Were they both grown up, or both children? Or was he grown and she a child, or was she a grown-up and he a child? It was very puzzling and very absurd. She wanted to rage and she wanted to laugh.
She laughed. Because as she turned towards the disinterested spectator on the sofa, Joyselle came in, his face bearing such a reflection of the expression she felt to be in her own that she could not resist.
“Bon. It is laugh, then?” he cried, kissing her hands. “It appears Belle-Ange has a temper, too! Let us forget all about it. Felicite, my dear, bring us Hydromel, and we will drink forgetfulness.” He opened the door of the cage, and William the Conqueror came mincing out, waddling on his inturned toes like some fat, velvet-clad dowager.
Hydromel is a Norman liqueur, thick and cloying. Brigit loathed it, but could not resist Joyselle, who, the parrot on his left wrist, poured the sweet stuff into little glasses and handed one to her.
“Item: forget that we both have bad tempers,” he said, striking his glass against hers. “Item; remember that we are both good in our hearts; item, remember that father and daughter must be patient with each other.”
As she drained her glass Theo came in and laughed as he saw what they were doing.
“A reconciliation already?” he cried. “Papa, what have you been up to?”
“We have both been correcting and being corrected. Bon, c’est fini!”
“My dear Gerald, anyone would think I wanted her to do it!” Lady Kingsmead’s voice was very fretful, for Carron had done nothing but talk to her about Brigit for the last fortnight, and though she knew that his old love for herself was dead and buried, yet she enjoyed having an occasional flower of speech laid on its grave.
“I really believe you are in love with her,” she went on after a pause, as he did not answer.
“But it certainly looks like it. You do nothing but talk about her.”
Carron roused himself with an effort from the treadmill line of thought that had tortured him ever since Brigit’s engagement. “My dear Tony, you are absurd. You know perfectly well that I have never loved any woman but you. You have led me a dog’s life for years; you prevented my getting on in my career, because it amused you to have me dangling about——”
Lady K. Oh, Gerald,
will you ever forget that horrible
winter when you went to India?
No, Tony! (In petto) She can’t
love the boy. That much is quite impossible!
Lady K. The awful cables
you used to send me? Heavens, how
I cried every night, Gerry! And how horrid Kingsmead was that year!
You were always such an abominable
flirt! (In petto) If I only knew why she hates me so! God! it’s
worse than hatred; it’s loathing.