Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/30

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Some Emotions and a Moral.

This yard is by no means uninstructive, and lacks but one thing to reach Nineteenth Century civilization—the Divorce Court. I must not forget the kitchen-garden—rich with gooseberry bushes, mignonette, apple trees and potatoes; odorous with world-weary cabbage and patent fertilizer. A modern Eden, with a dash of the commonplace, and a clothes line extended from the Tree of Knowledge to the Tree of Life; Eve with a bad complexion and no figure—or too much—to speak of, scrubs the kitchen floor and has small leisure for the Tempter; Satan (your obedient servant) loses himself in a vast yawn and is certainly in no mood to tempt; whilst Adam snores the sleep of the unphilosophic, the robust and the over-fed, on the kitchen chair bedstead. To write country idylls one should live in town....

"The air now is delightful—fresh-washed by yesterday's rain and dried by this morning's sun. What a Queen of Washerwomen is Nature! That is a prosaic simile, I know, but it suits my surroundings. It is only a journalist or a genius who can write of ambrosia with his mouth full, nay, poor devil, perhaps only half full, of porridge. I shall try and endure this for a week. Shall I ever learn to bear gracefully what is good for me? ever feel—on the analogy of Virtue being its own reward (a darksome saying en passant)—that the Uncomfortable, the Irksome, the Infinitely Tedious and all the phases of Dead-levelism are better for me than all the other things (thank Heaven, we may leave them to the imagination) which I am not desperate enough—yet—to hope for? But—it is encouraging to remember that there are few things in life which do not sooner or later admit a But—I