Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/445

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A Bundle of Life.
429
 

"but live my life for a month and then tell me your philosophy!"

"You look cold," murmured Lilian, after a shiver and a slight pause.

"Cold! I am always cold: feel my hand."

Lady Mallinger held it to her own pink cheeks. "You make me like you," she said; "as a rule I do not care for women, and you are almost as spiteful as the rest. But there is something about you. . . . You believe me, when I say I like you?"

"Yet you have robbed me of my one friend," cried Teresa, "you—you who have so much already. You are young and he thinks you are beautiful: I shall soon be old and I was always plain: many men have loved my money, but no one has ever loved me. In the Convent—I was brought up in a Convent—the sisters taught me how to live in Heaven: they forgot I had to get through the world first. My parents are dead and now I have nothing in this life except my wretched, hopeless interest in a man who has never given me a thought. Perhaps I need not say that. He is the only man I know who has not asked me to marry him, so I think he must like me a little. And he comes to see me very often. But you only care for him because he flatters you, you are proud of him because he is distinguished, but I was proud of him when he was poor and obscure, when every one thought him an outcast, when it was almost a crime in our miserable little corner of society to be seen even bowing to him. You do not understand him as I do: you cannot help him as I could: you play on all his weaknesses: every hour he spends with you will be a step backwards. Oh! he is no hero in my eyes, no