106 A Mental Struggle.
the child, and a little sudden colour flames into her
" Yes, take him," she says, " if he -wishes it. You see
he is changeable and fickle, like all the rest of his sex."
" A hard speech, is it not ?" He leans forward as he
speaks, and lifts the chubby boy upon his knee. With a
little baby-cry of joy the child clutches eagerly at a small
but jewelled pendant that hangs from his chain. It is a
solitary ornament, and very insignificant, but the eyes of
the young are sharp to see.
" After all, it isn't me," says Felix, laughing again, and
glancing at her over the baby's head; "it is this foolish
" Nevertheless, he preferred it to me," returns she,
smiling too. Then, rising to her feet, she looks first at
Mrs. Dempsey and then, with a quick question in her
eyes, at him. But Felix shakes his head. To be thanked
openly is horrible to most men.
" Ah, well! " says Miss Heriot. Perhaps she is a little
disappointed. To be able to lift a burden from another's
shoulders is sweet to all good women. And now that
imploring shake of his head forbids her to speak.
" Good-bye, Kate," she says, taking the woman's hand
affection»otely, " and do not be too downhearted. To¬
morrow—to-morrow," impressively, " I feel—I know will
be a lucky day for you ! "
" Yes, to-morrow," supplements Felix, glad to get off on
such easy terms.
The womarr, somewhat bewildered, glances from one to
the other anxiously. Perhaps she gathers from their faces
the hope they would inspire, because her own brightens
marvellously, and her large eyes fill with tears.
" However it be, may the Holy Vargin bless you two ! "
she says solemnly. " Both in yer life an' in yer death ! "
There is some intangible meaning in her tone that con¬
nects the two of whom she speaks. Felix grows a little
pale, and a line that might be born of pain gathers round
his sensitive lips.
Imogen looks at her kindly.
" A sweet prayer, Kate, for which I thank you," she