To the right of the main altar a group of tiny votive candles were burning; an old nun in a kind of white sunbonnet, draped with a black gauze veil, dropped her rosary with a little clatter to the wooden floor.
There were only a dozen or so people in the church, but this made no difference. The priest would not feel slighted, as an Anglican curate might. He had a serious ascetic face, and seemed not to know that any was present beside his God and himself.
“I am a brute,” Brigit told herself, “a perfect fiend to torture him so. Why cannot we be good to each other? And how will it all end? I will be good to him in the future.”
Then she shivered, for she was not a child and realised perfectly that her “being good” to Joyselle was by no means altogether safe.
“It is playing with fire,” she thought. “That is one reason why I am so horrid, perhaps.”
The priest had gone, and the little congregation, with last genuflections, were hurrying out of the church. Busy people, these; workers who before their day’s labour begins have always time to say Bonjour to their God.
“A beautiful church, hein?” asked Felicite, as they came out of the church. “You liked it, my daughter?”
“Yes. I liked it. Where do we go now, petite mere?”
More than one passerby turned to stare at the beautiful girl with the weary eyes and her humble companion as they made their way towards Rupert Street. With the violently sudden change of mood that was part of her character, Brigit’s spirits had gone up. She would be kind to Joyselle; that would be being kind to herself, and therefore she would be happy. In an hour they would be at home and she would see him. A great longing to feel his strong arms round her came to her, and her face flushed as she decided to go to him frankly and ask to be taken back.
“It is a beautiful day,” she said softly.
Felicite smiled up at her.
“Yes. And it is good to begin a day by going to Mass. It clears one’s mind of yesterday, and to-day is—ours, Brigitte.”
For all her native shrewdness, it would not at all have surprised Felicite if Brigit had suddenly become devote, and even now as she watched the girl’s radiant face it seemed to the Norman that the Mass had helped even more than she had ventured to hope. “She is going to try to fight it down,” she thought gratefully, “and that is all that is necessary.”
M. Bourbon, charcutier, in Rupert Street, has a beautiful shop full of wonderful things. Felicite bought a pound of galantine de volaille truffee, for which she paid two-and-six, and for which in Piccadilly she would have paid five shillings; she bought half a pound of jellied eel; she bought Pont l’Eveque cheese; flat little Parisian sausages; she bought a glass jar of preserved pears, brown with cinnamon.
Then they made their way to the Ile de Java, where they acquired a large tin of coffee, on to the Boucherie Francaise, where Felicite had a long discussion with M. Perigot lui-meme, whom she insisted on seeing, to the disgust of the young man in attendance, who wished to look at Brigit, and whom fate assigned to an ancient dame from Brewer Street.