GOOD-NATURED as I am, and easily pleased, there is one young woman who comes to our house with whom I cannot seem to get on at all. Miss Van Benthusen is “accomplished.” She writes and paints, and belongs, I am told, to several societies, but, for some reason, I have contracted a prejudice against her. Last winter, in my own house, and in the presence of a very select gathering she asked me what was the date of the Second Punic War, which, she said, had escaped her. I replied that, if it was all the same to her, I would join in with the Second Punic War, and escape her too. So I left the gathering selected by the girls, and went up to the smoking room to another selected by myself, and there Jim Leroy, Harry Montgomery, “the kitty," and I passed the rest of the evening.
Miss Van Benthusen is very aristocratic, but I do think she showed singularly poor taste in asking me that question. If it had been the price of “Cordage," or “Reading," I shouldn't have cared. However, I got even. After breakfast I was taken into the parlor and shown what Nan called a “vahz” of Miss Van Benthusen’s own painting, fresh from the kiln. It was odious; still, under ordinary circumstances, I should have lied with alacrity, and a total disregard for my poor soul. As it was—the circumstances being extraordinary—all I said was that the ﬂowers in it were very pretty.
“Yes, they are pretty," said Miss Van Benthusen clamily; "I gathered them myself; they are wild ﬂowers." And when I said hastily that I didn’t wonder, and she asked innocently “at what?" imagine the zeal with which I responded, “I don't wonder, because its enough to make any flower wild to be in a vase like that."