Some further time passed. I sat by the fireless grate with my chin in my hand. If the storm outside was still raging I did not hear it. I was listening to the confused sounds that came from the sitting-room.
My husband was pacing to and fro, muttering oaths, knocking against the furniture, breaking things. At one moment there was a crash of glass, as if he had helped himself to brandy and then in his ungovernable passion flung the decanter into the fire grate.
Somebody knocked at the sitting-room. It must have been a waiter, for through the wall I heard the muffled sound of a voice asking if there had been an accident. My husband swore at the man and sent him off. Hadn’t he told him not to come until he was rung for?
At length, after half an hour perhaps, my husband knocked at the door of my little room.
“Are you there?” he asked.
I made no answer.
“Open the door.”
I sat motionless.
“You needn’t be afraid. I’m not going to do anything. I’ve something to say.”
Still I made no reply. My husband went away for a moment and then came back.
“If you are determined not to open the door I must say what I’ve got to say from here. Are you listening?”
Sitting painfully rigid I answered that I was.
Then he told me that what I was doing would entitle him to annul our marriage—in the eyes of the Church at all events.
If he thought that threat would intimidate me he was mistaken—a wave of secret joy coursed through me.
“It won’t matter much to me—I’ll take care it won’t—but it will be a degrading business for you—invalidity and all that. Are you prepared for it?”
I continued to sit silent and motionless.
“I daresay we shall both be laughed at, but I cannot help that. We can’t possibly live together on terms like these.”
Another wave of joy coursed through me.
“Anyhow I intend to know before I leave the island how things are to be. I’m not going to take you away until I get some satisfaction. You understand?”
I listened, almost without breathing, but I did not reply.
“I’m think of writing a letter to your father, and sending Hobson with it in the car immediately. Do you hear me?”
“Well, you know what your father is. Unless I’m much mistaken he’s not a man to have much patience with your semi-romantic, semi-religious sentiments. Are you quite satisfied?”
“Very well! That’s what I’ll do, then.”
After this there was a period of quiet in which I assumed that my husband was writing his letter. Then I heard a bell ring somewhere in the corridor, and shortly afterwards there was a second voice in the sitting-room, but I could not hear the words that were spoken. I suppose it was Hobson’s low voice, for after another short interval of silence there came the thrum and throb of a motor-car and the rumble of india-rubber wheels on the wet gravel of the courtyard in front of the hotel.