“Does mother want me?” she asked, rising.
“No. I—just wondered what you were doing.”
“I brought Lady Brigit here because I wanted to talk to her,” explained Joyselle, mildly. Carron laughed.
“So do I want to talk to her!”
Brigit gave a nervous laugh. “Let’s all go downstairs and talk there. My conversation isn’t usually so appreciated.”
The two men followed her in silence, and to her immense relief were both promptly accosted by someone of the party, and she could escape to her window seat.
What would have happened if Carron had not come, she asked herself with a shudder. Would her strength have come back, and would she have been able to tell Joyselle that he must make no plans for her wedding?
Until she had known his father, Theo had never seemed to her to lack personality; he was young, but his very boyishness was individual. Yet now with Joyselle clamouring for her to fix her wedding-day, Theo seemed to fade into insignificance, and her task to become that of breaking the news of her intended rupture with the son, to the father.
And as she sat there in the background watching the members of the little party as they smoked and chatted to each other, she gave up and resolved on flight. “If I told Theo he would rush to his father,” she thought, “and then Joyselle would come to me. And we’d quarrel, and then anything might happen.” His utter unconsciousness was at once a safeguard and a menace.
“I’ll say nothing until he is safe in Normandy,” she decided.
There is on an olive-covered slope near the Mediterranean a certain shabby pink villa which is remarkable for one thing. In it, years ago, dwelt for a long time a man and a woman who, having no legal right to love, yet not only loved, but were perfectly happy. They lived almost alone, they had little money, the house was shabby even then, they had few servants and but indifferent Italian food, and nothing but old-fashioned tin baths to wash in. Yet they were English, and they were happy because they loved each other so much that nothing else mattered. Now this phrase about nothing else mattering is as common in love affairs as the pathetic abuse of the poor old word eternity; but in the case I instance, it fitted. Nothing else did matter. Not even, to any extent, the presence of the one child that had come to them. Contrary to all ethical and reasonable law, these two sinners were happy in their pink house by the sea, and years after they had left it there seemed to hang about the old place a kind of atmosphere of romance, as if the sun and the moon, that have seen so much changeableness, loved still to look down at the place where two human beings had been faithful to each other.
These two people were Pamela Lensky’s father and mother, and hither came, early in the November that followed her meeting with Victor Joyselle, Lady Brigit Mead as the guest of the Lenskys. And here she stayed, while the mild, sunny winter days drifted by unmarked, a silent, ungenial guest.