Passing into the hot sunshine beyond the great nail-studded door was like entering another world. She turned her face up to the brightness and rejoiced.
Redlands had always been a bower of delight to Olga’s vivid fancy. The house, long, low, and rambling, stood well back from the cliffs in the midst of a garden which to her childhood’s mind had always been the earthly presentment of Paradise. Not the owner of it himself loved it as did Olga. Many were the hours she had spent there, and not one of them but held a treasured place in her memory.
As she turned in at the iron gate, the music of the stream that ran through the glen rose refreshingly through the August stillness. She wished Nick were with her to enjoy it too.
The temptation to run down to the edge of the water was irresistible. It babbled with such delicious coolness between its ferns. The mossy pathway gleamed emerald green. Surely there was no need for haste! She could afford to give herself five minutes in her paradise. Violet certainly would not be ready yet.
She sat down therefore on the edge of the stream, and gave herself up to the full enjoyment of her surroundings. An immense green dragon-fly whirred past her and shot away into the shadows. She watched its flight with fascinated eyes, so sudden was it, so swift, and so unerringly direct. It reminded her of something, she could not remember what. She wrestled with her memory vainly, and finally dismissed the matter with slight annoyance, turning her attention to a wonderful coloured moth that here flitted across her line of vision. It was an exquisite thing, small, but red as coral. Only in this fairyland of Nick’s had she ever seen its like. Lightly it fluttered through the chequered light and shade above the water, shining like a jewel above the shallows, the loveliest thing in sight. And then, even under her watching eyes came tragedy. Swift as an arrow, the green dragon-fly darted back again, and in an instant flashed away. In that instant the coral butterfly vanished also.
Olga exclaimed in incredulous horror. The happening had been too quick for her eyes to follow, but her comprehension leaped to the truth. And in that moment she realized what it was of which the dragon-fly reminded her. It was of Max Wyndham sitting on the surgery-table watching her with that mocking gleam in his green eyes, as though he knew her to be at his mercy whether she stayed or fled.
It was unreasonable of course, but that fairy tragedy in the glen increased her dislike of the man a hundredfold. She felt as if he had darted into her life, armed in some fashion with the power to destroy. And she longed almost passionately to turn him out; for no disturbing force had ever entered there before. But she knew that she could not.