88 A Mental Struggle.
Lady Olivia looks at him; perhaps he has not altogether
" If it were not for the cotton I " she says, with a faint
With a praiseworthy pertinacity she clings always to the
first idea formed. The Browns may be proved everything
the most desirable; but still the atmosphere around them
would be in Lady Olivia's eyes heavily charged with in¬
numerable freights of soft goods.
"Suppose we forget that?" suggests Sm Hugh. "To
remember such old-world prejudices is to prove one's self
out of the new. Is a man to be tabooed for ever because
his great-grandfather dabbled in trade ? "
" But it -wasn't his great-grandfather; it was his father,
dearest," corrects Lady Olivia ; after which truism there is
Sir Hugh, coming closer to the fire, draws a chair near
to his wife's and falls into a reverie that lasts exactly two
minutes and twenty-five seconds. He rouses himself from
it by an effort.
" People may say -what they wull, but, after all, there
is nothing like money," he says, a 2^'>'opos of nothing
" He is certainly very charming," returns his wife
promptly, to whom his mind is as an open book.
"Yes. One wonders where the trade-blood comes in.
From his appearance one might believe him blood royal."
There is a second somewhat shorter pause, and then : " I
hear their wealth is fabulous, and he will inherit nearly all."
" If the wealth should be even greater than you say,
he will grace it."
" So I think. His manners are very fine." Then, with
a miserable assumption of indifference : " Did he seem—
did either of the girls like him, do j'ou think ?"
" He liked Patricia," says Lady Olivia, with the
straightforwardness that characterises her. " He seemed
very pleased with her singing; and it occurred to me at
one time that they were likely to be good friends."
" I would rather it had been Imogen," returns Sir Hugh