Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/27

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CHILDHOOD DAYS.

superiority over her because she had not had sense enough to exploit the sugar mine.

When I was between four and five, I was sent with Annie to a girl's boarding-school in Kingstown kept by a Mrs. Frost. I was put in the class with the oldest girls on account of my proficiency in arithmetic, and I did my best at it because I wanted to be with them, though I had no conscious reason for my preference. I remember how the nearest girl used to lift me up and put me in my high-chair and how I would hurry over the sums set in compound long division and proportion, for as soon as I had finished, I would drop my pencil on the floor, and then turn round and climb down out of my chair, ostensibly to get it, but really to look at the girls' legs. Why? I couldn't have said.

I was at the bottom of the class and the legs got bigger and bigger towards the end of the long table, and I preferred to look at the big ones.

As soon as the girl next me missed me, she would move her chair back and call me, and I'd pretend to have just found my slate-pencil, which I said had rolled, and she'd lift me back into my high-chair.

One day I noticed a beautiful pair of legs on the other side of the table, near the top. There must have been a window behind the girl; for her legs up to the knees were in full light and they filled me wth emotion giving me an indescribable pleasure. They were not the thickest legs, which surprised me. Up to that moment, I had thought it was the thickest legs I liked best; but now I saw that several girls, three anyway, had bigger legs, but none like hers, so shapely, with such slight ankles and tapering lines. I was enthralled and at the same time a little scared.

I crept back into my chair with one idea in my little head: could I get close to those lovely legs and