At last she went below, and found it impossible to pass his cabin door. Everybody else was there, about the alleyways or in the saloon, safe and happy: only Louis had to bring himself to disaster every time. Opening his cabin door she went in. His things were all thrown about, his shaving tackle on the bunk, his pyjamas on the floor. Taking them up with hands that trembled she noticed that there were no buttons on them. The pathos of this was more than she could bear. On the floor were the two cups in which he had made tea before they reached port that morning. The teapot they had bought at Gibraltar lay overturned. Quite mechanically she cleaned up the tea-leaves and washed the cups. Then she could bear it no longer and, throwing herself on his bunk, she buried her face in his pillow and sobbed until she was exhausted.
There were things to be endured the next few days. The purser came along, got Knollys to pack Louis’s things and then sealed them. This meant that Marcella was shut away from all association with him; it seemed an unwarrantable interference with what she considered her property. The schoolmaster was surprisingly comforting and kind; he went out of his way to entertain her: Knollys brought unexpected tea in the morning in an attempt to make up for the loss of Louis. A young Scotsman, a sugar planter going out to the Islands, to whom she had talked until the fact that she was “another man’s girl” had put a taboo upon her, insisted that she should, in the cold evenings on deck, wear his fur coat which he had brought rather unnecessarily; Jimmy tried to comfort her with apples. Mrs. Hetherington, whom the end of the voyage had left nervy and cross, said cattish things. She thought Marcella had shown very little tact in throwing herself at Louis; she advised her, with the next man, not to tire him out.
“Oh, you’re an idiot,” cried Marcella, her eyes full of tears, and decided that this was an occasion for her father’s favourite epithet. “A double-distilled idiot! How have you managed Mr. Peters except by never leaving him alone for a minute?”
“I am a woman of the world, and understand men,” she said airily. “I wove a net about him—in ways you would not understand, my child.”
“Don’t want to,” snapped Marcella. “I’m not a spider!”
They anchored out in the stream in Sydney Harbour, going ashore in tenders. Marcella scanned the quay anxiously to find Louis, though Knollys told her that he would, most probably, be in by train to-morrow at noon. But she had an idea that he might have got through earlier, and hurried up to the General Post Office, which he had told her was his only address in the Colonies, to which his letters were sent. But it was a fruitless errand. Enquiry at the station told her that, as Knollys had said, the next train possible for Louis would be in at noon to-morrow.