What is the significance of the line "Was she lying again?"?
The single word, "again", suggests a great deal in this line and in this story. It means that the jeweller, Oliver Bacon, knows that the Duchess is dishonest when it comes to selling her jewelery; he's obviously been lied to by her before and suspects she is lying again. The story tells us that Bacon, as a child, was poor and that his mother accused him of not having sense. He worked hard, using his wits, to get ahead in the world and he had succeeded, often remembering his mother's words to him to "Have sense...don't be a fool". The Duchess, a gambler who lost more than she won, had a daughter with whom Oliver was infatuated - Diana. The Duchess was aware of Oliver's infatuation and tempted Oliver with promises of visits to her estate where he might see and spend time with Diana so that he would buy her jewels. Oliver knows he is probably being cheated by the Duchess and he knows his mother would be disdainful of his actions, but his desire for Diana supercedes his good business sense. The line, "Was she lying again?" shows us that this is not the first time the jeweller has allowed the Duchess to use his desire for Diana in this way and it proves that the two title characters are using one another. Despite the fact that the jeweller now has made a name and a great deal of wealth for himself and that the Duchess, while no longer wealthy, has a title and social position, they are alike and they are no better than the poor people they look down upon.