A Menial Struggle. 37
decidedly last! This after a long inter-viewing of the dis¬
As for Imogen, she has expressed no opinion even to
herself, except that she thinks it will be a good thing for
her and hers when these unwelcome guests are once more
safely landed back again amongst their bales of cotton !
It has taken some time for all these different opinions
to be arrived at. Eleven o'clock is now chimed by the
dainty ormolu trifle upon the chimney-piece. The women
rise from their seats; the men follow suit. Candles are
lit in the hall, and accepted gracefully. Lady Olivia takes
the initiative, as in duty bound, and leads the way to the
bedrooms. The men adjourn to the smoking-room, and
spend a useful hour or two endeavouring valiantly to ruin
Yet Lady Olivia is still sitting before her fire when Sir
Hugh comes upstairs.
" Well, how do you like them ?" asks he, when he has
stripped off his coat, and is feeling cjuite comfortable in an
unorthodox fashion that smells of Bohemia.
" I can hardly say as to all of them," says Lady Olivia,
with some natural hesitation; " but with regard to the
young man, my dear," brightening suddenly, " I am
wonderfully pleased with him. I am quite prepossessed
in his favour. Pie is everything that is agreeable to me.
I have seldom seen a man of his years so—so sensible,"
winds up her ladyship, recalling to mind that pleasant
little conversation in the drawing-room, in which he and
she alone had held a part.
" Ah! so," says Sir Hugh, with all the air of a man
who finds considerable relief in the discovery that someone
agrees with him upon an opinion that up to this has
appeared to him somewhat shaky. " I am glad of that,"
he goes on with a freer air; "he seems to me quite the
thing, and very much to be liked. He is handsorne, clever,
and—agreeable." He was going to say " rich," instead of
the last adjectire, and only just stops himself in time.