At the bookstall upon the platform Drake bought a copy of the Times, and whilst taking his change he was attracted by a grayish-green volume prominently displayed upon the white newspapers. The sobriety of the binding caught his fancy. He picked it up, and read the gold-lettered title on the back--A Man of Influence. The stall-keeper recommended the novel; he had read it himself; besides, it was having a sale. Drake turned to the title-page and glanced at the author's name--Sidney Mallinson. He flashed into enthusiasm.
'Very well indeed.'
'Has it been published long?'
'Less than three months.'
'I will take it, and everything else by the same author.'
'It is his first book.'
The stall-keeper glanced at his enthusiastic customer, and saw a sunburnt face, eager as a boy's.
'Oh!' he said doubtfully, 'I don't know whether you will like it. It's violently modern. Perhaps this,' and he suggested with an outstretched f