Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/253

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A Study in Temptations.

He hesitated. "And now?'' she asked again. They had reached a gate which led into a kind of shrubbery. As she passed through her skirt caught on one of the spikes. He was awkward and slow at releasing her, and when they started to walk again, he lagged behind.

"Are you tired?" said Jane.


"Are you angry?"


"Very well; then we are not friends. But I would rather be so than have deceit between us. And you may as well know the worst of me at once. I am much plainer in the face than you think. Take a good look at me this way."

She pulled off her hat, tugged back her magnificent hair, and in her anxiety to appear at her worst, all but made a grimace. De Boys did not seem so repelled as she had expected.

"Take a good look," she repeated, faintly. "I shall never have the courage to do this again."

"I am angry," he said, looking, "because I hate myself and because you are still as far above me as——"

She advanced a step towards him. "I am not above you, De Boys," she said, "I am here."

He needed no second reminder, but with the agility of a practised lover, caught her in his arms and kissed her at random, and with an ardour which, though wholly beyond the measure of her own childish affection, filled her with nameless fear.

"There!" he said; "but don't ask me to look at you again. That's kissing."