Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/32

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Some Emotions and a Moral.

I meet at the station the day I came down but old Heathcote—the Honourable and Reverend. Do you remember him? It appears he has exchanged rectories with the local apostle, and is down here with Lady Theodosia Gore-Jones and his two daughters. He insisted that I should dine with them to-morrow and stay over Sunday. I have never met any of the women, but they are 'fond of music,' and 'read a little Greek — in a girlish way.' God be merciful to me a sinner! He also introduced me to a lady he was very much assisting into a chariot and pair—an elderly person who shows me what the British Matron might have been before she was shocked. Her name is Cargill, and her husband is a baronet. Into what distinguished company have I fallen! You may depend the devil is not far off in this wilderness."

When Provence had finished this letter he gave it to his landlady for the post-boy, and left the house with the air of a man who had some more definite object in view than a mild jostling for the digestion. It was evening—perhaps nine o'clock, and that peculiar stillness reigned over all things which in the country marks the closing in of day. The moon was bright, the air fresh. Provence felt that he had every excuse for tingling with the joy of being alive, and that his scepticism for one night at least might be the light scum on a deep surface of sentimentality and unspoken quotations from the poets. For one moment he was tempted to think he might lapse into poetry himself: that is to say, if his thoughts would only shape themselves into something more definite than a variety of agreeable impressions which would no more bear