End of More Letters of Charles Darwin Vol. 1
TO MY FAVOURITE BROKER WITH THE EARNEST ASSURANCE THAT MR. BEVERLY IS NOT MEANT FOR HIM
IN 1901, this story appeared anonymously as the ninth of a sequence of short stories by various authors, in a volume entitled A House Party. It has been slightly remodelled for separate publication.
When handsome young Richard Field--he was very handsome and very young-- announced to our assembled company that if his turn should really come to tell us a story, the story should be no invention of his fancy, but a page of truth, a chapter from his own life, in which himself was the hero and a lovely, innocent girl was the heroine, his wife at once looked extremely uncomfortable. She changed the reclining position in which she had been leaning back in her chair, and she sat erect, with a hand closed upon each arm of the chair.
"Richard," she said. "do you think that it is right of you to tell any one, even friends, anything that you have never yet confessed to me?"
"Ethel," replied Richard, "although I cannot promise that you will be entirely proud of my conduct when you have heard this episode of my past, I do say that there is nothing in it to hurt the trust you have placed in me since I have been your husband. Only," he added, "I hope that I shall not have to tell any story at all."
"Oh, yes you will!" we all exclaimed together; and the men looked eager while the women sighed.
The rest of us were much older than Richard, we were middle-aged, in fact; and human nature is so constructed, that when it is at the age when making love keeps it busy, it does not care so much to listen to tales of others' love-making; but the more it recedes from that period of exuberance, and ceases to have love adventures of its own, the greater become its hunger and thirst to hear about this delicious business which it can no longer personally practice with the fluency of yore. It was for this reason that we all yearned in our middle-aged way for the tale of love which we expected from young Richard. He, on his part, repeated the hope that by the time his turn to tell a story was reached we should be tired of stories and prefer to spend the evening at the card tables or in the music room.