Page:Twilight.djvu/165

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157
TWILIGHT

of the applause, their pride was overwhelming. The next book was praised by all the critics who had been entertained and the journalists who hoped for further entertainment. Another and another followed. Open house was kept in Queen Anne's Gate, and there was an idea afloat in lower Bohemia that here was the counterpart of the Eighteenth-century salon.

This was the high-water tide of Margaret's good fortune. She had (as she told Gabriel Stanton in one of her letters) everything that a young woman could desire. The disposition of wealth, a measure of fame, the reputation of beauty, lovers and admirers galore. Why, out of the multiplicity of these, she should have selected James Capel, is one of those mysteries that always remain inexplicable. It is possible that he wooed her perfunctorily, and set her aflame by his comparative indifference! She imbued him with diffidence and a hundred chivalrous qualities to which he had no claim.

James Capel, at the piano, his head flung back, his dark and too long locks flowing, his dark eyes full of slumbrous passions, singing mid-Victorian love songs in a voluptuous manner and rich vibrating voice, was irresistible to many women, although his lips were thick and his nose not classic. A woman like Margaret should have been immune from his virus. Alas! she proved ultra-susceptible, and the resultant fever exacted from her nearly the extremest penalty.