Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/273

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A Study in Temptations.

but a life of assiduous self-discipline and self-culture (glorified selfishness, in fact) had given her the calmness and dignity associated with the idea—if not the reality—of old age. A woman so finished in manner, dress, and bearing could only be called artificial in comparison with the ordinary type, in the sense that one might so describe a sonnet as differing from a folk-song.

Meanwhile, the leaves of Hegel were fluttering. Margaret, with a sigh, wrenched her eyes from the mirror and fastened them once more on "Original Sin." But again she read no further, for a lady entered the room.

Miss Bellarmine was not a maiden lady of that pathetic type who pour out tea and who have once loved. She was tall and of commanding appearance: her figure was considered purely Greek. (Perhaps this was because she had the good taste to drape it with Parisian millinery of modern date.) She had really beautiful features if one examined them separately, but as a whole they appeared out of drawing, as though they had been picked off various antique divinities, and stuck on her face at random. Thus, her nose began too soon, and her mouth ended too late; whilst her eyes, charming in colour and shape, were so placed that they offered one a constant temptation to shift them either higher or lower. Her expression was neutral, for her character, like that of many Englishwomen, slumbered behind her countenance like a dog in its kennel, to come out growling or amiable as circumstances might demand. She was highly accomplished, and spoke five languages with one well-bred accent. Theology was her recreation, but Villon the serious study of her life. Her notes on this poet promised