guarded herself. Jessie confessed that her sister accused her of letting me "act like a husband: she must have seen a stain on my chemise", Jessie added, "when you made me bleed, you naughty boy; any way something gave her the idea and now you must be good".
That was the conclusion of the whole matter. If I had known as much then as I knew ten years later, neither the pain nor her sister's warnings could have dissuaded Jessie from giving herself to me. Even at the time I felt that a little more knowledge would have made me the arbiter.
The desire to have Jessie completely to myself again, was one reason why I gave up the job at the Bridge as soon as the month was up. I had over a hundred and fifty dollars clear in my pocket and I had noticed that though the pains in my ears soon ceased, I had become a little hard of hearing. The first morning I wanted to he in bed and have one great lazy day, but I awoke at five as usual, and it suddenly occurred to me that I should go down and see Allison, the bootblack, again. I found him busier than ever and I had soon stripped off and set to work. About ten o'clock we had nothing to do, so I told him of my work under water; he boasted that his "stand" brought him in about four dollars a day: there wasn't much to do in the afternoons, but from six to seven again he usually earned something more.
I was welcome to come and work with him any morning on halves and I thought it well to accept his offer.
That very afternoon I took Jessie for a walk in the Park, but when we had found a seat in the shade she confessed that her sister thought we ought to be engaged, and as soon as I got steady work we could be married: "A woman wants a home of her own",