Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/252

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236
A Study in Temptations.
 

"Look at me!" she entreated.

"Why?"

"I want to see whether you are so angry as you sound."

"Angry is not the word," he said, "but grieved and disappointed. You were my Ideal."

She began to cry. "If you had told me I was your Ideal," she said, "I would have been more careful. It is so much easier to be ideal when you know that some one appreciates you."

Jane had not yet grasped the truth, that man is a spectacle for angels, and that he can carry his heroism, his noble sentiments, and his virtue into a wilderness, and still not feel that he is being heroic and sublime for nothing—a suspicion, however, which will assail him for more causes than he would care to count, if he look for mortal appraisement only. But love is two-headed egoism, and to Jane the Ideal meant De Boys's ideas.

She continued—"I do not want you to think me perfect; because I am not, and I could not be, even to please you. I am just like other girls."

"Well," said De Boys, at length, "perhaps I ought to be glad of anything that makes you more like me—that puts you nearer my level."

Jane looked troubled; she was beginning to realise, though dimly, the responsibilities of an Ideal.

"De Boys," she said, "did you ever think that I was better than yourself?"

"Better! It was not a question of comparison at all."

"And now," said Jane—"what do you think now?"