Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/39

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Some Emotions and a Moral.
23
 

"I want you to tell me," began Cynthia, "about the man who is coming to dinner. What does Aunt Theodosia mean by calling him an Egyptologist?"

"Provence the Egyptologist has been dead for years—this man is his son. To tell the truth, I don't know much about him, except that he is by way of being literary. I think he once wrote a poem—a pretty enough thing about despair and the soul and the function of art. Just what one would expect from the son of a French savant and an English woman with yearnings. His father—Professor Provence—was a very singular character, and had all manner of theories about women and the state of Ireland and papyri. The mother was one of the Golightlys—very decent family too: she was something of the British maid and a good deal of the enfant terrible when she married. I remember the marriage created a small sensation at the time; they were foolish enough to elope, and she was cut by her family. You see, Provence had no private income; he depended entirely on what he earned, and the Golightlys could hardly be expected to smile at an alliance of that kind—especially as he earned very little."

"But where did you meet the man who is coming to dinner," said Cynthia.

"Dobbs introduced him to me," said the Rector—"Dobbs of The Present Age. He thinks a lot of him—calls him the 'makings of a success,' and pays him for his contributions with something approaching liberality. Of course I could hardly do less than ask him to dinner when I met him at the station the other night. He is down for his health—been over-