Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/247

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A Study in Temptations.
231
 

her mortification: she had sought him in order to offer her sympathy.

"Why don't you go, then?" she said, as promptly.

He made several thrusts at the meek earth with his heavy walking-stick. "You know," he said, "your grandfather does not like you to be out late."

"I can fight my own battles," said Jane, tossing her head.

De Boys shrugged his shoulders, and tried to frown down his rising colour; he also turned on his heel and walked away.

"De Boys," she said, pursuing—"De Boys. . .I suppose you think I am a cat?"

"I hate cats," he said, evasively.

"Do you hate me?"

The pause which followed seemed borrowed from eternity. "I could hate you," he said; "but, as it happens, I do not."

"Do you think I am ugly? All the girls say I am a fright!" Her smile had a crook at each end: one signified amusement, the other contempt.

"I have never thought about your looks," said De Boys, with more honesty than discretion. "I suppose you are all right. But in any case I would never call you hideous!"

Jane had a longing to be thought pretty. Her ideal was the sweet portrait of a young lady (on porcelain) which hung in a photographer's window she knew of, and which represented a divine creature with blue eyes, pink cheeks, and blonde hair, waved and parted Madonna-wise. If she might only look like that! She had a fatal admiration for the conventional type angelic, being neither old enough nor