Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/376

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360
A Study in Temptations.
 

would despise her: perhaps his love would change to dislike. Men, even the best, were not so forgiving as women.

"Tom," she said, desperately, "you—you were quite right. I was with Mauden—I was going to London with him, but—but I changed my mind! It was all a mistake. I thought—you were tired of me!"

She trembled for his answer. He had grown so pale; he looked so stern.

"You were going to London with Mauden?" he said.

"Yes."

"Why did you change your mind?"

"Because—I remembered you."

"You remembered me! That was thoughtful."

He drew his hand across his brow and bowed his head. We have surely never such need to show humiliation as when we are in the presence of a fallen idol.

It is not the god, which was no god, that suffers, but its former worshipper, who sees what appeared divinity, corruption, and what looked strength, rottenness. And, in at least some slight degree, this terrible contemplation must be made by all mortals who place their entire faith in mere flesh-and- blood: who love the creature, which has beauty that we may desire it, more than the Creator whom no man hath at any time seen. One who wrote of human affection with a tenderness and understanding past comparison—who knew its infinite power and no less infinite weakness—one who has taught that by loving man we best learn how to love his Maker, has also warned us—"Keep yourselves from idols."