Spring has come to Peking, and the U.S. envoy's fancy has lightly turned to thoughts of love.

When Leonard Woodcock, the 67-year-old head of the U.S. Liaison Office, summoned the Peking press corps to his residence Wednesday for a little hearthside chat, the reporters found a young woman at his side.

The two were holding hands.

After half an hour, Woodcock ended a month of local gossip and speculation by announcing that he hopes to marry Sharon[Words Illegible], the 35-year-old U.S. mission nurse, sometime in April.

They will be married in a private Chinese civil ceremony, the cost of which is the equivalent of 10 cents.

Woodcock, a quiet and shy man, was in an expansive mood as he introduced his fiance to the press.

Asked at what moment he discovered he was in love, Woodcock, a twinkle in his eye, replied that it was when Tuohy gave him a gama gloubulin shot -- a shot that is administered in the buttocks.

Woodcock, a grandfather several times over, has long been separated from his first wife, and said he was filing for a divorce in a Michigan court.

Tuohy, whose home is in Fort Worth, Tex., has not been previously married, and said she met her future husband when he took up his duties here seven months ago.