Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/178

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162
The Sinner's Comedy.
 

sobering effect of commonplace. It is the remedy they administer to disordered passions.

Sir Richard looked at her with something like anger. "This is not a subject which can be changed that way. I must speak. I should despise myself if I did not. Do you care—a rap for me?"

"Yes," said Emily, at once, "I like you very much. I think you have a great deal in you. But I want you to use your talents. I suppose I am ambitious for you. A woman likes a man to be her master. That's a secret. I want you to be what people say you could be—if you chose. I hate an idler."

"What do you want me to do?"

"Be of some service to your country. Be a serious politician."

He could not help smiling. "What! make speeches and all that sort of thing?"

"If necessary—yes."

"Are you in earnest?"

"In earnest!" said Emily. "If I could only tell you a tenth part of all I would have you do! But I cannot. Some thoughts belong to a language we can't speak." She was wishing that his eyes were dark and earnest—like Sacheverell's: that his face had the nobility of Sacheverell's—that he was Sacheverell.

"Don't dream about me, Emily," said Sir Richard; "that sort of ambition is called dreaming. I shall only grieve you when you wake up. I live to amuse myself. I think life is the most lively thing going. I want to enjoy every hour of it. But I must enjoy it my way. And it is such a different way from yours—so very, very different. If you care for me ever so little, let it be for me as I am. I should