Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/346

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330
A Study in Temptations.


Miss Eliza Bellarmine, having much to say on the burning question of Milton's precise meaning when he spoke of a two-handed engine at the door"(a phrase so beautifully imitated by a modern poet in the striking lines: —

"At the door two hands are knocking —
Hands of locomotive might———")—

Miss Ella Bellarmine, having much to say on this great matter, had arisen at crack of dawn to commit her criticism to foolscap. By half-past seven she had explained Milton for all time, and disposed of his modern imitator as "a person of vigorous imaginative faculty, but no education." Her task finished, she strolled out into the garden. It had been raining during the night, and she found herself observing footmarks on the gravel path. The marks were small, and had undoubtedly been made by Sophia Jenyns. No one else in the house wore such preposterous French shoes.

Now Miss Bellarmine was a lady who could put two and two together, and make any required number. She had not been blind to the sympathetic relations which existed between Mr. De Boys Mauden and Mrs. Wrath. (She was always studiously careful to think of the actress as Mrs. Wrath). As a consequence, she had thought herself prepared to see footprints — anywhere. Eliza had very cynical and, of course, very mistaken ideas about the artistic-temperament. But in her secret heart, and very much against that grim adviser — her better judgment — she was strongly attached to the blithe Sophia, and now she saw that the footmarks had their ridiculous