Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/344

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A Study in Temptations.

you must return to Oxford and complete your education. —S. J."

This was the letter to her husband: —

"I have discovered a new meaning in life and a new duty. (Never believe that I will disgrace you.) My weakness—I had almost written my sin—has been my love for yourself. But we were not sent into the world to love. Subjectivity is fatal to Art: all great Art is objective. And love is subjectivity in its lowest phase. I use these philosophical terms because they are convenient, and because they are sufficiently comprehensive to cover all subtle — and perhaps agonizing—distinctions. I hope the Madonna will prove your greatest work. I will write to Margaret from town. Please tell her this.—Your unhappy Sophia.

"P.S.—I shall consult Sir Claretie Mull the moment I reach London. I am perfectly certain that I am consumptive. But do not worry about my health. I feel no pain—only a great sense of approaching peace"

She wept very much over this letter, and felt extremely like the heroine of a psychological romance. To complete the illusion she had taken care to attire herself in flame-coloured silk, made a la sainte martyre, with silver cords knotted round her waist, and opals scattered on her breast. She put out the light, and let the moonbeams stream in upon her. It was a grand situation. Musing on her own sublimity and suffering, she fell sound asleep on the couch. Fortunately, it was in the summer-time.