Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/69

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Some Emotions and a Moral.

him the editorship of "The Present Age," a monthly organ devoted to the propaganda of piquant (but not necessarily original) theories of life. It made a feature of unsigned articles, which were commonly supposed to be written by the Great (and perhaps Improper) of the earth.

A woman need not be in the market-place to show her talent for marketing. Cynthia saw at once that the editor of a periodical so justly reverenced as "The Present Age" would enjoy a reputation, and something in the way of income not totally unworthy of a Veiled Prophet. Now if there was one thing she respected far above titles and riches, it was success; if she had one cherished ambition, it was to be the wife of a successful man, a man who painted much talked-of pictures, or wrote conspicuous books, or preached to big congregations, or, in fact, was able in any way, either by his ability or impudence, to push himself into a prominent position. She naturally preferred a genius to a quack, she liked what is considered the best of everything; but geniuses were rare, and although one could never mistake a genius for a quack, it was quite possible to mistake a quack for a genius. Provence, she feared, was a great deal too much in earnest to care for applause just for its own sake, but she saw no reason why, under the influence of an ambitious woman, he should not make a considerable buzz about his name with comparatively little trouble. Left to himself, he would probably spend his life trying to realize some crazy ideal, and in the end accomplish nothing. That was always the way with a sort of genius, a man whose mind was pitched higher than his voice. "I could make some-