Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/409

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A Bundle of Life.

"Sir Ventry, Mr. Wiche, Captain Rookes, and this new American, Mr. Van Huyster," said the housekeeper.

"And who are the women?" continued Luffy.

"Miss Warcop for one," said Mrs. Danby. "Between ourselves her ladyship is on the matchmaking hop again. But there—when did she ever pull anything off what you may call satisfactory? She's too hopeful. And say what you like, Luffy, it doesn't do to be hopeful in this world. Expect nothing, I say! "The widow shook her head, and heaved her breast, and hurled a poignant glance at Spalding, who had been shuddering on the brink of matrimony for twelve and a half years.

"It might be a very good thing for Sir Ventry if Miss Warcop would have him," said Spalding; "but the question arises in my mind, will she? If she would take my advice she would stay single!"

"Everybody is not so wrapt up in theirselves as you are," said Mrs. Danby, tartly.

"If I was a woman," murmured Spalding, in a weak voice, "the man doesn't live that I would sacrifice my peace of mind for. Men are not worth so much thought. The devotion of women is something awful to think of."

"It is," sighed Luffy, whose wife had a jealous temperament, "it is."

"I can say this much," said Mrs. Danby: "when Miss Warcop marries she will not choose a conceited, self-seeking, cold-hearted, unfeeling half-a-man like Sir Ventry! I would not look at him—no, not if he draped me in diamonds from head to foot! Mr. Wiche is the man for her."