“I promise you that most heartily,” Brooks declared. “But you must remember, Lady Sybil, that after all it is entirely in his hands. He has been most astonishingly kind to me, considering that I have no manner of claim upon him. He has made me feel at home at Enton, too, and been most thoughtful in every way. For, after all, you see I am only his man of business. I have no friends much, and those whom I have are Medchester people. You see I am scarcely in a position to offer him my society. But all the same, I will take every opportunity I can of going to Enton if he remains there.”
She thanked him silently. Lady Caroom was on her feet, and Sybil and she went out for their wraps. Lord Arranmore lit a fresh cigarette and sent for his bill.
“By the bye, Brooks,” he remarked, “one doesn’t hear much of your man Henslow.”
“Mr. Bullsom and I were talking about it this evening,” Brooks answered. “We are getting a little anxious.
“You have had seven years of him. You ought to know what to expect.”
“The war has blocked all legislation,” Brooks said. “It has been the usual excuse. Henslow was bound to wait. He would have done the particular measures which we are anxious about more harm than good if he had tried to force them upon the land. But now it is different. We are writing to him. If nothing comes of it, Mr. Bullsom and I are going up to see him.”
“You are young to politics, Brooks,” he remarked, “yet I should scarcely have thought that you would have been imposed upon by such a man as Henslow. He is an absolute fraud. I heard him speak once, and I read two of his speeches. It was sufficient. The man is not in earnest. He has some reason, I suppose, for wishing to write M.P. after his name, but I am perfectly certain that he has not the slightest idea of carrying out his pledges to you. You will have to take up politics, Brooks.”
He laughed—a little consciously.
“Some day,” he said, “the opportunity may come. I will confess that it is amongst my ambitions. But I have many years’ work before me yet.”
Lord Arranmore paid the bill, and they joined the women. As Brooks stood bareheaded upon the pavement Arranmore turned towards him.
“We must have a farewell dinner,” he said. “How would to-morrow suit you—or Sunday?”
“I should like to walk over on Sunday, if I might,” Brooks answered, promptly.
“We shall expect you to lunch. Good-night.”
The carriage drove off. Brooks walked thoughtfully through the silent streets to his rooms.
UNCLE AND NIECE
Mr. Bullsom was an early riser, and it chanced that, as was frequently the case, on the morning following Brooks’ visit he and Mary sat down to breakfast together. But when, after a cursory glance through his letters, he unfolded the paper, she stopped him.