Page:Twilight.djvu/162

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154
TWILIGHT

Edgar B., who knew no vision but money against a background of rapacious domestic affection, gaped at and tried to understand her. It was not until they were on board the "Minotaur" and he had come across an amiable English widow, that he learnt his daughter was indeed a genius, ethereal, a wonder-child. But one who needed mothering!

Even genius must eat, sleep for reasonable hours, wear warm clothes in cold weather. Margaret's absorbed self-consciousness left her no weapons to fight Mrs. Merrill-Cotton's kindness. She accepted it without surprise. It seemed quite natural to her; the only wonder was that the whole shipload had eyes or ears for any one else once they had heard her play the piano! Mrs. Merrill-Cotton brought her port wine and milk, shawls and rugs, volubly admiring her reticence, her unlikeness to other girls, her dawning delicate beauty. In truth Margaret at that period was girlishly angular and emaciated, from midnight and other labours, too much introspection and too little exercise, other than digital. She was desultorily interested in her appearance and a little uncertain as to whether the mass of her fair hair accorded with her pallid complexion. Her eyes were hazel and seemed to her lacking in expression. She did not think herself beautiful, but admitted she was "mystic" and of an unusual type.

Mrs. Merrill-Cotton found the more appropriate