week ago, I made an unceremonious exit as the rejected suitor of a young, lovely, and talented lady. Rejected suitor!—those words slip very smoothly from the lips, as pleasantly as though they were associated with some high-sounding title of nobility. There is nothing in the sound of them to conjure up the miserable, mean, contemptible, kicked-out feeling which a man experiences who has received at the hands of lovely woman that specimen of feminine handicraft—the mitten. All my own fault, too! I'm a bashful man. Modesty, the virtue which is said to have been "the ruination of Ireland," is the rock against which my soaring ambition has dashed itself. I have sat in this room, evening after evening, upon the edge of a chair, twirling my thumbs, and saying—nothing. I couldn't help it. I have brought scores of compliments to the door, and left them in the hall with my hat. I wanted to speak; I kept up "a deuce of a thinking;" but somehow, when I had an agreeable speech ready to pop out of my mouth, it seemed to be frightened at the sight of the fair object against whom it was to be launched, and tumbled back again. It's no use: when a man is in love, the more he loves, the more silent he becomes; at least it was so in my case. And when I did manage, after much stammering and blushing, to "pop the question," the first word from the lady set me shivering; and the conclusion of her remarks set me running from the house utterly demoralized,—"I shall always be happy to see you as a friend, your conversation is so agreeable." Here was a damper, after six weeks of unremitting though silent attention. But she likes me, I'm sure of that. It is my silence which has frightened her. I only need a little more