Once there was a Proper little Female who Fluttered and was interested in Movements. She was born the Year that Fremont ran against Buchanan. All she knew about Spooning was what she had Read in Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Time and again she said that if a Man ever attempted to Take Liberties with her, she knew she would Die of Mortification. At Last Reports she was Living, but she had Courted Death at least Fifteen Hundred Times.
If a Strange Man came up behind her while she was walking Homeward in the Dusk, she always gave a Timid Glance behind and Hurried, suspecting that he would Overtake her and seize her by both Wrists and tell her not to Scream. She would reach her own Door and lean against it, almost in a Swoon, and the Strange Man would pass by, softly Humming to Himself.
Occasionally an Adventurer with Coal-Black Eyes and a Suspicious Manner would come and sit right beside her in a Car, evidently for some Purpose, and she would close her Lips tightly and resolve to do a Steve Brodie out of the Window if she saw his Hand slipping over toward Hers. Fortunately, the man kept his Eyes on the Sporting Page and made no Move.
If she happened to be in the Waiting-Room at the Station, and a coarse but masterful Claim Agent, or some one else equally Terrifying, happened to come across the Room at her, she could feel her Little Heart stand still, and she would say, “This is where I get it.” After he had gone past, on his way to the Check-Room, she would put some Camphor on her Handkerchief and declare to Goodness that never again would she start out to Travel unless she had some Older Person with her.
More than once when she was at Home, with only a few other Persons around the House, she saw a Large Man come up the Front Steps, and she would be Frozen with Terror, and could see herself being lifted into a Closed Carriage by the Brutal Confederates. She would slip a Pair of Scissors under her Apron and creep to the Front Door, prepared to Resist with all her Girlish Strength, and the Man would have to talk to her through the Door, and ask where they wanted the Coal delivered.
Now and then a Caller would find her Reviving herself with a Cup of Tea.
The Caller would say: “Madge, Child, you are as Pale as a Ghost.”
Madge would reply: “Oh, I have just had such a Turn! I was out watering the Nasturtiums, when a Man in a Crash Suit came along the Street and looked right at me. The Gate was open, and there was nothing to prevent him from coming right in and Getting me.”
The Appalled Visitor would want to know what became of him, and Madge would explain that he turned at the Next Corner, and she had been as Weak as a Cat ever since.
On her Shopping Expeditions she noticed Dozens of Men, apparently Trailing right along after her, and she knew that her only Salvation was to look straight ahead and indicate by her Bearing that she was no Flirt. By so doing she eluded many a one who wanted to Catch Step with her and begin a Conversation.
The Collected Stories of her Successful but Hair-Breadth Escapes from Men of the World, who seemed to Forget that all Women were not Alike, would have filled a Volume bigger than the Family Medicine Book.
Happily, no one ever went Quite So Far. She invariably Escaped.
MORAL: Don’t Worry.