Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/392

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A Bundle of Life.

retrieve the lamentable circumstances of her birth by making a good marriage. Although we have not met, my dear Blanche, you have been ever in my mind, and the alteration in my appearance which you find so startling is, no doubt, miraculously evident to you because your disgrace has been its sole cause. Blessed with the kindest of husbands and a good conscience, I have had, nevertheless, a constant sorrow—that sorrow was my sister's shame. Oh! do not suppose I utter this as a reproach! I name it because I think my long years of grief give me the right to express a very strong opinion on the subject of your unhappy child's education and future. Your own sense will tell you that she must be guarded far more strictly than other girls. For instance, she must not be seen at balls, theatres, race-courses, country houses, or the like, but must rest content with dinners, oratorios, and good works for the poor."

"You are too kind," said Lady Warcop, who had listened with astonishing patience to her sister's speech, "but I do not wish Teresa to leave the convent at present. She is extremely happy there, and I can only wish that at her age I might have found such a peaceful home far removed from the temptations and wickedness of this deceitful world! As for her marrying, I have too much reason to regret my own early marriage—the cause of all my trouble—to wish the poor child to risk a similar mistake."

"You did not leave dear Douglas for a richer man!" said Mrs. Portcullis, in a tone which implied that if Blanche had made a more discreet choice, her sin would have been less odious.