The lengthy reports of his Sheffield visit and speeches, of which the newspapers made great capital, an extraordinary impression of the same in Selingman’s wonderful prose, and the caprice of a halfpenny paper, made Maraton suddenly the most talked about man in England. A notoriety which he would have done much to have avoided was forced upon him. Early on the morning following his return, his house was besieged with a little stream of journalists, photographers, politicians, men and women of all orders and degrees, seeking for a few moments’ interview with the man of the hour. Maraton retreated precipitately into his smaller study at the back of the house, and left Aaron to cope as well as he might with the assailing host. Every now and then the telephone bell rang, and Aaron made his report.
“There are fourteen men here who want to interview you,” he announced, “all from good papers. If you won’t be interviewed, some of them want a photograph.”
“Send them away,” Maraton directed. “Tell them the only photograph I ever had taken is in the hands of the Chicago police.”
“There’s the editor here himself from the Bi-Weekly.”
“My compliments and excuses,” Maraton replied. “I will be interviewed by no one.”
“There’s a representative from the Oracle here,” Aaron continued, “who wants to know your exact position in connection with the Labour Party. What shall I say?”
“Tell him to apply to Mr. Dale!” Maraton answered.
“Mr. Foley and Lady Elisabeth Landon are outside in a car. Mr. Foley’s compliments, and if you could spare a moment, they would be glad to come in and see you.”
“You had better let them come in.
“Shall I go?” Julia asked.
Maraton shook his head.
“Stay where you are,” he enjoined. “Perhaps they will go sooner, if they see that I am at work with you.”
Mr. Foley was in his best and happiest mood. He shook hands heartily with Maraton. Elisabeth said nothing at all, but Maraton was conscious of one swift look into his eyes, and of the—fact that her fingers rested in his several seconds longer than was necessary.
“We are profoundly mortified, both my niece and I,” Mr. Foley said. “Never have I had so many journalists on my doorstep, even on that notorious Thursday when they thought that I was going to declare war. I really fancy, Maraton, that they are going to make a celebrity of you. Have you seen the papers?”
“I have read Selingman’s sketch,” Maraton replied.
“They say,” Mr. Foley went on, “that he wrote all night at the office in Fleet Street, and that his sheets were flung into type as he wrote them. Selingman, too—the great Selingman! You know him?”
“He travelled down from Sheffield with me last night,” Maraton answered.