Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/177

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The Sinner's Comedy.
161
 

"I should say she managed him very well."

"How little men understand each other," said Emily, "how very little. Mrs. Molle is helpless and unhelpful. I shall never forget his expression when Mr. Vallence quoted one day, 'It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop than with a brawling woman in a wide house.' And she," added Emily, "she is so unconscious. She thinks she governs him completely."

"How intolerable! I should hate to think I was being governed. I would do anything for—the woman I loved." (This he said softly, and uttered the word "woman" as though it were something too sacred for his lips—a piece of subtle flattery by no means lost on the sensitive being by his side.) "I would do anything," he repeated, "but it would be knowingly and for love."

"The secret of managing a man," said the Guileless One, "is to let him have his way in little things. He will change his plan of life when he won't change his bootmaker!"

"How much you know!"

"Don't I?"

He picked up the tassel of her girdle. "That is very pretty," he said; "those little stones——"

He walked away from her and began to pace the floor. "How long is this to go on?" he said. "What is the limit to a man's patience?"

"What do you mean?" said Emily. "What are you talking about?"

"I mean—what are we waiting for?"

"I suppose," said Emily, "we are waiting for Carlotta—and tea." Women have boundless faith in the