Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/330

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314
A Study in Temptations.
 

"This brotherhood,"she said, "this society, or whatever it is, you have joined, is not, I understand, religious ?"

If it was not religious, she thought, one could wriggle out of its ridiculous regulations, and even if it was, one could, in an emergency, change one's religion! She was a lady who only considered impediments for the purpose of destroying them.

"Oh, no," said Warbreck, "its work is purely

secular. Dawes, of Balliol, founded

it you know Dawes, of course?"

"Dawes?" said the Countess."Do you mean the person who lives at Shoreditch and writes to the Times about the Athenian Democracy"

Warbeck nodded his head. "He is a tremendous swell," he said; "he is the sort of genius who lives in seclusion and animates a great public movement.

There must always be a grand character of that kind, who can despise fame and use ambitious men as tools."

"Dear me !" said the Dowager; "so you, I presume, are in this Mr. Dawes's tool-basket?"

This was not the way to express an unselfish young man's devotion to a noble cause; he felt this, and was deeply hurt.

"If you like to put it that way," he said, flushing a little, "yes

I am in Dawes's tool-basket. I hope, however, it is not because I am vulgarly ambitious.I only wish to perform my highest duties in the best way. My only object in taking the vow was this

to serve the public well one should have no private interests. In any great governmental crisis one is too often reminded of the man in the parable who had married a wife. It is time some one realized, that self-