42 A Mental Struggle,
carried home dead in his pretty scarlet coat to the home he
iiad left so gaily but an hour or two before.
After that old Humphrey had raised his head no more
in the county. His heart within him was broken; his
spirits lay buried in the grave that held his handsome boy
—the last male scion of the old name. The once well-be¬
loved music of the hounds, borne back upon the frosty air,
now sounded in the stricken squire's ears like the dying
knell of things that once had been. Pleasure of that sort
was gone from him, but another source of subdued gladness
In his desolation he turned to the only other creature
left him to love—-the child Sylvia, who had been, if not
neglected, at least barely noticed in her brother's lifetime.
To her he clung as might a drowning man to a spar, and
lavished upon her with a free hand all the remaining affec¬
tion of which he was capable.
To wish, with the child—and much more with the grow¬
ing girl—was to have. And so, as was prognosticateol by
every old maid in the village. Miss Yelverton grew up a
little spoiled, a trifle self-willed, and—which -^vas not fore¬
told—beyond expression charming. What was more—
perhaps the gravest offence in the eyes of Mrs. Gi'undy, as
represented by the single goodies before mentioned—she
did not care three farthings for the private or expressed
opinion of any of them.
" Once let me feel I am right," declared Mi.ss Yelverton
on one momentous occasion, " and I would not alter my
opinion for that of any old tabby in Christendom ! "
As the Heriots regard her, so does she regard them.
For all and each she feels and expresses an earnest affec¬
tion, Tom alone excepted. Between him and her there
exists without cessation a perpetual warfare—a guerilla
sort of entertainment, in which she generally comes off
victor after reducing her adversary to powder. This ani¬
mosity smoulders on occasions, only to break out again
after a breathing-space with redoubled energy.
About this time the contest is at its height, Tom Heriot
having rejoined his regiment this last time without so
much as riding over to The Wold to touch his enemy's