Brooks flushed a little at the biting sarcasm in Arranmore’s tone, but he restrained himself.
“I have considered—the matter fully,” he said; “and I have talked it over with Mr. Ascough. There seems to be no reason why I should refuse the income to which I seem to be entitled.”
Lord Arranmore nodded and lit a cigarette.
“I am thankful,” he said, dryly, “for so much common-sense. Mr. Ascough will put you in possession of a banking account at any moment. Should you consider it—well—intrusive on my part if I were to inquire as to your plans?”
“They are as yet not wholly formed,” he said, “but I am thinking of studying social politics for some time here in London with the intention of entering public life.”
“A very laudable ambition,” Lord Arranmore answered. “If I can be of any assistance to you, I trust that you will not fail to let me know.”
“I thank you,” Brooks answered. “I shall not require any assistance from you.”
Lord Arranmore winced perceptibly. Brooks, who would not have believed him capable of such a thing, for a moment doubted his eyes.
“I am much obliged for your candour,” Lord Arranmore said, coldly, and with complete self-recovery. “Don’t trouble to come to the door. Good-evening.”
Brooks was alone. He sat down in one of the big easy-chairs, and for a moment forgot that empty stall next to Selina. He had seen the first sign of weakness in a man whom he had judged to be wholly and entirely heartless.
MARY SCOTT’S TWO VISITORS
“I am sure,” he said, “that Selina would consider this most improper.”
“You are quite right,” Mary assured him, laughing. “It was one of the first things she mentioned. When I told her that I should ask any one to tea I liked she was positively indignant.”
“It is hard to believe that you are cousins,” he remarked.
“We were brought up very differently.”
He looked around him. He was in a tiny sitting-room of a tiny flat high up in a great building. Out of the window he seemed to look down upon the Ferris wheel. Inside everything was cramped but cosy. Mary Scott sat behind the tea-tray, and laughed at his expression.
“I will read your thoughts,” she exclaimed. “You are wondering how you will get out of this room without knocking anything over.”
“On the contrary,” he answered, “I was wondering how I ever got in.”
“You were really very clever. Now do have some more tea, and tell me all the news.”
“I will have the tea, if you please,” he answered, “and you shall have the news, such as it is.”
“First of all then,” she said, “I hear that you are leaving Medchester, giving up your business and coming to live in London, and that you have had some money left you. Do you know that all this sounds very mysterious?”