Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/421

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A Bundle of Life.

become more popular than ever. They say it would be such an excellent thing if he married a Peer's daughter, and Mama says I must sacrifice myself for the sake of the country. I am sure that marriage into our family will not change his opinion of the House of Lords! I have no influence with him, but Mama says I must try to have one; that he must be very fond of me or he would not stay here. Every one knows that he detests visiting as a rule. I believe he is in love with you, but Mama says that is an absurd idea, because he knew you before you married Lord Mallinger, and he is not the kind of man who would fancy your style of beauty in a wife. He is always staring at you, at any rate. Then I said he seemed great friends with Teresa; but then, as Mama says, dear Teresa is almost ugly, and if he had intended to marry her for her money, he would have done so long ago! So I suppose I must be the one after all, and in the end I shall have to accept him. But—but I shall always love Saville best!"

"Saville? " exclaimed Lady Mallinger, in astonishment. "Saville?"

"If you knew him as I do, you would not wonder that I love him," said Felicia, blushing deeply, " he is so chivalrous, so noble, so unselfish, just like King Arthur in Lord Tennyson. And to hear him speak of women! He thinks we are all angels. I am so afraid, dear Lady Mallinger, lest he may be disappointed in us, because we are not all angels, are we?"

Lady Mallinger all this time had kept her eyes on the ground, and, but for her gentle breathing, betrayed no signs of animation. At the girl's question, however, she stirred.