Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/63

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Some Emotions and a Moral.

pared pared to the bonhomie of two fellow-artists — two artists who are respectively convinced that their styles are too distinct to clash in disagreeable rivalry. So far as it lay in Cynthia's disposition to be confidential, she was confidential with her aunt; so far as Lady Theodosia spoke her mind, she spoke it to her niece; so far as moral influence went, neither had the presumption to attempt anything of the kind where the other was concerned. Thus they always kept their tempers—a remarkable circumstance in the friendship of two women.

"What do you see in this man?" repeated Lady Theodosia. To do her justice, she had not the smallest concern for her niece: she was thinking of Provence, for whom—in spite of his shoes—she had conceived a liking which only required a large balance at his banker's to develop into auntly affection. "But he is not the man for Cynthia," she thought; "he has not enough of the brute about him. A John Knox might be able to manage her; and then a good deal would depend on his tailor." Here she was mistaken. Cynthia could excuse considerable eccentricity in the dress of a person of note.

She blushed a little when her aunt asked her what she saw in Provence. She felt it almost a slur on her taste. Few women care to feel the necessity of justifying their preferences—least of all a woman in whom the desire to be thought more than humanly infallible was the master passion.

"Don't you care about him?" she said at last. Her tone was almost apologetic.

"I think he is quite charming," said Lady Theodosia, "an interesting person in every way. But