'It was my first of the sort, and stands out very clearly in my memory. It all came through my being left alone with a gentleman who was visiting my mother.'
'Well, we were alone in the room, you understand.'
'Yes, yes, go on!'
'And he paid me many little compliments: kept saying how pretty I was, and that he had never seen a sweeter girl, and so on. You know what gentlemen would say?'
'Oh, I hardly answered him, but of course I was young and inexperienced, and I could not help being flattered and pleased at his words. I may have shown him what I felt, for he suddenly--'
'Exactly. He kissed me. Don't walk up and down the room, dear. It fidgets me.'
'All right. Go on. Don't stop. After this outrage what happened next?'
'You really want to know?'
'I must know. What did you do?'
'I am so sorry that I ever began, for I can see that it is exciting you. Light your pipe, dear, and let us talk of something else. It will only make you cross if I tell you the truth.'
'I won't be cross. Go on. What did you do?'
'Well, Frank, since you insist--I kissed him back.'
'You--you kissed him back!'
'You'll have Jemima up if you go on like that.'
'You kissed him back!'
'Yes, dear; it may be wrong, but I did.'
'Good God! why did you do that?'
'Well, I liked him.'
'A dark man?'
'Yes, he was dark.'
'O Maude! Maude! Well, don't stop. What then?'
'Then he kissed me several times.'
'Of course he would, if you kissed him. What else could you expect? And then?'
'O Frank, I can't.'
'Go on. I am ready for anything!'
'Well, do sit down, and don't run about the room. I am only agitating you.'
'There, I am sitting. You can see that I am not agitated. For Heaven's sake, go on!'
'He asked me if I would sit upon his knee.'
Maude began to laugh.
'Why, Frank, you are croaking like a frog.'
'I am glad you think it a laughing matter. Go on! Go on! You yielded to his very moderate and natural request. You sat upon his knee.'
'Well, Frank, I did.'
'Don't be so excitable, dear. It was long before I ever saw you.'
'You mean to sit there and tell me in cold blood that you sat upon this ruffian's knee!'
'What else could I do?'
'What could you do? You could have screamed, you could have rung the bell, you could have struck him--you could have risen in the dignity of your insulted womanhood and walked out of the room.'
'It was not so easy for me to walk out of the room.'
'He held you?'
'Yes, he held me.'
'Oh, if I had been there!'
'And there was another reason.'
'What was that?'
'Well, I wasn't very good at walking at that time. You see, I was only three years old.'