o4 A Mental Struggle.
"I made my discovery through Thomas. He and I
marched boldly up to this door only to find your Cerberus
in occupation of the mat. He growded : I retired.
Thomas came to the rescue. 'No fear,'m,' he said; 'it's
only Mr. Phil's dog!' That didn't convince me of his
mildness, but it told me your name," here she leans a
little forward and looks at him frankly. " Mr. Phil—
that is you; isn't it ? "
" Yes, that is my name," returns the young man, smil-
Patricia smiles back at him, and he, unconsciously led on
by the friendliness of her eyes, says softly:
" And yours ? "
There is a dead pause. Patricia, who at heart is
supremely truthful, now finds herself compelled to utter a
deliberate falsehood, or else betray herself and her brother.
For a moment the vague thought of confessing all to this
man, and throwing herself on his good nature, occurs to
her ; but from this course—he being so entirely a stranger
—her soul revolts. No ! Even the deliberate falsehood
will be better! She racks her brain for a name to give
him in place of her own :
"Maudsley?" No; he maybe acquainted with them;
" Darnley ? " There are Darnleys some miles away—cousins
of old Bohun's; and if anybody should hear of this day's
adventure it will not surprise them that he should receive
a morning visit from such near relatives. Yes, " Darnley"
it shall be.
She grows painfully red, hesitates still, and then is lost.
Her Rubicon is passed !
" Darnley ! " she says, in a low quavering voice.
"Darnley!" repeats " Mr. Phil," with unmkstakable
surprise. And when he has said it again he stops short
to stare at Patricia, in a manner suggestive of the most
open and extravagant amazement.
But she, with her eyes bent upon the delicate old china,
misses the expression in his, and only hears the somewhat
questioning tone of his voice.
" Yes; Darnley," she declares, for the second time.
She says it quite distinctly now, and with quite an air.