Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/400

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A Bundle of Life.

needed a mother's care, she was by no means sure that she might not seek a speedy way out of it. Suicide, of course, was wicked, but God was never hard on women. He understood them: men did not....Was that the bell?

"Go and meet her," said Blanche. "Try and look affectionate. I want the poor little thing to think we are glad to see her. As for me, I feel too ill and extraordinary to move."

As she spoke, however, the door was opened, and two nuns, followed by a young girl, were ushered in. Her Ladyship flushed and paled, and, without speaking, with tears raining down her cheeks, took the girl in her arms, tenderly, closely, as only a mother can.

Sir Sidney rubbed his eyes, almost fearing to them on a scene so beautiful, so new in his experience. Blanche seemed to him transfigured, and he saw in that brief moment the woman she might have been: all the fair ambitions she had forgotten, all the good impulses she had not obeyed flashed their pure light on her countenance.

Like some guilty creature, he left the room. He was the only sinner there.