Chapter 8 From Miss Aurora Church, In New York, To Miss Whiteside, In Paris
I told you (after we landed) about my agreement with mamma—that I was to hav_y liberty for three months, and if at the end of this time I shouldn't hav_ade a good use of it, I was to give it back to her. Well, the time is u_oday, and I am very much afraid I haven't made a good use of it. In fact, _aven't made any use of it at all—I haven't got married, for that is wha_amma meant by our little bargain. She has been trying to marry me in Europe,
for years, without a dot, and as she has never (to the best of my knowledge)
even come near it, she thought at last that, if she were to leave it to me, _ight do better. I couldn't certainly do worse. Well, my dear, I have don_ery badly—that is, I haven't done at all. I haven't even tried. I had an ide_hat this affair came of itself over here; but it hasn't come to me. I won'_ay I am disappointed, for I haven't, on the whole, seen any one I should lik_o marry. When you marry people over here, they expect you to love them, and _aven't seen any one I should like to love. I don't know what the reason is,
but they are none of them what I have thought of. It may be that I hav_hought of the impossible; and yet I have seen people in Europe whom I shoul_ave liked to marry. It is true, they were almost always married to some on_lse. What I AM disappointed in is simply having to give back my liberty. _on't wish particularly to be married; and I do wish to do as I like—as I hav_een doing for the last month. All the same, I am sorry for poor mamma, a_othing has happened that she wished to happen. To begin with, we are no_ppreciated, not even by the Rucks, who have disappeared, in the strange wa_n which people over here seem to vanish from the world. We have made n_ensation; my new dresses count for nothing (they all have better ones); ou_hilological and historical studies don't show. We have been told we might d_etter in Boston; but, on the other hand, mamma hears that in Boston th_eople only marry their cousins. Then mamma is out of sorts because th_ountry is exceedingly dear and we have spent all our money. Moreover, I hav_either eloped, nor been insulted, nor been talked about, nor—so far as _now—deteriorated in manners or character; so that mamma is wrong in all he_revisions. I think she would have rather liked me to be insulted. But I hav_een insulted as little as I have been adored. They don't adore you over here;
they only make you think they are going to. Do you remember the two gentleme_ho were on the ship, and who, after we arrived here, came to see me a tour d_ole? At first I never dreamed they were making love to me, though mamma wa_ure it must be that; then, as it went on a good while, I thought perhaps i_AS that; and I ended by seeing that it wasn't anything! It was simpl_onversation; they are very fond of conversation over here. Mr. Leverett an_r. Cockerel disappeared one fine day, without the smallest pretension t_aving broken my heart, I am sure, though it only depended on me to think the_ad! All the gentlemen are like that; you can't tell what they mean;
everything is very confused; society appears to consist of a sort of innocen_ilting. I think, on the whole, I AM a little disappointed—I don't mean abou_ne's not marrying; I mean about the life generally. It seems so different a_irst, that you expect it will be very exciting; and then you find that, afte_ll, when you have walked out for a week or two by yourself, and driven ou_ith a gentleman in a buggy, that's about all there is of it, as they sa_ere. Mamma is very angry at not finding more to dislike; she admitte_esterday that, once one has got a little settled, the country has not eve_he merit of being hateful. This has evidently something to do with he_uddenly proposing three days ago that we should go to the West. Imagine m_urprise at such an idea coming from mamma! The people in the pension—who, a_sual, wish immensely to get rid of her— have talked to her about the West,
and she has taken it up with a kind of desperation. You see, we must d_omething; we can't simply remain here. We are rapidly being ruined, and w_re not—so to speak—getting married. Perhaps it will be easier in the West; a_ny rate, it will be cheaper, and the country will have the advantage of bein_ore hateful. It is a question between that and returning to Europe, and fo_he moment mamma is balancing. I say nothing: I am really indifferent; perhap_ shall marry a pioneer. I am just thinking how I shall give back my liberty.
It really won't be possible; I haven't got it any more; I have given it awa_o others. Mamma may recover it, if she can, from THEM! She comes in at thi_oment to say that we must push farther—she has decided for the West.
Wonderful mamma! It appears that my real chance is for a pioneer—they hav_ometimes millions. But, fancy us in the West!