“This rather puts me off politics,” he remarked, after a while. “I don’t like the look of the people.”
“Oh, you’ll get in for the select crushers,” Mr. Hennibul said. “This is a rank and file affair. You mustn’t judge by appearances. But why must you specialize? Take my advice. Don’t go in specially for politics, or society, or sport. Mix them all up. Be cosmopolitan and commonplace.”
“Upon my word, Hennibul, you are a genius,” Arranmore declared, “and yonder goes my good fairy.”
He sprang up and disappeared into the further room.
“Lady Caroom,” he exclaimed, bending over her shoulder. “I never suspected it of you.”
She started slightly—she was silent perhaps for the fraction of a second. Then she looked up with a bright smile, meeting him on his own ground.
“But of you,” she cried, “it is incredible. Come at once and explain.”
BROOKS ENLISTS A RECRUIT
Brooks had found a small restaurant in the heart of fashionable London, where the appointments and decorations were French, and the waiters were not disposed to patronize. Of the cooking neither he nor Mary Scott in those days was a critic. Nevertheless she protested against the length of the dinner which he ordered.
“I want an excuse,” he declared, laying down the carte, “for a good long chat. We shall be too late for the theatre, so we may as well resign ourselves to an hour or so of one another’s society.”
She shook her head.
“A very apt excuse for unwarrantable greediness,” she declared. “Surely we can talk without eating?”
He shook his head.
“You do not smoke, and you do not drink liqueurs,” he remarked. “Now I have noticed that it is simply impossible for one to sit before an empty table after dinner and not feel that one ought to go. Let the waiter take your cape. You will find the room warm.
“Do you remember,” she asked him, “the first night we dined together?”
He looked at her with twinkling eyes.
“Rather! It was my introduction to your uncle’s household. Selina sat on my left, and Louise on my right. You sat opposite, tired and disagreeable.”
“I was tired—and I am always disagreeable.”
“I have noticed it,” he agreed, equably. “I hope you like oysters.”
“If Selina were to see us now,” she remarked, with a sudden humorous smile, “how shocked she would be.”
“What a little far-away world it seems down there,” he said thoughtfully. “After all, I am glad that I have not to live in Medchester all my life.”
“You have been there this afternoon, haven’t you?”
“Yes. Henslow is giving us a lot of trouble. I am afraid we shall lose the seat next election.”
“Do you mind?”
“Not much. I am no party politician. I want to see Medchester represented by a man who will go there with a sense of political proportion, and I don’t care whether he calls himself Liberal, or Radical, or Conservative, or Unionist.”