They opened the door and went out into the fresh morning air. Golden Square was asleep as yet, and the well-kept grass in the garden looked pleasantly fresh behind the brown railings.
“Come with me; it will do you good,” said the older woman suddenly, “and it will amuse you to see France in this old dark London of ours.”
She carried a large basket, and looked, in her trim dark dress and bonnet, so exactly what she was that it occurred to Brigit, by force of contrast, how remarkably few people nowadays do look what they are.
“I will come with pleasure,” she said gently, as they turned to the left. “Where do you go first?”
“To Notre Dame de France in Leicester Street. There’s a Low Mass at seven. Then I must go to the butcher in Pulteney Street, and to the Ile de Java for coffee. Toinon,” she continued, reflecting, pausing to give a penny to a beggar, “is a very good girl, but she cannot buy. She simply takes what they offer her, and no housekeeper can stand that, of course.”
Leicester Street is but a ten minutes’ walk from Golden Square, and Brigit felt as she walked that the world was meant for better things than tragedy, after all.
Her torture of Joyselle the evening before had been infinitely cruel, and yet her love for him had grown as she tortured him. She was as yet quite unused to the dominion of her own emotions, and they, being so much stronger than her self-control, had carried her away with them. It had been a kind of mental fakirism, and as fakirs smile as they burn and cut themselves, so she had been able to smile as she burnt and cut at her own heart in Joyselle. Yet she was not an altogether cruel woman.
And this quiet walk with the homely, good, little Felicite tranquillised and steadied her maddened nerves and brought reason to her mind.
Felicite left her basket in the vestibule of the church, and going in dipped her fingers into the holy water fountain and held her hand out to Brigit.
Unconsciously the girl touched it, and then, as the other woman turned and knelt at one of the worn praying-desks, Brigit hastily touched her own forehead and breast.
The drop of water stayed for some seconds on her forehead, and in its coolness seemed to burn her.
After a short pause she walked down the aisle and sat down in the second row of seats.
The priest came out as she took her place, and the Mass began.
Its very silence was restful to the girl, and as she watched, the sleep that had refused to come to her all through the night touched her eyelids and they closed wearily.
When she opened them it was as if a cool hand had been laid on her aching heart. Here was peace.
The Good Shepherd in the round window seemed to mean much as he looked down at her, and even the statue of the Mother and Child in the altar to her left looked beautiful to her. “Salve Regina, Mater Misericordiae,” she read.