Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/36

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
20
Some Emotions and a Moral.
 

"Who is the man?" said Cynthia.

"His name is Provence. I have heard of the creature—he is an Egyptologist, or a Dissenter, or something equally disagreeable. Heaven knows what the wretch talks about! I wonder if your father has a short, condensed sort of thing about Egypt in his library—one of those convenient books you can get up in half an hour. I cannot imagine what Percival sees in these learned, uncomfortable people—one never knows what to give them for dinner, they have such miserable digestions.... Of course—I knew there was something else. He wants me to ask the Cargills over to help the matter through. It is outrageous at such short notice. Your father has no notion of etiquette."

"And what is etiquette, after all?" said her niece.

"Etiquette, my dear, makes the difference between Man and the Brute Beast," and with that Lady Theodosia hurried—for she was energetic—into the house.

Cynthia waited till she had gone, and then moved her chair in a more direct line with her father's study, which led by French windows on to the lawn. She could then see him at his table. It was the Rector's day for writing his sermon. He was a man who liked system in all things: first because it was philosophical; secondly—and perhaps, in common with many theorists, his secondly was the salt of the whole—he had an idea that it was a nice, gentlemanly sort of thing to cultivate. But although the Hon. and Rev. Percival Heathcote could control his actions, his thoughts were amenable only to the impulse of the moment. Now impulsiveness formed the strongest