The day after Cassandra's flight from Queensderry David returned. Although greatly prolonged, his African expedition had been successful, and he was pleased. He had improved his opportunities to learn political conditions and know what might best advance England's power in that remote portion of her possessions.
Mr. Stretton had informed him that he might soon be called to a seat in the House, and he was glad to be in a measure prepared to hold opinions of his own on a few, at least, of the vital issues. Canada he already knew well, and to be conversant also with the state of affairs in South Africa gave him greater confidence.
The first afternoon of his return he spent in looking over the changes which had been in progress at Daneshead during his absence. In spite of his weariness, he seemed buoyant and gay, more so, his mother thought, than at any time since his return from America. She said nothing about the episode of Cassandra's call,—possibly for the time it was forgotten,—but as they parted for the night, when they were alone together, Lady Thryng again broached to her son the subject of his marriage.
"We have had a visit from Lady Clara Temple," she said.
David lay upon a divan with his hands clasped beneath his head, and the light from a reading lamp streamed upon his
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