in the eyes of a large section of his supporters--seriously damaged," Mr. Scratchley said, shaking his head and frowning.
"Possibly. From every point of view the thing is to be deplored. But I will call on Lord Pilgrimstone," the Minister continued slowly, "after lunch. Will you tell him so?"
A curious embarrassment showed itself in the secretary's manner. He twisted his hat in his hands, and looked suddenly sad--as if he were about to join in the groan at a prayer-meeting.
"Lord Pilgrimstone," he said in a voice he vainly strove to render commonplace, "is going to the Sandown Spring Meeting to-day."
The tone was really so lugubrious--to say nothing of a shake of the head with which he could not help accompanying the statement--that a faint smile played on Mr. Stafford's lips.
"Then I must take the next possible opportunity," he said. "I will see him to-morrow."
Mr. Scratchley assented to this, and bowed himself out, after another word or two, looking more gloomy and