Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/43

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Some Emotions and a Moral.

"I was just thinking," said Cynthia, dreamily, "how hideous I shall look in my old Pongee!" But she followed her sister out of the room.

Provence, meanwhile, by discreet questioning had learnt from his landlady that the flat house was the Rectory: that the Rector's daughters were considered beauties: that their names were respectively Miss Agatha and Miss Cynthia; that Miss Agatha was a good, Christian young lady; that Miss Cynthia was fascinating but not altogether what a clergyman's daughter ought to be. She was too gay-hearted, and never joined in the hymns at church. He longed to ask more, but was afraid lest he might seem over-interested, so he changed the subject with unnecessary haste to market-gardening, and listened patiently, if unhappily, to a long account of potato blight.

He found himself at the Rectory gate that evening with a large and entirely new kindliness in his heart for the whole human race, and a generous (and also new) tolerance for human failings in general. It seemed to him that so far as life was concerned the darkness was made light and the crooked straight. To feel this and yet not know why he felt it was delightful and sufficient. This mood, however, did not last—possibly because Cynthia was not in sight, probably because he was a man whose passion for analysis would make him pick a rainbow to pieces. The horrid suspicion seized him that he might be deceiving himself—that he was not after all so anxious to see his newly-found goddess—that he had not in reality been counting the hours since he had first seen her till the time drew near to meet her again. He decided to forget—if possible—his folly and cool his