Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/275

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A Study in Temptations.
259
 

insight into infidelity. Unless a genius is extremely religious she is foredoomed to impropriety!

"Eliza," said Lady Hyde-Bassett, "you have neither humour nor imagination."

"None," said that lady, with conscious pride.

"And yet you are editing a poet!"

The commentator smiled, which the poet, could he have been present, would not have done.

"But," said Miss Bellarmine, who never left a subject unsifted, "you have not explained the relationship."

"Wrath adopted Sophia when she was only four days old: her father committed suicide, and her mother died when she was born. I blush for human nature when I hear a man so maligned for a kind action. He must have been very poor at the time, for he had only just sold his 'Antigone.'"

"I know all that," said Eliza; "and it was very noble on his part, and all the rest of it. But Sophia is no longer four days old!"

"If they cared for each other, is there any earthly reason why they should not marry?"

"Certainly. He may have a lunatic wife locked away somewhere, or, in his extreme youth, he may have married some low person who is too respectable to divorce: nothing is more likely. I am very sorry for Sophia Jenyns, and more sorry for him; but I think they should either be frank, or separate. If they think they are wrong, they should bid each other good-bye, but if they feel they are right, they should have the courage of their opinion. I could respect them then, although I might disagree with their conscience. As it is—well, they evidently know they are