Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/97

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Some Emotions and a Moral.
81
 

one way or the other—since she's a girl. If her looks are all right, one needn't worry about anything else—except to see that her clothes suit her. But there's plenty of time for that. You can't do much with her till she's out. Of course, take care of her complexion and keep her back straight. That's quite enough to keep any mother occupied."

"If I were only stronger!" said Grace. She was always a little uneasy when interest in herself threatened to spread to her child. She had, perhaps, the irritating half-suspicion that the child repaid interest better—might eventually end even in getting it all. She had seen this very nearly happen in the case of her husband. She was fond of little Elizabeth, too; she wanted her to be noticed: to have had a plain, stupid little girl whom nobody cared about—that would have been a thorn in the flesh, and a weariness; and yet—and yet—well, it was hard to get reflected glory from one's own child. The whole principle was wrong.

"If I were only stronger!" she repeated. George looked at her, and wondered why he had never remarked—before her marriage—the clear grey of her eyes, her well-proportioned form, and her restless, nervous mouth. Then he remembered how, for a long time, he had been gradually changing his opinion with regard to Grace—changing it so much, and so gradually, that to-day, when he found himself admiring her eyes and her figure, she seemed to possess all the novelty of a new acquaintance combined with the tried charm of the old. There is nothing more fascinating to a child than an old doll with a new head. The doll, in course of time, swells the dust-