Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/375

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A Study in Temptations.
359
 

moment or the wrong, usually, too, when a man would prefer to see her demure.

Although Wrath joined in his wife's merriment on this particular afternoon, it did not seem to him that the occasion was especially amusing.

"Things are still so ridiculous," she said, suddenly, "but they are not ridiculous in quite the same way as they used to be. When I laugh now, I do not feel so much like crying. I know that what looks so absurd at present, will one day be very grand and beautiful. Some kinds of knowledge you cannot study—you find them when you are looking for something else. I have learnt all this by accident. I cannot tell you how. But I have learnt it so well that I can never forget it...I shall never again be so foolish—so obstinate as I was. You will see such a difference in me! And, Tom—I want to tell you about my walk—that morning."

" No, no! " he said; "let me tell you something first. Will you ever forgive me? I—I thought you were with Mauden!"

The clock had never ticked so loudly: Sophia could hear nothing else. Or was it her own heart?

"I thought you were with Mauden," he repeated.

"I thought you had gone to London with him. I—I was brutally jealous——"

"Tom!"

"I knew it was infamous. Do you think I will ever forgive myself?"

"But, Tom—" What would he say if he knew the whole truth? She could atone for her folly none the less because he knew nothing about it. Besides, he would lose all respect for her if she told him. He