Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/78

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V.

There was never a Rachel who had not lurking possibilities of the Jezebel, nor a Jezebel who had nothing of the Rachel—in weak moments. Cynthia had no sooner gained her point with Provence, when she began to have misgivings. She was not at all sure that she had been right. She should have waited a little longer : she should have remembered that if genius has an infinite capacity for taking pains it has also the tendency to dream—a process which the practical onlooker is apt to mistake for dawdling. At first she reproached herself bitterly for her want of judgment: she had been betrayed into vulgarity: she wondered—the thought was unbearable—if Provence had a sorrowful contempt for her views on art and the artistic life. But she had always her boundless self-appreciation to come to the rescue in hours like this: when there was no longer any doubt in her mind that a mistake had been made, it did not take long to decide that Provence himself had been entirely to blame. He ought to have shown more firmness : he had given up his most cherished convictions because of some idle words she had spoken in a fit of caprice. The phrase " idle words," which her ingenious conscience had given her at less than a nod, she pounced on and worked up into a whole theory of justification. The case stood thus:—She