The girl huddled close to it, and according to her wont began uttering her thoughts in a whisper.
“It is that. There’s no doubt. And that is why I was so happy. He doesn’t know, that’s one comfort. Only—what on earth am I to do? I wonder if it will get worse or better, the more I see him? If only he would make some more horrible blunders, or—or what? It isn’t what he does, it’s what he is. It isn’t even the playing. I barely heard him to-night. And Theo—poor Theo! He must never suspect. But then, he never would, unless I shouted it in his ear!”
She paused and put another log on the fire.
“He will, though, unless I am very careful. He isn’t old at all, forty-two is young nowadays, and I’m sure he likes women. I daresay, if I hadn’t been engaged to Theo, he would have liked me. Most of ’em do. And I never looked better in my life than I looked to-night. Vain beast!”
Presently she got up, and roamed aimlessly about the room. The door leading into her little sitting-room was open, and she went in and switched on the light. “He wants to come in here to-morrow, and see where I live. Live! He wants to see my books. I’ll hide those French ones; they’d shock Beau-papa, I suppose, though they aren’t very bad. But what am I to do? Can I go on being engaged—can I marry Theo while I—love his father? Would marrying Theo cure me, or make it worse? And suppose he fell in love with me after we were married! And she—Gerald’s ‘clean old peasant,’ wouldn’t she be horrified? Poor old thing, she is very nice, but—and Tommy wanting to be a violinist! A nice family party, upon my word!”
She laughed harshly and pulled her dressing-gown closer about her. It was cold in here.
“I suppose I’d better tell Theo the truth—or, no, just that I’ve changed my mind. No, I can’t do that, for I’d never see him again. I want to see him; there’s no danger; he’ll never suspect me.”
Up and down the two rooms she paced, her two long black plaits hanging over her shoulders and accentuating the red-Indian character of her face. “How Gerald would gloat!” she thought suddenly, clenching her hands. “The beast!”
The stable clock struck one. She had thought that wretched old Duchess would never want to go to bed.
“I wish I could tell Pam. According to the Duchess, Pam is a mine of wisdom. But I know what she did about that Peele man, and I haven’t the courage to do that. Oh, why did I ever see Theo? Then I’d have married Ponty, and—what’s that?” Wheeling fiercely, she faced the door leading from her sitting-room into the passage. It opened noiselessly and Carron came in, dressed as she had last seen him. “Hush! don’t be frightened, Brigit. I saw your light and——”
“Well—and?” She looked as if she were about to spring at his throat, and he closed the door quietly and entered her bedroom.