and not my voice that she likes, I should he the happiest man in England.”
“I’m quite sure it can’t be your voice,” I said.
“Thank you,” he said. “It’s very kind of you to say so. Do you know I've never had the courage to sing that sere nade since she told me she loved it?”
“Why? Doesn’t she like the way you sing it?”
“I never dare sing it before her, but I’m going to surprise her with it tomorrow at Mrs Locksley Hall’s. If you meet her, don’t say a word of this. It’s to be a surprise.”
“I have no doubt it will be,” I said, happy to know that he would be a day too late.
We parted, and I saw him enter Linda’s house. A few minutes later I was in the garden, looking up at them from my place in the shadow of a big tree as they "sat near the open window.
I thought he would never go. I almost decided to go home. Haa I not heard her playing the piano, I should never have held out. At eleven o’clock they rose, and I was now able to hear what they were saying.
“Yes,” she said, ‘‘it’s time for you to go. But you might have sung2 the serenade for me. I’ve played it three times for you.”
“I have a cold,” he said. “Don’t be angry with me. You’ll hear me sing it sooner than you think, perhaps.”
“Sooner than I think? If you want to give me a surprise. I’ll forgive you. I’ll see you at Mrs Locksley Hall’s tomorrow, I hope.”
He said “yes”, and hurried away.
When he was gone,3 she came to the window and looked out at the stars. I took out the horn.
I began. At the first note I saw her start and listen: she recognized the serenade.... The instrument was like ice, and my lips were stiff. But in spite of all that, I succeeded fairly well.
When I had finished, I looked up at the window. She was writing now. A minute later the door of the house opened, and the servant whom I had bribed came towards me with a letter in his hand. My heart beat as I saw it.
“Are you there, sir?” I heard him say as I came out of the shadow. “Miss Linda told me to give you this,” he held out the letter. “But you are not to open it, if you please, until you get home.”
“Then she knew who I was," I said.
“I think so, sir.”