Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/156

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The Sinner's Comedy.

are going to tell me everything?" She fixed her eyes upon his; he could not look away.

"It is hard—in so many words," he stammered. "You are so like a man! … I never thought you were chicken-hearted. You did not seem so when I loved you. Perhaps I should say—when you loved me."

"I tell you," he said, springing to his feet, "Emily bores me. Do you think I love her? Do you think she is like you?" He put his hand with some roughness on her shoulder, and undoubtedly gave her a shake. There was something in his violence, however, which convinced her far more than his protestations that Emily Prentice very possibly did bore him—or would. Her heart softened.

"You never wanted to call me Diana," she sighed.

"I shouldn't dream of her," he said, walking up and down the room— "I shouldn't dream of her if it were not for the estate, and all that. I must have an heir. You see, I really owe it to my people. It's only common decency on my part."

"I thought you did not believe in marriage?"

"I didn't at one time. I had no responsibilities then—no means. It was very different. A younger son cannot be expected to believe in anything."

"And is no one expected to believe in a younger son?" It was seldom she was betrayed into bitterness—a fact which most people attributed to her want of feeling.

"I thought you would make a scene. Women are so unreasonable. I have told you that Emily cannot compare with you. What more can I say? Even now," he added, a little unsteadily, "I would let my