Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/353

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A Study in Temptations.
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folly to blame it — it is so hopeless and so much harder to bear than———" Where was his fluency ? his command of language? Could it be that as thoughts became real, words grew meaningless?

"We — that is Jane and I — grew up together," he went on; "we are not related, but it always seemed as though we were. I don't mean to say that we were like brother and sister, but———"

"I understand," said Sophia, eagerly," it is the same with Wrath and myself. It is true that I have never regarded him as my father, but, as you say, a sort of relationship——— "

"Have you left him any word — any explanation?" said De Boys, in a low voice.

"I wrote him a letter," said Sophia. "Not exactly the sort of letter one would write to a guardian, you know, but nicer ! Do you think he will consider me ungrateful not to have"

"I am afraid he may," said Mauden.

"I cannot tell you how generous he has always been," she said. "I would not like him to think me ungrateful. . . . Mr. Mauden."

"Yes."

"If you don't mind," she said, weakly, "I think I won't go to London to-day."

The young man tried not to look indecently thankful.

"But," he said, "you cannot go back alone. And your letter?"

"Luckily," she answered," I did not mention your name in the letter. I can explain all that. He won't be angry with me." She burst into tears. "He has never been angry with me in his life! I wish now he

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