Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/413

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A Bundle of Life.
397
 

singing of fabulous sirens. If she babbled of brick-dust, one thought only of lute-strings. For this reason she was never quoted accurately.

"I mean," said Teresa, "were you great friends?"

"I should not say that."

"I thought I saw him looking at you rather often during dinner last evening."

"Did he?" said Lady Mallinger. "I hope my hair was dressed properly. My maid is in love just at present, and she makes me quite frightful. It is not that she is malicious, but Love is so distracting." Smiling sweetly, she looked first at the trees, then at the grass, and finally at Teresa. "In some ways," she went on, "I am rather sorry to renew Mr. Wiche's acquaintance: we have nothing in common—absolutely nothing. He has the instincts of a Turk: he does not believe in a woman's intellect. Sometimes I wish I really was stupid and lived in a harem!"

"My dear!" said Teresa.

"I do, indeed: women were not made to struggle and strive. They ought only to be fed and clothed and petted. But I thought otherwise once. Before my marriage I was anxious to work out a career: I wanted to be artistic: I thought I might become a famous actress. Ah, to think of those days when I was hoping and dreaming, when my thoughts were my achievements, when the future seemed so far and the present so eternal! "Her voice trembled, she flushed and then grew pale: one could imagine that she was struggling in a very hurricane of lost possibilities. "But when work began in earnest," she continued, "when art became a task, and dreaming, waste of time, I confess I grew sick of ambition. I only