Mr. Bowmore took Percy's hand, and shook it warmly.
"In such a matter as this you cannot have too many friends to help you," he said. "I myself have some influence, as representing opinion outside the House; and I am entirely at your service. Come tomorrow, and let us talk over the details of your claim at my humble dinner-table. To-day I must attend a meeting of the Branch-Hampden-Club, of which I am vice-president, and to which I am now about to communicate the alarming news which my letter contains. Excuse me for leaving you--and count on a hearty welcome when we see you to-morrow."
The amiable patriot saluted his daughter with a smile, and disappeared.
"I hope you like my father?" said Charlotte. "All our friends say he ought to be in Parliament. He has tried twice. The expenses were dreadful; and each time the other man defeated him. The agent says he would be certainly elected, if he tried again; but there is no money, and we mustn't think of it."
A man of a suspicious turn of mind might have discovered, in those artless words, the secret of Mr. Bowmore's interest in the success of his young friend's claim on the Government. One British subject, with a sum of ready money at his command, may be an inestimably useful person to another British subject (without ready money) who cannot sit comfortably unless he sits in Parliament. But honest Percy Linwood was not a man of a suspicious turn of mind. He had just opened his lips to echo Charlotte's filial glorification of her father, when a shabbily-dressed man-servant met them with a message, for which they were both alike unprepared:
"Captain Bervie has called, Miss, to say good-by, and my mistress requests your company in the parlor."
HAVING delivered his little formula of words, the shabby servant cast a look of furtive curiosity at Percy and withdrew. Charlotte turned to her lover, with indignation sparkling in her eyes and flushing on her cheeks at the bare idea of seeing Captain Bervie again. "Does he think I will breathe the same air," she exclaimed, "with the man who attempted to take your life!"
Percy gently remonstrated with her.