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Upon Impulse
by [?]

The seminary buildings stood not far from the low, lodgelike railway station, and a path led through a gap in the fence across the meadow. People were soberly converging toward its central building, as if proceeding to church.

Among the people who alighted from the two o’clock train were Professor Blakesly and his wife and a tall, dark man whom they called Ware.

Mrs. Blakesly was plump and pretty, plainly the mother of two or three children and the sovereign of a modest suburban cottage. Blakesly was as evidently a teacher; even the casual glances of the other visitors might discover the character of these people.

Ware was not so easy to be read. His face was lean and brown, and his squarely clipped mustache gave him a stern look. His body was well rounded with muscle, and he walked alertly; his manner was direct and vigorous, manifestly of the open air.

As they entered the meadow he paused and said with humorous irresolution, “I don’t know what I am out here for.”

“To see the pretty girls, of course,” said Mrs. Blakesly.

“They may be plain, after all,” he said.

“They’re always pretty at graduation time and at marriage,” Blakesly interpreted.

“Then there’s the ice cream and cake,” Mrs. Blakesly added.

“Where do all these people come from?” Ware asked, looking about. “It’s all farm land here.”

“They are the fathers, mothers, and brothers of the seminary girls. They come from everywhere. See the dear creatures about the door! Let’s hurry along.”

“They do not interest me. I take off my hat to the beauty of the day, however.”

Ware had evidently come under protest, for he lingered in the daisied grass which was dappled with shadows and tinkling with bobolinks and catbirds.

A broad path led up to the central building, whose double doors were swung wide with most hospitable intent. Ware ascended the steps behind his friends, a bored look on his dark face.

Two rows of flushed, excited girls with two teachers at their head stood flanking the doorway to receive the visitors, who streamed steadily into the wide, cool hall.

Mrs. Blakesly took Ware in hand. “Mr. Ware, this is Miss Powell. Miss Powell, this is Mr. Jenkin Ware, lawyer and friend to the Blakeslys.”

“I’m very glad to see you,” said a cool voice, in which gladness was entirely absent.

Ware turned to shake hands mechanically, but something in the steady eyes and clasp of the hand held out turned his listless manner into surprise and confusion. He stared at her without speaking, only for a second, and yet so long she colored and withdrew her hand sharply.

“I beg your pardon, I didn’t get the name.”

“Miss Powell,” answered Mrs. Blakesly, who had certainly missed this little comedy, which would have been so delicious to her.

Ware moved on, shaking hands with the other teachers and bowing to the girls. He seized an early moment to turn and look back at Miss Powell. His listless indifference was gone. She was a fine figure of a woman–a strong, lithe figure, dressed in a well-ordered, light-colored gown. Her head was girlish, with a fluff of brown hair knotted low at the back. Her profile was magnificent. The head had the intellectual poise, but the proud bosom and strong body added another quality. “She is a modern type,” Ware said, remembering a painting of such a head he had seen in a recent exhibition.

As he studied her she turned and caught him looking, and he felt again a curious fluttering rush at his heart. He fancied she flushed a little deeper as she turned away.

As for him, it had been a very long while since he had felt that singular weakness in the presence of a young woman. He walked on, trying to account for it. It made him feel very boyish. He had a furtive desire to remain in the hall where he could watch her, and when he passed up the stairs, it was with a distinct feeling of melancholy, as if he were leaving something very dear and leaving it forever.