Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/391

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A Bundle of Life.
375
 

in this room you wore a mauve silk and it went so well with your complexion—you used to have such a beautiful colour and there was not a line on your face—or at least there were only a few; but now—who would think you were the same creature?"

"You are more fortunate than I am," said Mrs. Portcullis, smiling horribly, " for you have a grown-up daughter to remind us of your lost attractions! "

Blanche gasped, but although she felt the weight of Charlotte's blow she was not sufficiently skilled herself to appreciate its science.

"Oh," she said, growing red, "do you mean Teresa?"

"Surely," quoth her sister, in a tone of horror, "there is but one I could mean!"

Lady Warcop lifted her eyes and gazed as bravely as she dared at the miniature of the late William Duncan Portcullis which reposed on Charlotte's adamantine breast. This miniature, however, only served to produce in Blanche the kind of panic which we may suppose would fill any weak creature who saw scalps adorning the person of a warlike adversary.

"Tell me about Teresa," said Mrs. Portcullis, choosing the subject most humiliating to her sister.

"She is at school."

"I understood she was in a convent."

"Yes," faltered Lady Warcop, "there is a school in the convent!"

"From a Romish point of view such equivocation, I know, is not considered disgraceful. Our religion, thank God, is not so easy! You must send for her at once. She is, if I remember rightly, eighteen and a half, and, not to hurt your feelings, she can only