Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/53

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Some Emotions and a Moral.

"Sir James is taking it for granted that you have inherited your father's tastes," he said, and looked at Provence with a meaning smile.

"Then I must own at once that I have not," said Provence. "I may not even call myself, with Sir James, a dilettante in the study of Egyptology. I have read everything my father wrote, but my interest has been mainly personal—that is to say, I thought more of the writer than the thing written about."

Cynthia was here just a little reminded of her own attitude towards her father's sermons.

"Then," said Sir James, surprise mingling with relief on his radiant countenance, "you are not an Egyptologist, after all!" Provence could not imagine why Lady Theodosia looked so much happier and begged him to take more cream with his strawberries. It was the first time she had really smiled on him since his arrival.

When the women returned to the drawing-room, Agatha expressed a fear that their new acquaintance was a trifle superficial, and certainly a little harsh—she would not say disrespectful —when he referred to his father's noble contributions to learning.

"I don't agree with you," said Cynthia, who was still thinking of the sermons.

"I may be mistaken, dear," murmured Agatha; "it is best not to be over-positive, one way or the other, in judging others. He is not at all bad-looking—for a clever man. I dare say some people would call him handsome, in a peculiar way."

" I should never dream of calling him even passable," said Cynthia, who was perhaps in a teasing mood. "There is a certain refinement about his face, and his