Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/62

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46
Some Emotions and a Moral.
 

positively indelicate on my part to interfere. As for Cynthia, I should consider it a grave error of judgment to notice anything one way or the other. These innocent little affairs all tend to mould a girl's character; they give her self-confidence: the more experience she has of men, the more likely she will be to choose a good husband." Lady Theodosia said nothing. She was waiting for the point of the Rector's observations. "After all, you know," he said, "if anything should happen, Dobbs thinks a lot of him, and Dobbs has any amount of influence. A successful author makes a handsome income nowadays." Lady Theodosia, who could never, even in imagination, condescend to the unpractical, went through a swift mental calculation as to the amount of income necessary for the maintenance of a house in Fitz-John's Avenue—allowing for a bi-monthly dinner party, an evening once a week, a fortnightly afternoon, five servants and a brougham.

"It could be done for six thousand a year," she said, aloud, "and it would mean management, even then. Besides, his brain might give out. Just think what a bore that would be!"

"We won't think anything so uncharitable," said the Rector, kindly. He only liked to contemplate the cheerful—having boundless faith in the law of self-preservation in the human character.

"Cynthia," said Lady Theodosia, one day, when Provence had left them after an unusually long visit, "what do you see in this man?" Now between this lady and her niece there existed a feeling which, though not affection (for there are no Davids and Jonathans among women), might very well be com-