Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/196

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VIII.

After Sacheverell had left the Vallences', Emily's whole manner changed. Her gaiety was astonishing. To Carlotta's dispassionate mind it seemed rather hysterical; her laugh was so much merrier than her eyes; her wit had the saltness of tears. Carlotta could not think she was unhappy. Every circumstance forbade the suspicion. As for Emily herself, she tried to believe—and to a certain extent succeeded in believing—that she was supremely contented. To be pretty, to be rich, to have a devoted lover—could she ask for more ? To Go as much as one could, and Think as little as one might, was the secret of happiness.

"Thought should be unconscious," said Sir Richard; "it is a natural process like digestion."

"Perhaps you are right," sighed Emily.

She was too impressionable, too quick with her sympathy and too imaginative to be rigidly faithful to any one creed or any one creature. She could weave fairy garments for the ugliest scarecrow; if Ferdinand were absent she would find something to adore in the present Caliban. Was Sacheverell right, she wondered, was work and suffering the good part; or was Sir Richard—with his laws of Nature, and that Nature a smiling goddess—right?

"At one time," said Carlotta to her one day, "I thought you liked the Dean. He has not such

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