A Mental Struggle. 103
" I like him to be here very much; and he Irkes to be here.
Don't you, Patsey ? "
Patsey makes no audible reply, but he casts a little,
pretty impish smile at his mother over Imogen's protect¬
ing arm. He is a remarkably handsome child, dark and
brilliant, and a little foreign in appearance, as many of the
Southern Irish sometimes are.
" Ye're too good to him, yer honour," says the woman,
in a rather wearied way. Her useless anger at an end,
she has again remembered her present grief, and sorrow's
wing has once more enfolded her in its sad embrace.
A tiny cry from the room upstairs, coming at this
moment, mercifully diverts her attention for the second
time from her troubles. In an instant all the motherhood
within her is awake. She takes an involuntary step
forward, then hesitates and glances at Imogen. Natural
courtesy reminds her that her guests should be first in
" She's crying," she says to Imogen in a mysterious
whisper, thereby throwing herself upon the other woman's
" Then go to her," entreats Imogen. " Patsey and I,"
smiling reassuringly, "will entertain Mr. Brown during
Mrs. Dempsey curtseys gratefully, and disappears up the
winding ladder ^^that leads to the room above, where her
baby is crying.
Felix turns to Imogen :
" What is the matter with that poor woman ? " he asks.
" Her face might haunt one, it is so replete with sadness.
Is there," hesitating, " a secret connected with her sorrow,
or might I know ? "
" It is too old a story to be a secret," says Miss Heriot
gently; and again the tender, sympathetic look grows
within her eyes, and her lips take a sorrowful curve that
adds tenfold to their be.auty. " She is m sad distress, poor
soul! and through no fault of hers or her husband. He
went surety some time since for a friend (a very false one),
and when the money became due the friend was not to be
found; and now they must leave their little home, and