f the sort. And then I go down to Ledmenham and stand as a Liberal, and get all the pious Radicals to work for me! It's a humbugging world--isn't it?"
He returned to the fireplace, and stood looking down upon her--grinning.
Mary had resumed her embroidery. She, too, was dimly conscious of something disappointing.
"Of course, if you choose to take it like that, you can," she said, rather tartly. "Of course, everything can be made ridiculous."
"Well, that's a blessing, anyway!" said Ashe, with his merry laugh. "But look here, Mary, tell me about yourself. What have you been doing?--dancing--riding, eh?"
He threw himself down beside her, and began an elder-brotherly cross-examination, which lasted till Lady Tranmore returned and begged him to go at once to his father.
When he returned to the drawing-room, Ashe found his mother alone. It was growing dark, and she was sitting idle, her hands in her lap, waiting for him.
"I must be off, dear," he said to her. "You won't come down and see me tak