AS ONE DREAMS
THE TALE OF AN ADOLESCENT
The next day was very peaceful. We were becoming habituated to the situation. It was a Sunday, and the weather was warm. There had been no real news so far as we knew, except that Japan had lined up with the Allies. The Youngster had come near to striking fire by wondering how the United States, with her dislike for Japan, would view the entering into line of the yellow man, but the spark flickered out, and I imagine we settled down for the story with more eagerness than on the previous evening, especially when the Doctor thrust his hands into his pockets and lifted his chin into the air, as if he were in the tribune. More than one of us smiled at his resemblance to Pierre Janet entering the tribune at the College de France, and the Youngster said, under his breath, “A Clinique, I suppose.”
The Doctor’s ears were sharp. “Not a bit,” he answered, running his keen brown eyes over us to be sure we were listening before he began:
* * * * *
In the days when it was thought that the South End was to be the smart part of Boston, and when streets were laid out along wide tree shaded malls, with a square in the centre, in imitation of some quarters of London,–for Boston was in those days much more English in appearance than it is now,–there was in one of those squares a famous private school. In those days it was rather smart to go to a private school. It was in the days before Boston had much of an immigrant quarter, when some smart families still lived in the old Colonial houses at the North End, and ministers and lawyers and all professional men sent their sons and their daughters to the public schools, at that time probably the best in the world.
At this private school, there was, at the time of which I speak, what one might almost call a “principal girl.”
She was the daughter of a rich banker–his only daughter. The gods all seemed to have been very good to her. She was not only a really beautiful girl, she was, for her age, a distinguished girl,–one of the sort who seemed to do everything better than any one else, and with a lack of self-consciousness or pretension. Every one admired her. Some of her comrades would have loved her if she had given them the chance. But no one could ever get intimate with her. She came and went from school quite alone, in the habit of the American girl of those days before the chaperon became the correct thing. She was charming to every one, but she kept every one a little at arm’s length. Of course such a girl would be much talked over by the other type of girl to whom confidences were necessary.
As always happens in any school there was a popular teacher. She taught history and literature, and I imagine girls get more intimate with such a teacher than they ever do with the mathematics.
Also, as always happens, there was a “teacher’s pet,” one of those girls that has to adore something, and the literature teacher, as she was smart and good looking, was as convenient to adore as anything else,–and more adjacent.
Of course “teacher’s pet” never has any secrets from the teacher, and does not mean to be a sneak either. Just can’t help turning herself inside out for her idol, and when the heart of a girl of seventeen turns itself inside out, almost always something comes out that is not her business. That was how it happened that one day the literature teacher was told that the “Principal Girl” was receiving wonderful boxes of violets at the school door, and “Don’t you know ONE DAY she was seen by a group of pupils who happened to be going home, and were just behind her, getting into a closed carriage and driving away from the corner of the street!”