Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/415

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A Bundle of Life.

"Did you ever talk like this to Mr. Wiche?" said Teresa.

"Of course not," said Lady Mallinger. "I only talk nonsense to men!"

"Dear me! Yet I daresay they like it. But I promised to show Mr. Wiche the primrose path. As you do not care for him, I will meet him half-way. See! he is coming now." She rose from her seat and hastened across the lawn in the direction of the house. Lady Mallinger sat smiling to herself: she had never suffered from jealousy, and she thought it the drollest of passions. She was on the verge of laughter when Captain Rookes appeared on the Terrace. He was undeniably handsome: his features had that harmonious irregularity which is so much more like truth than beauty, so much more life-like, sinner-like, and love-like than perfection. His eyes flashed fire and sentiment—youth lacking either is dull—melancholy had added a force to their magic.

"Are you sure," he said, anxiously, as he approached Lady Mallinger, "are you sure that it is discreet to meet here where every one can see us?"

"Of course," said her ladyship, whose whole bearing and manner changed, and who now assumed an infantile, prattling, and pouting simplicity; "of course, I hate out-of-the-way corners."

"Speak a little lower, darling," said Saville, "there may be some gardeners about."

"That would not matter."

"Not matter? My dear Lilian, you do not know the world. If the world knew how much we loved each other, it would grow suspicious."

"Why? Numbers of people love each other."