The boy was so happy, so incoherently, innocently jubilant, that if she had in her room for another feeling, it would have been one of pity for him. But there was no room. She was filled with triumph, and a full vessel can contain not one drop more of however precious a liquid.
“Ma Brigitte—mon adoree—que je t’ai desiree!” stammered the boy. “Why did you stay so long? Why was it so long? But, now, it is over and you are here. You have come to me—you, a queen to her slave!”
His delightful face was wet with unconscious tears as they sat together, and his voice trembled. For a moment she wished she could love him. It would be so much more fitting, so much better—and then the demon in her laughed. No. It was his father she loved, and who, if she chose, should love her.
Madame Joyselle came in, splendid in a new brown silk dress that fitted her as its skin fits a ripe grape, her face beaming with joy in her son’s joy. She gazed in amazement at Brigit before the younger woman bent and kissed her, and then sat down and folded her hands, as was her way.
“You look like a beautiful dragon—doesn’t she, Theo?” she asked, “doesn’t she, Victor?”
Joyselle had returned with a look of having just brushed his hair. He looked smoothed down in some way and was a little pale.
“My faith, she does, ma vieille,” he returned. “When she opened the door I was so startled that I—guess what I did, children? Dropped the Amati!” When they had stopped exclaiming he went on, gradually, but with a perceptible effort getting back his usual tone, “and stood and gasped like a young prince in a fairy-tale, didn’t I, Most Beautiful?”
She smiled, but she was not pleased. “You did—Beau-papa,” she answered. “I didn’t know I was so beautiful. I have been dining out, hence the dragon’s skin. It is a nice frock, isn’t it?” she ended, artistically casual.
And then there were questions to be asked, stories to be told, and an hour and a half passed like five minutes.
No more was said about the length of her untimely visit to Italy, but much about the days in the near future. Would she go to see “Peter Pan” the next night? And would she dine first at a little restaurant, where the cooking was a thing to dream of?
And would she do several other things?
She would. She would do all these things. But—she would not go to a certain little restaurant near Leicester Square, of which she had heard. Joyselle blushed scarlet and for a moment looked as though he intended to thunder out a severe reproof at her. Then she smiled at him with narrowed eyes, and he said nothing.
At about half-past eleven an idea occurred to her. She wanted an omelet. Like the first time. And she must borrow an apron and help make the omelet; and it must be full of little savoury green things, and be flopped in the long-handled frying-pan.