Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/306

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"A Study in Temptations".

"I suppose," said Lady Warbeck, when she had learnt that they were both quite well and did not find the weather trying—"I suppose you are making your preparations to come up to town. But Grosvenor Square is a little sombre just at present."

"It must be dreadful," said Jane, with much sympathy, "so soon after a death."

"Shocking!" said her ladyship—"Shocking! It has been a matter of national regret; the Queen sent me three telegrams."

Their thoughts were disjointed and confused; these three wondering women—one young, two simple, and one neither young nor simple—had all kind hearts, although education, experience, and rank had set very different seals on each.

Miss Caroline looked at the Countess, and saw more than an elderly lady in a bonnet and mantle.

"Poor thing!" she said, and her honest eyes filled with tears. Lady Warbeck did not know how to explain that by no possible effort of her imagination could she think of herself as a Thing. So she pretended not to hear.

"I cannot yet trust myself to speak of these painful events," she went on. "I hope I am resigned. 'Man that is born of woman——' It is not for us to question the inscrutable decrees of Providence." Then she turned to Jane. "It would give me much pleasure if you would spend a week or so with me, and I think, in the peculiar circumstances, it would be the most proper course to pursue."

"I think so too," said Miss Caroline. "I have been worrying ever since last night—when we heard