The maid came back into the room with a conscious air, and said something in a low voice to Dora, who flushed and frowned a little, and asked to be excused. As she left the room a glance of intelligence passed between her and her mother. While Miss Milburn was generally thought to be “most like” her father both in appearance and disposition, there were points upon which she could count on an excellent understanding with her other parent.
“Oh, Lorne,” she said, having carefully closed the drawing-room door, “what in the world have you come here for? Today of all days! Did anybody see you?”
The young man, standing tall and broad-shouldered before the mantelpiece, had yet a look of expecting reproach.
“I don’t know,” he said humbly.
“I don’t think Father would like it,” Dora told him, “if he knew you were here. Why, we’re having an early breakfast on purpose to let him get out and work for Winter. I never saw him so excited over an election. To think of your coming today!”
He made a step toward her. “I came because it is today,” he said. “Only for a minute, dear. It’s a great day for me, you know—whether we win or lose. I wanted you to be in it. I wanted you to wish me good luck.”
“But you know I always do,” she objected.
“Yes, I know. But a fellow likes to hear it, Dora—on the day, you know. And I’ve seen so little of you lately.”
She looked at him measuringly. “You’re looking awfully thin,” she exclaimed, with sudden compunction. “I wish you had never gone into this horrid campaign. I wish they had nominated somebody else.”
Lorne smiled half-bitterly. “I shouldn’t wonder if a few other people wished the same thing,” he said. “But I’m afraid they’ll have to make the best of it now.”
Dora had not sanctioned his visit by sitting down; and as he came nearer to her she drew a step away, moving by instinct from the capture of the lover. But he had made little of that, and almost as he spoke was at her side. She had to yield her hands to him.
“Well, you’ll win it for them if anybody could,” she assured him.
“Say ‘win it for us,’ dear.”
She shook her head. “I’m not a Liberal—yet,” she said, laughing.
“It’s only a question of time.”
“I’ll never be converted to Grit politics.”
“No, but you’ll be converted to me,” he told her, and drew her nearer. “I’m going now, Dora. I dare say I shouldn’t have come. Every minute counts today. Good-bye.”
She could not withhold her face from his asking lips, and he had bent to take his privilege when a step in the hall threatened and divided them.
“It’s only Mr Hesketh going upstairs,” said Dora, with relief. “I thought it was Father. Oh, Lorne—fly!”
“Hesketh!” Young Murchison’s face clouded. “Is he working for Winter, too?”
“Lorne! What a thing to ask when you know he believes in your ideas. But he’s a Conservative at home, you see, so he says he’s in an awkward position, and he has been taking perfectly neutral ground lately. He hasn’t a vote, anyway.”