“He must help him,” she repeated over and over again; “he loves him so.”
The darkness of the day was congenial to her; sunshine would have seemed an insult. She reached the village, with its little straight street and modern red-brick inn, and passing through it turned to the left towards the station. It was only three, and Joyselle could not arrive for two hours; yet she felt that she was going towards him.
A motor rushed past her, covering her with dust and causing her to clench her hands in anger. “Beastly thing!” she said aloud.
Then out of the cloud of dust emerged—Joyselle, on foot, his violin-case in his hand.
“Yes. I—couldn’t wait, so I cut an engagement and took the 1.45, Brigit—how is he?”
He was flushed with the effort of rapid walking in a long coat and his hat was on one side. He was smoking, and forgot to ask her leave to continue. Small things were swept from his mind by his evident anxiety.
“He is—very bad. But—oh, it was good of you to bring your violin!”
“Of course I did. If anything on earth can quiet him, that will. What is the trouble now that the throat is better?”
“I don’t know. He thinks and thinks, and can’t sleep, and the fever will not go. In a grown person I suppose they’d call it brain-fever.”
“Poor little boy.”
They had passed the village and struck out on the straight road by the park.
“I—I have missed you, Victor,” she burst out suddenly, looking round and laying her gloved hand on his arm.
“Hush!” he answered in a stern voice.
A second later he broke the silence by asking her if Tommy drank milk.
“No,” she returned sullenly, “he hates it.”
“That is a pity.”
When they reached the gate and turned into the avenue she found to her surprise that her eyes were full of tears. She had slept very little for nights, and her nerves were upset. She wanted a personal word from him, a look, but he gave her none.
“Theo sent you his love,” he announced presently. “He is coming down to-morrow. How is your mother?”
“All right. Victor—are you glad to see me?”
She stood still as she spoke, but he walked on, and she had to rejoin him as he answered in a matter-of-fact voice:
“Of course I am, my dear child.”
His mouth she saw was set and determined. Feeling as though he had struck her, she went on in silence, and the silence remained unbroken until they had reached the house.
“I may go to him at once?” Joyselle asked her, as Burton helped him take off his coat.
They went upstairs together, and outside the door of the boudoir he paused and took the violin out of its case.
Tommy, who was talking very loud about Alexander the Great, stared at him without recognition.
“Allo, Tommy; here I am,” Joyselle began, taking the boy’s hand. “Come to scold you for being ill and worrying us all.”