The music ceased, and there was a long pause. Then, without a word, Joyselle left the room, closing the door softly behind him.
The morning of the fifth day after his arrival Joyselle went downstairs early, and out into the garden.
He looked, as he felt, very tired, for he had been with Tommy most of the time, day and night, and played until even his great strength was nearly exhausted.
For Tommy had clung to his presence in a very piteous way, crying weakly, since the fever had gone, every time the Master left the room, restless and unable to sleep unless played to, capricious and naughty about his food unless the Master sat by him while he ate.
Many children are disquietingly good during serious illness, and Tommy had been very patient while at his worst; but once on the road to recovery, the natural imp in him revived and flourished, making the road a hard one for his fellow-travellers.
There had been a phase when he smuggled his food under the bedclothes, pretending with diabolical cleverness to eat it; when the milk left by his side was poured out of the window the moment he had been left alone. But Joyselle, discovering these crimes, had taken to sitting by the boy when his meals were brought, and with him Tommy was almost painfully eager to be good.
The danger, Dr. Long declared, was now over, and within a week the invalid was to be moved to Margate.
In a few hours Joyselle was returning to town, and he was glad, for the strains, more than one, to which his stay had subjected him, were telling on his nerves.
The rose-garden, even in mid-September, was a pleasant place, and as he walked along its broad grass paths the violinist wished it were July, and that the fine standard roses might be in bloom. He loved flowers, and with the curiously rapid assimilation of superficial knowledge common to artistic natures, had picked up a considerable amount of rose-lore at the house of some friends in Devonshire.
There was one big yellow rose on a bush near the middle of the garden, and bending over it, he buried his nose in it.
Brigit had joined him unheard, and stood looking at him, her hand held out. “Let me give you that rose.”
But he shook his head. “No, let it die there. It is so beautiful among the leaves. You are up early.”
“Yes. I saw you from the window, and brought you your letters.” She handed him several as she spoke.
“And—I want to thank you for staying. It is you, and only you, who have saved Tommy.”
He nodded gravely. “I love Tommy. We must not let him overwork again, Brigit.”
Joyselle turned over his letters without looking at them. “Did Theo speak to you the other day about—our—that is to say, his plan?”