Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/240

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MY LIFE AND LOVES.

and clergyman trying to win a young girl by force filled me with amusement: "What a fool the man must be!" was my English judgment; Smith took the American high moral tone at first.

"Think of his disloyalty to his wife in the same house", he cried, "and then the scandal if the girl talked and she's sure to talk!"

"Sure not to talk", I corrected, "girls are afraid of the effect of such revelations; besides a word from you asking her to shield Mrs. Kellogg will ensure her silence."

"Oh, I cannot advise her", cried Smith, "I will not be mixed up in it: I told Kellogg at the time, I must leave the house, yet I don't know where to go! It's too disgraceful of him! His wife is really a dear woman!"

For the first time I became conscious of a rooted difference between Smith and myself: his high moral condemnation on very insufficient data seemed to me childish; but no doubt many of my readers will think my tolerance a proof of my shameless libertinism! However I jumped at the opportunity of talking to Rose on such a scabrous matter and at the same time solved Smith's difficulty by proposing that he should come and take room and board with the Gregorys—a great stroke of practical diplomacy on my part, or so it appeared to me; for thereby I did the Gregorys, Smith and myself an immense, an incalculable service. Smith jumped at the idea, asked me to see about it at once and let him know and then rang for Rose.

She came half scared, half angry, on the defensive, I could see; so I spoke first, smiling: "Oh Rose", I said, "Professor Smith has been telling me of your trouble: but you ought not to be angry: for you are