The Evil Shepherd
There were incidents connected with that luncheon which Francis always remembered. In
the first place, Sir Timothy was a great deal more silent than usual. A certain vein of half-
cynical, half-amusing comment upon things and people of the moment, which seemed,
whenever he cared to exert himself, to flow from his lips without effort, had deserted
him. He sat where the rather brilliant light from the high windows fell upon his face, and
Francis wondered more than once whether there were not some change there, perhaps
some prescience of trouble to come, which had subdued him and made him unusually
thoughtful. Another slighter but more amusing feature of the luncheon was the number of
people who stopped to shake hands with Sir Timothy and made more or less clumsy
efforts to obtain an invitation to his coming entertainment. Sir Timothy's reply to these
various hints was barely cordial. The most he ever promised was that he would consult
with his secretary and see if their numbers were already full. Lady Cynthia, as a
somewhat blatant but discomfited Peer of the Realm took his awkward leave of them,
"Of course, I think they all deserve what they get," she declared. "I never heard such
brazen impudence in my life--from people who ought to know better, too."
Lord Meadowson, a sporting peer, who was one of Sir Timothy's few intimates, came
over to the table. He paid his respects to the two ladies and Francis, and turned a little
eagerly to Sir Timothy.
"Well?" he asked.
Sir Timothy nodded.
"We shall be quite prepared for you," he said. "Better bring your cheque-book."
"Capital!" the other exclaimed. "As I hadn't heard anything, I was beginning to wonder
whether you would be ready with your end of the show."
"There will be no hitch so far as we are concerned," Sir Timothy assured him.
"More mysteries?" Margaret enquired, as Meadowson departed with a smile of
Her father shrugged his shoulders.
"Scarcely that," he replied. "It is a little wager between Lord Meadowson and myself
which is to be settled to-morrow."
Lady Torrington, a fussy little woman, her hostess of the night before, on her way down
the room stopped and shook hands with Lady Cynthia.