Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/47

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Some Emotions and a Moral.
31
 

the undisguised admiration in his eyes. Provence, however, saw the blush and already saw himself miserably presenting congratulations at their wedding. In despair he left them together and turned to Agatha, who certainly looked extremely well in black lace and yellow roses.

"I feel I ought to ask you," she said, "whether you found your journey down very tiresome. Our train-service is so bad, and I always think that unnecessary waste of time almost amounts to physical suffering if one has an active mind. I hope you provided yourself with books." She had gathered from Cynthia's random remarks made in the intervals of dressing for dinner that Mr. Provence was a writer and probably learned. She thought that her little speech would fall agreeably on his ears—that it would be a delicate way of showing that his fame and cultured tastes were not unknown to her.

"I amused myself by looking out of the window," he replied, innocently, "although I did just glance at a very diverting tale about a French poodle and a bishop in The Piccadilly News. Have you seen it?"

Agatha was too lady-like to stare, too calm to gasp, but she felt grateful to the parlour-maid for announcing dinner.

At the dinner-table, which was round for the occasion, Provence, who had taken in Lady Theodosia, found himself next to Cynthia and Edward Cargill. The more he tried to convince himself that she and Edward were desperately and mutually in love, the more beautiful and desirable she appeared. "And what can she see in him?" he thought, and took a savage pleasure in picturing Edward some twenty