Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/160

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Two ladies and two gentlemen were seated in the library of a country-house one afternoon in September. One of the gentlemen wore the gaiters of a Dean. One of the ladies looked as though she would like to wear them, if only for half an hour. As it happened, however, she was dressed in a very tight and evidently very new grey silk, embellished with strings of beads. These jangled and danced with all her movements, to her evident satisfaction and the men's secret despair. She was a small woman and extremely slight, yet, in spite of her slimness, there was not the faintest sign of bone about he; in fact, it was said that the Dean's sister had not a bone in her body. She was composed of flesh, blood, and spirit.

The other lady, Mrs. Digby Vallence, was tall and spare, with a small face, big eyes, and a large mouth. Digby was fond of saying that his wife's face was geometrically impossible. The parts were greater than the whole. She was a very amiable, intelligent woman, who played Schumann with a weak wrist and was noted for her cookery recipes. Her husband would not have given her for a seraglio of houris.

He himself was a man about fifty, with a clean-shaven face and handsome clearly-cut features. The ends of his pale yellow necktie were tied with artistic abandon, his short serge coat was of the finest texture, and his loose trousers, of the same material, hung with