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Malbone: An Oldport Romance Thomas Wentworth Higginson

V. A Multivalve Heart

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Nature seems always planning to equalize characters, and to protect our friends from growing too perfect for our deserts. Love, for instance, is apt to strengthen the weak, and yet sometimes weakens the strong. Under its influence Hope sometimes appeared at disadvantage. Had the object of her love been indifferent, the result might have been otherwise, but her ample nature apparently needed to contract itself a little, to find room within Philip's heart. Not that in his presence she became vain or petty or jealous; that would have been impossible. She only grew credulous and absorbed and blind. A kind of gentle obstinacy, too, developed itself in her nature, and all suggestion of defects in him fell off from her as from a marble image of Faith. If he said or did anything, there was no appeal; that was settled, let us pass to something else.

I almost blush to admit that Aunt Jane--of whom it could by no means be asserted that she was a saintly lady, but only a very charming one--rather rejoiced in this transformation.

"I like it better, my dear," she said, with her usual frankness, to Kate. "Hope was altogether too heavenly for my style. When she first came here, I secretly thought I never should care anything about her. She seemed nothing but a little moral tale. I thought she would not last me five minutes. But now she is growing quite human and ridiculous about that Philip, and I think I may find her very attractive indeed."

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Malbone: An Oldport Romance
Thomas Wentworth Higginson

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