features, straight, delicate, and noble; her fair hair was cut square
over her brows, and loosely knotted behind ; she had a beautiful
serious mouth, not so small as her mother's, and serene eyes, grey
as night, contemplative, yet wistful.
She was calm and still. She had cried as if her heart would
break, but she would have died rather than let her mother guess it.
She had been what the French call refoulee sur elle-meme ; and the
process is chilUng.
" Have you all you want ?" said Lady Dolly, casting a hasty
glance round the room. " You know I didn't expect you, dear;
not in the least."
" Surely my grandmother wrote ? "
" Your grandmother telegraphed that you had started; just lika
her! Of course I wished to have you here, and meant to do so,
but not all in a moment."
" The horrid old woman will be howling for the child back
again in three weeks' time," thought Lady Dolly once more, " But
she has done it to spite me : the old cat! "
" Are you sorry to come to me, love ? " she said sweetly mean¬
while, drawing Vere down beside her on a couch,
" I was very glad," answered Vere,
Lady Dolly discreetly omitted to notice the past tense. "Ah, no
doubt, very dear of you! It is three years since I saw you; for
those few days at Bulmer hardly count. Bulmer is terribly dull,
" I suppose it is dull; I was not so. If grandmamma had not
been so often------"
" Cross as two sticks, you mean," laughed Lady Dolly. " Oh, I
know her, my dear: the most disagreeable person that ever lived.
The dear old duke was so nice and so handsome; but you hardly
remember him, of course. Your grandmamma is a cat, dear—a cat,
positively a cat! We will not talk about her. And how she has
dressed you! It is quite wicked to dress a girl like that, it does
her taste so much harm. You are very handsome, Vere."
" Yes ? I am like my father, they say."
Lady Dolly felt the mist over her eyes again, and this time
knew it was not the prawns. She saw the sunny lawn in Devon,
and the roses, and the little large-eyed child.at her breast. Heavens!
what a long way away all that time seemed.
She gazed intently at Vere with a musing pathetic tenderness
that moved the girl, and made her tremble and glow, because at
last this lovely mother of hers seemed to feel. Lady Dolly's gaze
grew graver and graver, more and more introspective.
" She is thinking of the past and of my father," thought the
girl tenderly, and her young heart swelled with reverent sympathy.
She did not dare to break her mother's silence.
" Vere! " said Lady Dolly dreamily, at length, " I am trying to