Once Theo had urged her to set their wedding-day, but she had put him off and he had never again opened the question. That the young man was not, could not possibly be, perfectly satisfied with the state of affairs, she knew very well, but that, she told herself, she could not help.
She lived on from day to day, more simply and with less self-analysis, in spite of her curious position, than ever before in her life, for the inevitable day of reckoning seemed to be the affair of the Brigit of the future, whereas the Brigit of each day was concerned only with those particular twenty-four hours. It was enough to live in close companionship with the man she loved, and when, as occasionally she tried to do, she reasoned to herself about it, her mind seemed paralysed and utterly refused to make plans of any kind. So, twisting to her own purposes, as people do, the saying about the evil of the day being unto itself sufficient, she let time slip away unremarked and spring came.
It was a cold rainy season that year, with chill dark mornings and flickerings of pale sunshine later on.
People talked much about the weather, and pretty women shivered in their light finery. Tommy, who went home for a fortnight in April, reported that things in the country were deplorable.
“Everyone has colds, and Mr. Smith says there is diphtheria at Spinny Major. Green is disgusted, and from what I can gather from his cheery reports, everyone is going to be ruined by agricultural depression. The Mother of Hundreds has nine new pups—rather good ones.”
This was at the end of April, and Lord Kingsmead was coiled in a big chair in his sister’s room in Pont Street. Mr. Babington, his tutor, had just gone for a walk, poor man. Tommy’s attitude to him had from the first been one of polite tolerance, and Mr. Babington’s bump of humour being imperfectly developed, he in return regarded his charge with something like horror.
A boy of twelve, who knew only the very first principles of Latin (Mr. Babington was number three, the other two having proved unsatisfactory to their employer-pupil), and knew the multiplication table only up to “eight-times,” disturbed his tidy little mind. There was, moreover, a youth in Sydenham who clamoured for Mr. Babington, and who was after that much-tried young Oxonian’s heart. But Mr. Babington stayed on, for—there was Brigit, and in the evenings the tutor locked his door, smoked asthma cigarettes, and wrote sonnets by the yard to the Enchantress.
Tommy, of course, had at once perceived the first shoots of the hapless young man’s baby passion as it sprang up in his heart—which did not make it easier to bear, but still Mr. Babington stayed on.
“He’ll never go, Bick,” complained Tommy that afternoon, after his remarks on Kingsmead. “I even tried smoking the other day, but he had a handkerchief of yours that you left on the hall table, and was so bucked that he barely noticed my iniquity. He is a poisonous person!”