A Mental Struggle. 43
hand ere his departure—a hitherto unheard-of piece of
inci-vility on his part, and one that proves to the common
mind that something more than usual has occurred be¬
tween the belligerents, though what that something is,
the most bare-faced and disgr-aceful curiosity could not
A week before the arrival of the Browns at The Chevies,
Miss Yelverton left her home to spend a month with an
uncle of her mother's in an adjoining county, and could
not, therefore, be reasonably expected back again for some
time—a deep source of regret to the Heriots.
" Imogen," says her mother, with a rather perplexed
air, " whom shall we ask to meet them the day after to¬
She alludes to the unlucky visitors.
" You mean Monday ?" says Imogen, looking up from
the vase of flowers she is arranging with a somewhat ab¬
stracted expression. " It requires consideration, certainly.
Let me see. We have shown them to the Grants and the
Delmeges, so I suppose we had better say the Deverills this
time, and the Moores. They will like a full view, as well
as the others; and one can always have a man or two from
" Well, that is arranged," decides Lady Olivia, though
somewhat dejectedly. " The only thing against your pro¬
gramme is that the Deverill guds are so sadly dull. Mary
is not so bad, if her mother would only let her alone ; but
Jane ! "
" Jane is as Nature made her," puts in Miss Heriot
calmly, refusing her lips the smile they long to bear.
"Then I wish Nature had been a degree more generous
BO far as wit is concerned," says Lady Olivia mournfully.
" In a drawing-room that girl is a great trial. Oh, how I
do wish Sylvia was at home ! "
"So do I, with all my heart. There is nothing heavy
about Sylvia. But wishing won't bring her."
" Won't it, indeed ?" cries a frank, fresh young voice.
It is the voice of Sylvia herself. She pushes the door a
little further open and enters joyously, clothed in blue
cloth from shoulder to foot, and with the daintiest riding-