Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/20

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Some Emotions and a Moral.

and three-quarters from earth! I should die of respect for her."

"And what if she were too much devil?"

"I should love her horribly," said Provence. "That is the worst of devils—they are so entirely adorable. I don't say I should be particularly anxious to make one the mother of my children; and that I know is the amiable and perfectly correct ambition of the average young man averagely enamoured. But even were I so minded—which the gods forbid—I doubt extremely whether a devil would appreciate the kind intention. There is nothing remarkably exhilarating in the prospect of a large family."

Golightly, whose sentiments were more proper than intense, laughed with a twinging conscience. He had never seen Provence in this mood before, and felt a little irritable that there were still some unexplored possibilities in his friend's character. He was not certain, either, that the possibilities hinted at were absolutely satisfactory.

"I don't quite see what you're driving at," he said. "None of this sounds in the least like you."

"I dare say not. You may know a man for twenty years, and in the twenty-first year he will do something which will make your twenty years' experience count for nought. Then you say, "I should never have expected this from A.' Just as if A would have expected it himself. Men astonish themselves far more than they astonish their friends."

"That may be true of some natures," said Golightly; "but I confess I prefer a character one can swear by."

"A person of that kind is useful, but just a shade