Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/357

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XVI.

IN WHICH A FARCE IS PLAYED VERY SERIOUSLY.


BREAKFAST was always served punctually at nine o'clock at The Cloisters. As the clock chimed the hour, Lady Hyde-Bassett would descend the stairs, and woe to the guest who was not there to observe her freshness and vivacity. On this one point, she was as unreasonably severe as all malleable men and women are, who make up their minds to be unyielding on, at least, one subject. When she entered the breakfast-room, therefore, on that eventful Monday morning, and saw no Sophia Jenyns, her eyebrows began to twitch. Wrath was reading the Times, and Miss Bellarmine was studying a new novel, which dealt with the evolution of the soul from protoplasm to immortality — a work to be attacked when the mind was not predisposed to slumber.

"Where is Sophia?" said Margaret, having wished them both good morning.

"To be sure," said Wrath. "Where is she?"

"I think," said Eliza, slowly,"she has gone for a short walk."

"At this hour," said Margaret, "and without her breakfast?"

"Are you quite sure?" said Wrath.

"I believe," murmured Eliza, "she said last night

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