Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/229

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CHAPTER XXI


LOATHSOME GIFTS


THERE are doubtless men so constructed that they can find themselves accepted suitors without any particular whirl of emotion. King Solomon probably belonged to this class, and even Henry the Eighth must have become a trifle blasé in time. But, to the average man, the sensations are complex and overwhelming. A certain stunned feeling is perhaps predominant. Blended with this is relief, the relief of a general who has brought a difficult campaign to a successful end, or of a member of a forlorn hope who finds that the danger is over and that he is still alive. To this must be added a newly born sense of magnificence. Our suspicion that we were something rather out of the ordinary run of men is suddenly confirmed. Our bosom heaves with complacency, and the world has nothing more to offer.

With some, there is an alloy of apprehension in the metal of their happiness, and the strain of an engagement sometimes brings with it even a faint shadow of regret. "She makes me buy things," one swain, in the third quarter of his engagement, was overheard to moan to a friend. "Two new ties only yester-

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