Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/176

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160
The Sinner's Comedy.
 

moment in his pocket. But even this did not make her easier to forget.

Emily sighed contentedly. He was reinstated as the Exceptional Man.

"I think that is very nice of you," she said, frankly. "I didn't really, in my heart, believe that you had. I was almost afraid—you are so dreadfully honest—that you were going to confess to—perhaps one."

"What do you think of the Dean?" said Richard, after a pause.

"I don't think he was born to preach to people who want their Heaven to be full of Mansions."

"What do you mean?"

"Just what I said. It was not a spontaneous criticism. I thought him out this morning when Hawkins was doing my hair. I always reserve that half-hour of the day for sober reflection." She blushed. "I suppose you think I am very frivolous. Women have to be; no one will take them seriously—not even other women. It is very hard. But what was I saying about the Dean? Oh—well, there isn't an ounce of Dean about him. He's much too natural."

"What an extraordinary idea! Don't be angry, but I'm afraid you are not a good judge of character." He coloured as he said it. He had too excellent reasons for doubting her discernment. "I never saw any one so stern and unbending as Sacheverell in my life."

"That sternness is merely self-restraint," said Emily; "how much self-restraint do you think the Dean uses to endure Mrs. Molle?"