Had he sent all those letters she had written? Steadily she stared at the possibility that he had not. But at least the Evershams knew where she was. Even the meager warmth of their telegram was like an outstretched hand through the dark. She clung tight to it.
It was absurd to be frightened. He would never dare to annoy her—never, in his sober senses. When they were alone together he had lost his head, but that was accident—impulse...
She rolled the divan against the locked door. She piled two chairs upon it.
No, of course, she had nothing really to fear from him. He was too wise not to understand the gulf between them. To-morrow she would confront him flatly with his deceit; she would array the power of the authorities behind her race. She would sweep instantly from that ill-omened palace. There would be no more philandering.
Her lips moved as she silently rehearsed the mighty speeches that she would make, and all the while as she leaned there against a window, staring strangely through the candle-light at the barricade before the door, she could think of nothing but how mad and unreal it all seemed—like some bad dream from which she would wake in an instant.
But she did not wake. The dream persisted, and the iron bars across her window were very tangible. Down below her in the garden the old lebbek tree rustled stealthily in the stillness. Gusty clouds hid the stars. In the distance the interminable tom-tom beat.
She cast herself into the bed and cried convulsively, like a desperately frightened child, while the awful sense of terror and utter loneliness seemed to be rolling over and over her, like an unending sea. Her sobbing racked her from head to foot. She cried until she was spent with weakness. Then, her wet face still pressed against the pillow and her tangled hair flung out in disordered curls, she fell at last into the deep sleep of exhausted youth.
She woke with a smothered cry. In the darkness a hand had touched her.
A GIRL IN THE BAZAARS
Billy slapped on his hat with a clap of violence. She might have just seen him! Then he got up and marched down the steps. There was no more use in camping on that veranda. There was no more use in guarding that entrance. When a girl went whirling off in a limousine, “all dolled up” as his academic English put it, that girl wasn’t going to be back in five minutes. And anyway he’d be blessed if he lay around in the way any longer like a doormat with “Welcome” inscribed upon the surface.
So this spurt of masculine shame at his swift surrender to her, and his masculine resentment at being ignored as she went by, sent him hurrying down the street resolved not to return till dinner.