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Loves shadow

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Title:Love'sShadow
Author:AdaLeverson
PostingDate:November25,2011[EBook#9786]ReleaseDate:January,2006
FirstPosted:October16,2003
Language:English
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LOVE'SSHADOW
ADALEVERSON

FirstPublishedLondon,1908.

(BookOneofTHELITTLEOTTLEYS)

[Illustration:Love'sShadow]
Lovelikeashadowflies
Whensubstancelovepursues;
Pursuingthatthatflies,


Andflyingwhatpursues.
SHAKESPEARE


CHAPTERI
Hyacinth
'There'sonlyonethingImustreallyimploreyou,Edith,'saidBruceanxiously.
'Don'tmakemelateattheoffice!'
'Certainlynot,Bruce,'answeredEdithsedately.Shewasseatedoppositeher
husbandatbreakfastinaverynew,verysmall,verywhiteflatinKnightsbridge
—exactlylikethousandsofothernew,small,whiteflats.Shewasyoungand
pretty,butnotobvious.Onemightsupposethatshewasmoresubtlethanwas
shownbyherusualexpression,whichwasmerelycheerfulandintelligent.
'NowIhavetowritethatletterbeforeIgo,'Bruceexclaimed,startingupand
lookingatherreproachfully.'Whydidn'tIwriteitlastnight?'
Edithhadn'ttheslightestidea,asshehadheardnothingoftheletterbefore,but,
inthecourseofthreeyears,shehadlearntthatitsavedtimetoaccepttrifling
injustices.Soshelookedguiltyandalittleremorseful.Hemagnanimously
forgaveher,andbegantowritetheletterataneatwhitewriting-table.
'Howmanyg'saretherein"Raggett"?'heaskedsuspiciously.
Shedidn'tanswer,apparentlyovertakenbyasuddenfitofabsenceofmind.
'Onlyone,ofcourse.Howabsurdyouare!'saidherhusband,laughing,ashe
finishedtheletterandcamebacktothetable.
Shepouredoutmorecoffee.
'It'sacuriousthing,'hewentoninatoneofimpartialregret,'that,withallthe
fussaboutmoderncultureandhighereducationnowadays,girlsarenoteven


taughttospell!'
'Yes,isn'tit?ButevenifIhadbeentaught,itmightnothavebeenmuchuse.I
mightjustnothavebeentaughttospell"Raggett".It'saname,isn'tit?'
'It'saverywell-knownname,'saidBruce.


'Idaresayitis,butIdon'tknowit.Wouldyouliketoseetheboybeforeyougo?'
'Whataquestion!Ialwaysliketoseetheboy.ButyouknowperfectlywellI
haven'ttimethismorning.'
'Verywell,dear.Youcanseehimthisafternoon.'
'Whydoyousaythat?YouknowI'mgoinggolfingwithGoldthorpe!Itreallyis
hard,Edith,whenamanhastoworksomuchthathehasscarcelyanytimefor
hiswifeandchild.'
Shelookedsympathetic.
'Whatareyoudoingtoday?'heasked.
'Hyacinth'scomingtofetchmeforadriveinthemotor.'
Hisfacebrightened.Hesaidkindly,'Iamsoglad,darling,thatyouhavesucha
delightfulfriend—whenIcan'tbewithyou.IadmireHyacinthverymuch,in
everyway.Sheseemsdevotedtoyou,too,whichisreallyveryniceofher.What
Imeantosayis,thatinherpositionshemightknowanybody.Youseemy
point?'
'Quite.'
'Howdidyoumeetheroriginally?'
'Wewereschool-friends.'
'She'ssuchalovelycreature;Iwondershedoesn'tmarry.'
'Yes,butshehastofindsomeoneelsewhomshethinksalovelycreature,too.'
'Edith,dear.'


'Yes,Bruce.'
'Iwishyouwouldn'tsnapmeuplikethat.Oh,Iknowyoudon'tmeanit,butit's
growingonyou,rather.'
Shetriedtolookserious,andsaidgently,'Isit,really?Iamsorry.'
'Youdon'tmindmetellingyouofit,doyou?'
'Notatall.I'mafraidyouwillbelate,Bruce.'
Hestartedupandhurriedaway,remindingEdiththatdinnerwastobeateight.
Theypartedwithaffectionatesmiles.
Whenhehadgonedowninthelift,Edithtookaninextensivewalkthroughthe
entireflat,goingintoeachroom,andlookingatherselfineverylooking-glass.
Sheappearedtolikeherselfbestinthedining-roommirror,forshereturned,
staredintoitrathergravelyforsomelittletime,andthensaidtoherself:'Yes,I'm
beginningtolookbored.'
Thensherangthebell,andthenursebroughtinaprettylittleboyofnearlytwo,
Huffilydressedinwhite,whowasexcitedattheprospectofhisgreatmorning
treat—goingdowninthelift.SpeakingofhimwithsomeformalityasMaster
Archie,sheaskedthenurseafewquestions,whichshemistakenlysupposed
gavethatpersonagetheimpressionthatsheknewallthattherewastobeknown
aboutchildren.Whenshewasalonewithhimforaminutesherushedathim
impulsively,saying,privately,'Heavenlypet!Divineangel!Duck!'inreturnfor
whichhepulledherhairdownandscratchedherfacewithasmallemptyNoah's
Arkthathewastakingoutwithhimforpurposesofhisown.
Whenhehadgoneshedidherhairupagaininadifferentway—partedinthe
middle.Itwasverypretty,wavy,fairhair,andshehadsmall,regularfeatures,so
thenewwaysuitedherverywell.Thenshesaidagain—
'Yes,ifitwerenotforHyacinthIshouldsoonlookboredtodeath!'
HyacinthVerneywastheromanceofEdith'slife.Shealsoprovidedagooddeal
ofromanceinthelivesofseveralotherpeople.Herpositionwasunusual,and
herpersonalityfascinating.Shehadnoparents,wasanheiress,andlivedalone


withacompanioninaquaintlittlehousejustoutofBerkeleySquare,witha
largestudio,thatwasneverusedforpainting.Shehadsuchanextraordinary
naturalgiftformakingpeopleofbothsexesfondofher,thatitwouldhavebeen
difficulttosaywhich,ofallthepersonswholovedher,showedthemostintense
devotioninthemostimmoderateway.Probablyhercousinandguardian,Sir
CharlesCannon,andhercompanion,AnneYeo,spentmorethoughtandtimein
herservicethandidanybodyelse.Edith'simaginationhadbeenfiredintheir
school-daysbyherfriend'sbeautyandcleverness,andbythefactthatshehada
guardian,likeabook.ThenHyacinthhadcomeoutandgoneinformusic,for
painting,andforvariousotherartsandpursuitsofanabsorbingcharacter.She
hadhardlyanyacquaintancesexceptherrelations,butpossessedanenormously
largenumberofextremelyintimatefriends—acharacteristicthathadremained
toherfromherchildhood.
Hyacinth'sidealofsocietywastohavenopadding,sothatmostofthemembers
ofhercircleweretypes.Still,asshehadaperfectpassionforentertaining,there
remained,ofcourse,aresidue;distantelderlyconnectionswithwell-sounding
names(asballast),andafewvaguehangers-on;severalratherdullcelebrities,
somemerelyprettyandwell-dressedwomen,andasteadilyincreasingnumber
ofgood-lookingyoungmen.Hyacinthwasfondofdecoration.
Asshefranklyadmitted,shehadratherfallenbackonEdith,findingher,after
manyexperiments,themostagreeableoffriends,chieflybecauseintheir
intercourseseverythingwasalwaystakenforgranted.Likesisters,they
understoodoneanotherwithoutexplanation—àdemi-mot.
WhileEdithwaitedimpatientlyinthehalloftheflat,AnneYeo,her
unacknowledgedrivalinHyacinth'saffections,wasdoingneedleworkinthe
window-seatofthestudio,andwatchingHyacinth,who,dressedtogoout,was
walkingupanddowntheroom.Witharatherwoodenface,highcheek-bones,a
tall,thinfigure,andnoexpression,Annemighthavebeenanyage;butshewas
not.Shemadeeveryefforttolookquitefortysoastoappearmoresuitableasa
chaperone,butwasinrealitybarelythirty.Shewasthinking,assheoften
thought,thatHyacinthlookedtooromanticforeverydaylife.Whentheyhad
travelledtogetherthisfacthadbeenratheranuisance.
'Why,whenyoucallattheStorestoordergroceries,mustyoulookasifyou
weregoingtoelope?'sheaskeddryly.'Inanordinarymotorveilyouhavetheair


ofhasteningtosomemysteriousappointment.'
'ButI'monlygoingtofetchEdithOttleyforadrive,'saidHyacinth.'Howbored
shemustgetwithherlittleForeignOfficeclerk!Thewayhetakeshisauthority
asahusbandseriouslyispathetic.Hehasn'tthefaintestideathegirliscleverer
thanheis.'
'You'dfarbetterleaveheralone,andnotpointitout,'saidAnne.'You'realways
botheringabouttheselittleOttleysnow.Butyou'vebeenveryrestlesslately.
Wheneveryoutrytodopeoplegood,andespeciallywhenyoumotorsomuch
andsofast,Irecognisethesymptoms.It'scomingonagain,andyou'retryingto
getawayfromit.'
'Don'tsaythat.I'mnevergoingtocareaboutanyoneagain,'said
Hyacinth.
'Youdon'tknowit,butwhenyou'renotinloveyou'renotyourself,'
Annecontinued.'It'sallyoulivefor.'
'Oh,Anne!'
'It'squitetrue.It'snearlythreemonthssinceyou—hadanattack.Blairwasthe
last.Nowyou'rebeginningtotakethesamesortofinterestinCecilReeve.'
'Howmistakenyouare,Anne!Idon'ttakeatallthesameinterestinhim.It'sa
totallydifferentthing.Idon'treallyevenlikehim.'
'Youwouldn'tgoouttodayifyouwereexpectinghim.'
'Yes,butI'mnot…andhedoesn'tcaretwostrawsaboutme.Oncehesaidhe
neverworshippedinacrowdedtemple!'
'It'sacuriouscoincidencethateversincethenyou'vebeenouttoeveryoneelse,'
saidAnne.
'Idon'treallylikehim—soverymuch.Whenhedoessmile,ofcourseit'srather
nice.Whydoeshehateme?'
'Ican'tthink,'saidAnne.


'Hedoesn'thateme!Howcanyousayso?'criedHyacinth.
'Doesn'the?'
'Perhapsit'sbecausehethinksIlookSpanish.Hemaydisapproveoflooking
Spanish,'suggestedHyacinth.
'Verylikely.'
Hyacinthlaughed,kissedher,andwentout.Annefollowedhergracefulfigure
withdisapproving,admiringeyes.


CHAPTERII
TheAnxietiesofSirCharles
Likeallreallyuncommonbeauties,Hyacinthcouldonlybeadequatelydescribed
bythemosthackneyedphrases.Hereyeswereauthenticallysapphire-coloured;
brilliant,frankeyes,withasubtlemischiefinthem,softenedbythemost
conciliatinglongeyelashes.Then,hermouthwasreallyshapedlikeaCupid's
bow,andherteethweredazzling;alsoshehadawealthofdense,soft,brown
hairandatall,sylphlike,slimly-roundedfigure.Herfeaturesweredelicately
regular,andherhandsandfeetperfection.Hercomplexionwasextremelyfair,
soshewasnotabrunette;someremoteSpanishancestoronhermother'sside
was,however,occasionallymentionedasanapologyforatypeandasupple
gracesometimescomplainedofbypeoplewithwhiteeyelashesasratherunEnglish.SomanyartisticyoungmenhadtoldhershewaslikeLaGioconda,that
whenshefirstsawtheoriginalintheLouvreshewassodisappointedthatshe
thoughtshewouldneversmileagain.
Abouttenminutesaftertheprettycreaturehadgoneout,Anne,whohadkepther
eyessteadilyontheclock,lookedoutofthewindow,fromwhichshecouldseea
smallbroughamdrivingup.Shecalledoutintothehall—
'Ifthat'sSirCharlesCannon,tellhimMissVerneyisout,butIhaveamessage
forhim.'
Aminutelaterthereenteredathinanddistinguished-looking,grey-hairedmanof
aboutforty-five,wearingasmileofsuchexcessivecordialitythatonefeltit
couldonlyhavebeenbroughttohiswell-bredlipsbyacutedisappointment.
Annedidnottakethesmileliterally,butbegantoexplainawaytheblow.
'I'msosorry,'shesaidapologetically.'I'mafraidit'spartlymyfault.Whenshe


suddenlydecidedtogooutwiththatlittleMrsOttley,shetoldmevaguelyto
telephonetoyou.ButhowonearthcouldIknowwhereyouwere?'
'Howindeed?Itdoesn'tmatterintheleast,mydearMissYeo.Imean,it'smost
unfortunate,asI'vejustalittlefreetime.LadyCannon'sgonetoamatinéeatthe
StJames's.Wehadticketsforthefirstnight,butofcourseshewouldn'tusethem
then.Shepreferredtogoaloneintheafternoon,becauseshedeteststhetheatre,
anyhow,andafternoonperformancesgiveheraheadache.Andifshedoesa
thingthat'sdisagreeabletoher,shelikestodoitinthemostpainfulpossible
way.Shehasabeautifulnature.'
Annesmiled,andpassedhimalittlegoldbox.
'Haveacigarette?'shesuggested.
'Thanks—I'mnotreallyinabadtemper.Butwhythisrelapseofdevotiontolittle
MrsOttley?AndwhyareyouandIsuddenlytreatedwithmarkedneglect?'
'MrsOttley,'saidAnne,'isoneofthoseyoungwomen,ratherboredwiththeir
husbands,whoaretheworstpossiblecompanionsforHyacinth.Theyputheroff
marrying.'
'Bored,isshe?Shedidn'tstrikemeso.Apleasant,brightgirl.Isupposeshe
amusesHyacinth?'
'Yes;ofcourse,she'snotadulloldmaidoverforty,likeme,'said
Anne.
'No-onewouldbelievethatdescriptionofyou,'saidSirCharles,withabowthat
wascourtlybutabsent.Asamatteroffact,hedidbelieveit,butitwasn'ttrue.
'IfdearlittleMrsOttley,'hecontinued,'marriedintoogreatahurry,farbeit
frommetoreproachher.Imarriedinahurrymyself—whenHyacinthwasten.'
'Andwhenshewaseighteenyouwereverysorry,'saidAnneinhercolourless
voice.
'Don'tletusgointothat,MissYeo.Ofcourse,Hyacinthisabeautiful—
responsibility.Peopleseemtothinksheoughttohavegoneonlivingwithus
whensheleftschool.Buthowwasitpossible?Hyacinthsaidsheintendedto


liveforherart,andLadyCannoncouldn'tstandthescentofoils.'Heglanced
roundthelargepanelled-oakroominwhichnotapicturewastobeseen.The
onlyindicationofitshavingeverbeenmeantforastudiowasthenorthlight,
carefullyobstructed(onthegroundsofunbecomingness)bygently-tinted
draperiesofsomefabricsuggestingLiberty's.'Lifewasn'tworthliving,tryingto
keepthepeace!'
'Butyoumusthavemissedher?'
'Still,Iprefercomingtoseeherhere.Andknowingshehasyouwithheris,after
all,everything.'
Helookedaquestion.
'Yes,shehas.Imean,sheseemsrather—absorbedagainlately,'said
Anne.
'Whoisit?'heasked.'Ialwaysfeelsoindiscreetandtreacheroustalkingoverher
privateaffairslikethiswithyou,thoughshetellsmeeverythingherself.I'mnot
sureit'stheactofasimple,loyal,ChristianEnglishgentleman;infact,I'mpretty
certainit'snot.Isupposethat'swhyIenjoyitsomuch.'
'Idaresay,'saidAnne;'butshewouldn'tmindit.'
'Whathasbeenhappening?'
'Nothinginteresting.HazelKerrcameheretheotherdayandbroughtwithhima
poeminbronzelacquer,ashecalledit.Hereaditaloud—thewholeofit.'
'Goodheavens!Poetry!Dopeoplestilldothatsortofthing?Ithoughtithad
goneoutyearsago—whenIwasayoungman.'
'Ofcourse,soithas.ButHazelKerrisoutofdate.Hyacinthsayshe'salmosta
classic.'
'Hisverses?'
'Ohno!Hismethod.Shesayshe'saninterestingsurvival—he'swalkedstraight
outofanotherage—thenineties,youknow.Therewerepoetsinthosedays.'


'Method!Hewasmuchtooyoungthentohaveastyleatall,surely!'
'Thatwasthestyle.Itwastherightthingtobeveryyounginthenineties.Itisn't
now.'
'It'snotsoeasynow,forsomeofus,'murmuredSirCharles.
'ButHazelkeepsitup,'Anneanswered.
SirCharleslaughedirritably.'Hekeepsitup,doeshe?Buthesitspeopleout
openly,thatshowshe'snotreallydangerous.Onedoesn'tworryaboutHazel.It's
thatyoungmanwhoarriveswheneverybody'sgoing,orgoesbeforeanyoneelse
arrives,that'swhatI'malittleanxiousabout.'
'IfyoumeanCecilReeve,Hyacinthsayshedoesn'tlikeher.'
'I'msorrytohearthat.Ifanythingwillinteresther,thatwill.YetIdon'tknow
whyIshouldmind.Atanyrate,hecertainlyisn'ttryingtomarryherfor
interestedreasons,ashe'sverywelloff—orperhapsforanyreasons.I'mtold
he'sclever,too.'
'Hisappearanceisnotagainsthimeither,'saidAnnedryly;'sowhat'sthematter
withhim?'
'Idon'tknowexactly.Ithinkhe'scapableofplayingwithher.'
'Perhapshedoesn'treallyappreciateher,'suggestedAnne.
'Oh,yes,hedoes.He'saconnoisseur—confoundhim!Heappreciatesherall
right.Butit'sallforhimself—notforher.Bytheway,I'veheardhisname
mentionedwithanotherwoman'sname.ButIhappentoknowthere'snothingin
it.'
'Wouldyoureallylikehertomarrysoon?'Anneasked.
'Inherpositionitwouldbebetter,Isuppose,'saidherguardian,withobvious
distastetotheidea.
'Hasthereeverbeenanyonethatyouthoroughlyapprovedof?'asked
Anne.


Heshookhishead.
'Iratherdoubtifthereeverwillbe,'Annesaid.
'She'ssoclever,soimpulsive!Shelivessomuchonheremotions.Ifshewere
disappointed—inthatway—itwouldmeansomuchtoher,'SirCharlessaid.
'Shedoeschangeratheroften,'saidAnne.
'Ofcourse,she'sneverreallyknownherownmind.'Hetookaletteroutofhis
pocket.'IcamepartlytoshowheraletterfromElla—mygirlatschoolinParis,
youknow.Hyacinthissokindtoher.Shewritestomeveryconfidentially.I
hopeshe'sbeingproperlybroughtup!'
'Letmereadit.'
Sheread—
'DARLINGPAPA,

'I'mhavingheavenlyfunatschool.LastnighttherewasaballforMadame's
birthday.Apropergrown-upball,andwealldanced.Themenweren'tbad.Ihad
alovelyEasteregg,achocolateegg,andinsidethatanothereggwithchocolate
init,andinsidethatanothereggwithadearlittleturquoisecharminit.Oneman
saidIwasablondeanglaise,andhadakeepsakeface;andanotherhastakenthe
PrixdeRome,andisgoingtobeaschoolmaster.Therewerenorealices.Come
overandseemesoon.It'ssuchalongtimetotheholidays.Lovetomother.
'Yourloving,
'ELLA.'

'Acuriousletter—forherage,'saidElla'sfather,replacingit.'Iwishshewere
here.ItseemsapityLadyCannoncan'tstandthenoiseofpractising—andsoon.
Well,perhapsit'sforthebest.'Hegotup.'MissYeo,ImustgoandfetchLady
Cannonnow,butI'llcomebackathalf-pastsixforafewminutes—onmyway
totheclub.'
'She'ssuretobeherethen,'repliedAnneconsolingly;'anddopersuadehernotto


wasteallhertimebeingkindtoEdithOttley.Itcan'tdoanygood.She'dbetter
leavethemalone.'
'Really,it'saveryinnocentamusement.Ithinkyou'reoveranxious.'
'It'sonlythatI'mafraidshemightgetmixedupin—well,somedomesticrow.'
'Surelyitcan'tbeasbadasthat!Why—isMrOttleyinlovewithher?'heasked,
smiling.
'Verymuchindeed,'saidAnne.
'Oh,really,MissYeo!—anddoesMrsOttleyknowit?'
'No,norHyacintheither.Hedoesn'tknowithimself.'
'Thenifnobodyknowsit,itcan'tmatterverymuch,'saidSirCharles,feeling
vaguelyuncomfortableallthesame.Beforehewenthetookupaportraitof
HyacinthinanEmpiredresswithlaurelleavesinherhair.Itwasabeautiful
portrait.Annethoughtthatfromthewayhelookedatit,anyonecouldhave
guessedLadyCannonhadtightlipsandworearoyalfringe….Theypartedwith
greatfriendliness.
Anne'swooden,inexpressivecountenancewasagreatcomforttoSirCharles,in
somemoods.Thoughshewascleverenough,shedidnothavethatsuperfluityof
sympathyandresponsivenessthatmakesonegoawayregrettingonehassaidso
much,anddislikingtheotherpersonforone'sexpansion.Oneneverfeltthatshe
hadunderstoodtooaccurately,northatonehadgivenoneselfaway,norbeen
indiscreetlycurious….Itwasliketalkingtoachair.WhatagoodsortAnnewas!


CHAPTERIII
AnneYeo
'Wouldyoulikemetoplaytoyoualittle?'Anneasked,whenHyacinthhad
returnedandwassittinginthecarved-oakchimney-corner,lookingthoughtful
andpicturesque.
'Ohno,pleasedon't!Besides,Iknowyoucan't'
'No,thankgoodness!'exclaimedAnne.'IknowI'musefulandpractical,andI
don'tmindthat;butanyhow,I'mnotcheerful,musical,andaperfectlady,in
exchangeforacomfortablehome,amI?'
'No,indeed,'saidHyacinthfervently.
'No-onecanspeakofmeas"thatpleasant,cultivatedcreaturewholiveswith
MissVerney,"canthey?'
'Not,atanyrate,iftheyhaveanyregardfortruth,'saidHyacinth.
'Iwishyouwouldn'tmakemelaugh.WhyshouldIhaveasenseofhumour?I
sometimesthinkthatallyourfriendsimagineit'spartofmydutytoshriekwith
laughterattheirwretchedjokes.Itwasn'tinthecontract.IfIwerepretty,my
ambitionwouldhavebeentobeanadventuress;butanadventuresswithno
adventureswouldbealittleflat.Imighthavetheworstintentions,butIshould
neverhavethechanceofcarryingthemout.SoItrytobeasmuchaspossible
likeThackeray'sshabbycompanioninadyedsilk.'
'Isthatwhyyouwearasackclothblousetrimmedwithashes?'said
Hyacinth,withcuriosity.


'No,that'smerelystinginess.It'smynaturetobemorbidlyeconomical,thoughI
knowIneedn'tbe.IfIhadn'thad£500ayearleftme,Ishouldneverhavebeen
abletocomeandlivehere,anddropallmyhorridrelations.Ienjoyappearing
dependentandbeingaspectator,andI'veabsolutelygivenupallinterestinmy
ownaffairs.Infact,Ihaven'tgotany.AndItakethekeenestinterestinother
people's—romances.Principally,ofcourse,inyours.'
'I'msureIdon'twantyoutobesovicariousasallthat—thanksawfully,'said
Hyacinth.'Atanyrate,don'tdresslikeaskeletonatthefeasttomorrow,ifyou
don'tmind.I'veaskedthelittleOttleystodinner—and,IwantCharlestocome.'
'Oh,ofcourse,ifyouexpectCecilReeve!—Isupposeyoudo,asyouhaven't
mentionedit—I'llputonmyrealclothestodoyoucredit.'Shelookedoutofthe
window.'Here'spooroldCharlesagain.HowhedoesdislikeLadyCannon!'
'Whatashame,Anne!He'sangelictoher.'
'That'swhatImeant,'saidAnne,goingoutquickly.
'Charles,howniceofyoutocallandreturnyourownvisitthesameday!It'slike
Royalty,isn'tit?Itremindsmeoftheyoungmanwhowasaskedtocallagain,
andcamebackinhalfanhour,'saidHyacinth.
'Ididn'tquiteseemywaytowaitingtillMonday,'heanswered.'We'regoing
awaytheendoftheweek.Janetsayssheneedsachange.'
'Itwouldbemoreofachangeifyouremainedintownalone;atleast,without
Aunty.'
FromtheageoftenHyacinthhadresentedhavingtocallLadyCannonbythis
endearingname.Howaperfectstranger,bymarryinghercousin,couldbecome
heraunt,wasamysterythatsherefusedeventotrytosolve.Itwaswellmeant,
nodoubt;itwassupposedtomakeherfeelmoreathome—lessofanorphan.
Butthoughshewasobedientonthispoint,nothingwouldeverinducehertocall
hercousinbyanythingbuthisChristianname,withnoqualification.
Instinctivelyshefeltthattocallthem'CharlesandAunty',whileannoyingthe
intruder,keptherguardianinhisproperplace.Whatthatwasshedidnotspecify.
'Well,can'tyoustayinLondonandcomehere,andbeconfidedinand
consulted?Youknowyoulikethatbetterthanboringyourselftodeathat


Redlands.'
'Nevermindthat.Howdidyouenjoyyourdrive?'
'Immensely,andI'veaskedboththelittleOttleystocometodinnertomorrow—
oneofthoseimpulsive,unconsideredinvitationsthatoneregretsthesecond
after.Imustmakeupalittleparty.Willyoucome?'
'Perhaps,ifIarrangedtofollowJanettoRedlandsthenextday,Imight.Whodid
yousaywastheotherman?'
'IexpectCecilReeve,'shesaid.'Don'tputonthatairofmarblearchness,
Charles.Itdoesn'tsuityouatall.Tellmesomethingabouthim.'
'Ican'tstandhim.That'sallIknowabouthim,'saidSirCharles.
'Oh,isthatall?That'sjustjealousy,Charles.'
'Absurd!Howcanamarriedman,inyourfather'splace,ahundredyearsolder
thanyou,bejealous?'
'Itiswonderful,isn'tit?'shesaid.'Butyoumustknowsomethingabouthim.You
knoweveryone.'
'He'sLordSelsey'snephew—andhisheir—ifSelseydoesn'tmarryagain.He's
onlyayoungmanabouttown—thesortofgood-lookingassthatyoursex
admires.'
'Charles,whatabruteyouare!He'sveryclever.'
'Mydearchild,yes—asamatteroffact,Ibelieveheis.Isn'theevergoingtodo
something?'
'Idon'tknow,'shesaid.'Iwishhewould.Oh,whydon'tyoulikehim?'
'Whatcanitmatteraboutme?'heanswered.'Whyareyouneversatisfiedunless
I'minlovewiththesamepeoplethatyouare?'
'Charles!'sheexclaimed,standingup.'Don'tyouunderstandthatnotaword,not
alookhaspassedtosuggestsuchathing?Inevermetanyoneso—'


'Socautious?'
'No,solistless,andsorespectful;andyetsoamusing….ButI'mprettycertain
thathehatesme.IwishIknewwhy.'
'Andyouhatehimjustasmuch,ofcourse?'
'No,sometimesIdon't.AndthenIwantyoutoagreewithme.No-one
sympathisesreallysowellasyou,Charles.'
'NotevenMissYeo?'
'No,IgetonsowellwithAnnebecauseshedoesn'tShe'salwaysinterested,butI
preferhernevertoagreewithme,assheliveshere.Itwouldbeenervatingto
havesomeonealwaysthereandperpetuallysympathetic.Anneisatonic.'
'Youneedalittleoppositiontokeepyouup,'saidSirCharles.
'Didn'tIoncehearsomethingabouthisbeingdevotedtosomeone?Wasn'tthere
areportthathewasgoingtobemarriedtoaMrs.Raymond?'
'IbelieveitwasoncecontradictedintheMorningPostthathewasengagedto
her,'saidSirCharles.'ButI'msurethere'snotruthinit.Iknowher.'
'Notruthinthereport?Orthecontradiction?'
'Ineither.Inanything.'
'Soyouknowher.What'sshelike?'Hyacinthaskedanxiously.
'Oh,adear,charmingcreature—you'dlikeher;butnotpretty,noryoung.About
myage,'hesaid.
'Oh,Isee!That'sallright,then!'Sheclappedherhands.
'Well,Imustgo.I'llarrangetoturnuptodinnertomorrow.'Hetookhishat,
lookingratherdepressed.
'Andtrytomakehimlikeme!'shecommanded,asSirCharlestookleave.


CHAPTERIV
TheSoundSenseofLadyCannon
LadyCannonhadneverbeenseenafterhalf-pastsevenexceptineveningdress,
generallyavelvetdressofsomedarkcrimsonorbottle-green,sotightly-fitting
astogiveheranappearanceofbeingratherupholsteredthanclothed.Hercloaks
werealwayslikewell-hungcurtains,hertrainslikeheavycarpets;onemight
fancythatshegothergownsfromGillows.Herpearldog-collar,herdiamond
ear-rings,herdarkredfringeandtheotherdetailsofhertoilettewereputonwith
thesameprecisionwhenshedinedalonewithSirCharlesasifsheweregoingto
aceremoniousreception.Shewasaverytall,fine-lookingwoman.InParis,
whereshesometimeswenttoseeEllaatschool,sheattractedmuchpublic
attentionasunefemmesuperbe.Frenchmenwereheardtoremarktooneanother
thatherhusbandnedevraitpass'embêter(which,asamatteroffact,was
preciselywhathedid—toextinction);andeveninthestreetswhenshewalked
outthegaminsusedtoexclaim,'Voilàl'ArcdeTriomphequisepromène!'—to
herintensefuryandgratification.Shewasstillhandsome,withhard,wide-open
blueeyes,andstraightfeatures.Shealwaysheldherheadasifshewerebeing
photographedinatiaraenprofilperdu.Itwasinthisattitudethatshehadoften
beenphotographedandwasnowmostusuallyseen;anditseemedso
characteristicthatevenherhusband,ifheaccidentallycaughtaglimpseofher
full-face,hastilyalteredhispositiontoonewhencehecouldbeholdheratright
angles.
Asshegrewolder,theprofileinthephotographshadbecomemoreandmore
perdu;thelastoneshowedchieflythebackofherhead,besidesabasketof
flowers,andadoublestaircase,leading(onehoped)atleasttooneoftheupper
roomsinBuckinghamPalace.
LadyCannonhadaveryexaltedopinionofherowncharms,virtues,brilliant


gifts,and,aboveall,ofhersoundsense.Fortunatelyforher,shehadmarrieda
manofextraordinaryamiability,whohadalwaystakeneverypossibleprecaution
topreventherdiscoveringthatinthisopinionshewaspracticallyaloneinthe
world.
Havingbecomeengagedtoherthroughaslightmisunderstandinginacountry
house,SirCharleshadnothadthecouragetoexplainawaythemistake.He
decidedtomakethebestofit,anddidsothemoreeasilyasitwasoneofthose
so-calledsuitablematchesthatthefriendsandacquaintancesofbothparties
approveofanddesirefarmorethanthepartiesconcerned.Asensiblewoman
wassurelyrequiredatRedlandsandintheLondonhouse,especiallyasSir
Charleshadbeenleftguardianandtrusteetoaprettylittleheiress.
Ithadtakenhimaveryshorttimetofindoutthatthereputationforsoundsense
was,likemosttraditions,foundedonamyth,andthatifhiswife'svanitywas
onlyequalledbyheregotism,hermostremarkablecharacteristicwasher
excessivesilliness.Butshelovedhim,andhekepthisdiscoverytohimself.
'Twenty-fiveminutestoeight!'sheexclaimed,holdingoutalittlejewelled
watch,asSirCharlescameinafterhisvisittoHyacinth.'Andwehaveanew
cook,andIspecially,mostspeciallytoldhertohavedinnerreadypunctuallyat
half-pastseven!Thisworldisindeedaplaceoftrial!'
SirCharles'snaturalairofcommandseemedtodisappearinthepresenceof
LadyCannon.Hemurmuredagracefulapology,sayinghewouldnotdress.
Nothingannoyed,evenshockedhermorethantoseeherhusbanddining
oppositeherinafrock-coat.However,oftwoevilsshechosetheless.Theywent
intodinner.
'Ihaven'thadtheopportunityyetoftellingyoumyopinionoftheplaythis
afternoon,'shesaid.'Ifounditinteresting,andIwonderIhadn'tseenitbefore.'
'Yousentbackourstallsforthefirstnight,'remarkedSirCharles.
'CertainlyIdid.IdislikeseeingaplayuntilIhaveseeninthepaperswhetherit
isasuccessornot.'
'Thosenewspaperfellowsaren'talwaysright,'saidSirCharles.
'Perhapsnot,butatleasttheycantellyouwhetherthethingisasuccess.Ishould


beverysorrytobeseenatafailure.Verysorryindeed.'
Shepaused,andthenwenton—
'JamesWade'sTroublehasbeenperformedthreehundredtimes,soitmustbe
clever.Inmyopinion,itmusthavedoneanimmenseamountofharm—good,I
mean.Aplaylikethat,sofullofnoblesentimentsandhighprinciples,is—tome
—asgoodasasermon!'
'Oh,isit?I'msorryIcouldn'tgo,'saidSirCharles,feelingveryglad.
'Isupposeitwastheclub,asusual,thatmadeyoulate.Doyouknow,Ihavea
greatobjectiontoclubs.'
Henoddedsympathetically.
'Thatistosay,Ithoroughlyapproveofyourbelongingtoseveral.I'mquite
awarethatinyourpositionit'stherightthingtodo,butIcan'tunderstandwhy
youshouldevergotothem,havingtwohousesofyourown.Andthatreminds
me,wearegoingdowntoRedlandstomorrow,arewenot?I'vehadalittle'(she
loweredhervoice)'lumbago;amerepassingtouch,that'sall—andthechange
willcureme.IthinkyouneglectRedlands,Charles.Youseemtometoregard
yourresponsibilitiesasalandownerwithindifferenceborderingonaversion.
Youneverseemamuseddownthere—unlesswehavefriends.'
'We'llgotomorrowifyoulike,'saidhe.
'That'ssatisfactory.'
'IcaneasilyputofftheDuke,'hesaidthoughtfully,ashepouredoutmorewine.
Shespranguplikeastartledhare.
'Putoffthe…whatareyoutalkingabout?'
'Oh,nothing.TheDukeofStLeonard'sisgivingadinnerattheclubtomorrow,
andIwasgoing.ButIcanarrangetogetoutofit.'
'Charles!Ineverheardofanythingsoabsurd!Youmustcertainlygotothe
dinner.Howlikeyou!Howcasualofyou!Forameretrifletooffendtheman


whomightbeofthegreatestusetoyou—politically.'
'Politically!Whatdoyoumean?Anditisn'tatriflewhenyou'vesetyourmind
ongoingawaytomorrow.Iknowyouhatetochangeyourplans,mydear.'
'CertainlyIdo,butIshallnotchangemyplans.Ishallgodowntomorrow,and
youcanjoinmeonFriday.'
'Oh,Idon'tthinkI'lldothat,'saidSirCharles,ratherhalf-heartedly.'Whyshould
youtakethejourneyalone?'
'ButIshallnotbealone.IshallhaveDanverswithme.Youneedhaveno
anxiety.Ibegofyou,Iinsist,thatyoustay,andgotothisdinner.'
'Well,ofcourse,ifyoumakeapointofit—'
Shesmiled,wellpleasedathavinggotherownway,asshesupposed.
'That'sright,Charles.Thenyou'llcomedownonFriday.'
'Bytheearlytrain,'saidSirCharles.
'No,Ishouldsuggestyourcomingbythelatertrain.It'smoreconvenienttomeet
youatthestation.'
'Verywell—asyoulike,'saidhe,inwardlyalittleastonished,asalways,atthe
easyworkingofthesimpleoldplan,suggestingwhatonedoesnotwishtodoin
ordertobepersuadedintowhatonedoes.
'And,bytheway,Ihaven'theardyouspeakofHyacinthlately.Youhadbettergo
andseeher.Alittlewhileagoyouwerealwayswastingyourtimeabouther,and
Ispoketoyouaboutit,Charles—Ithink?'
'Ithinkyoudid,'saidhe.
'But,thoughatonetimeIwasgrowingsimplytiredofhername,Ididn'tmean
thatyouneednotlookafterheratall.Goandseeher,andexplaintoherIcan't
possiblyaccompanyyou.TellherI'vegotchroniclumbagoverybadlyindeed,
andI'mobligedtogotothecountry,butIshallcertainlymakeapointofcalling
onherwhenIreturn.Youwon'tforget,Charles?'


'Certainlynot.'
'Ishouldgooftener,'shecontinuedapologetically,'butIhavesuchagreatdislike
tothatcompanionofhers.IthinkMissYeoamostunpleasantperson.'
'Sheisn'treally,'saidSirCharles.
'IdowishwecouldgetHyacinthmarried,'saidLadyCannon.'Iknowwhata
reliefitwouldbetoyou,anditseemstomesuchanunheard-ofthingfora
younggirllikethattobelivingpracticallyalone!'
'We'vebeenthroughthatbefore,Janet.Remember,therewasnothingelsetodo
unlessshecontinuedtolivewithus.Andasyournervescan'tevenstandElla—'
LadyCannondroppedthepoint.
'Well,wemustgethermarried,'shesaidagain.'WhatagoodthingEllaisstillso
young!Girlsareadreadfulresponsibility,'andshesweptgraciouslyfromthe
dining-room.
SirCharlestookoutanirritatinglittlenotebookofredleather,thesortofthing
thatisadvertisedwhenlostas'ofnovaluetoanyonebuttheowner.'Itwasfull
ofmysteriouslittlemarksandunintelligiblelittlenotes.Heputdown,in
cabalisticsigns,'Hyacinth'sdinner,eighto'clock.'Heenjoyedwritinghername,
eveninhieroglyphics.


CHAPTERV
AProposal
'Isay,Eugenia.'
'Well,Cecil?'
'Lookhere,Eugenia.'
'Whatisit,Cecil?'
'Willyoumarryme?'
'Ibegyourpardon?'
'Willyoumanyme,Eugenia?'
'What?'
'YouheardwhatIsaid.Iaskedyoutomarryme.Willyou?'
'Certainlynot!Mostdecidedlynot!Howcanyouasksucharidiculousquestion!'
Theladywhothusscornfullyrejectedaproposalwasnolongeryoung,andhad
neverbeenbeautiful.Inwhatexactlyherattractionconsistedwasperhapsa
mysterytomanyofthosewhofoundthemselvesunderthecharm.Hervoiceand
smilewereveryagreeable,andshehadagracefulfigure.Ifshelookednearlyten
yearsyoungerthanherage(whichwasforty-four),thiswasinnowayowingto
anyartificialaid,buttoakindofbrilliantvitality,notabouncingmature
liveliness,butavivid,intense,humorousinterestinlifethatwasandwould
alwaysremainabsolutelyfresh.Shewasnaturalnessitself,andseemed


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