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Molly Make-Believe
written by "Abbott, Eleanor Hallowell, 1872-1958"
... just a barely perceptible edge in her voice, 'Carl, do you know that red-haired girl whom we just passed? You stared at her so!' And you'll say, 'Oh, no! I was [118]merely wondering if—' Oh yes, you'll always and forever be 'wondering if'. And mark my words, Stanton, people who go about the world with even the most innocent chronic question in their eyes, are pretty apt to run up against an unfortunately large number of wrong answers." "But you take it all so horribly seriously," protested Stanton. "Why you rave and rant about it as though it was actually my affections that were involved!" "Your affections?" cried the Doctor in great exasperation. "Your affections? Why, man, if it was only your affections, do you suppose I'd be wasting even so much as half a minute's worry on you? But it's your imagination that's involved. That's where the blooming mischief lies. Affection is all right. Affection is nothing but a nice, safe flame that feeds only on one special kind of fuel,[119]—its own particular object. You've got an 'affection' for Cornelia, and wherever Cornelia fails to feed that affection it is mercifully ordained that the starved flame shall go out into cold gray ashes without making any further trouble whatsoever. But you've got an 'imagination' for this make-believe girl—heaven help you!—and an 'imagination' is a great, wild, seething, insatiate tongue of fire that, thwarted once and for all in its original desire to gorge itself with realities, will turn upon you body and soul, and lick up your crackling fancy like so much kindling wood—and sear your common sense, and scorch your young wife's happiness. Nothing but Cornelia herself will ever make you want—Cornelia. But the other girl, the unknown girl—why she's the face in the clouds, she's the voice in the sea; she's the glow of the sunset; she's the hush of the June twilight! Every[120] summer breeze, every winter gale, will fan...

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