Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/46

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Some Emotions and a Moral.

Lady Theodosia's careful summer arrangement of ferns, Virginia cork, and red art-pots, "my boy is becoming an idealist. Now my experience of idealists is this—they think very high but act on the whole rather low, and make uncommonly bad landlords. I don't believe in these Oxford lads, all theory and no experience. This is an age of immature cause and premature result." Sir James had not the smallest idea of what he meant, but he thought it sounded so tersely put and so much like a leading article that he repeated it again. "Yes—immature cause and premature result. We eat the blossom in preference to the fruit, and no wonder we feel empty." (He rather prided himself on his graceful gift for metaphor.) "Our universities have become mere forcing grounds to supply an unnatural appetite for the insipid and costly. Let my boy stick to his boat-club and Roman Law—that's all he's good for—and leave model cottages alone. What on earth is the use of bath-rooms and patent drains to the agricultural labourer—what does he know about microbes?" It must not be supposed that Sir James's impassioned rhetoric was due to the inspiration of the moment: all his sentiments were darkly pondered and duly packed down into top-heavy sentences in a Commonplace Book before he delivered them to the world. This evening, however, his discourse was interrupted by the entrance of his son—the ostensible object of his remarks. Young Cargill was undeniably well-favoured, and bore himself like a gentleman—although he lacked the air of distinction which characterized Godfrey Provence. After Lady Theodosia and the Rector had greeted him he seated himself by Cynthia, who blushed with annoyance at