A Mental Struggle. 25
with Lord Tom, or Lord Harry, as the case may be. Here
it is Lord James ! Miss Heriot's " understandings" on
the subject have been numerous and profound.
Perhaps it is a disdainful longing to hear more of the
" outrageous boasting" that compel^ her to again address
Felix—or else a sense of duty.
" I thought Lord James a very unpleasant man," she
" Most women do. But I do not always consider them
the best judges," his tone is still cold. " They form their
ideas generally from the outioard man, which naturally
prevents fairness. Unless the one on trial be a lover, or
a relative, they seldom do him the justice to look within.
You think Dingwall ' unpleasant'—was that the word ?—
because he has red hair and rough manners; yet I have
known him do acts of kindness to the poorest—the most
forsaken—acts from which many men would have recoiled
—that should render him positively beautiful in the e}'es
of all. Yet I dare say you will hardly allow him a
gracious word because he is boorish in speech and featui'c,
and has, indeed, nothing to recommend him but his secret,
innate gentleness of soul."
" It may be so, indeed !" says Imogen wilfully.
Something in his persistence annoys her. Is he bent
on compelling her to show herself in her worst colours ?
" But would you, then, refuse civility to a man whom
you knew to be beyond expression estimable—though,
perhaps, a rough diamond—just because his manners
chanced to be unprepossessing ?" asks he, feeling somewhat
eager in his argument. " Surely you would not ? Any
woman—most women—would, I fancy, condone his physical
faults for the sake of his many virtues. Once thoroughly
known, one could not fail to appreciate the man of whom
" I might appreciate him—at a distance," says Miss
Heriot, in a faintly bored tone, " if I thoroughly knew
him, which I gratefully acknowledge that I don't. But I
should think him an impossible person all the same,
whether he were a black sheep or a white; ana 1 certainly
should not be civil to him 1"