Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/108

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92
Some Emotions and a Moral.
 

had married Edward she had something like affection for him: as her husband she had found him intolerable; when he was dead the old affection, half-pitying and protective, came back; his faults, seen through the mist of a crape veil, seemed pathetic weaknesses calling for compassion rather than blame: his virtues could be counted. There were tears in her eyes when she answered Provence. "I cannot tell you all about that yet," she said. "It was terrible that he should die. He liked to live. Life was never dull to him: he thought it jolly, never anything else—only jolly. You won't think that's an absurd way for me to put it—you will understand. He, who thought this, is dead, whilst others———" She paused. She was not sure that life seemed so utterly worthless to her at that moment as it had—say, before she left Curzon Street for the Museum.

"You have changed a little since I last I saw you," she said, abruptly. She did not like to add that he looked many years older. "Do you like success better than you thought you would?"

"I must have changed more than a little, to have you ask that," he answered. "Is conceit the usual accompaniment of wrinkles?"

"I did not say you were wrinkled," said Cynthia. "If you fly at me like that, for nothing, I shall soon know that you have not changed at all."

"Cynthia!"

"Yes, I mean it. And I think it would be a pity to quarrel, just yet, because there are a lot of things we might like to tell each other. Or—" then she stopped quite still and looked at him swiftly and