Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/45

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Some Emotions and a Moral.

embarrassment, therefore, he had assumed an unfelt stoicism—not so much to deceive Cynthia as himself.

"I am so glad you were able to come," said Lady Theodosia. "My brother has told me so much about you that I quite feel as though we had met before in some other state—the sort of delightful thing, you know, these wicked, charming Buddhists tell us about. Or am I confusing Buddhists with Platonists?—it would be so like me. What a thing it is to be an unlearned woman!" Lady Theodosia had many methods in conversation; the artless and ignorant style she found most useful for the subjection of Elderly Science. Provence was not elderly—she was not altogether certain that he was scientific, but she classed him among abnormals, and from her point of view it came to the same thing. "One point," she said to herself, "is a blessing. Neither of the girls could fancy a man who wore such shoes," so she left him with Cynthia and turned to Lady Cargill. The Baronet's wife was a very erect, well-covered woman about fifty or thereabouts, with a mild gaze and agreeable manners. She did not convey the irritating impression of having been a beauty in her youth, but looked as though she had been born with placid blonde hair, a pince-nez, and an elderly expression.

" I hope you are not delaying dinner for Edward, my dear Lady Theodosia," she said, "because that would distress him greatly. He only arrived from Speenham as we left, and of course we could not wait for him. He has been to see about the new cottages."

"Ah yes," chimed in Sir James, who stood with the Rector in front of the fireplace and concealed