Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/48

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Some Emotions and a Moral.

years hence, fat, red-faced and hearty—the replica of his worthy father who sat opposite—the typical country-gentleman of ancient lineage, good cellar, and moderate views.

"I once read a Greek play, you know, with a crib," Lady Theodosia was explaining, "skipping the particles, of course, and those awfully fascinating choruses. I found them too engrossing—and it does not do for a woman to get too absorbed in one particular thing. Her social duties demand that her interests should be scattered."

Conversation wended its blithesome way through Lord Todhunter's new conservatories, paused at the disgraceful state of the high-road, brightened considerably at Farmer Drew's prize oxen, but came to a stand-still at the Future of England. Perhaps this was due to Sir James, who took a just pride in his power of concentration, and had no mind for the Future of anything, with stewed sweet-breads on his plate. The Present, with a near background of champignons à la crême was all sufficient. So he relapsed into silence and the unspeakable joy of mastication. Cynthia peeped at Provence from under her lashes. She caught his eye and found it sympathetic. In a moment the whole aspect of things was changed for both of them. Provence found a mysterious joy in being bored since she was bored too. Cynthia—more moderate in her emotions—felt that the evening might not prove so dull as she had first feared it would be. To their common satisfaction, general conversation girded up its loins once more and attacked the local County Council.

"I was listening to the nightingales when you