Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/453

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
A Bundle of Life.

"Treat me as though I had a mind, Sidney," she said, "and I will follow you to the ends of the earth!"

"I do not think," he stammered, "we could ever be happy together."

"You mean," said Lady Mallinger, "that you do not care for me in the way you thought."

"I will always be your friend," he said, firmly, "but———" Her sense of what was just and meet told her that it only remained now to call her soul into her eyes, gaze mournfully at Wiche, and leave him. Saville after all loved her the best.

Women like Lady Mallinger have to die young in order to be understood: then—and then not always—some onlooker more discerning than the others will see in the cold body some trace of a fiery spirit too ardent and too restless for mortality. Alas! poor soul. Seeking the highest, best, most beautiful, and purest—and finding a Saville Rookes.

The modern is always an unwilling slave to sentiment: if he find himself captivated by a romantic love or a sublime ideal he accepts his state in the shamefaced and hopeless certainty that his common-sense will one day come to the rescue. He cannot believe that what he takes for beauty will always be so fair, or that what seems good for the moment could be inspiring for ever. Satisfaction only makes him restless: he sighs for happiness and, having found it, sighs lest, after all, it should only be a shadow cast by his own desires. Wiche therefore suffered his disappointment with smiling patience and with something even of relief; once he had doubted that all was vanity, had suspected that life yet held much that was precious