“Tommy is his name, and he is twelve. He is music-mad, and such a dear! Isn’t he, Theo?”
Brigit had never been so happy. It was all like a dream, these warm-hearted, simple-minded people, the father and mother so ready to love her for the son’s sake, the mental atmosphere so different from that to which she was accustomed. She felt younger and, somehow, better than ever before. And Theo would be very helpful to Tommy, and Tommy’s joy, in hearing Joyselle play, something very beautiful. She had sent a wire to her mother the night before at the station, but her mother would not answer it, and there were at least several hours between her and the moment when she must leave Golden Square. The very name was beautiful!
It was raining hard, and the blurred windows seemed a kind of magic barrier between her and the tiresome old world outside.
Then there came a ring at the door, and a moment later Toinon, the red-elbowed maid-of-all-work, appeared, very much alarmed, carrying a card, which she gave to Brigit.
“Oh, dear—it is poor Ponty!” ejaculated the girl, involuntarily turning to Joyselle.
“Lord Pontefract, Theo. Oh, how tiresome of mother!”
Joyselle frowned. “Do not call your mother tiresome,” he said shortly. “But who is this gentleman?”
Theo stood silently looking on. It was plain that it seemed to him quite fitting that his father should arrange the matter.
“Lord Pontefract—a friend of—of ours,” stammered Brigit, abashed by the reproof as she had not been abashed for years.
“And do you want to see him?”
“No, no; I certainly do not want to see him.”
“Then I will go and tell him so.”
“No, no. I—I had better go, don’t you think, Theo?”
Poor Pontefract seemed rather piteous to her as he was discussed, and her note had been curt and unsympathetic.
Theo looked up from his work of filling his pipe.
“I don’t know. I should do as papa says.”
“No. I must see him. I shall be back in a minute.”
She ran downstairs almost into Pontefract’s arms, for he had been left in the passage by the horrified Toinon.
“Oh—sorry!” she exclaimed. “Come in here, will you?” “Here” was the unused “salon” of the house, and in its austere ugliness would have attracted the girl’s attention at any other time. But she had now before her something she had never seen, a perfectly sober Pontefract. And though red, a little puffy, and watery as to eye, the man looked what he was, an English gentleman. Brigit felt as though she had returned to an uncongenial home after a tour into some strange, delightful country.
“I—I owe you an apology, I suppose,” she said, so simply that he stared.
“No, you don’t, Lady Brigit. You wrote me a—a very kind note. But I wanted to ask you to reconsider. I—I am unhappy.”