At the close of the fortnight of her stay in Washington subsequent to the reception at the White House, Selma found herself in the same frame of mind as when she parted from Mr. Elton. During this fortnight her time was spent either in sight seeing or at the hotel. The exercises at the Capitol were purely formal, preliminary to a speedy adjournment of Congress. Consequently her husband had no opportunity to distinguish himself by addressing the house. Of Flossy she saw nothing, though the two men had several meetings. Apparently both Lyons and Williams were content with a surface reconciliation between their wives which did not bar family intercourse. At least her husband made no suggestion that she should call on Mrs. Williams, and Flossy’s cards did not appear. Beyond making the acquaintance of a few more wives and daughters in the hotel, who seemed as solitary as herself, Selma received no overtures from her own sex. She knew no one, and no one sought her out or paid her attention. She still saw fit to believe that if she were to establish herself in Washington and devote her energies to rallying these wives and daughters about her, she might be able to prove that Flossy and Mr. Elton were mistaken. But she realized that the task would be less simple than she had anticipated. Besides she yearned to return to Benham, and take up again the thread of active life there. Benham would vindicate her, and some day Benham would send her back to Washington to claim recognition and her rightful place.
Lyons himself was in a cheerful mood and found congenial occupation in visiting with his wife the many historical objects of interest, and in chatting in various hotel corridors with the public men of the country, his associates in Congress. His solicitude in regard to the account which Williams was carrying for him had been relieved temporarily by an upward turn in the stock market, and the impending prompt adjournment of Congress had saved him from the necessity of taking action in regard to the railroad bill which Williams had solicited him to support. Moreover Selma had repeated to him Horace Elton’s prophecy that it was not unlikely that some day he would become Senator. To be sure he recognized that a remark like this uttered to a pretty woman by an astute man of affairs such as Elton was not to be taken too seriously. There was no vacancy in the office of Senator from his state, and none was likely to occur. At the present time, if one should occur, his party in the state legislature was in a minority. Hence prophecy was obviously a random proceeding. Nevertheless he was greatly pleased, for, after all, Elton would scarcely have made the speech had he not been genuinely well disposed. A senatorship was one of the great prizes of political life, and one of the noblest positions in the world. It would afford him a golden opportunity to leave the impress of his convictions on national