Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/276

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A Study in Temptations.

doing wrong, since they dare not be candid. And they must be wretched! He is far too honest a man not to be miserable in a false position."

"I have listened, dear," said Lady Hyde-Bassett, "because your sentiments are so excellent. But—first swear you will never tell!"

"I cannot give my word blindly."

"Then I will not tell you."

"Have I ever betrayed your confidence?"

"Never," said her ladyship; "but—this is a most profound secret."

"In that case perhaps you ought not to repeat it."

"You are so aggravating, Eliza! Shall I tell you?"

"That is a matter for your own judgment."

"Never breathe it to a soul! Wrath and Sophia have been married for two years."

"You astonish me," said Eliza, at last, but without moving a muscle—"you astonish me greatly. . . .But I am inexpressibly relieved to hear it. . . .Any children?"

"No," said Lady Hyde-Bassett; "so it could not have been on that account. . . .But now," she went on, "we must talk of something else: it would be very awkward if either of them came suddenly in. Have I told you about De Boys Mauden? He has just won my scholarship: a most brilliant young fellow; they say he will be another Porson. But he has been overworking, and the doctor has insisted on his taking a rest. So I have made him come here. I sent the brougham for him, but he told Biffin he preferred to walk. He cannot know the way, and,