A Mental Struggle. 27
now too late, as everybody has risen, and there is a slight
Felix, too, is evidently desirous of escaping further
<vords with her, as he deliberately moves away from her
to the door, and holding it open, declines to meet her
glance as she passes through. Casting a swift glance at
him, she can see that he is not in the least disconcerted
by her rudeness, but is tranquil, and occupied with a smile
cast at him by the genial Patricia.
Possessed still, however, with a sense of guilt, and feeling
disinclined for conversation, she crosses the drawing-room,
and, sinking into a low chair near one of the windows,
gazes out into the deepening night. The shutters have
not been closed, and the full rays of heaven's queen strike
coldly on her heart. The eternal dome is so thickly studded
with its jewels, that all the surface of the lake below is
tinged with gold, reflected.
" Countless stars, like clustering gems, hang sparkling in the sky,"
and the light wind, that passes to and fro, so delicately
shakes the scented myrtles, that almo.st it seems to Imogen
as if a breath from the dead summer has returned to
Patricia, parting the curtains of the window, steps in
and seats herself upon the low-cushioned, old-fashioned
seat of it next her sister.
" Too late in the year for star-gazing," she says gaily;
" you should have got all that over whilst dainty June wa.s
with us. What a very cavern of darkness lies out there ! "
peering into the gloom of the garden. " It gives one the
shivers. Did j'^ou open the shutters, or did Meadows
forget to close them ? "
" Meadows forgot."
" A month's warning and no character ! His negligence
has given you an attack of the blues. Well, how do you
like them ? The soft-goods people, I mean. Not half bad,
eh ? I watched your man at dinner; and what I could
see of him I liked very much."
" Common gratitude should carry you as far as that.
He evidently liked you very much. He followed your