Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/393

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A Bundle of Life.

"Perhaps not," said Blanche; "but I left a man who did not understand me for one who——You know, Charlotte, that Sidney could make himself very agreeable. There were many women who would have been far readier than I was to run away with him. Indeed, he has often said that it was my resistance which chiefly excited his admiration, and if I had not been so firm on my side, he would not have been so determined on his. I saw that from the first, and I cannot tell you the hours we spent arguing the matter from every possible point of view. He used a great deal of persuasion (and you may be sure I would not have wasted a thought on him if he had not), but I took the final step with great reluctance. We may have been foolish, but we meant no wrong. I was unhappy; he was kind to me; we were both young."

"Sir Sidney was certainly young," said Mrs. Portcullis. "As for you, I can make no excuse on the ground of your age, for I always blame the woman in such cases, and, to my mind, it does not matter in the least whether she be sixteen or sixty. But it is a subject I must refuse to discuss with you, since, in the nature of things, it is inexpressibly painful to me. Let us return to the pressing and all-important question of Teresa's future. I would suggest that you send for her at once, and then you may bring her with you to a small dinner I am giving on the twentieth. The Dundrys, the Paget-Herons, and a few other old friends of mine are coming."

Blanche, who had been hopelessly hoping these many years for a smile of recognition from the Lady Dundry (known among her intimates as