Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/309

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A Study in Temptations.

to manage men, but they like to manage other women still better: it is a greater triumph from an artistic point of view. Lady Warbeck promised herself unalloyed joy in directing the unsophisticated being Heaven had dropped in her way.

She had to endure several pangs, however, as she drove to the hotel, (where she was spending the night), for she could not persuade herself that because Jane was unassuming she was necessarily meek. And meekness in a protégé is an essential, if one is to be a patroness with any degree of comfort or satisfaction. The Dowager was by nature a kind woman. If she was approached with what she considered proper respect, she was often found even heroic. She would put herself out to do amiable things: she arranged meetings between people who wanted or were wanted to make each other's acquaintance; she found berths for younger sons; she assisted mothers with their daughters; she begged unscrupulously from the rich; she pushed young talent (she encouraged all the arts); she recommended governesses, and dressmakers, and orphan homes, and hospitals, and hotels, and deserving cases—indeed, to sum up her virtues in a sentence, she never missed an opportunity of doing something to her credit. And now she had taken a fancy to Jane—which was the highest possible credit to both of them. For her ladyship had good taste and was not easily satisfied.

"The child is neither good form nor bad," she wrote to Warbeck. "She is no form at all, and would be called original. (I do not mean that she swears like Lady Buntynge.) She is very innocent, and has, I assume, no accomplishments. But really,