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The Black Robe

Father Benwell Misses
THE group before the picture which had been the subject of dispute was
broken up. In one part of the gallery, Lady Loring and Stella were whispering
together on a sofa. In another part, Lord Loring was speaking privately to
Romayne.
"Do you think you will like Mr. Penrose?" his lordship asked.
"Yes--so far as I can tell at present. He seems to be modest and intelligent."
"You are looking ill, my dear Romayne. Have you again heard the voice that
haunts you?"
Romayne answered with evident reluctance. "I don't know why," he said--
"but the dread of hearing it again has oppressed me all this morning. To tell
you the truth, I came here in the hope that the change might relieve me."
"Has it done so?"
"Yes--thus far."
"Doesn't that suggest, my friend, that a greater change might be of use to
you?"
"Don't ask me about it, Loring! I can go through my ordeal--but I hate
speaking of it."
"Let us speak of something else then," said Lord Loring. "What do you think
of Miss Eyrecourt?"
"A very striking face; full of expression and character. Leonardo would have
painted a noble portrait of her. But there is something in her manner--" He
stopped, unwilling or unable to finish the sentence.
"Something you don't like?" Lord Loring suggested.
"No; something I don't quite understand. One doesn't expect to find any
embarrassment in the manner of a well-bred woman. And yet she seemed to
be embarrassed when she spoke to me. Perhaps I produced an unfortunate
impression on her."
Lord Loring laughed. "In any man but you, Romayne, I should call that
affectation."
"Why?" Romayne asked, sharply.
 
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