Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/299

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A Study in Temptations.

useful reading. And although it might have been more dramatic if she had indulged instead on a long soliloquy on the hollowness of life, the injustice of God, and so on, there are those who might think it was more heroic to blow her despised nose and study a tedious historian.

Half an hour later when Eliza entered the drawing- room she discovered Wrath and Lady Hyde-Bassett playing chess, and Sophia (who hated games of every description), engaged in a most animated conversation with De Boys Mauden. No one seemed to notice her entrance except Margaret, who gave her a swift smile and indicated with her eyes a new book on the side-table, as much as to say, "That will interest you more than either of these men." Eliza sighed, but drifted towards the volume. Literature was still her friend.

"How I should like to paint her as St. Martha," said Wrath, in a low voice, to Lady Hyde-Bassett; "she has just that expression of kind, yet terrible energy St. Martha must have had!"

"How a love affair would improve her!" said Margaret; "every woman should have at least one love affair."

"But she is a nice creature," said Wrath. "I am very fond of her. She is a good but inaccessible angel."

"I am going to marry her to Claverhouse Digges," said her ladyship, confidently, "I shall arrange it all next autumn!"

Artistic chess is a game beyond the petty restrictions of science.