Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/195

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The Sinner's Comedy.
179
 

least, spontaneous; he could grant that. He read it again—She seemed. Ah! why had the word seem occurred to him? There was an example of the mind unconsciously hedging. He wanted the Truth, not the Semblance. It might be that the real Anna was plain-featured and ordinary: a little, dumpish woman: sallow, somewhat shrewish. Oh, that a man's eyes should be such traitors to his perception! He remembered that he had suffered the same harassing doubts in the case of Mrs. Prentice. "Adgnosco veteris vestigia flammæ" he murmured, and passed a sleepless night.

On the morrow, when he called at the Studio he made no excuse for his visit. He went as a matter of course; it seemed, indeed, the only thing to do.

As for Anna—she expected him, and wore a useless but adorable silk pinafore. The colour was pink: it pleased him to call it rose-jacynth. He decided, for all time, that she was lovely. And he was not mistaken.