quarrel had been the instant despatch of her daughter to Trouville,
with the duchess's declaration that she could struggle for the soul
of her poor son's child no longer, and that come what would, she
consigned Vere to her mother then and for ever more.
" The horrid woman will be howling for the child again in a
week's time," thought Lady Dolly, " but she has done it to spite
me, and I'll keep the child to spite her. That's only fair."
The duchess had taken her at her word, that was all; but then,
indeed, there are few things more spiteful that one can do to any¬
body than to take them at their word. Lady Dolly had been
perplexed, irritated, and very angry with herself for having written
all that rubbish about suffering from the unnatural deprivation of
her only child's society ; rubbish which had brought this stroke of
retribution on her head.
She had pulled her blonde perrugue all awry in her vexation;
she did not want that perruque at all, for her own hair was thick
and pretty, but she covered it up and wore the perruque because it
was the fashion to do so.
Lady Dolly had always been, and was very pretty: she had
lovely large eyes, and the tiniest mouth, and a complexion which
did not want all the pains she bestowed on it; when she had not
the perruque on, she had dark silky hair all tumbled about over
her eyebrows in a disarray that cost her maid two hours to com¬
pose ; and her eyebrows themselves were drawn beautifully in two
fine, dark, slender lines by a pencil that supplied the one defect of
Nature. When she was seventeen, at the rectory, amongst the
rosebuds on the lawn, she had been a rosebud herself; now she was
a Dresden statuette; the statuette was the more finished and
brilliant beauty of the two, and never seemed the worse for wear.
This is the advantage of artificial over natural loveliness; the latter
will alter with health or feeling, the former never; it is always the
same, unless you come in at its toilette, or see it when it is very ill.
Lady Dolly this morning woke up prematurely from her sleep,
and fancied she was in the old parsonage gardens on the lawn,
amongst the roses in Devonshire, with poor Vere's pale handsome
face looking down so tenderly on hers. She felt a mist before her
eyes, a tightness at her throat; a vague and worried pain all over
her. " It is the prawns! " she said to herself, " I will never smoke
after prawns again."
She was all alone; the counsellor had gone to his schooner,
other counsellors were at their hotels, it was an hour when every¬
thing except Englishmen and dogs were indoors. She rose, shook
her muslin breakfast-wrapper about her impatiently, and went to
see her daughter,
"He used to be so fond of me, poor fellow!" she thought.
Such a pure fond passion then amongst the roses by the sea. It
had all been very silly, and he had used to bore her dreadfully with
Keble, and his_ namesake, George of holy memory, and that old