44 A Mental Struggle.
whip imaginable in her hand. " See how you -wrong your
own powers." She laughs gaily, and kisses Lady Olivia and
then Imogen. " You spoke and I am here. Surely a bene¬
ficent fairy attends upon you."
" Dear Syl-yia," says Lady Olivia, with unfeigned grati¬
tude in voice and manner, " I can hardly say how glad we
are to see you. You have come just at the very right
moment, and when we least expected you."
" You have come to save us," supplements Imogen,
" But how is it ?" asks Lady Olivia, curiously. I
fancied your grand-uncle had j'ou safely in charge for
quite a month to come."
" You should allow for contingencies," exclaims Sylvia,
airily. " My grand-uncle and I quarrelled as usual; we all
but came to blows this time, but were happily torn asunder
«.t the supreme moment. Now we are separated by mutual
consent—a great relief for all parties concerned. I can't
think why he asks me down to that musty old Grange, as
he persists in doing regularly once every year—when it
always ends in quite the same way. A^'oio we are at daggers
drawn; but I bet you anything you like that, if he is alive,
I shall have a long, affectionate invitation from him about
this time next year precisely. I expect he is beginning to
appreciate the effect upon his nerves of a right-down good
blowing-up such as / give him; far better than a dozen
tonics or a douche bath—and that that is why he persists
in continuing his obstinate hospitality."
" Poor old man! He has fallen into terrible hands,"
says Lady Olivia, smiling. " But I thank him for giving
you back to us, as we want yotr to help us next Monday to
entertain some people who are staying with us."
" Yes, papa was telling me of them," answers Sylvia, and
then stops a little abruptly.
" They are cotton-people, of no family whatsoever," ex¬
plains Imogen, drily; and though she neither blushes nor
looks confused. Miss Yelverton can see plainly that the
advent of these Browns is a sore subject.
" What a blessing!" cries she briskly. " I am so
heartily tired of all the cold irreproachable, extremely