Her hair was let down to below her waist, long black hair, more silky in texture and more wavy than that of a pure Japanese woman. Her kimono was wide open at the throat. A sweet fragrance exhaled from her body.
“Big captain, may I?” she pleaded.
“What?” said Geoffrey, still half asleep.
“Just lie by your side—just once,—just for the last time,” she cooed.
Geoffrey was for going to sleep again, well pleased with his dream. But Yae slipped an arm across his chest, and caught his shoulder in her hand. She nestled closer to him.
“Geoffrey,” she murmured, “I love you so much. You are so strong and so big, Geoffrey. I want to stay like this always, always, holding on to you till I make you love me. Love me just a little, Geoffrey. Nobody will ever know. Geoffrey, it must be nice to have me near you. Geoffrey, you must, you must want to love me.”
She was hugging his body now in an embrace astonishingly powerful for so small a creature. It was this pressure which finally awoke Geoffrey. Gently he disengaged her arms and sat up in the bed.
She was clinging to his neck now, wild-eyed like a Maenad. He felt pitifully ridiculous. The role of Joseph is so thankless and humiliating. A month ago he would have ordered her sternly to get out of the room and behave herself. But the hot month in Tokyo had relaxed his firmness of mind; and familiarity with Reggie’s bohemian morality has sapped his fortress of Good Form.
“Don’t be so naughty, Yae,” he said feebly. “Reggie may be coming. For God’s sake, control yourself.”
Her voice was terrible now.
Geoffrey had lost the first moment when he might have been stern with her. Clumsily he tried to loosen her embrace. But for the first time in his life he was in the grip of an elemental natural force, a thing foreign to his experience of women in marriage or out of it.
“Yae, don’t,” he gasped, pushing the girl away. “I can’t; I’m married.”
“Married!” she screamed. “Does marriage hurt like this? Love me, love me, Geoffrey. You must love me, you will!”
* * * * *
“The rhapsody is ended!”
A voice which nobody would have recognized as Reggie’s put a sudden end to this frantic assault.
He was standing in the doorway smiling queerly. He had watched the two from the garden, whence indeed all Chuzenji could have seen them in the open bedroom. He had slipped off his shoes and had stolen up quietly in order to listen to them. Now he judged it time to intervene.
Yae started up from the bed. For a moment she hovered on the edge, uncertain of her tactics. Geoffrey stared, one hand to his forehead. Then the girl darted across the room, fell at Reggie’s feet, clasped his knees, and sobbed convulsively.
“Reggie, Reggie, forgive me!” she cried. “It’s not my fault. He’s been asking me and asking me to do this—ever since Kamakura—and all the time here. This is what he came to stay here for. Reggie, forgive me. I will never be naughty again.”