Yae was grieved by this sudden loss of both her lovers. It left her in a condition of double widowhood from which she was most anxious to escape. But now she was becoming more fastidious. The school teachers and the dagos fascinated her no longer. Her soldier friends had introduced her into Embassy circles, and she wished to remain there. She fixed on Aubrey Laking for her next attempt, but from him she received her first rebuff. Having lured him into a tete-a-tete, as her method was, she asked him for counsel in the conduct of her life.
“If I were you,” he said dryly, “I should go to Paris or New York. You will find much more scope there.”
Fortunately fate soon exchanged Aubrey Laking for Reggie Forsyth. He was just what suited her—for a time. But a certain impersonality in his admiration, his fits of reverie, the ascendancy of music over his mind, made her come to regret her more masculine lovers. And it was just at this moment of dissatisfaction that she first saw Geoffrey Barrington, and thought how lovely he would look in his uniform. From that moment desire entered her heart. Not that she wanted to lose Reggie; the peace and harmony of his surroundings soothed her like a warm and scented bath. But she wanted both. She had had two before, and had found them complimentary to one another and agreeable to her. She wanted to sit on Geoffrey’s knee and to feel his strong arms round her. But she must not be too sudden in her advances, or she would lose him as she had lost Laking.
It is easy to condemn Yae as a bad girl, a born cocotte. Yet such a judgment would not be entirely equitable. She was a laughter-loving little creature, a child of the sun. She never sought to do harm to anybody. Rather was she over-amiable. She wished above all to make her men friends happy and to be pleasing in their eyes. She was never swayed by mercenary motives. She was to be won by admiration, by good looks, and by personal distinction, but never by money. If she tired of her lovers somewhat rapidly, it was as a child tires of a game or of a book, and leaves it forgotten to start another.
She was a child with bad habits, rather than a mature sinner. It never occurred to her that, because Geoffrey Harrington was married, he at least ought to be immune from her attack. In her dreams of an earthly paradise there was no marrying or giving in marriage, only the sweet mingling of breath, the quickening of the heart-beats like the pulsation of her beloved motor-car, the sound as of violin arpeggios rising higher and ever higher, the pause of the ecstatic moment when the sense of time is lost—and then the return to earth on lazy languorous wings like a sea-gull floating motionless on a shoreward breeze. Such was Yae’s ideal of Love and of Life too. It is not for us to condemn Yae, but rather should we censure the blasphemy of mixed marriages which has brought into existence these thistledown children of a realm which has no kings or priests or laws or Parliaments or duty or tradition or hope for the future, which has not even an acre of dry ground for its heritage or any concrete symbol of its soul—the Cimmerian land of Eurasia.