Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/225

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A Study in Temptations.


PROLOGUE.


WHICH CONTAINS ALL THE TRAGEDY OF THE BOOK.


"MARY CECILIA, aged seventeen, with whom lies buried all the hope, all the belief in God and goodness of her husband, Charles Sydney Jenyns."

The grave-digger who spelled out this inscription on the coffin, nudged his companion, and they clambered up the sides of the grave to stare after a man, who, with dragging steps and bent head, was slowly groping his way out of the cemetery. He avoided the path, and slunk round and among the numerous mounds and monuments, frequently stumbling, and often halting outright.

"Did you see 'is face?" said the elder of the gravediggers; "'e ain't a day more'n two-and-twenty. 'Tain't every one as marries so fool'ardy young as gits out of it so easy!"

His assistant, less philosophical but more kindly, blinked his eyes and gave a cheerless laugh. "'E pro'bly thinks," he said, "as 'e's the 'ardest done-by in the 'ole world. 'E don't see as it all stands to reason, as you and me do, bless yer. 'E only thinks as when 'e gits 'ome there won't be nobody there!"

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