Page:The King's Men (1884).djvu/16

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6
THE KING'S MEN.

Again he threw himself on a chair by the fireplace, and tried to read the Saturday Review. There was a long leader against Richard Lincoln; but as Lincoln was the one member in the House for whom Geoffrey had any respect, he threw it aside in disgust. He heard a timid knock at the door.

"Come in!" growled Geoffrey, as he turned to light his pipe.

An old family servant, the last survivor of an extinct race, entered with a battered silver tray.

"Please, my lord, a letter from the persons at the castle; one of them is waiting for an answer."

Reynolds made no distinction between the "persons at the castle" and their servants; and he always called it the castle, now that Ripon House was the gatekeeper's lodge.

"I suppose," grunted Geoffrey, as he took the letter, "they want to warn me against poaching. So considerate, after I have been fined ten shillings by their gamekeeper."

To his surprise the letter had a familiar look; it was addressed to him by his title in the ancient fashion, and was in a handwriting which he thought he should have known in Paris. Tearing open the envelope, he read:

"My dear Lord Brompton: I hear that you are back to your own estate, and you will doubtless be surprised to learn that I am so near you. Papa telephoned over last week for an estate, and here we are, with a complete retinue of servants and a gallery of ancestors—yours, by the way, as I found to my surprise. I felt so sorry when they called you back from Paris; I had no idea I should see you again so soon. Papa wanted to look after his affairs in England; so we have come over again for the winter, and I was delighted to get out of the wild gayety of America for this dear sleepy old country. "If you have nothing better to do, will you dine with us to-