Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/150

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The Sinner's Comedy.

visit. Sir Richard then discovered that he was feeling tired of his scheme for happiness. He decided that purity like Anna's appealed to the sentiment of a man, but did not touch his sympathy. Purity itself was too unsympathetic: it had no Past. Anna had a heart, many tender and lovely traits—but she had no passion. He was quite sure she had no passion. It was a pity. Emily Prentice was beautiful; she was young; she was witty; she was a widow—and rich. He fell in love with the Notion of her. About the same time Emily began to wish that he could meet some woman (she was afraid she could not think of just the woman) who would lead him into the path of peace. For she had heard rumours of a certain recklessness, of a cynical desperation, of a hey-day philosophy, of a young eagle playing the jackdaw. She felt concerned: she could not sleep for concern. When she happened to meet him on the high-road one morning, she probably blushed for the same reason. He blushed too. Emily said she was quite sure he would be glad to hear that her mother's cold was much better. (The Lady Middlehurst always had a cold when there was nothing more amusing to catch.) He expressed his delight at the tidings. Then, by an odd coincidence, they both began together.

"I think——" said Emily.

"I was wondering——" said Sir Richard.

"I beg your pardon," said she.

"Not at all—I interrupted you."

"I forget what I was going to say."

"So do I."

"Isn't the sky blue?'" she said, after a pause;

"isn't it beautiful?"