Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/412

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A Bundle of Life.

seeing it was but Easter, and the freshness of the air. When they reached the lawn, they walked in silence to a seat, sat down and stared at the landscape. They were evidently old friends.

"Well," said Wiche, at last, "is the most practical woman in the world, dreaming?"

"I was thinking of you," she answered, looking at him with such frank, unclouded affection that he blushed to think how little he deserved it. He might have made some answer, but as she spoke they both heard the rustle of silk skirts: the sound grew nearer: at last a lady, charmingly attired in a gown which suggested grey vapour and sunlight, approached them. She presented a strange effect of brilliance, fragility, and mistiness: her features were soft, and her head in profile seemed rather a shadow in the air than something real or human. But the shadow was plainly womanish—one could never have mistaken it for an angel's. Her skin was fair, her hair light brown, her eyes blue, sapphirine, deep, a little troubled: she gazed at Wiche, he gazed at her; Teresa watched the meeting with some uneasiness.

"I did not know that the glare was so great," she said, faintly; "I should have brought my parasol."

"Let me fetch it!" said Wiche. She thanked him as, with an admirable semblance of good humour, he left them.

"You met Mr. Wiche some ears ago, did you not?" Teresa asked, turning to Lady Mallinger: "did you know him at all well?"

"That would depend on what you call well," said the younger woman. Her voice was strangely melodious: to hear it was to think of the fabulous