Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/422

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A Bundle of Life.

"Has Saville told you—has he said—has he spoken ——?"

"He knows that I love him," said Felicia, faintly.

"But has he asked you to be his wife?"

"Not in so many words, but words are not everything. He is not rich; he is afraid people might say—you know what they always say. Once he told me he wished I had no money—that I was poor and unknown. Oh, I understand him so well."

"I am sure your family would not care for the match," said Lilian, at last; "and evidently they have set their hearts on Wiche. Wiche is rather odd, but I was only thinking last night what a fine face he has: he would make you a kind husband, and you would be quite contented—after a little." The foolishest of mortals may often be startled into a certain sagacity;and Felicia's innocence had the effect of rousing Lady Mallinger's common-sense which, though undisciplined and kitten-like, was still promising.

"No doubt," she continued, looking gravely at the girl's anxious face, "Saville is most agreeable, and it is very pleasing to think that such a handsome, popular fellow is in love with one. But would you feel so flattered if he were plain: if you heard, for instance, that he was fickle, mercenary, and treacherous!"

"But I might hear that of Wiche, too," said Felicia. "You see, dear Lady Mallinger, I must believe in some man or I could not marry at all! And I would rather be deceived by Saville than adored by Sidney Wiche!"

"That is absurd. I should be very wrong to encourage you in such ideas. When you are older you will see how foolish it is to indulge in these fancies!"