Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/367

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A Study in Temptations.

some one who is accustomed to meet geniuses, and men—and women—who can say something about everything, and just in the right way. Now I suppose if I tried I could say something, too, but it wouldn't sound a bit like the conversation in novels. I always think in such short words!"

"The perfection of literary style—or of conversational style—is to be simple," said De Boys—" simplicity is delicious, and lamentably rare. I should hate a wife who could turn me into an epigram."

"A wife!" she murmured.

"Dearest, you are the only woman in my world. The rest are your reflection; when I see any beauty or charm in a woman it is because she reminds me of you."

Jane blushed. "I think I can understand that," she said, "because, after you had left Brentmore, I used to talk to Henry Burkett—the one who sings in the choir—and—and sometimes I used to forget, and think he was you. But I soon found the difference. You are not angry with me?"

"Burkett is such a smug!"

"But I missed you so terribly! And I never looked at him when I could help it. When I did look I used to half-close my eyes. That made him more indistinct."

"Still, I do not care to think that you have flirted with men. If any one else had told me——"

"It wasn't flirting, De Boys. We only talked about books, and poetry, and religion, and things like that. I hope you don't think——"

"I am quite sure, dearest, that your intentions in the matter were beyond reproach. At the same