Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/459

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
A Bundle of Life.

he said, "but I felt quite sure that you would one day understand Lady Mallinger, and know, as I do, the real woman. Perhaps I should say the real child."

"When I spoke," said Teresa, in a low-voice, "I did not know that you loved her. And she has charmed away my prejudice since then. I will frankly admit that I did not wish to discover anything bewitching either in her face or in her manner. I only wanted to have the right to detest her with a clear conscience !"

"Yet, in spite of all this, she conquered you?"

"She conquered me," repeated Teresa, "but let me say one thing—she is too romantic: she lives by moonlight."

Wiche laughed."She has seen a great deal of the world," he said, " and I have often been struck by her extraordinary, almost terrible common-sense. She may have a certain amount of sentimentalism in her brain, but at heart she is cold and critical. This ache to be amused, this longing to hear music in the air, to see beauty on all sides, to find life one ever-new, yet ever-abiding pleasure, these are the fierce, never-gratified desires of those who love only themselves. But to him who loves others—even one other" —he found himself looking into Teresa's eyes—"even one other—the commonest things seem rare, the blackest shadows have a radiance indescribable, and the harshest notes are heavenly melodies: disappointment, bitterness, and desolation have no part in his existence!"

"These exalted moods are brief—terribly brief," said Teresa, "and they show us just enough of our lost divinity to make us ever more wretched as mere