Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/294

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278
A Study in Temptations.
 

certain excellent governess, whose papa was a retired colonel, had done its work, and the gods of Sophia's childhood, (beginning with a Duke and ending with a Chancery Barrister), remained her gods, although she had seen their altars destroyed, and themselves profanely called humanity. She would not have it said, that Wrath had married beneath him; she could not see the Duchesses who now flattered him, presently shooting cold glances because he had married an actress. Possibly Sophia did not reason without syllogisms, although the word itself would have caused her considerable alarm.

Her fight for success, (and she did not wake up one morning to find herself famous—she had served her dreary apprenticeship with the rest}, had been waged more in the hope of making herself, at least in some small degree, his intellectual equal, than because she had great ideas about Art, or a longing for public applause. She loved her profession, of course, and would have been an accomplished actress had she never known Wrath——for talent does not rest on the accident of forming a certain friendship or meeting such and such a person, but he was her audience, the historic one in a vast multitude, whom every artist singles out as the critic of all others to please. If Wrath approved of her performance all was well; but if he found fault, not all the praises of the world could have given her the encouragement she needed. Perhaps this was not as it should be from an aesthetic point of view, but Sophia's art was not the result of cultivation but instinctive: she was, in fact, most artistic when she was least scholarly. The poet Gray once wrote of a tragedy that Aristotle's best rules