10 A Menial Stricggle.
astonishmg boldness) has been known on two or three
occasions to lower her crest and conre all the wa}' to T.ao
Chevies to ask Imogen's opinion upon certain subjects.
The two other boys, Arthur and Hugh—mere youngsters
—are at present undergoing the joys of school life in a
When first Sir Hugh h.od made the discovery that four
thousand a year—even when stretched to its utmost limit
—would no further go, he had felt for a day or so uncom¬
fortable, and their had determinedly put the knowledge
behind him. But a year ago it had struggled to life again,
and had persisted in a very ill-bred fashion in staring him
m the face. Debts somehow had begun to accumulate of
late years, and now seemed determined to declare themselves
with very disagreeable openness. The family lawyer shook
his head solemnly; the old and trustworthy steward
dropped a word or two; and Sir Hugh, going home one
day thoroughly out of temper and at heart wretched, .sold
a couple of his favourite hunters most disadvnntageously;
the remainder of the week he emi>loyed walking about his
i.'U'in, doing gloomy penance, and being cross to his wife for
tljo first time in all tlieir married life.
But this state of things only lasted for ten days. At
the end of that time, his third hunter having fallen lame,
one of those di.--pose(l of was boui;ht back at (|uite a f.ibu-
lous price, and presently the other followed suit; after
which Sir Hugh gave up the gloomy penance, to the great
relief of all the household, and, having ki<se<l his wife,
neglected the farm ibr quite a numljcr of cla\s.
But of course Lad}' (Jlivia knew they were in difficulties
(what a tenderly explanatory word that is 1). She could
hardly indeed have continued blind to it, as Sir Hugh's
face was never formed to conceal a secret. And when
she was quite sure, she of course told her prime minister,
Imogen, and they two spent a verv dispiriting morning in
"mamma's" boudoir, discu,ssing the pros an<l cons, and the
probabilities and impossibilities, and the horror of having
to sell all "papa's " hunters, until at last Imogens brain
took fire, and she saw a v.-ay out of it.
Y"es; there w-as one thing that could be done—a thin<^