“I don’t see why.”
The girl frowned. “You are you, and I am I. When I lose my temper I lose my head and behave like a lunatic. I’d—let it all out as sure as we both live. And then——” She broke off with a shrug.
“But, Brigit dear, I don’t quite understand. What does Theo think of your being here all the winter? And the father, doesn’t he think it strange?”
“No. You see, Joyselle went away from England in November, and was detained for two months; his mother was ill. When I left, I told Theo I’d write to him once a week, but that I wanted a long rest before—before I saw him again. I lied, and said I wasn’t well.
“Then when Joyselle came back he wrote to me, saying I must come home. I wrote him a disagreeable note, practically telling him to mind his own business. He was angry—and besides, he was working hard, and didn’t write again until this morning.”
“Oh, I see.”
“Theo has been—fairly contented—and I have been trying to tide things over—no, I haven’t, I’ve just funked it, Pam. I don’t know what I’m to do. I’ve loved being here, for you and M. de Lensky are so good to me—but I’m afraid he might come——”
“No,” sharply, “Joyselle. He adores Theo and would hack me to pieces if it would do him any good. And—well, I’m afraid of him.”
Pam, in like case, would have faced the whole family, successfully broken her engagement, protected her own secret, and done her hiding afterwards, but she was too wise to say so.
“I am sorry for Theo,” she remarked presently.
“So am I. And for Tommy, too. Tommy has been staying in Golden Square ever since Joyselle came home, and he is so happy, poor child. It’s—all hideous. Will you read his letter?”
There was no need for Pam to ask whose letter, as she took it, and felt Brigit’s hot, dry fingers tremble against her own.
“My dear Daughter,” she read, “you must come back to us. We want you. Theo says nothing, but I can see how he misses you, and surely it is but natural? And petite mere and I want you. Surely you have had enough of the South? It is unfitted for you, my beautiful one. You are too strong to like warm air in the winter. Come back and go out into the fog with me, and let the chill rain dampen your hair. Come back to your lover who sighs for you, to your old adoring Beau-papa who longs to see again the face of his beautiful child. “Joyselle.”
“Brigit—you must go.”
Brigit poked at a clump of moss among the tangled roots of the tree under which they sat, and sulked.
“You must, dear. And—you must buck up and break the engagement. It isn’t fair,” continued Pam, energetically, “to go on stealing their love.”