Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/341

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A Study in Temptations.

trouble is, that she refuses to listen. I have tried to be patient, and I hope I have not spoken harshly.

But I must do my duty whether she understands it or not. The quarrel has arisen — I fear we must call it a quarrel—about a question of duty—of honour."

Jane's cheeks began to burn: she feared he might think she was inquisitive. And inquisitiveness was not one of her faults.

"Please," she stammered, "please do not———"

But he, too, was sensitive, and had very delicate feelings.

"I quite understand you," he said; "I am only afraid you will not understand me. My dear grandmother has a genius for misrepresentation : she can describe what she sees with perfect truthfulness, but she does not see things as they are. In this particular instance it is most unfortunate. For honour has only one aspect: it is not a matter of opinion, but an in-controvertible fact."

"But she is so honourable herself," said Jane, eagerly; "if you are in the right she must agree with you—she must. Are you quite—quite sure that you are right? It is almost as easy to do wrong for a good motive, as to do right for a bad one. There are always so many reasons why we should follow our own wishes."

"On the whole," said the young man, slowly, "I may say there is no danger of any such confusion arising in this case: it is not a matter where my duty is —is perfectly my inclination. If it were not a question of principle—of moral obligation, I—I might surrender."

"May I tell her that you will reconsider it?" said