“But your dress!” cried Madame Joyselle, in horror.
“An apron, and I will twist up the tail of the dragon and pin it at the waist, and—oh, come, come, come, it will be such fun!”
Down the stairs they ran, the three, leaving Madame Joyselle to turn out all but one light, and to put another log on the dying fire.
Filled by the relentless spirit of coquetry that had suddenly awakened in her, Brigit Mead danced about the great white kitchen, teasing Joyselle, making love to his wife, laughing openly at Theo’s admiration. She, always so silent, chattered like a magpie; she, the uninterested, flushed with intoxicating nonsense; the three people before her were her audience, and she played to them individually, a different role for each; they were her slaves, and she piped her magic music to them until they were literally dazed. Then, suddenly, she whisked off her blue apron and unpinned the dragon’s tail.
“The omelet was good,” she said, “but it is eaten. And it is to-morrow morning and the motor will be frozen. Come, mon maitre, play one beautiful thing to me before I fly away from you—something very beautiful that I may dream of it.”
And he played to her as she had never heard him. If the omelet had been a magic wine, he could not have been more inspired!
His face took on the look it usually wore while he played, and solemnly and reverently he stood, his eyes half shut, him mouth set in noble lines. He had forgotten Brigit, but sub-consciously he was playing for her, and she knew it, and appreciated the tribute, which was all the greater because offered without intent.
She watched him unceasingly, and gradually, as the music went on, her heart sank, and she realised that she had done a most unworthy thing. The feeling she had had that last evening at home came back to her, the feeling that he was a child in horrible danger. Only this time it was she who had deliberately led him into the danger. And his unconsciousness of his peril hurt her so, that as he stopped playing she could have cried to him to go away, to run to the ends of the earth, where she could not reach him.
“You liked it?” he asked gently, and the question seemed so pathetically inadequate, and so plainly emphasised the innocence of his mind, that tears came to her eyes.
“Yes,” she said in a very quiet voice, “thank you, dear papa.” But this time there was no malice in the term, and when she said good-night to him at the motor door, it was simply and filially. Then she turned to Theo, and he, looking hastily up and down the quiet street, put his head in at the window and kissed her.
And that was the beginning of a most extraordinary phase of Brigit Mead’s life.
For the next four months she saw Joyselle almost daily. She never broached the subject of her engagement being broken, its permanence was taken for granted by everyone, and Tommy’s indefinitely prolonged visit to Golden Square would, if anything more than the fact of her engagement had been necessary, have explained her constant presence there.