"Where are you now?" asked Lord Earle.
"I am with Captain Poyntz, at his chambers; I promised to spend some days with him," replied Lionel, who began to look slightly bewildered.
"I must not ask you to break an engagement," said Lord Earle, "but will you dine with us this evening, and, when you leave Captain Poyntz, come to us?"
"I shall be very pleased," said Lionel, and the two gentlemen left Brookes's together.
"I must introduce you to Lady Earle and my daughters," said Ronald, as they walked along. "I have been so long absent from home and friends that it seems strange to claim relationship with any one."
"I could never understand your fancy for broiling in Africa, when you might have been happier at home," said Lionel.
"Did you not know? Have you not heard why I went abroad?" asked Lord Earle, gravely.
"No," replied Lionel. "Your father never invited me to Earlescourt after you left."