Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/342

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326
A Study in Temptations.


Jane. "There could be no harm in saying that, because the more you consider what is right, the righter it seems."

"I cannot re-consider it," he answered, looking away— "I cannot, indeed; I only want to forget it all as soon as possible."

"Don't be angry with me," said Jane, "but for you—that sounds rather—rather cowardly. Oh, I ought not to have said that. I do not know the circumstances. I am always saying something thoughtless. Indeed, I did not mean it."

"You are quite right," he said,"and I am cowardly. But it is one advantage that I know my own weakness: I do not attempt feats beyond my strength." Yet he did not look weak, this man with a square chin and a firm mouth: anything rather than weak. Jane was bewildered.

"My grandmother knows my address," he went on; "but I will find means to hear how she is, even if she does not care to write to me. And— and tell her just this: if it were possible to accept her view, I would be more glad than I could say. But we are nowhere taught that duty is invariably delightful. Good-bye."

"Good-bye," said Jane.

When she looked again, he was gone. And she was sorry; for he had a winning countenance. If she had never seen De Boys she would have thought him ideally handsome. But De Boys was a king to him— although he was poor and not a person one might wear in a locket!