“All right. I’ll find ’em.” He let her go, and fished out his correspondence himself. She was glad that he did not look at her very critically or press further for the cause of her woe.
He sat down on the mat at her feet, and proceeded to read his letters as she handed them to him.
After a little, she took up her work again. She had quite regained her composure, only she was utterly weary—too weary to feel anything but a numb aching. All violent emotion had passed.
Suddenly Nick dropped his correspondence, and turned. “Kiddie,” he said. “I’m going to chuck this job.”
She looked down at him with a surprise that would have been greater but for her great weariness. “Really, Nick?”
“Yes, really. I’ve done my poor best, but to make a success would be a life job. Moreover,” Nick’s eyes suddenly gleamed, “the Party want me—or say they do. There’s going to be a big tug of war in the summer, and they want me to help pull. I’m rather good at pulling,” here spoke Nick’s innate modesty, “and so I’ve got to be there.’”
“We are going Home then?” Olga’s voice was low. She spoke as one whom the decision scarcely touched.
Nick leaned back luxuriously against her knees. “Yes, sweetheart, Home—Home to Muriel and the kiddie—Home to good old Jim. You won’t be sorry to see your old Dad again?”
“No,” she said; then, as his brows went up, she stooped forward and kissed the top of his head. “But you’ve been very good to me, Nick,” she said. “I—I’ve been happier with you, dear, than I could have been with anyone.”
“Save one,” said Nick, flashing a swift look upwards. “And you’ve struck him off the list, poor beggar.”
She checked him quickly, her hand on his shoulder. “Please, Nick!” she whispered.
He nodded wisely. “Yes, that hurts, doesn’t it? But you’re not the only one to suffer. Ever think of that?”
She did not answer him. With a quiver in her voice she changed the subject. “When do you think we shall go Home then, Nick?”
“Soon,” said Nick. “Very soon. They say I can’t be spared much longer. Awfully sweet of ’em, isn’t it? As for this immoral little State, it ought to be put under martial law for a spell. It won’t be, of course; but old Reggie will understand. He’ll take measures, and relieve me of my stewardship as soon as may be. I’m sorry in a way, but I only bargained for six months. And I want to get back to Muriel.” He turned to her again, with his elastic smile. “But you’ve been a dear little pal. You’ve kept me from pining,” he said. “Wish your affairs might have ended more cheerily; but we won’t discuss that. Let’s see; you don’t know Sir Reginald Bassett, do you?”
“Nor Lady Bassett his wife. Good for you. Pray that you never may, and the odds are in favour of the prayer being granted. She has decided not to come after all.”