CHAPTER III
AMATEUR IN LIFE

AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Wilson's yearning for a mate became violent. From his room in West Range, in the fall of 1880, he could look through the portico to the Blue Ridge and dream of fair maids in an idyllic valley beyond the setting sun; and sometimes the stirrings of his blood moved him to journey over those hills to Staunton to visit the Augusta Female Seminary, of which his father had once acted as principal. At one time five of his cousins were at school there. He seemed interested mostly in his own kin, perhaps fearing to look outside the clan for the warm genius in homebuilding that his relatives had shown. Thinking himself in love with Cousin Harriet Woodrow, a handsome girl of many talents, he applauded her loudly when she played the piano in a concert; but when he went to a party with her he stood awkwardly with his back to a wall, looking wistfully at fun in which he was too shy to mingle, until the embarrassed Harriet had to beg her friends to be kind to him. The ardor of his attention provoked idle gossip that annoyed the girl; and when he heard of this it pained him and he apologized to her.

However, Tommie made opportunities to see Harriet at the home of their cousins, gave her a volume of Longfellow's poems that appealed to him because it was handsomely bound, and inscribed it "with the warmest love of Cousin Tommie." He took long walks with her over mountain roads, reciting from the lawbook that Blackstone had written for the gentlemen of England, and vowing that he was going to settle down in the practice of law and make money to support a wife. He wrote often to Harriet, addressing her as "My Sweet Rosalind." ReªD marking that his notes were a "labor of love," he asserted that ladies are the only natural writers of letters; but after they had exchanged a few notes filled with amiable gossip and nonsense, he confessed that thoughts slipped more easily from his pen than from his tongue. WarnªD ing the girl against insincere suitors, he commiserated with her on havªD ing a music teacher who did not respect the Sabbath and, a little jealous, suggested that such a man was not worthy of her respect. As for himªD self, he feared that the girls of Wilmington, who had heretofore thought

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