“I stealing their love!—I! And what has he done to me, pray? Do you know that I haven’t slept more than an hour at a time, for months? Do you know that I cannot get away from the horrible, haunting thought of him? That a flower, a book, a snatch of music—anything that reminds me of him, turns me cold all over and takes my breath away, so that I simply cannot speak? You are an idiot, an utter fool, to talk that way. He has ruined my life, and you say I have stolen his love!” She gasped in very truth as she ceased, and stood with one hand on her heaving breast, her face white with anger.
“You have, my dear. The man seems really to love you as a father. And you certainly have no right to that kind of affection from him! You must break your engagement.”
Suddenly, after a long pause, during which she gazed blindly at the brilliant sea, Brigit sat down, and turning, buried her face in her arms and burst out crying.
It was nervous, irregular sobbing, cut by moans and muttered words, broken by the convulsive movement of her shoulders. Pam was appalled, much as a man might have been, for she herself had never been hysterical, and this mixture of anguish and anger, given vent to so openly, was a strange and horrible thing to her.
However, she knew enough to let the storm pass without interruption, although it took nearly ten minutes for it to subside, and then, while Brigit, her face red and disfigured, sat up and smoothed back her hair and wiped her eyes, Pam spoke.
“It must be lunch-time,” she said with great wisdom, and Brigit rose, with a nod.
“I’ll go for a walk. Don’t want any lunch.”
“All right. Good-bye.”
Then they separated, Pam going up the sunny slope to her husband and children, Brigit, down through the deserted garden of a long uninhabited house, to the lonely sea.
Brigit left the villa the next morning and went straight to London. And the nearer she got to the old town which contained, for her, the very kernel of life, her spirits mounted and mounted in spite of herself. She had for so long been “down among the dead men,” as Tommy called depression, that her sudden change of mood affected her strangely.
“If I must never see him again,” she repeated over and over again aloud to herself, in the solitude of her compartment, “I shall at least see him once, and—hear him speak. I’ll make him play to me, too; and I shall see his big unseeing eyes, and his wonderful hands!” The very wheels of the train seemed to be saying, “I’ll see him, I’ll see him, I’ll see him,” and when she landed at Dover, in a pouring rain, she could have laughed aloud for sheer joy.
Her mother was living in town, in the tiny house in Pont Street, but had gone to the country for the week-end, so the girl, to her great delight, was alone with the servants.