Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/395

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A Bundle of Life.

cliffe, Shorncliffe, and Pride, Solicitors), Mr. Waddilove rose from his chair, bowed, and remembered the time when he would have called on his client and trifled away a pleasant morning with scandal, choice cigars, incomparable sherry, and a "little matter of business," which came last and was invariably left" to your discretion, Waddilove." But now, oh heavy change! Even as the Baronet entered he looked at his watch.

"Not detain you ten minutes, "he said, speaking rapidly, and as though he were dictating a telegram.

"Not legal, but domestic. Wife most annoying. Teresa coming home. Wife in hysterics every time girl's name is mentioned. No living in the house."

Waddilove rubbed his chin. He was a man of middle age, short, but so compactly built that to look at him made one think of bricks and cement. His quick brown eyes were remarkable for their curiously mingled expression of shrewdness, scepticism, and good humour, and his wry mouth showed that if he drank in life like a worldling, he swallowed it like a philosopher. His nose was of the penetrating order, and seemed to have jutted prematurely from his forehead, which was broad and thoughtful.

His under-lip twitched a little at the close of Sir Sidney's remarks. "We will call this a friendly chat," he said quietly.

"Eh?" said the Baronet, with a radiant air," not professional? Well, after all, it is not a legal matter. But you are quite sure? Still, between such old friends any question of business and that sort of thing is unpleasant. Conversation becomes restrained at once." He chose a chair, and sat in statuesque ease.

"You know what women are," he said.