Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/327

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A Study in Temptations.

fields. The only person you could wear in that fashion would be your husband, or, in conceivable circumstances, your future husband. But as you have neither one nor the other at present, it is more seemly that your neck should be unfettered. Enjoy your liberty while you may." She smiled her sweetest—and the Dowager could smile like an angel when she chose—but Jane sighed. The chain, however, and the photograph were slipped into her pocket; she could not be immodest, and, no doubt, her grandmama had spoken sound sense.

"Play me that exquisite Presto," said the Countess. "I doat on Beethoven when he escapes from that terrible diddledy-diddledy-diddledy in the bass. The Brentmore person really taught you extremely well. Take it at a good pace."

One has not much time to muse on the absent if one is playing a Presto, and an active lady marks the time with her cane.

Warbeck was expected to luncheon that same day, and the Countess had given orders that he was to be shown into the library, as she wished a few moments' private conversation with him. Jane, therefore, was half-way through the Presto when his lordship's arrival was announced.

"Don't stop playing, my dear," said the Dowager. "I so like to hear music in the distance."

Then she went down to her grandson.

The young man came forward as she entered the room, and seemed surprised, delighted, and relieved to see her walking.

"You must be much better," he said; "I have