Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/449

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A Bundle of Life.

I have the loveliest pink satin which I am dying to wear this evening."

"How old are you?" he said, suddenly.

"Oh! My dear, dear Sidney! One can see that you have never made love before! How old am I? I forget: I was born so long ago. I must be at least twenty-two. Of course, I look even more, but then my life has been so unhappy. Now it will all be different, and perhaps I shall grow young again. You will be kind to me, will you not? And patient? And you will not expect to find me very good, and very truthful, and very quiet all at once. You will give me time? And you will not often be as cross as you are now, will you?" At length she saw it was useless to ignore the demon who sat between them. "It was not my fault," she said, "it really was not my fault. I told Saville I had lost the right to listen to him. And now you are blaming me. It is so hard that I must always be made miserable—even when I have made up my mind to be contented. I have tried my very best," she added, "to be happy this afternoon!"

"Was it such an effort?" said Wiche.

" All—all is an effort," she answered, "except folly. That seems the only easy, natural, and pleasant thing in the world!"

" What do you call folly?"

"Everything I want to do, everything I want to say, everything I care for—that is what I call folly."

"My dear," said Wiche, "you are in love. And Rookes is the man!"

"Tut! How little you know me ! I admit that I am greatly attached to Saville—in spite of his faults,