Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/296

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
280
A Study in Temptations.
 

And here let us judge kindly of Sophia; she had been much spoiled, she was young, beautiful, and had great talents. For even less cause many poor mortals have been led into vainglory, and have suffered much vexation of spirit. She had not yet that great gift of self-knowledge which, though a painful blessing, is still our greatest and the one to be prayed for beyond all others; for the man who knows himself in all his great imperfections and small virtues, suffers more under praise than he ever could under censure—which, at worst, can only remind him of what his too willing conscience has forgotten.

We have said that when Sophia left the music-room she was, in spite of all reason and duty, jealous; it followed therefore that her vanity was all the more sensitive. The long glance of reverential but intense admiration which fell from the fine eyes of Mr. De Boys Mauden, when she met him in the conservatory, warmed her chilled soul. She smiled divinely, blushed celestially, and murmured, for no earthly reason, "I am late!"

De Boys, reconsidering the meeting afterwards, wondered how he found strength to resist the impulse to cry out "Jane!" and kiss her. Her likeness to Jane—Jane, whom he passionately worshipped, and whom, in all devotion, he hoped to make his adoring wife—was too bewildering.

It is just possible that Odysseus would have gone to greater lengths than the faithful Penelope, on the reasonable argument of a strong resemblance.