“Now will you look at Lady Agnes Blundell spilling coffee all over my carpet. She did the same thing the other night at the Beaufoys’! I really believe the woman drinks, or something. What were you saying, my dear? Oh, how is your young man?”
Brigit did not smile. To-morrow was coming.
“I—I haven’t seen any young men since I got back, Duchess.”
“Oh, well, you tell him from me that his father is a wretch. Is there a wife? I think someone said there was—well, she probably doesn’t know all I know.” The old woman pulled down her mouth in comic disapproval.
“What—is it?” queried Brigit.
“Oh, nothing, only—a very beautiful foreign actress, a lady famous for her—plastic beauties. Voisin, my hairdresser—you know Voisin? Delightful person, and the most indiscreet man in London—tells me they dined together every evening at a little French place near Leicester Square, where he dines. And it appears your future papa-in-law was furiously epris, or still is—possibly! You will have to keep him in order. What is it, Bishop?”
The butler, whose name, the Duchess had been known to declare, explained why no Anglican or other prelate ever dined or lunched with her—“It is so confusing, my dear; suppose I should say ’Bishop, see if Mrs. Snooks’ carriage has come’”—came quietly up to the sofa. “Her ladyship’s carriage, your Grace.”
Brigit rose. “Yes, I fear I must run away. Thanks so much for having me——”
And when the men came in she had gone.
When she reached Golden Square she found the house in a blaze of light, and smiled. It was like Joyselle to celebrate her return by illuminating his every window; it would have been like him to put up a triumphal arch; to have a big supper awaiting her; these things belonged to the side of his nature that clamoured for expression in white satin ties.
For a moment she sat still in the motor, while the footman held the door open.
“Come back at half-past eleven, Jarvis,” she told the man, and got out.
The door was opened by Toinon, somewhat to Brigit’s surprise—for it would have been more like Joyselle to rush downstairs on hearing her motor stop, but the reason was soon plainly comprehensible, for Joyselle was playing. It was evidently earlier than they had expected her. Slipping off her cloak and with a finger to her lips, she went quietly upstairs and stood leaning against the side of the door.
It was wild music that she heard; music that made the blood in her temples and throat pulse harder than ever. Breathing deep, she waited for the climax, and when it came, quietly opened the door.