Lady Kingsmead, laid upon Carron’s bed, came to in a few minutes in violent hysterics, and the young doctor, when he had given her a soothing draught, insisted on the two women leaving.
“I must send for the coroner,” he explained, “and it will be unpleasant. Your cab is still at the door, I think? May I have your address?”
He was very civil and sympathetic, this young medico, but he was also rather too obviously impressed by his own importance and this gruesome occasion. Brigit gave him the address of her flat, and helping her mother into a four-wheeler, as more suitable than a hansom, the two women drove away towards Kensington.
“I hadn’t been in his room for years,” sobbed Lady Kingsmead, forgetting her complexion. “Did you see the pastel of me on the wall between the windows? And I gave him the clock, too, for his thirty-fifth birthday. Oh, Brigit! He loved me insanely, poor Gerald, perfectly madly, and so did I.” She broke off, to her daughter’s relief, and sobbed again.
Brigit’s flat was warm and smelt unaired. Two or three letters lay on the mat inside the door, a huge blue-bottle boomed at a window trying to get out.
Lady Kingsmead lay down on Maidie Compton’s Chesterfield and wept loudly. “Oh, Gerald, Gerald, how we loved each other,” she wailed. “He would have died for me. He very nearly killed himself——”
Suddenly the foolish woman sat up and pointed an accusing finger at her daughter. “And it is all your fault,” she cried bitterly; “he said so in that letter—my poor love. Your fault, and you my daughter. You broke his heart, you tortured him, and you took him from me. I—I hate you.”
Brigit stared coldly at her. “Don’t make a fool of yourself, mother,” she said. “You know perfectly well that there is not a word of truth in what you say.”
“There is, there is! It was when you began to grow up that he ceased loving me. It is all your fault. He wrote it to you. You are to blame; you murdered him, his blood is on your head! And I scolded him when he told me about you and Joyselle. I refused to believe him. Oh, Gerald, Gerald!”
How much she believed of what she said it is impossible to say, but her lack of self-control and her immense egotism were such that together they made a formidable force to argue against.
Brigit sneered as she looked down at her. “For Heaven’s sake, don’t be so ridiculous,” she said impatiently. “And don’t—lie.”
“I am not lying. He told me about you and Joyselle, and I believe him. Yes I do, I believe him. You are in love with the man, and that’s why you don’t marry his son——”
“Look here, mother,” Brigit’s temper was rising fast. “Answer one question quietly, will you? Do you believe what Gerald Carron told you about me and Joyselle?”
And Lady Kingsmead, whose hysterical excitement was now well beyond control, screamed out that she did believe it.