Thursday, February 14, 2019

A Romance of St. Valentine’s Day - In Three Acts - By ELIZABETH F. GUPTILL


Pauline, a schoolgirl.
Polly, her great-aunt.
Mr. Amos Hill, her aunt’s former lover.


SCENE.—A plain, old-fashioned room. The essential piece of furniture is an old-fashioned sewing table, what is known as a Martha Washington table, and is quite generally imitated to-day. They were small and square, with leaves that turned down, and two drawers.

(Great-Aunt Polly is seated by the table, looking at a collection of valentines, post-cards, etc., such as the young girl of to-day receives. Pauline is seated a little way from her.)

Aunt P.  - Very pretty, Pauline, I’m sure, and a great many of them for one little schoolgirl. I don’t really like the post-cards, though, dearie. It doesn’t seem just right to send a valentine unenclosed.

Pauline. - Oh, it’s quite the thing, now, Aunt Polly. Everybody does it.

Aunt P. - It’s a style I do not care for, my dear.

Pauline. - But it saves money.

Aunt P. - The difference between one cent and two is not very wide, is it?

Pauline. - No, but when one wants to send a lot it means a good deal, unless you are flush—and I never am.

Aunt P. - Send a lot? What do you mean, my dear?

Pauline. - Why, every fellow wants to send one to every pretty girl he knows, of course.

Aunt P. - A Christmas card, perhaps, but a valentine! That should be for one only, my dear.

Pauline. - How odd! Why, I sent twenty-five, myself, to the nice boys I knew.

Aunt P. - Twenty-five! Oh, my dear! You didn’t!

Pauline. -  Sure I did! Why not? Is that the way they sent them in your day, Auntie? Seems to me they were rather narrow.

Aunt P. - No, indeed, my dear, but a valentine meant something then. A young man sent but one, and that went to the lady of his choice. The girls did not send any. We would have thought it immodest. But girls do many things to-day that would not have been tolerated in my day. A girl, then, was supposed to be a lady.

Pauline. - Instead of a madcap tomboy? Well, I plead guilty, and throw myself on the mercy of the court. I just love to be a tomboy, and I’m going to be one a long time yet. No “one valentine” sentiment for me, or one boy, either, for years to come.

Aunt P.  - Well, perhaps you are right, yet many of my girlhood friends married at sixteen, and nearly all of them were married by the time they were twenty, that is, of course, those who married at all.

Pauline.  - And why didn’t you, Auntie dear? Didn’t you ever like any one well enough?

Aunt P.  - Yes, dearie, I did. I don’t suppose any woman lives to be thirty without liking some one well enough to marry him, if circumstances came about right. But there! They don’t always do it. Would you like to see my old valentines, Pauline?

Pauline.  - Oh, I would, so much, Auntie dear!

Aunt P.-  (opening top drawer of stand). Well, dearie, here they are. No post-cards among them. Most of them came from the same one, as you see. This is the last one he ever sent me.

Pauline  - (opening it.) Did he die, Auntie?

Aunt P.  - No, he didn’t die, dear. He’s alive still. He got angry at me, that’s all. Talk of girls getting in a huff over nothing! Boys aren’t far behind, let me tell you.

Pauline.  - And did he marry?

Aunt P.  - No, he is single still.

Pauline.  - Then he cared, you see. How romantic! Why didn’t you try to make up with him?

Aunt P.  - It isn’t the lady’s place, my dear, to run after a man.

Pauline.  - Well, I like that! Well, if ever I’m fond of a man, I’ll run after him and hold him, if necessary, till I know what he was mad at. Or did you know, Auntie? And was it something that couldn’t be made up?

Aunt P.  - Why, I suppose I did know, dearie but it seemed such a slight thing to anger him. My cousin came that Valentine’s Day. We had been brought up almost like brother and sister before I came to this town. It was fine sleighing, and he took me over to Wrentham for the night. His mother was there, just for the day and night, and the young girl whom he was to marry. When I came home, next day, I asked my mother for my mail. She replied that there wasn’t any. “But there must have been a valentine,” I said. “Amos always sends me one.” “I know,” she answered, “but this year he didn’t. He called, though, last evening, and seemed much put out that you were not here. He went off as stiff as a poker.” Of course, I thought he must be angry because I went sleighing with Timothy, though I thought it a bit far-fetched, as we were only old friends, and so were Timothy and myself. “But,” I thought, “I’ll explain when he gets over his huff, and it will be all right.”

Pauline.  - And didn’t you?

Aunt P.  - No, dear, I hadn’t the opportunity. Next day his mother came over to tell us that he had gone away. She seemed to think I was to blame, somehow, and she never was nice to me again, and it was more than a year before Amos came back, and then he was just coldly polite when we met. That was the end of my little romance, dear, for though there were others who found me fair, somehow I couldn’t seem to care for any[30] of them. You see, dearie, Amos had won my love, though he didn’t know it, and so... (Pauses.)

Pauline.  - And he has it yet! Oh, Auntie, how romantic! And does he live in town still?

Aunt P.  - Yes, but I meet him seldom, and we merely say a “How-de-do” in passing. Excuse me, dearie. I think I will go up-stairs a few minutes, while you look at my old keepsakes. I cannot imagine how I came to let you wheedle this old story from me. Please do not refer to it again.

Pauline.  - No indeed, Auntie. Thank you for telling me. (Aunt P. passes out, and Pauline proceeds to investigate drawer, soliloquizing as she does so.) Such quaint little valentines! I like them, though! And nearly all in the same handwriting—that of the faithless Amos, evidently. Yes, this one is signed A. H. A. H. A is Amos, of course. A. H. Could it be Mr. Hill, I wonder? “A. Hill,” he has it on his sign. He’s old, or rather old—sixty, I shouldn’t wonder, and he’s a bachelor. I’ll bet he’s the one! Mean old thing, to bring tears to the eyes of my little great-auntie after all these years! (Puts valentines hack in drawer, and shuts it rather vigorously, letting one drop, unnoticed, to the floor.) Men and boys are queer creatures, anyhow. I’m glad I’m a girl! And I’m glad I live now, instead of forty years ago. Why, I got more valentines, I do believe, to-day, than Aunt Polly has in all her life. Why, I dropped one! (Picks it up.) Amos was a little fellow when he sent this, I guess. (Opens it.) No, this is from the Timothy who seems to have been the villain in the little pastoral comedy. What a cute little verse!


“Dear Polly, though you’re far away,
Think of me on Valentine’s Day.
I wish I could see you, so sweet and prim.
That’s all. Good-bye, from Cousin Tim.”

(Tries to open drawer.) Why, what makes this drawer stick so? (Pulls till drawer opens with a jerk.) Why, of all things! How came that box in there? It wasn’t there a minute ago! It looks like a little drawer. I do believe it’s a secret drawer, that has somehow fallen down! And here why, I do believe here’s another valentine from Amos that was never opened. It is sealed and addressed, but I don’t believe she ever got it. And that, I’ll bet, made the trouble! I wonder yes, I will, I’ll mail it and see what comes of it. I’ll call Auntie, first, and show her the drawer. No, on second thoughts, I won’t hurry about that. Here’s to mail Amos’ last valentine, and then I’ll run down to the office later, when the afternoon mail comes in, and get it. Wouldn’t it be romantic if things came out story-book style, and I was the Cupid who had a finger in the pie? (Goes out.)



SCENE.- Office of Mr. Amos Hill.

(Amos seated in office chair, tipped back, soliloquizing.)

Amos. -  Valentine’s Day once more! Strange I can’t get it out of my head! Just forty years since Polly jilted me! Why, I wonder? I never did understand. I was so sure that she cared for me but there! Womankind is fickle. She never married, though, nor I either, big fool that I was! I couldn’t seem to help comparing every girl I met with her, and they suffered by comparison, and so here I am, a bachelor of sixty, wanting nothing but the one thing I never shall have a wife and home of my own. (Puts a card photograph, such as were taken forty years ago, back into desk.) There, little Polly, go back to your resting-place, while I go back to work and try to forget you. (Does not close drawer, but looks up as knock is heard.) Eh? What? Come in, whoever you are. (Pauline enters.) Polly! (Gazes in surprise at her.) Who in the world are you?

Pauline. - Oh, I’m Polly, just as you said, though most folks call me Pauline.

Amos. - But who are you? I thought

Pauline.  - You thought I was Aunt Polly? Do I look like her?

Amos. - Is Miss Polly Dennison your aunt?

Pauline. - My great-aunt.

Amos.-  Then you’re Angie Dennison’s girl?

Pauline. - Yes, I’m Pauline Waldron, and I’m visiting at Aunt Polly’s.

Amos. - But what brings you here?

Pauline. - I’m playing Cupid. (Catches sight of picture.) Oh, is that Aunt Polly? What a dear, old-fashioned little girl! May I see it closer?

Amos - (passing it rather reluctantly). Won’t you sit down?

Pauline  - (seating herself). What a sweet little face! How old was she?

Amos. - Eight, I believe!

Pauline. - What beautiful wavy hair! And so long! But what a narrow ribbon she had on top!

Amos. - Yes, little girls didn’t have more ribbon than hair in those days. She had fine eyes, too.

Pauline. - Yes, and has yet. But what a queer little dress, with its plaited trimmings, and a lace bib! And the sash is wide enough to make up for the hair ribbon, I’m sure. Oh, do give it to me!

Amos - (taking it hastily). Certainly not. It’s a keepsake. And now, my young lady, you will oblige me by forgetting that you have seen it.

Pauline. - Oh, I couldn’t forget it, it’s so quaint and dear!

Amos. - I don’t see as it is so quaint. A dainty little girl, in a very pretty frock, I think. Much prettier than little girls wear nowadays. Please forget it.

Pauline. - You shouldn’t use slang, Mr. Hill.

Amos. - I didn’t, I assure you. I only implore that you will not mention having seen what was never intended for your eyes.

Pauline. - I won’t, indeed. You liked Aunt Polly, then?

Amos. - Certainly. We were playmates and schoolmates from that time on. That was taken just after she came to this town. You look very like her at your age, my dear.

Pauline. - So much so that you called me Polly.

Amos. - Did I? Excuse me. And now, my dear little girl, I mean young lady, what can I do for you?

Pauline. - Just answer a few questions. This is Valentine’s Day; you know, and I’ve been playing Cupid.

Amos. - Indeed? And what did you wish to ask me? If it was ever legal to play Cupid, I think it is on Valentine’s Day.

Pauline.  - If...if any one finds a letter that was evidently intended to be mailed, and it hasn’t been, is it right for that person to mail it?

Amos. - Why, certainly. It’s the proper thing to do, my dear.

Pauline. - Even if it has been lost a long time?

Amos. - I should think so. You see, you have no right to open it, so you would not know the writer, and thus could not return it to him, so the only thing to do is to mail it.

Pauline. - So I thought. But you see, this one has been lost for forty years.

Amos. - Forty years? Are you sure? Perhaps the one to whom it was addressed has moved, or is dead. It is a long time, my dear.

Pauline. - No, he hasn’t, and she isn’t, so I mailed it. But I think I know the writer. Ought I to tell him about it, too?

Amos. - Why, it might be well to do so. It is an unusual occurrence, to get a letter that was written to one forty years ago. I think you had better tell me the whole story.

Pauline. - I believe I will. I was showing my valentines to Auntie to-day. Oh, do you know, I believe that letter was a valentine. Did you ever lose one?

Amos. - Never. A valentine forty years old will be rather stale, I fear. Perhaps the lady—I believe you said it was a lady—may have been married for years to some other man. She may be a grandmother now, and may laugh at the effusion of the callow youth of the olden time.

Pauline. - She won’t, I’m sure. And she isn’t a grandmother, for she never married. She has been faithful to a faithless lover all these years, and I believe that lost valentine is at the bottom of the whole trouble.

Amos. - Indeed, just how, may I ask?

Pauline. - Why, he had always sent her one, every year, since they were children, but that year he was mad about something, and he didn’t send her any. That is, she has always thought he didn’t, but I believe he did, and that that’s the letter I found today.

Amos. - And where did you find a letter forty years old, that had never been mailed? It may cause strange misunderstandings now, child. Perhaps it would have been better to have asked my advice before you mailed it.

Pauline. - I’m asking it now. Mr. Hill, did you send Aunt Polly a valentine forty years ago? Think back carefully, and see if you can remember.

Amos. - I can remember quite distinctly, my dear. I did send your aunt one that day—the last one I ever sent her. I have reason to remember it quite plainly, my dear, on account of the answer I received.

Pauline. - The answer? But you couldn’t have got any answer, for she thinks the last one you sent her was forty-one years ago. She never got that other one, so how could she answer it?

Amos. - I certainly thought she did, and negatively, at that. But my dear, do you mean that you think you have found that letter that valentine, which I never knew had been lost? Where, and how?

Pauline. - Why, Auntie let me see her old valentines, and when I’d put them away, I found I had dropped one. And the drawer stuck when I tried to open it, and I jerked it, and somehow knocked down a little drawer that must have been above it, and in it lay the letter I told you of. It was addressed to Aunt Polly, and sealed, and had a three-cent stamp on it, but it had never been opened.

Amos. - Because she didn’t care to open it, my dear. I happen to know that she got it, for her grandmother took it from my hand that morning, and said she would give it into her own hand. And you see, she must have had it, for it was in her own secret drawer.

Pauline. - I don’t think she knew about the drawer. And I know she didn’t get it, for she told me so today, and her eyes were full of tears.

Amos. - Polly cried?

Pauline.-  Yes. She loved you, I’m sure, and thought you were angry with her because she went over to Wrentham with her cousin.

Amos. - With Tim! Good land, child, I shouldn’t have been jealous of Tim! But why didn’t she explain? Good gracious! If she didn’t get it, there was nothing to explain!

Pauline. - And you went away next day, and she didn’t see you for a year.

Amos. -  Yes, but, oh, what a hopeless, foolish tangle! And you mailed that letter, child? Has she got it yet?

Pauline. - No, I shall go to the office before I go back. Oh, I believe she was going to the milliner’s this afternoon, so probably she’ll get it herself.

Amos. - And she’ll read it for the first time after forty years! See here, little girl, I’ll be over to-night for the answer, but don’t you tell her I’m coming.

Pauline. - But you never go there.

Amos. - I did once, and I’m coming again. Tonight, you understand, and I want you to give me a clear coast for half an hour or so, will you?

Pauline. - Of course.

Amos. - Maybe I’m an old fool for my pains, but that letter asked her a question the question, and told her I would come that evening for my answer, and I’m coming. If she gets it to-day, to-night is the night to call, and I’m coming, if I get turned down for my pains. I thought she went away to get out of having to say no. And to think I wasted forty years! Well, there’s no fool like an old fool, and Polly’s got to answer that question. Wish me luck, little girl.

Pauline. - Indeed I do! And Aunt Polly does care, I know. I’m glad I meddled.

Amos. - So am I. Though I can’t understand about that letter. Going? Well, you look in the office this evening, and you’ll find the finest valentine this town affords, addressed to Cupid. Good-afternoon.

Pauline. -  Good-afternoon.

(Goes out. He takes out the little picture again, and gazes at it.)

Amos. - Love is eternal. Love is always young. Maybe I’ll end my days in a home of my own, after all! Dear little Polly!



SCENE.—Same as first scene. Evening.

(Pauline seated, with some bit of embroidery, or other fancy work. Aunt P. is seated, also, as curtain rises, but during the conversation moves about a good deal, rather nervously.)

Pauline. - What’s the matter, Aunt Polly? What makes you so restless? Don’t you feel well?

Aunt P. - Yes, I think so. I’m nervous, I think.

Pauline. - I didn’t know you were ever nervous, Auntie.

Aunt P. - Why, I’m not, as a rule, Pauline. I don’t know what is the matter, I’m sure.

Pauline. - Hadn’t you better go to bed, Auntie, and sleep it off?

Aunt P. - No, I couldn’t sleep, I’m sure.

Pauline. - You haven’t had bad news, have you?

Aunt P. - Why, no, dear, not exactly.

Pauline. - Not exactly? You’ve had some news then that disturbs you?

Aunt P. - Yes, my dear, it is disturbing news, really. It’s almost as if some one had risen from the dead; and I don’t understand it, and I don’t know what to do or say.

Pauline. - Could I help you any, Auntie dear?

Aunt P. - No, I think not, dearie. I must think it out alone.

Pauline. - Do you mind if I run over to Grace’s a few minutes?

Aunt P. - Oh, don’t, dear, don’t. Stay with me. Some one might come in.

Pauline. - Are you expecting any one?

Aunt P - No, not exactly. That is no, of course not.

Pauline. - Why, Auntie dear, if you were a young girl, I should say you were expecting a visit from your young man.

Aunt P. - But as I’m not, but an old woman of fifty-eight, you know it can’t be any nonsense of that sort. Remember, my dear Pauline, I am your greataunt.

Pauline. - Not so very great, either; just the dearest little auntie in the world. And you don’t seem a bit old. Why, your hair isn’t hardly a bit gray. Besides, there was Mrs. Atherton, in our home town, was married just before I came here, and she was sixty-three.

Aunt P. - She was a widow, dear.

Pauline. - What difference did that make? They said that Mr. Buffinton was her first lover, but that her father had separated them, and every one was glad to see her married.

Aunt P. - Very nice and romantic, dear, but, as I said before, she was a widow, and that makes a great deal of difference. If she had been a maiden lady, every one would have called her silly, and laughed at her.

Pauline. - I don’t see why.

Aunt P. - Nor I, dear, truly, but the fact remains that they do. It would take quite a strong-minded woman to face it. I couldn’t, I’m sure.

Pauline. - But, Auntie..

(Stops abruptly, as bell rings.)

Aunt P. - Some one is coming! I...

(Rises, but sits down hastily, as she hears steps.)

Amos (entering). - Well, Polly, I’ve come for the answer to that letter.

(Pauline slips out.)

Aunt P. - Why, Amos, aren’t you a stranger? How do you do?

Amos. - I’ll tell you how I’m going to do. I’m going to have an answer to that letter.

Aunt P. - What letter? Do sit down, Amos! You make me nervous.

Amos (seating himself). - Well, I’ve sat down. Now how about the answer to that letter?

Aunt P. - That letter?

Amos. - Yes, that letter. It’s no use to fence for time, Polly. I’m going to have an answer. Didn’t you get a valentine letter from me today?

Aunt P. - Amos, you never sent that letter to-day. It was old. It looked old, and it had a three-cent stamp. Three-cent stamps have been out of use thirty years and more.

Amos. - Then you did get it?

Aunt P. - Yes, but I don’t understand it, and I’m all upset about it. It was like a voice from the dead.

Amos. - It was, Polly, a voice from the dead past. That letter should have reached you forty years ago.

Aunt P. -  Did you write that forty years ago, Amos? And why didn’t you send it? Why send it now, after all these years?

Amos. - I did send it, dear heart. There’s a mystery about that letter that we will talk about later. Just now I want my answer.

Aunt P. -  Your answer, now?

Amos. - Yes, now. Polly, dear, I’ve waited forty years for my answer. Isn’t that long enough to keep a man waiting?

Aunt P. - But, Amos, forty years changes things.

Amos. - It hasn’t changed my love for you any. I’ve tried to down it for forty years because I thought I’d got my answer. But have that answer I must and will.

Aunt P. - But, Amos

Amos. - Let’s go back a bit, Polly. You used to like me when we were little playmates, now didn’t you?

Aunt P. - Yes, of course. You were the nicest boy I knew.

Amos. - And when we went to the old Academy together. You liked me then?

Aunt P. -  Why, yes, of course, Amos.

Amos. - And if you’d got that letter when you were meant to get it, you’d have said yes; now, wouldn’t you?

Aunt P. - Why...

Amos. - You would, Polly, now wouldn’t you? Come, own up; it’s forty years past.

Aunt P. - Why, yes.

Amos. - Then you’ll say it now. You’ve just got it, and I’ve come for my answer, as I said I should. Isn’t it yes, Polly dearest?

Aunt P. - But, Amos, I’m an old woman now.

Amos. - And I’m an old man. I’m sixty.

Aunt P. - I’m sure that isn’t old! For a man, I mean.

Amos. - Then fifty-eight isn’t old for a woman. Polly, I’ve everything but the thing I want most. I’ve no real home. I’m lonesome, dear. I’ve been lonesome for forty years, forty years that the locusts have eaten. Must I always be lonely, Polly?

Aunt P. - But think what people would say, Amos.

Amos. - I don’t care what people say, Polly. I only care for you, and to know that you care. And you do care, Polly, I know. Else why have you kept single all these years? Besides, if you didn’t care, you’d have said no and you haven’t said it. You’ve fenced. Polly, you did care. Don’t you care any longer? Tell me!

Aunt P. - Yes, Amos, I did care.

Amos. - And you’ve got over it? You no longer care? Ah, you can’t say no. Say yes, Polly. Forty years is a long while to wait for an answer.

Aunt P. - That’s it, Amos, those forty years. It looks so ridiculous.

Amos. - Ridiculous, nothing! I’m waiting to hear that yes, Polly. And I shan’t go home till I hear it.

Aunt P. - Well, yes, then.

Amos. - Oh, Polly, my girl, to think I didn’t hear that forty years ago! We’ve lots of time to make up.

(Kisses her.)

Aunt P. - Do stop, Amos; Pauline will be coming in! What will she think?

Amos. - Well, as she is chief-conspirator, she won’t be surprised, so cheer up, my dear. Pauline ran out to the post-office. I hear her coming now. (Calls.) Come here, you little niece of mine, and congratulate me.

Pauline - (coming in). Is it true, really? Oh, Auntie dear, I am so glad! (Kisses her, then goes to Amos and kisses him.) Thank you, Uncle Amos that is to be, for my lovely valentine. And I’m glad you got the right answer.

Aunt P.  - Pauline! Did you know?

Amos. - Didn’t I tell you she was chief conspirator? She brought it all about. You shall be bridesmaid, Polly girl, and choose what you please for a gift.

Pauline.  - That will be lovely. When is it to be?

Amos.  - Soon.

Aunt P.  - Oh, no, not very soon.

Amos.  - Yes, soon, very soon. Good land, Polly, isn’t forty years long enough?

Aunt P. - But what had you to do with this, Pauline? And where has that letter been all these years?

Pauline. - Why, you see, Auntie, when I put the old valentines away I dropped one, and when I tried to open the drawer it stuck. I jerked it hard, to open it, and when it opened  (Opens drawer.) Look! That’s what I saw, and the letter was on top.

Aunt P. - Why, how did that box come there? It looks like a drawer.

Amos  - (pulling the drawer out, and looking in). It was, Polly, a secret drawer, just above this one. Evidently this had to be taken entirely out to reach it, but one support has come loose, so it dropped into the other drawer.

Aunt P.  - (taking secret drawer in her lap). I never knew there was a secret drawer in this table. Why, Amos! They’re Grandmother’s things! The ones we never could find! Here’s her gold beads, and her gold thimble, and Grandpa’s watch, and this was Uncle Robert’s little shoe he died, you know, when he was a year old and this box is full of hair Father’s curls, I do believe! That’s all. No. (Lifts paper in bottom of drawer.) This is her marriage certificate! We knew there was a secret drawer in the desk, where she kept money. She showed that to Father about a year before she died. But this and how did my valentine get there? How did Grandma get it before it was mailed?

Amos. -  That’s plain enough. She ran in that morning to show Mother a new patch-work pattern. The letter lay on the desk, and she chaffed me about it. Then she offered to play Cupid, and put it into your own hand. Thinking you would get it earlier that way, I consented. So when I called that night, and you were not at home, I thought it was a kind way of saying no, and went away to get over it. I couldn’t, though, and came back a year later, as you know. But why your grandmother didn’t give it to you, I don’t see. She was always a woman to trust.

Aunt P. - I understand that part of it. When she got home I had gone with Tim, and it was that night she had a shock, Amos. She never spoke again, and died a week later.

Amos. - And if I hadn’t run away on the first train the next morning I would have known it, and might have mistrusted that you didn’t get it! Oh, the years that the locusts have eaten! That was one of her own expressions, you remember.

Aunt P. -  But why didn’t you bring the letter to me, Pauline, instead of to Amos?

Pauline.  - I didn’t give it to either, Auntie. I mailed it. If I’d given it to you, you’d have read it, and cried over it, and treasured it, but you’d never have let Uncle Amos see it or know of it, now would you?

Aunt P.  - Not at this late day. It would have been equivalent to a proposal from me. But I would always have treasured the thought that he did love me, after all. That I had not given my love unsought, something which has shamed me to myself all these years.

Pauline.  - And if I had given it to you, Mr. Hill

Amos.  - Uncle Amos is good enough, Polly girl.

Pauline.  - If I had given it to you, Uncle Amos, would you have mailed it?

Amos.  - No, I should have thought it too late.

Pauline.  - So you see I did the best possible thing, and the letter reached the right one, and the result is all I hoped for.

Aunt P.  - But how did you know about it, Amos?

Amos.  - Oh, the mischievous Cupid came and told me after she had mailed it, so...

Aunt P.  - So you thought I’d expect you?

Amos.  - No, I didn’t. But the chance was too good to let slide. I’d never had an answer after all, and I came for it, as I said I would. I got it, too, just the answer I wanted. ’Tisn’t every man who has to wait forty years for his answer. And now, Pauline, what is the shortest time required to rig up a wedding gown? A week?

Aunt P.  - A week! The idea!

Amos. - I’m talking to little Polly. Isn’t a week long enough?

Pauline. -  I think you’d better give her two.

Amos.  - Two it is, then, and not a minute longer. Order your rig out, little girl, the nicest and prettiest you can find, and I’ll pay for it. You deserve it. And you’re to be our adopted daughter, and spend every minute your parents can spare you with us. We’ll have a motor, childie, and anything else we want, and Polly and I will do our best to make up the forty years we have lost.

Pauline.  - Oh, I’m so glad I did it! I didn’t hardly dare! It sounds like a romance.

Aunt P.  - It is! To think of a lost valentine turning up after forty years!


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