Sometimes The Sound looks like a huge drying-ground in which all these red and white sails are spread out to air.
How I wish these pleasure-boats were birds! I would buy a gun and practise shooting, in the hopes of killing a few. But this is the close season.... The principal thoroughfares of a large town could hardly be more bustling than the sea just now—the sea that in winter was as silent and deserted as a graveyard.
People begin to trespass in my forest and to prowl round my garden. I see their inquisitive faces at my gates. I think I must buy a dog to frighten them away. But then I should have to put up with his howling after some dear and distant female friend.
* * * * *
How that gardener enrages me! His eyes literally twinkle with sneaky thoughts. I would give anything to get rid of him.
But he moves so well! Never in my life have I seen a man with such a walk, and he knows it, and knows too that I cannot help looking at him when he passes by.
Torp is bewitched. She prepares the most succulent viands in his honour. Her French cookery book is daily in requisition, and, judging from the savoury smells which mount from the basement, he likes his food well seasoned.
Fortunately he is nothing to Jeanne, although she does notice the way he walks from his hips, and his fine carriage.
Midday is the pleasantest hour now. Then the sea is quiet and free from trippers. Even the birds cease to sing, and the gardener takes his sleep. Jeanne sits on the verandah, as I have given her permission to do, with some little piece of sewing. She is making artificial roses with narrow pink ribbon; a delightful kind of work.
* * * * *
Your letter was such a shock to me that I could not answer it immediately, as I should have wished to do. For that reason I sent you the brief telegram in reply, the words of which, I am sorry to say, I must now repeat: “I know nothing about the matter.” Lillie has never spoken a word to me, or made the least allusion in my presence, which could cause me to suspect such a thing. I think I can truly say that I never heard her pronounce the name of Director Schlegel.
My first idea was that my cousin had gone out of her mind, and I was astonished that you—being a medical man—should not have come to the same conclusion. But on mature consideration (I have thought of nothing but Lillie for the last two days) I have changed my opinion. I think I am beginning to understand what has happened, but I beg you to remember that I alone am responsible for what I am going to say. I am only dealing with suppositions, nothing more.
Lillie has not broken her marriage vows. Any suspicion of betrayal is impossible, having regard to her upright and loyal nature. If to you, and to everybody else, she appeared to be perfectly happy in her married life, it was because she really was so. I implore you to believe this.