Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/279

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By John Oliver Hobbes and George Moore

beg you will not go so far as that. What notion would be more upsettting? Pray do not use such extreme terms!

Soame.Ha! ha! But tell me, Doldrummond, is it true that your wife insists on his retiring at eleven and rising at eight? I hear that she allows him nothing stronger than ginger ale and lemon; that she selects his friends, makes his engagements, and superintends his amusements? Should he marry, I am told she will even undertake the office of best man!

Lord Dol.Poor soul! she means well; and if devotion could make the boy a saint he would have been in heaven before he was out of his long clothes. As it is, I fear that nothing can save him.

Soame.Save him? You speak as though you suspected that he was not such a saint as his mother thinks him.

Lord Dol.I suspect nothing. I only know that my boy is unhappy. You might speak to him, and draw him out if occasion should offer—but do not say a word about this to Lady Doldrummond.

[Enter Lady Doldrummond.—She is a tall, slight, but not angular woman. Her hair is brown, and brushed back from her temples In the simplest possible fashion. Self-satisfaction (of a gentle and ladylike sort) and eminent contentment with her lot are the only writings on her smooth, almost girlish countenance. She has a prim tenderness and charm of manner which soften her rather cutting voice.]

Lady Dol.What! Cyril not here? How do you do, Sir Digby ? I am looking for my tiresome boy. I promised to take him to pay some calls this afternoon, and as he may have to talk I must tell him what to say. He has no idea of making himself pleasant to women, and is the shyest creature in the world!

Soame.You have always been so careful to shield him from all