A Mental Struggle. 229
Lady Olivia rises from her chair with a sharp exclama¬
tion, and Sir Hugh comes out from the window.
" Imogen ! what is it you mean ? " asks her mother,
" The money—I have bought it! " says the girl slowly.
" I—I have promised to mai'ry Lorel Clanbrassil! "
Lady Olivia comes towards her, flushed and triumphant.
Here, indeed, is a match worthy of her darling. All re¬
collection of the relief to be gained through the promised
money fades in comparison with this most wonderful
news. At last Imogen has made her choice, and it is
a very desirable one.
" My dear, dear girl, is it true ? " she asks, wdth open
and glad excitement. " How delighted I am 1 How-------"
She would have embraced Imogen; but the girl recoils
from her, and puts up her hands to her ears as though to
shut out the cruel sounds of congratulation.
" Not now !—not now ! " she exclaims almost roughly.
How is it possible for her to endure their felicitations
and gooel wishes about what seems to her the bitterest
event in all her life ? How can she submit to questionings
and kindly probings when she feels her heart is breaking ?
It is all so bai'c, so void, such a mockery of joy !
Hurrying to her own room, she flings herself face down¬
wards on her bed, and stiives wdth all her might to quiet
the thoughts that rage within her, and threaten to master
To Lady Olivia, left standing in the centre of her own
room, there comes a terrible misgiving. Her beait smites
her as she remembers the look in Imogen's eyes when she
went forward to greet her. The gill's repulse has not
impressed or angered her: It Is already forgotten; and only
the memory of her child's sad eyes, and the great unhappy
light that shone in them, revealing to the mother's heart
so much that would have been withheld with passionate
determination, makes itself felt.
The uncontrollable desme to see her again, to learn
how it really is with her, sends Lady Olivia through
the corridors until she reaches Imogen's door. She knocks
lightly, and then enters.