A Mental Struggle. 83
this tete-h-tete, as in all probability he may, what is to
prevent the story spreading until it reaches her father's
She knows well how seriously annoyed both he and her
mother would be, should such a bit of gossip be retailed to
them. It would mean a severe cross-examination until
the whole truth was elicited, and Sandie's rather damning
revelation be made common property.
This at all hazards must be prevented. She must con¬
ceal her name ; keep this trorrblesome young man in good
humour until the arrival of Mr. Bohun, and having cajoled
that good old man in a private inter-view into keeping her
secret, go home and pray devoutly that she and this good-
loo------yes, he is good-looking—person may never come
face to face again.
She finds, too, deep joy in the thought that the regiment
at Bigton is ordered for foreign service, and leaves that
dreary town within the ensuing fortnight. There is, now
that she has come to this point in her calculations, but one
Cause for regret, and that is, that it didn't sail during the
" I'm so glad you are really resting after your long ride,"
murmurs a pleasant voice at her elbow, breaking in upon
her reveries. It is full of an intense concern that is,
perhaps, a little purposely exaggerated, and at all events
reminds her carelessly that she has been singularly silent
for some time. " Ah! here comes tea. Now, Don, old
man, this is no place for you. Out you go ! "
Patricia, turning, sees he is addressing the unfriendly
brute who had all but barred her passage a while since to
the room. Oh, how she wishes now he had done it more
" What a savage creature !" she says, -\vhen the door is
again closed and Thomas has left them, after drawing
before her a little Chippendale table made dainty with
Se-yres china, and a quaint old tea-service of a date un¬
known, and little steaming cakes in a snowy napkin.
" He looks as if he wanted to devour somebody," she
goes on, laughing. " How can you keep him ? "
" How do you know I do keep him ? " asks he amused.