Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/146

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130
The Sinner's Comedy.
 

The holy man looked a little doubtful. "At any rate," she faltered, "I am meeker than I was." He said nothing, but there was a certain eloquence about his eyebrows which appealed so strongly to her sense of humour that she even woke up in the night to smile over it. "I don't care, I am meeker," she murmured, and fell asleep again.

Anna was not born, she was made: she had no inherited prejudices, only a consciousness of privilege: she was used to the wilderness, and snuffed up the wind at her pleasure. The men and women she moved among had no philosophy of the artistic temperament: they were its unconscious data; they lived, not as they reasoned, but as they felt. And Feeling with them was no psychological problem; they accepted their moods with their skin as part of the human economy. In their simplicity they were like the philosopher who wrote the whole tragedy of life in the sentence: "Appetite, with an opinion of attaining, is Hope; the same, without such opinion, is Despair." Anna found in Richard Kilcoursie a man who, though not of her world, showed an immense appreciation for it. If he had no Art, he had at least a Temperament. In his enthusiasm, his impulsiveness, and buoyant sense of irresponsibility, he was like the men of her own people; he was only unlike them where the difference seemed, in her eyes, immeasurably to his advantage. He had a grace of manner and bearing common enough, it may be, among well-born Irishmen, but exceedingly rare among the art students, journalists, and actors of Jasper Street, Bloomsburv. Furthermore, he was handsome in the chaste and classic style. In Anna's thoughts he figured chiefly