This was love, at last—the reality of love! He would have killed himself had he failed to win me—killed himself! With the novelist’s habit, I ran off into a series of imagined scenes—the dead body, with the hole in the temples and the awkward attitude of death; the discovery, the rush for the police, the search for a motive, the inquest, the rapid-speaking coroner, who spent his whole life at inquests; myself, cold and impassive, giving evidence, and Mary listening to what I said.... But he lived, with his delicate physical charm, his frail distinction, his spiritual grace; and he had won me. The sense of mutual possession was inexpressibly sweet to me. And it was all I had in the world now. When my mind moved from that rock, all else seemed shifting, uncertain, perilous, bodeful, and steeped in woe. The air was thick with disasters, and injustice, and strange griefs immediately I loosed my hold on the immense fact that he was mine.
‘How calm I am!’ I thought.
It was not till I had been in bed some three hours that I fully realized the seismic upheaval which my soul had experienced.
I woke up from one of those dozes which, after a sleepless night, give the brief illusion of complete rest, all my senses sharpened, and my mind factitiously active. And I began at once to anticipate Frank’s coming, and to arrange rapidly my plans for closing the flat. I had determined that it should be closed. Then someone knocked at the door, and it occurred to me that there must have been a previous knock, which had, in fact, wakened me. Save on special occasions, I was never wakened, and Emmeline and my maid had injunctions not to come to me until I rang. My thoughts ran instantly to Frank. He had arrived thus early, merely because he could not keep away.
‘How extremely indiscreet of him!’ I thought. ’What detestable prevarications with Emmeline this will lead to! I cannot possibly be ready in time if he is to be in and out all day.’
Nevertheless, the prospect of seeing him quickly, and the idea of his splendid impatience, drenched me with joy.
‘What is it?’ I called out.
Emmeline entered in that terrible mauve dressing-gown which I had been powerless to persuade her to discard.
‘So sorry to disturb you,’ said Emmeline, feeling her loose golden hair with one hand, ’but Mrs. Ispenlove has called, and wants to see you at once. I’m afraid something has happened.’
My voice shook.
’Yes. Yvonne came to my room and told me that Mrs. Ispenlove was here, and was either mad or very unwell, and would I go to her? So I got up at once. What shall I do? Perhaps it’s something very serious. Not half-past eight, and calling like this!’
‘Let her come in here immediately,’ I said, turning my head on the pillow, so that Emmeline should not see the blush which had spread over my face and my neck.