Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/37

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Some Emotions and a Moral.
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element in his character; the fact, therefore, that every Thursday morning at ten o'clock found him at his study table, and the further fact that his entire household was wrapped in stillness from that hour till luncheon time, lest a sound should stem the current of his eloquence, merely resulted in this:—if there was a day in the week when the sermon was not written, Thursday was that day. Only one person in the world knew this, however, and that was his daughter Cynthia. She, too, like her father, was impulsive, but she—seeing that she was a woman—saw no need to cultivate much besides her own will. "System," she once told her father, "is an excellent thing if one has no spirit, but spirit will accomplish in five minutes what system cannot do in as many centuries." Her father looked grave and shook his head, but loved her the more. He explained this apparent inconsistency to himself as the natural tenderness of a shepherd for the wandering lamb.

On this particular morning the Rector had taken his chair as usual, arranged his blotting-pad at precisely the right angle, drawn six sheets of writing paper from his desk, dipped his pen into the ink, and—looked through the open window and beyond the green lawn, and beyond that again to a garden seat where Cynthia—Cynthia in a cotton gown and a surprising hat, which the Rector, in his innocence, supposed was the fashion—sat with her aunt. He sighed, dipped his pen in the ink once more, and wrote his text very neatly at the top of his first sheet—"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." Then he looked up again, and beheld Lady Theodosia moving towards the kitchen garden. He hesitated a few