I suppose Tony would not have done that? he said very humbly.
Never, never! she answered with conviction, he would have been afraid.
What is afraid? asked Peter longingly. He thought it must be some splendid thing. I do wish you would teach me how to be afraid, Maimie, he said.
I believe no one could teach that to you, she answered adoringly, but Peter thought she meant that he was stupid. She had told him about Tony and of the wicked thing she did in the dark to frighten him (she knew quite well that it was wicked), but Peter misunderstood her meaning and said, Oh, how I wish I was as brave as Tony!
It quite irritated her. You are twenty thousand times braver than Tony, she said; you are ever so much the bravest boy I ever knew.
He could scarcely believe she meant it, but when he did believe he screamed with joy.
And if you want very much to give me a kiss, Maimie said, you can do it.
Very reluctantly Peter began to take the thimble off his finger. He thought she wanted it back.
I dont mean a kiss, she said hurriedly, I mean a thimble.
Whats that? Peter asked.
Its like this, she said, and kissed him.
I should love to give you a thimble, Peter said gravely, so he gave her one. He gave her quite a number of thimbles, and then a delightful idea came into his head. Maimie, he said, will you marry me?
Now, strange to tell, the same idea had come at exactly the same time into Maimies head. I should like to, she answered, but will there be room in your boat for two?
If you squeeze close, he said eagerly.
Perhaps the birds would be angry?
He assured her that the birds would love to have her, though I am not so certain of it myself. Also that there were very few birds in winter. Of course they might want your clothes, he had to admit rather falteringly.
She was somewhat indignant at this.
They are always thinking of their nests, he said apologetically, and there are some bits of youhe stroked the fur on her pelissethat would excite them very much.
They shant have my fur, she said sharply.
No, he said, still fondling it, however, no. O Maimie, he said rapturously, do you know why I love you? It is because you are like a beautiful nest.
Somehow this made her uneasy. I think you are speaking more like a bird than a boy now, she said, holding back, and indeed he was even looking rather like a bird. After all, she said, you are only a Betwixt-and-Between. But it hurt him so much that she immediately added, It must be a delicious thing to be.
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