Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/50

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
34
Some Emotions and a Moral.
 

that is dangerous." This he was well aware was just what any one else might have said. The thought was irritating, since, for some reason, he was extremely anxious to appear rather different from the ordinary diner-out—to her. He did not think himself different, nor did he have the mean ambition to seem what he was not; he only knew that if he could find favour in her sight even in a small degree—and he had heard that women in their delicious generosity could, under given conditions, discover what was best in a man when the majority of his fellows saw little but the indifferent—it would be something to find courage in.

"Do you know," said Cynthia, suddenly, "I made sure I should see you again—when you asked me the way to East Sheerwell yesterday?"

This was probably the most unstudied remark she had made that evening—for she found few things more difficult than giving herself to the world, as it were, unvarnished. The strongest element in her character was that which, for want of a better name, we may call the histrionic instinct. Life to her was a series of situations in which she invariably figured as the heroine—a heroine who was always charming and graceful, with feeling enough to be interesting but not enough to be tiresome. If she wept she was careful to dry her eyes before they grew red—if she laughed it was to show her exquisite teeth, for her sense of humour was more grim than merry; if she talked nonsense, but looked the key to all philosophies, especially those of earth, as she did that evening, she felt she was playing Juliet — a Juliet who had travelled and was the niece of Lady Theodosia, for the be-