Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/278

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The Fool's Hour

Lord Dol.He seems melancholy and eats nothing but oranges. Yes, Cyril is a source of great uneasiness.

Soame.Does Lady Doldrummond share this uneasiness?

Lord Dol.My wife would regard a second thought on any subject as a most dangerous form of temptation. She insists that Cyril has everything which a young man could desire, and when he complains that the house is dull, she takes him for a drive!

Soame.But you understand him?

Lord Dol.I think I do. If I were young again——

Soame.Ah, you regret! I always said you would regret it if you did not take your fling! The pleasures we imagine are so much more alluring, so much more dangerous, than those we experience. I suppose you recognise in Cyril the rascal you might have been, and feel that you have missed your vocation?

Lord Dol.[Meekly.]I was never unruly, my dear Soame. We all have our moments, I own, yet—well, perhaps Cyril has inherited the tastes which I possessed at his age, but lacked the courage to obey.

Soame.And so you wish me to advise you how to deal with him! Is he in love? I have constantly observed that when young men find their homes unsympathetic, it is because some particular lady does not form a member of the household. It is usually a lady, too, who would not be considered a convenient addition to any mother's visiting-list!

Lord Dol.Lady Doldrummond has taught him that women are the scourges of creation. You, perhaps, do not share that view!

Soame.Certainly not. I would teach him to regard them as the reward, the compensation, the sole delight of this dreariest of all possible worlds.

Lord Dol.[Uneasily.]Reward! Compensation! Delight! I