She sat down, and he stood by her chair. “Really, I don’t know,” she answered. “Perhaps I shall be at home when you pay your duty call.”
“Come and have some tea at Mellor’s with me to-morrow.”
She seemed not to hear him. She had caught Mrs. Seventon’s eye across the room, and rose to her feet.
“You have left Mrs. Seventon alone all the evening,” she said. “I must go and talk to her.”
He stood before her—a little insistent.
“I shall expect you at half-past four,” he said.
She shook her head.
Oh, no. I have an engagement.”
“The next day, then.”
“Thank you! I would rather you did not ask me. I have a great deal to do just now. I will bring the girls to the lecture.”
“Wednesday week,” he protested, “is a long way off.”
“You can go over to Enton,” she laughed, “and get some more cheques from your wonderful friend.”
“I wonder,” he remarked, “why you dislike Lord Arranmore so much.”
“Instinct perhaps—or caprice,” she answered, lightly.
“The latter for choice,” he answered. “I don’t think that he is a man to dislike instinctively. He rather affected me the other way.”
She was suddenly graver.
“It is foolish of me,” she remarked. “You will think so too, when I tell you that my only reason is because of a likeness.”
“A likeness!” he repeated.
“He is exactly like a man who was once a friend of my father’s, and who did him a great deal of harm. My father was much to blame, I know, but this man had a great influence over him, and a most unfortunate one. Now don’t you think I’m absurd?”
“I think it is a little rough on Lord Arranmore,” he answered, “don’t you?”
“It would be if my likes or dislikes made the slightest difference to him,” she answered. “As it is, I don’t suppose it matters.”
“Was this in England?” he asked.
She shook her head.
“No, it was abroad—in Montreal. I really must go to Mrs. Seventon. She looks terribly bored.”
Brooks made no effort to detain her. He was looking intently at a certain spot in the carpet. The coincidence—it was nothing more, of course—was curious.
Charity the “Crime”
There followed a busy time for Brooks, the result of which was a very marked improvement in his prospects. For the younger Morrison and his partner, loth to lose altogether the valuable Enton connection, offered Brooks a partnership in their firm. Mr. Ascough, who was Lord Arranmore’s London solicitor, and had been Brooks’ guardian, after careful consideration advised his acceptance, and there being nothing in the way, the arrangements were pushed through almost at once. Mr. Ascough, on the morning of his return to London, took the opportunity warmly to congratulate Brooks.