“I don’t want gentlemanly people this time,” Mr. Bullsom declared, “I want gentle-people. That’s all there is about it. I let you ask who you like to the house, and give you what you want for subscriptions and clothes and such-like. You’ve had a free ’and. Now let’s see something for it. Half-a-dozen couples’ll be enough if you can’t get more, but I Won’t have the Nortons, or the Marvises, or any of that podgy set. You understand that? And, first of all, you, Selina, had better write to Mr. Brooks and ask him to dine with us in a friendly way one night the week after next, when the election is over and done with.”
“In a friendly way, pa?” Selina repeated, doubtfully. “But we can’t ask these other people whom we know so slightly like that—and, besides, Mr. Brooks might not dress if we put it like that.”
“A nice lot you know about gentle-people and their ways,” Mr. Bullsom remarked, with scorn. “A young fellow like Brooks would tog himself out for dinner all right even if we were alone, as long as there were ladies there. And as for the dinner, you don’t suppose I’m such a mug as to leave that to Ann. I shall go to the Queen’s Hotel, and have ’em send a cook and waiters, and run the whole show. Don’t know that I shan’t send to London. You get the people! I’ll feed ’em!”
“Do as your father says, Selina,” Mrs. Bullsom said, mildly. “I’m sure he’s very considerate.”
“Where’s Mary?” Mr. Bullsom inquired. “This is a bit in her line.”
Selina tossed her head.
“I’m sure I don’t know why you should say that, papa,” she declared. “Mary knows nothing about society, and she has no friends who would be the least use to us.”
“Where is she, anyway?” Mr. Bullsom demanded. No one knew. As a matter of fact she was having tea with Kingston Brooks.
THE MARQUIS OF ARRANMORE
They had met almost on the steps of his office, and only a few minutes after he had left Mr. Bullsom. Brooks was attracted first by a certain sense of familiarity with the trim, well-balanced figure, and immediately afterwards she raised her eyes to his in passing. He wheeled sharply round, and held out his hand.
“Miss Scott, isn’t it? Do you know I have just left your uncle?”
She smiled a little absently. She looked tired, and her boots and skirt were splashed as though with much walking.
“Indeed! I suppose you see a good deal of him just now while the election is on?”
“I must make myself a perfect nuisance to him,” Brooks admitted. “You see the work is all new to me, and he has been through it many times before. Are you just going home?”
“I have been out since two o’clock,” she said.
“And you are almost wet through, and quite tired out,” he said. “Look here. Come across to Mellor’s and have some tea with me, and I will put you in a car afterwards.”