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Two Business Women
by [?]

They engaged themselves to be married when they were so young they couldn’t tell anybody about it for fear of being laughed at; and if I mentioned their years to you, you would laugh at me. They thought they were full-grown, but they weren’t even that. When they were finally married they couldn’t either of them have worn the clothes they got engaged in. The day they got engaged they wore suits made of white woollen blankets, white knitted toques, and white knitted sashes. It was because they were dressed exactly alike that they first got excited about each other. And Cynthia said: “You look just like a snowman.” And G. G.–which was his strange name–said: “You look just like a snowbird.”

G. G. was in Saranac for his health. Cynthia had come up for the holidays to skate and to skee and to coast, and to get herself engaged before she was full-grown to a boy who was so delicate that climate was more important for him than education. They met first at the rink. And it developed that if you crossed hands with G. G. and skated with him you skated almost as well as he did. He could teach a girl to waltz in five minutes; and he had a radiant laugh that almost moved you to tears when you went to bed at night and got thinking about it. Cynthia had never seen a boy with such a beautiful round head and such beautiful white teeth and such bright red cheeks. She always said that she loved him long before he loved her. As a matter of fact, it happened to them both right away. As one baby, unabashed and determined, embraces a strange baby–and is embraced–so, from their first meeting in the great cold stillness of the North Woods, their young hearts snuggled together.

G. G. was different from other boys. To begin with, he had been born at sea. Then he had lived abroad and learned the greatest quantity of foreign languages and songs. Then he had tried a New England boarding-school and had been hurt playing games he was too frail to play. And doctors had stethoscoped him and shaken their heads over him. And after that there was much naming of names which, instead of frightening him, were magic to his ear–Arizona, California, Saranac–but, because G. G.’s father was a professional man and perfectly square and honest, there wasn’t enough money to send G. G. far from New York and keep him there and visit him every now and then. So Saranac was the place chosen for him to get well in; and it seemed a little hard, because there was almost as much love of sunshine and warmth and flowers and music in G. G. as there was patience and courage.

The day they went skeeing together–which was the day after they had skated together–he told Cynthia all about himself, very simply and naturally, as a gentleman farmer should say: “This is the dairy; this is the blacksmith shop; this is the chicken run.” And the next day, very early, when they stood knee-deep in snow, armed with shot-guns and waiting for some dogs that thought they were hounds to drive rabbits for them to shoot at, he told her that nothing mattered so long as you were happy and knew that you were happy, because when these two stars came into conjunction you were bound to get well.

A rabbit passed. And G. G. laid his mitten upon his lips and shook his head; and he whispered:

“I wouldn’t shoot one for anything in the world.”

And she said: “Neither would I.”

Then she said: “If you don’t shoot why did you come?”

“Oh, Miss Snowbird,” he said, “don’t I look why I came? Do I have to say it?”

He looked and she looked. And their feet were getting colder every moment and their hearts warmer. Then G. G. laughed aloud–bright, sudden music in the forest. Snow, balanced to the fineness of a hair, fell from the bowed limbs of trees. Then there was such stillness as may be in Paradise when souls go up to the throne to be forgiven. Then, far off, one dog that thought he was a hound began to yap and thought he was belling; but still G. G. looked into the snowbird’s eyes and she into his, deeper and deeper, until neither had any secret of soul from the other. So, upon an altar cloth, two wax candles burn side by side, with clear, pure light.