“Where is Tommy?” she asked miserably.
“Watching the Bridge. Why are you unhappy?” His dark eyes were bent imploringly on hers. “I—I can’t bear to see you suffer.”
“Oh, mon Dieu, je ne souffre pas! That is saying far too much. I——”
“Was it Pontefract?”
“No, oh, no. Ponty and I are very good friends,” she returned absently. And then she remembered. She was going to marry Ponty!
“Let’s walk to the sun-dial and see what time it is by the moon,” she suggested abruptly.
But at the sun-dial he insisted further, always gentle and apologetic, but always bent on having an answer to his question.
“You are not going to marry him?” he asked.
“Who told you I was?”
“Well, are you?”
His head fairly swam as he looked at her in the full moonlight. “What made you think of it?” she returned.
“Tommy—told me not to interrupt you—and him.”
He was young, and French, and she was beautiful and he was desperately in love with her. Kneeling suddenly on the damp grass, he buried his face in his arms as they lay limply across the sun-dial. There was a long pause. He did not sob, he was quite still, but every line of him proclaimed unspeakable agony.
“Poor boy,” she said gently.
Then he rose. “I am not a boy,” he declared, his chin twitching but his voice firm, “and I love you. He is old and—c’est un vieux roue. I at least am young and I have lived a clean life.”
He asked her no question, but she paused to consider. “I know, I understand,” he continued, “you hate this life, you are bored and sick of it all; you do not love your mother. Mon Dieu, ne pas pouvoir aimer sa mere! And you want to get away. Then—marry me instead. I am not so rich, but I am rich. And, ah, I love you—je t’aime.”
Poor Pontefract, leaning back in his big Mercedes trying to realise his bliss, was jilted before Brigit had spoken a word. Like a flash, his image seemed to stand before her, beside the delightful boy-man whose youth and niceness pleaded so strongly to her. She did not consider that breaking her word was not fair play, she had no thought of pity for Pontefract. She loved nobody, and therefore thought solely of herself. This boy was right. She would be happier with him than with poor, old, fat Ponty. So poor, old, fat Ponty went to the wall, and putting her hands into Joyselle’s, she said slowly:
“Very well—I will. I will marry you. Only—you must know that I am an odious person, selfish and moody, and——”
But she could not finish her sentence, because Joyselle had her in his arms and was kissing her.
“I will be your servant and your slave,” he told her, with very bad judgment but much sincerity. “I will serve you on my knees.”