“Come,” he said, “let us resume our business talk. I have made you an offer. What have you to say?”
Brooks pointed to the waste-paper basket.
“I did a mean action,” he said. “I am ashamed of it. Do you mean that your offer remains open?”
“Certainly,” Lord Arranmore answered. “That little affair is not worth mentioning. I should probably have done the same.”
“Well, I am not altogether a madman,” Brooks declared, smiling, “so I will only say that I accept your offer gratefully—and I will do my very best to deserve your confidence.”
Lord Arranmore rose and stood with his hands behind him, looking out of the window.
“Very good,” he said. “I will send for Ascough to come down from town, and we must meet one day next week at Morrisons’ office, and go into matters thoroughly. That reminds me. Busher, my head bailiff, will be in to see you this afternoon. There are half-a-dozen leases to be seen to at once, and everything had better come here until the arrangements are concluded.”
“I shall be in all the afternoon,” Brooks answered, still a little dazed.
“And Thursday,” Lord Arranmore concluded, “you dine and sleep at Enton. I hope we shall have a good day’s sport. The carriage will fetch you at 6:30. Good-morning.”
Lord Arranmore walked out with a little nod, but on the threshold he paused and looked back.
“By the bye, Brooks,” he said, “do you remember my meeting you in a little tea-shop almost the day after I first called upon you?”
“Quite well,” Brooks answered.
“You had a young lady with you.”
“Yes. I was with Miss Scott.”
Lord Arranmore’s hand fell from the handle. His eyes seemed suddenly full of fierce questioning. He moved a step forward into the room.
“Miss Scott? Who is she?”
Brooks was hopelessly bewildered, and showed it.
“She lives with her uncle in Medchester. He is a builder and timber merchant.”
Lord Arranmore was silent for a moment.
“Her father, then, is dead?” he asked.
“He died abroad, I think,” Brooks answered, “but I really am not sure. I know very little of any of them.”
Lord Arranmore turned away.
“She is the image of a man I once knew,” he remarked, “but after all, the type is not an uncommon one. You won’t forget that Busher will be in this afternoon. He is a very intelligent fellow for his class, and you may find it worth your while to ask him a few questions. Until Thursday, then.”
“Until Thursday,” Brooks repeated, mechanically.
Who the devil is Brooks?
“To be tired,” declared Sydney Molyneux, sinking into a low couch, “to be downright dead dog-tired is the most delightful thing in the world. Will some one give me some tea?”