Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/387

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A Bundle of Life.

never met. Mrs. Portcullis, of Belgrave Square, and Lady Warcop, of Curzon Street, were a new heaven and a new earth asunder.

They were brought together at last in a street accident. Mrs. Portcullis was thrown out of her victoria and driven home half insensible in Lady Warcop's brougham, which, by a dispensation of Providence or the interference of Satan, happened to be passing at the time of the catastrophe. On recovery from the shock Charlotte felt constrained to write to her sister in pious and forbearing terms

"Since the Almighty," she wound up, "has, in accordance with His inscrutable Principles, chosen a weak and sinful agent for the accomplishment of His all-merciful design (the preservation of my life), I must accept this as a sign that He desires me to unbend from my former attitude of just, if reluctant, severity. If He has seen fit to forgive you for the disgrace and reproach you have brought on our once stainless name, my duty as a Christian forbids me to make any further comment on your crime. But I cannot refrain from adding that my unceasing prayers for your repentance have no doubt furthered, more than it would become me to say, this miracle of grace. " I will receive you this day week between two and four.

" Your affectionate sister,
"C. C. Portcullis."

Like Lady Lurewell in the comedy, Mrs. Portcullis could dress up a sin so religiously that the devil him-