Pevensey looked at her for a while with queer tenderness. Then he smiled. “No, I could not quite make you understand, my dear. But, ah, why fuddle that quaint little brain by trying to understand such matters as lie without your realm? For a woman’s kingdom is the home, my dear, and her throne is in the heart of her husband—”
“All this is but another way of saying your lordship would have us cups upon a shelf,” she pointed out—“in readiness for your leisure.”
He shrugged, said “Nonsense!” and began more lightly to talk of other matters. Thus and thus he would do in France, such and such trinkets he would fetch back—“as toys for the most whimsical, the loveliest and the most obstinate child in all the world,” he phrased it. And they would be married, Pevensey declared, in September: nor (he gaily said) did he propose to have any further argument about it. Children should be seen—the proverb was dusty, but it particularly applied to pretty children.
Cynthia let him talk. She was just a little afraid of his self confidence, and of this tall nobleman’s habit of getting what he wanted, in the end: but she dispiritedly felt that Pevensey had failed her. He treated her as a silly infant: and his want of her, even in that capacity, was a secondary matter: he was going into France, for all his petting talk, and was leaving her to shift as she best might, until he could spare the time to resume his love-making....
WHAT COMES OF SCRIBBLING
Now when Pevensey had gone the room seemed darkened by the withdrawal of so much magnificence. Cynthia watched from the window as the tall earl rode away, with three handsomely clad retainers. Yes, George was very fine and admirable, no doubt of it: even so, there was relief in the reflection that for a month or two she was rid of him.
Turning, she faced a lean dishevelled man who stood by the Magdalen tapestry scratching his chin. He had unquiet bright eyes, this out-at-elbows poet whom a marquis’s daughter was pleased to patronize, and his red hair to-day was unpardonably puzzled. Nor were his manners beyond reproach, for now, without saying anything, he too went to the window. He dragged one foot a little as he walked.
“So my lord Pevensey departs! Look how he rides in triumph! like lame Tamburlaine, with Techelles and Usumcasane and Theridamas to attend him, and with the sunset turning the dust raised by their horses’ hoofs into a sort of golden haze about them. It is a beautiful world. And truly, Mistress Cyn,” the poet said, reflectively, “that Pevensey is a very splendid ephemera. If not a king himself, at least he goes magnificently to settle the affairs of kings. Were modesty not my failing Mistress Cyn, I would acclaim you as strangely lucky, in being beloved by two fine fellows that have not their like in England.”
“Truly you are not always thus modest, Kit Marlowe—”