Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/279

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A Study in Temptations.

monster, but in your absence he does very well. He is already quoting Spenser, and his voice is agreeable. Tell me you worship me, and I will tell you the rest!"

"Why don't you flirt with me, dearest, and leave these young fellows to their work?"

"My soul," said his wife, "my heart of hearts, you are the dullest person to flirt with I ever met. I never flirted with you in my life: I half-tried it once by pretending to love you. But I found it too easy to pretend—hence our hideous, inartistic marriage certificate! Never refer to it if you have any regard for my self-respect."

"Sophia, seriously——"

"I will not be glared at, nor frowned at! How handsome you are! If you were not my husband I would elope with you to-morrow. What a mercy I met you before I saw any one else. If I had met you too late—oh, if I had met you too late——" She paused. "I am afraid I would not have called it too late!"

"This is all very pretty," said Wrath, "and you are, no doubt, very adorable. But you must behave yourself; other people do not understand you as I do."

He was about eight-and-forty, and looked older. His features, though fine, were irregular; his poetic brow, his large and eminently practical nose, the unrest in his dark eyes, and the stillness about his mouth betokened him the possessor of an unusually complex disposition. He was an extremely handsome man, yet such was his simplicity, that not all his wife's flatteries could convince him that he was other than plain. The