Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/60

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IV.

When Cynthia made her appearance at breakfast the next morning, Provence thought she looked the picture of heavenly meekness—but for the spark of inextinguishable fire in her eyes. She wore, too, a white cotton gown of severe simplicity—a simplicity, however, which did full justice to her figure. It was not till long afterwards that he remembered how, from the first day he had seen her, her clothes always seemed part of her nature; how her gowns, her hats, her very slippers and tortoiseshell hairpins, betrayed her mood no less than her eyes—certainly more than her beautiful, misleading mouth. She greeted Provence with an old-fashioned dignity which made him feel almost as though he were meeting her for the first time. He thought of her manner in the garden on that delicious evening when she looked unutterable things at the sky and assembled nature: he would not decide on which occasion she was most interesting.

Cynthia, meanwhile, who appeared to be deeply absorbed in her father's discourse on the tendency of modern poetry, was in reality criticising Provence as she had never criticised him before and would never criticise him again. It was a peculiar process, and she would have called it "making up her mind" about him. It happened he was looking his best; and, ignominious as the thought may be, who can deny that the whole tenor of a life may often depend on