Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/364

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A Study in Temptations.

"I am afraid I must see him, dear grandmama," said Jane, with a fine blush, "whether it is proper or not."

"What?" said the Dowager. "A little louder, my love. This attack has affected my hearing." And her blue eyes looked black.

"I said," repeated Jane, without flinching, "I am afraid I must see Mr. Mauden whether it is proper or improper. He is a very old friend."

"Oh!" said her ladyship—"oh! I remember now who he is. The farmer person who is going to be a schoolmaster. See the good creature, by all means!"

The Countess was always most triumphant when she was most defeated.

As Jane ran downstairs to the drawing-room she lost a little of her colour, but when she opened the door, and saw De Boys actually standing on the hearthrug, she grew quite white. He, on his part, blushed as he came forward to meet her.

She gave him her right hand and he took the other. Thus he held them both, nor did he seem anxious to release either.

"Jane," he said, "why have you got this beastly money? and why are you living at this awful Queen's Gate? and—why have you forgotten me?"

"I haven't?"

"But you have. Here is your last letter—all about the South Kensington Museum and Greek vases. I don't want to hear about Greek vases; I want to hear about you. Dear, dear, dearest, win have you got so cultured? why do you quote Drowning; uh do you write about ideals and all such tiresome rubbish? I would not give your old letters about the guinea-pig