Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/399

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A Bundle of Life.


Lady Warcop, meanwhile, was pacing the floor of her boudoir. In her hand she held the photograph of a singularly plain little girl, who stood in a cork grotto staring at a stuffed dog. This portrait of Teresa had been taken some ten years before, and Blanche had lacked the courage to send for another. And now, without warning, to be obliged to present this to the world! It was too hard, too bitter, too outrageous. Was ever woman called upon to suffer such mortification? As for motherly feelings, what were they? How could she love a creature she had never seen? Some one had once shown her an infant, but she had felt too ill to notice the piteous object. She did not even understand that it was her own. There was so much cant and nonsense talked about maternal instinct. A cab drove up to the door; with a cry, her Ladyship rushed to the window. Thank goodness, it was only Sidney. What suffering! What suspense! One more day like this, and she would be on her deathbed.

"Ah! so you have come at last, Sidney?" Where had he been all the morning? She made few demands on his time, but she certainly thought that in common decency and merely for the sake of appearances he would have remained with her to receive poor darling Teresa. It was true that she had not yet arrived, but this did not alter the fact that he might have missed her. Poor child! a stranger in her own father's house! But the world was a cruel place, and she, for her part, was sick and tired of it. If it were not for Teresa, who