Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/325

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The Dowager Countess of Warbeck found Jane more interesting each day; she was so quiet in manner, so sweet-tempered, so thoughtful, so sensible—in fact, the Dowager's letters to her dear friends the Marchioness of Dayme and the Lady Dundry, were always overweight during that period. Her notes to her grandson, however, were brief, telling much of her own ill-health and very little of Jane. The Countess never made the fatal mistake of supposing that the rest of mankind were fools, and she alone had wisdom; she gave every creature credit for a certain amount of perception and a great deal of cunning. For this reason her machinations usually proved successful. She was extremely careful not to drop a word which might excite Warbeck's suspicion of her darling scheme; she even wrote him a glowing account of a new debutante who, she declared, had exactly the kind of beauty he admired. Her heart swelled with a diplomatist's pride when she received a telegram from the young peer announcing his sudden return to England. "Let him once see Jane," she thought, "and the rest is inevitable."

In the meantime, his portrait (painted by Wrath,