Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/368

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A Study in Temptations.

time, religion is rather an intimate subject; I mean, it covers everything or anything. If you begin a conversation on religion there is no saying how it will end. It would entirely depend on the view you happened to take. For this reason, it is not a subject for a young girl to discuss with strange men; nor, in fact, with any man except her husband—or some clergyman of whom he approved."

"A girl must say something," said Jane, whose meekness had its limit; "what did Miss Jenyns talk about? She is only two years older than I am."

"Miss Jenyns," said Mauden, "is a woman of the world. Some day I will tell you more about her. But now I want to hear about you. I must leave in half an hour."

"So soon?" said Jane. "I wish you had told me you were coming. I should have had so much happiness watching for you."

"I—I came here on impulse, my dearest. I—I—did not know myself that I was coming to see you when I left The Cloisters this morning. But when I reached London, I found I could not leave it until I had——" He stopped short, struggled with his conscience, and then blurted out—"Jane, I want you to forgive me for something."

"Forgive you?" she said, "what have you done?" and she kissed his hand.

"I am the meanest beast that walks," said her hero, blushing to his finger-tips—" I am, indeed. I do not deserve——" She smiled into his face with angelic disbelief. "I do not deserve you," he said, "and I have always known it." He sighed—"I am afraid we cannot marry for a year or two?"