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The School Girl
by [?]

“WHERE now?” said Frederick Williams to his friend Charles Lawson, on entering his own office and finding the latter, carpet-bag in hand, awaiting his arrival.

“Off for a day or two on a little business affair,” replied Lawson.

“Business! What have you to do with business?”

“Not ordinary, vulgar business,” returned Lawson with a slight toss of the head and an expression of contempt.

“Oh! It’s of a peculiar nature?”

“It is–very peculiar; and, moreover, I want the good offices of a friend, to enable me the more certainly to accomplish my purposes.”

“Come! sit down and explain yourself,” said Williams.

“Haven’t a moment to spare. The boat goes in half an hour.”

“What boat?”

“The New Haven boat. So come, go along with me to the slip, and we’ll talk the matter over by the way.”

“I’m all attention,” said Williams, as the two young men stepped forth upon the pavement.

“Well, you must know,” began Lawson, “that I have a first rate love affair on my hands.”

“You!”

“Now don’t smile; but hear me.”

“Go on–I’m all attention.”

“You know old Everett?”

“Thomas Everett, the silk importer?”

“The same.”

“I know something about him.”

“You know, I presume, that he has a pretty fair looking daughter?”

“And I know,” replied Williams, “that when ‘pretty fair looking’ is said, pretty much all is said in her favor.”

“Not by a great deal,” was the decided answer of Lawson.

“Pray what is there beyond this that a man can call attractive?”

“Her father’s money.”

“I didn’t think of that.”

“Didn’t you?”

“No. But it would take the saving influence of a pretty large sum to give her a marriageable merit in my eyes.”

“Gold hides a multitude of defects, you know, Fred.”

“It does; but it has to be heaped up very high to cover a wife’s defects, if they be as radical as those in Caroline Everett. Why, to speak out the plain, homespun truth, the girl’s a fool!”

“She isn’t over bright, Fred, I know,” replied Lawson. “But to call her a fool, is to use rather a broad assertion.”

“She certainly hasn’t good common sense. I would be ashamed of her in company a dozen times a day if she were any thing to me.”

“She’s young, you know, Fred.”

“Yes, a young and silly girl.”

“Just silly enough for my purpose. But, she will grow older and wiser, you know. Young and silly is a very good fault.”

“Where is she now?”

“At a boarding school some thirty miles from New Haven. Do you know why her father sent her there?”

“No.”

“She would meet me on her way to and from school while in the city, and the old gentleman had, I presume, some objections to me as a son-in-law.”

“And not without reason,” replied Williams.

“I could not have asked him to do a thing more consonant with my wishes,” continued Lawson. “Caroline told me where she was going, and I was not long in making a visit to the neighborhood. Great attention is paid to physical development in the school, and the young ladies are required to walk, daily, in the open air, amid the beautiful, romantic, and secluded scenery by which the place is surrounded. They walk alone, or in company, as suits their fancies. Caroline chose to walk alone when I was near at hand; and we met in a certain retired glen, where the sweet quiet of nature was broken only by the dreamy murmur of a silvery stream, and there we talked of love. It is not in the heart of a woman to withstand a scene like this. I told, in burning words, my passion, and she hearkened and was won.” Lawson paused for some moments; but, as Williams made no remark, he continued–

“It is hopeless to think of gaining her father’s consent to a marriage. He is pence-proud, and I, as you know, am penniless.”

“I do not think he would be likely to fancy you for a son-in-law,” said Williams.

“I have the best of reasons, for knowing that he would not. He has already spoken of me to his daughter in very severe terms.”