Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/38

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22
Some Emotions and a Moral.


moments—or was he merely waiting till she was out of sight?—and finally walked to the window and whistled—softly, but with the ease and tunefulness of an accomplished whistler—the opening bars of a Chopin Nocturne. Cynthia lifted her head and laughed. It was a curious laugh, and meant all manner of things: among others, good health, considerable wickedness, and a fellow-feeling for the ungodly. She left her book—for she had been reading—and came towards him.

"It is a pity," she said, coming in at the window and seating herself in a low armchair, "that it is your sermon day, or we might have had some music."

There was just a shade of amiable malice in her tone. The Rector looked wistful. He had a nice touch for Chopin.

"I suppose Agatha is at home?" he said.

Agatha was his eldest daughter and the mainstay of his parish. He was, perhaps, somewhat afraid of Agatha, but she copied his sermons in a beautiful hand, was an adept at hunting references, and simply unequalled at tying a cravat.

"Yes, Agatha is at home," said Cynthia.

"I wonder if she is going out," sighed the Rector, allowing his fingers to wander Chopin-wise on the writing-table.

"She is designing morning-gowns for the poor heathen," said Cynthia. "She certainly won't stir out of the house to-day. But we can talk."

The Rector dropped his pen, stretched out his long, elegant legs, and leant back in his chair. He experienced a strange delight in hearing gossip, or talking it, on Thursdays.