Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/333

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A Study in Temptations.
317


since she had resolved not to think of De Boys as a lover, she had lost all interest in her appearance. At one time, certainly, she had longed to find favour in his sight and so, no doubt, had sent many foolish wishes after the perishable and fleeting attractions of feature and complexion. But this was a weakness of the past— she would never be so vain again— ah, never! At the same time, when she saw her new cousin, she was rather glad that she happened to be wearing her most picturesque gown.

But in spite of the agreeable impression each had produced on the other, the Dowager found them both very dull during luncheon. Warbeck talked on prosaic subjects and rarely addressed himself to Jane. The Countess observed, too, with consternation, that he never once looked at his cousin, but kept his eyes fixed on his plate. She had never seen him so stupid. As for Jane, her shyness was most natural and becoming; she was a girl who could hold her peace without sinking into inanity. It was Warbeck who caused her ladyship uneasiness. Like most determined women she could only be discouraged by time — by the wearing off of enthusiasm, mere facts could not shake her purpose, nor opposition, her courage. The shortest-lived of her projects at least died a natural death, and was immediately succeeded by a direct descendant. Having made up her mind that Warbeck's marriage with his cousin Jane should take place in the autumn, her ladyship regarded his celibate vow as a mere piece of foolery; it had absolutely no bearing on the matter in point. But why was he so depressing in his manner? Had he no eyes? no ears? no taste? no manliness? With all his heroics