Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/390

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374
A Bundle of Life.
 

grand and monumental air, which her widow's cap, crape robes, and such-like paraphernalia of woe made the more emphatic.

The meeting between these two ladies, who had hated each other so long and so cordially, was of the most edifying and tender nature. Blanche, who had intended to be dignified though pious, fell to miserable weeping, and Charlotte, touched by what she supposed was the sacrifice of a contrite heart, pronounced, goddess-like, a solemn benediction on Blanche's bowed head. Lady Warcop's tears, however, were those of suppressed rage and spite, and Charlotte's comfortable words, "I will make no reference to the past," sent her into fresh spasms of grief. She remembered every quarrel of their earliest childhood: how Charlotte had always been the "good" one, the "forgiving" one, the one "who would grow up a comfort to her parents," the one who conscientiously picked plums out of her cake because they were bad for her—which plums, by-the-bye, she used to drop on the plate of the less self-controlled Blanche. Not vainly, alas! But then, Charlotte did not like the taste of plums, preferring caraway seeds! The plum story loomed big in Lady Warcop's brain, and she howled—not for her own sins, but at the remembrance of Charlotte's treachery some thirty years before, when they both wore pinafores, and were only learning to be hypocrites.

"I would not have known you," sobbed her ladyship, "how you have changed! What trouble you must have had! Oh, Charlotte! and to meet after all these years—two old women! When I was last