Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/302

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A Study in Temptations.

to the town mansion, as though only one house in London could justly claim that address. "Grosvenor Square, too," she repeated; "and you with no roof over your head. Fifteen thousand a year? What is that? Far more than you need? It is not a question of need, it is a question of what you require—what is decent. And as for calling this Cattle person, Lady Jane—" Words failed her.

Her grandson smiled patiently; he knew this harangue by heart. But he never permitted himself—even in solitude—to fall below the Stoic ideal. He wore a hair-shirt under his fine linen, and took his rule of life from Sir Thomas More, but, unlike that saint, he suffered religious doubts. It was said that if he had written something touching against Christianity, or something pretty about Moll Flanders, he would have been a Superior Person. But Superior Persons do not wear hair-shirts. There are good men who yet bear on their countenance the scars of many battles lost and won; their knowledge of good is ever shadowed by their knowledge of evil; they are all things to all men that they may by all means save some. But Warbeck was not of these. Sir Launcelot may have died an holy man, but Sir Galahad lived holily also. It was the latter knight who had most fired the young peer's imagination. His was no self-conscious virtue, however; at times he even affected airs of worldly cynicism which reminded his grandmother of the Miltonic Archangel who tried to explain heavenly mysteries in earthly language—and blushed red in the attempt. He was, too, a powerful fellow—no weakling, who made a virtue of debility, but a man. "What a fish for the Church!" said a bishop, who had his eye upon him.