Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/455

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Sir Ventry Coxe had been educated in the belief that his cousin Teresa loved him madly. When he married Lady Susan Hoppe-Gardner, a chorus went up from all the members of his family. "What on earth will poor Teresa do?" She was present at the wedding, nevertheless, and seemed in the best possible spirits: the relations looked wise and murmured that it was impossible for the unhappy girl to deceive them. Ventry was particularly kind to her; he clasped her hand warmly when he started on his honeymoon and thanked her again and again with tears in his eyes, for her magnificent gift in the shape of a diamond necklace for his bride: every one said it was too touching for words, several ladies declared that Teresa grew as white as a sheet and would have swooned if Lord Twacorbie, with his ready tact, had not led her to the air.

A few years passed: Miss Warcop refused all offers; Lady Susan died. This, all the relations said, was Fate. Sir Ventry, remembering Teresa's rent-roll, thought so too. He decided to make her his wife when a decent period of mourning had elapsed; there was no hurry, she was there, ready, waiting, and willing, when he wanted her.

The day at last dawned when it seemed convenient to address her on the subject: he met her in the hall as she left the drawing-room after her scene with