Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/55

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Some Emotions and a Moral.
39
 

Cynthia, she was only seized with nervous palpitation when, in nightmares, she beheld her as the possible mistress of Northwold Hall and the model dairy. Besides, putting aside all other considerations, she had a firm conviction that true refinement and good breeding found their only outward and visible expression in sloping shoulders, a straight, thin nose, and an extremely high forehead. Agatha possessed all these qualifications—Cynthia none of them. But Agatha was turning over the leaves of the Classical Review when Lady Cargill spoke, and if she saw the look she did not appear to understand its significance. When, however, Edward came into the room a few minutes later, she smiled at him so prettily that even his mother thought him an oaf for not betraying a little rapture. As it was, he seemed decidedly gloomy, and after threading his way rather aimlessly among the numerous bandy-legged chairs and squat tables which Lady Theodosia had purchased by post through the inspiriting catalogue of an Art Furnisher, he settled himself near Cynthia.

"We were just saying, my boy," said Lady Cargill, with the unconscious guile of a perfectly truthful woman, "how agreeably surprised we are in this Mr. Provence." Edward did not look so overjoyed as he might have done at this piece of intelligence.

"Aunt Theodosia is so rejoiced to find that he is not learned," said Agatha, "and really I cannot imagine how we all managed to get such a mistaken idea of his knowledge. The moment I spoke to him I felt the incongruity between his reputation and—well, his way of expressing himself generally."

Edward could be jealous and could lose his temper,