Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/396

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380
A Bundle of Life.
 

Waddilove closed his eyes as though he would exclude a painful vision.

"You know what my wife is," continued Sir Sidney.

The lawyer looked grave, in the formal manner appropriate to the discussion of family skeletons—a manner not so much indicative of pity, which might verge too much on the familiar, as of concern—disinterested, brain-felt concern.

"I have nothing to say against Lady Warcop," said her husband. "She has many excellent qualities, but on the subject of Teresa she is a—what-do-you-call-'em?"

"An enigma," suggested Waddilove, but in a voice so modulated that had the word been unwelcome it might have passed for a cough.

"That is the thing," said Sir Sidney, "an enigma. And to turn against her own daughter, her only child! She has not seen her since she was born; there has always been some excuse. But now she has suddenly sent for her, and God knows why, for no sooner had she written the letter than she declared she would not have her in the house. Damn it all! it is my house and my daughter! When a man cannot have his own way in his own house, then—then it comes to this—somebody must give in. If I say, 'Blanche, I am going to put my foot down,' she begins to cry. She says, too, that her hair is turning grey with silent worry. And you know, Waddilove, she is never silent, and she is no longer so young that a grey hair or two seems extraordinary. But there are quarrels between us from morning till night, and I cannot allow it. Life is not worth living. Why