Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/373

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A Study in Temptations.
357
 

could he call himself? To think of all this in the long hours of the night, when Sophia was lying half-unconscious, or in pain, was a terrible punishment for his injustice, but he would not own that it was terrible enough.


One afternoon Sophia woke up from a sleep and found Wrath watching her. It was a daily experience, but on that particular afternoon she seemed to see him more distinctly than usual. He was looking old and careworn, and was so changed, that she found herself wondering whether she had not lost all idea of time, and whether her illness had lasted—not a few weeks as she imagined—but many years. She asked Wrath for a hand-glass, —she thought her hair must be grey.

He gave it to her in silence. She looked from the mirror to her husband, and from her husband to the mirror. Her face had not suffered so much from illness as his, from anxiety. She was pale in the cheeks, and a little dark round the eyes, but otherwise she seemed even younger for her suffering. She might have been a girl in her first teens.

"Tom," she said, "are you very tired?"

"Tired? Oh, no."

"Then talk to me. Tell me what you are thinking about."

"I am thinking of you," he said, quietly.

"Don't think about me—I am horrid."

This was quite in her old manner, and for a moment he smiled. It was a long-established custom between them, that she should call herself names, while he expressed his horror at the blasphemy. It was the usual prelude to most of their conversations.