A Mental Struggle. 15
daughters and three sons; and, if so, I suppose they would
all have come. Let us be thankful for small mercies."
" Now they are coming, we must only try to make them
happy," says Lady Olivia with another sigh. "But I do
wish it had been wine instead of cotton. There is some¬
thing so very impossible about cotton."
"There will be something equally impossible about the
the Browns, you will find," remarks Miss Heriot mildly.
" Still, darling, we must be civil to them, if only to please
your father. You will do your best for them, Imogen, will
you not ? "
" A sorry best it will prove, I fear. I suppose I could
not go to Aunt Agnes for a month or so ? "
" Oh, Imogen ! " cries her mother, tears rising to her eyes
at the bare idea of being thus deserted in her need.
"Nonsense! Of course I shan't leave you!" exclaims
the girl, smiling a little and leaving her own chair to seat
herself beside her mother and take one of her hands caress¬
ingly in hers. " Do you think I would leave you defence¬
less in the hands of these barbarians ? Why. I might find
you semi-devoured by the time I returned. No, it is papa
I should like to forsake, if only to punish him for having
brought all this down upon our heads; but, you see, I
can't make vengeance mine in this instance." She tilts
back her head and frowns slightly as though at some angry
pa,ssing thought. Then, " Have you told Patricia? "
" No ; I came first to you. What rooms shall we give
them : the blue rooms, or those in the western wing ? "
" The blue rooms. They are the farthest ofl'," decides
Miss Heriot promptly.
" Yery good ; I shall tell Holland. Do you know they
will, in all probability, be here on Friday ? Mr. Brown
mentioned that day, in his letter to your father, as one
that would suit him, if it chanced to be convenient to us.
i shall have to write and say ' Yes' to that, of course."
" Poor mother ! "
" I wonder what they will be like, and how long they
will stay. I don't suppose they would understand me if I
put the usual limit to their visit."
" Oh, as to what they will be like," says Imogen, crossing