Also he owned an ever-thirsting palate, a fat red neck, red-rimmed eyes, and a bald head.
She looked at him with the absent-minded deliberation that so annoyed many people. He was rather awful in many ways, but he was a kind man, his temper was good, and he would doubtless be an amiable, manageable husband.
“Brigit,—let’s go out, I,—there is something I want to tell you.” His voice shook a little with real emotion, and though he had undoubtedly drunk more than was good for him, there was about the man a certain dignity, compounded of his breeding, his respect for her, and his sincerity.
She did not move, and her small, narrow face went white. He would take her—wherever she asked him; she would be able to fly away from her mother and her mother’s friends. After a long pause, which he bore well, she bowed her head slowly. “Yes, I will get a scarf,” and leaving him she left the room. Her face was set and a little sullen as she came back with a long silk scarf on her arm. Carron met her near the door. “Made up your mind, have you?” he asked, with deliberate insolence. “Better wait till to-morrow, my dear—he’s half drunk.”
She hated Carron. Hated him with an intensity that few women know. At that moment she would have liked to kill him. But knowing a better weapon, and rejoicing in her cruelty, she used it. “Poor old Gerald,” she said, smiling at him, “no man over fifty can afford the luxury of jealousy.”
Then she joined Pontefract.
He made his proposal succinctly and well, and without any confusion she accepted him. “No—you may not kiss me to-night,” she added. “You may come for that—to-morrow. Now would you mind going? I—I want to be alone.”
Quite humbly, hardly daring to believe in his good fortune, he left her, and she wandered aimlessly over the grass towards the carp-pond. “Nasty, slimy water,” she said aloud, “you have lost me!”
Joyselle had stopped playing, and through the open windows only a very subdued murmur of voices came. Even Bridge has its uses. The night was perfect, and the serene moon sailed high under a scrap of cloud like a wing. The old house, most beautiful, looked, among its surrounding trees, secluded and protected.
“It looks like a home,” thought the girl bitterly.
And then young Joyselle joined her.
“May I come? Shall I bother you?”
“You may come; and you never bother me.”
His youthful face was pleasant to look at; the dominating expression of it was one of sunny sweetness. Would Tommy grow to be as nice a young man?
Tommy, that old person, was, she knew, perched astride a chair near the Bridge table, picking up, with uncanny shrewdness, all sorts of tips about the great game, as he picked up knowledge about everything that came his way. Up to this, his varied stock of information had not hurt him. Later—who could tell?