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MY FIRST VENUS.

come for Christmas, I could not wait till midsummer: oh, how I shall ache for you—ache!"

"Come upstairs", I coaxed and she came, and we went to bed: I found her mad with desire; but after I had brought her in an hour to hysteria and she lay in my arms crying, she suddenly said: "he promised to come home early this afternoon and I said I'd have a surprise for him. When he finds us together like this, it'll be a surprise, won't it?"

"But you're mad!" I cried, getting out of bed in a flash, "I shall never be able to visit you in Denver if we have a row here!"

"That's true", she said as if in a dream, "that's true: it's a pity: I'd love to have seen his foolish face stretched to wonder; but you're right. Hurry!" she cried and was out of the room in a twinkling.

When she returned, I was dressed.

"Go downstairs and wait for me", she commanded, "on our sofa. If he knocks, open the door to him; that'll be a surprise, though not so great a one as I had planned", she added, laughing shrilly.

"Are you going without kissing me?" she cried when I was at the door, "Well, go, it's all right, go! for if I felt your lips again, I might keep you."

I went downstairs and in a few moments she followed me. "I can't bear you to go!" she cried, "how partings hurt!" she whispered. "Why should we part again, love mine?" and she looked at me with rapt eyes.

"This life holds nothing worth having but love; let us make love deathless, you and I, going together to death. What do we lose? Nothing! This world is an empty shell! Come with me, love, and we'll meet Death together!"

"Oh, I want to do such a lot of things first", I exclaimed, "Death's empire is eternal; but this brief