Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/411

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II.


Arden Lodge in Mertfordshire is a large, white building surrounded by beautiful grounds, and facing the finest scenery in the county. This is saying a great deal, for although Mertford is flat and not at all wild or what is called romantic, its rivers and fields, gardens and woods, toy-like farms and shady parks are, for their kind, the prettiest in the world. And one can only find such peculiar prettiness in England; it is so well-disposed, calm and unsuggestive—inspiring neither passionate sentiments, nor unearthly music, nor flaming words, but what, in some opinions, may be better than all these—a dreamless, ineffable drowsiness.

On the morning after the dinner-party, a lady and gentleman were strolling on the Terrace which led by wide steps on to the lawn of Lord Twacorbie's residence. The lady was Miss Warcop: her escort was Sidney Wiche.

Teresa was no longer in her first youth, and she had never been pretty: her oval face was colourless, heavy black eyebrows overhung her hazel eyes; mouth, nose, and chin were too obviously mouth, nose, and chin. She was remarkable, however, and only needed a reputation for wickedness to make her considered curiously fascinating.

As these two came down the steps, they were commenting on the weather, the unusual warmth

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