Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/57

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Some Emotions and a Moral.

possessed for him from the first. To have discovered the force of physical attraction was a fact in itself so engrossing that all other considerations were, if not forgotten, at least permitted to slumber. Even as she played he was vaguely conscious that she revealed much of her own nature in that strange blending of force and uncertainty with which she rendered music. To have felt this, no matter how dimly, was a step towards imperfect vision. He could never be completely blind. He had no further opportunity to speak with Cynthia that evening, for Edward never left her side. So, obeying his artistic instinct to study, at all hazards, something, he turned to Agatha. He felt bound to admit that this young lady was extremely pretty and plumbable. That is to say, he found no difficulty in reading her amiable character and learning her humbly expressed, feminine, and correct opinions. He did not always agree with her, it is true, but as she never by any possible chance thought anything which was not endorsed by at least two clearly recognized authorities, the cause rested with his idiosyncrasies and not her ignorance. Their differences, therefore, could never be otherwise than polite: he was not at all sure from his brief experience of Cynthia that he could promise so much where she was concerned. To begin with, she, too, had idiosyncrasies, and it is assuredly more difficult to maintain one's equanimity in argument with a young woman whose chief aim in discussion is to prove that somebody, though not herself, must be a fool, than with an intelligent, well-read lady who squeaks musically with touching self-effacement under the colossal mask of Carlyle or Browning.