A Mental Struggle. 91
Just below the portrait was written, in a man's hand,
" ^tat. eighteen." But whether at that early period of
her existence this blue-eyed beauty had died indeed, or
died to him alone, no man knoweth.
" My dear child, I'm afraid I've kept you an unconscion¬
able time," he exclaims. " But it wasn't my fatrlt, believe
me. Not that that takes a minute off" the waiting; does
it? Hadn't an idea you were here till a moment ago.
Hurried all I could then. One of the men, in a frenzy of
excitement, told me you had been waiting quite an hour."
" Scarcely that," says Patricia. " But I confess it felt
like an eternity, because I was unhappy. I have some¬
thing on my mind, Mr. Bohun," looking up at him wist¬
fully. " I want to get it off."
" On to my shoulders, eh ? Quite right; quite right.
Little girls like you should carry no burdens. Old fellows
like me are meant for them. Give me yours."
" Not here," looking nervously round her.
" Come into the library, then."
" Oh, not tliere!" with decision, thinking of the un¬
pleasant " Mr. Phil."
"Why, what's the matter with the library? Who is
there ? " asks Mr. Bohun, surprised by her tone.
" Something — nothing ! " cries Patricia, confusedly.
("Decidedly nothing—he isn't worth a thought 1" she
says to herself, a little viciously.)
" That dog again!" thinks Mr. Bohun, reflectively;
" something must be done about it! I don't wonder
you've taken a dislike to him," he says aloud to Patricia.
" He's a horrid brute, isn't he ? "
" He ! A brute ! " murmurs Patricia still thinking of
her late companion. " That's a little severe, isn't it ? "
"Is it, you mean? It's tremendously good of you to
say even one word in his favour. He is universally de¬
tested in this house, I can tell you."
" Dear me, I shouldn't have thought he was as bad
as that. Why on earth do you keep him, therr ? " asks
Patricia, thinking how easy a thing it would be to trans¬
port him back to his barracks.
" That's the point," says Dick Bohun. " I'm thinking