“You are very kind indeed, Lord Arranmore,” he said. “I can assure you that the money will be most carefully used, and amongst my party, at any rate, we do really appreciate the necessity for going to the root of the matter.”
Arranmore’s pen went scratching across the paper. He tore out a cheque, and placing it in an envelope, handed it to Brooks.
“I noticed,” he remarked, thoughtfully, “that a good many people coming out of the factories hissed my carriage in Medchester last time I was there. I hope they will not consider my cheque as a sign of weakness. But after all,” he added, with a smile, “what does it matter? Let us go in to luncheon, Brooks.”
Brooks glanced down at his mud-splashed clothes and boots.
“I must really ask you to excuse me,” he began, but Arranmore only rang the bell.
“My valet will smarten you up,” he said. “Here, Fritz, take Mr. Brooks into my room and look after him, will you. I shall be in the hall when you come down.”
As he passed from the dressing-room a few minutes later, Brooks paused for a moment to look up at the wonderful ceiling above the hall. Below, Lord Arranmore was idly knocking about the billiard balls, and all around him was the murmur of pleasant conversation. Brooks drew the envelope from his pocket and glanced at the cheque. He gave a little gasp of astonishment. It was for a thousand pounds.
KINGSTON BROOKS MAKES INQUIRIES
At luncheon Brooks found himself between Sybil Caroom and Mr. Hennibul. She began to talk to him at once.
“I want to know all about your candidate, Mr. Brooks,” she declared. “You can’t imagine how pleased I am to have you here. I have had the feeling ever since I came of being shut up in a hostile camp. I am a Radical, you know, and these good people, even my mother, are rabid Conservatives.”
Brooks smiled as he unfolded his serviette.
“Well, Henslow isn’t exactly an ornamental candidate,” he said, “but he is particularly sound and a man with any amount of common-sense. You should come and hear him speak.”
“I’d love to,” she answered, “but no one would bring me from here. They are all hopeless. Mr. Molyneux there is going to support Mr. Rochester. If I wasn’t sure that he’d do more harm than good, I wouldn’t let him go. But I don’t suppose they’ll let you speak, Sydney,” she added. “They won’t if they’ve ever heard you.”
Molyneux smiled an imperturbable smile.
“Personally,” he said, “I should prefer to lend my moral support only, but my fame as an orator is too well known. There is not the least chance that they will let me off.”
Sybil looked at Brooks.
“Did you ever hear such conceit?” she remarked, in a pitying tone. “And I don’t believe he’s ever opened his mouth in the House, except to shout ‘Hear, hear’! Besides, he’s as nervous as a kitten. Tell me, are you going to return Mr. Henslow?”