It was nearly dark, but she could just see that his white face was drawn and hideous with anger.
“What are you doing here?” she cried, drawing back, but furious in her turn.
“What are you doing here? You—you!”
“You have been spying on me,” she returned with a good assumption of courage that she was very far from feeling. “Well—I have been to talk to Mr. Joyselle. Have you any objection to my doing so?”
“Objection? Yes, I have. You have fooled us all. Engaged to the boy, and—I have always known that you didn’t care for that child, and wondered—Now I know.” He laughed shrilly. “And other people shall know, too! Your mother will be pleased, and—the clean peasant! I only wonder you haven’t married that poor wretch. The situation would then be even more—biblical.”
She tried to pass him, but he barred her way. “If you don’t let me go, I will call for M. Joyselle. And if he doesn’t hear me, someone else will. Do you understand?”
He did not answer, and looking at him carefully for a moment she was for the first time terrified. His eyes were not those of a sane man.
“Gerald, don’t be nasty,” she urged, gently. “Surely you must see that there is no harm in my coming to see Joyselle! In a month or two he will be my father-in-law.”
He sneered. “Ah, bah! I saw your face as you passed the last window. It was not the face of a girl coming from her future father-in-law. It was the face——”
Before he could finish a door opened on the floor above and two children came downstairs, chattering gaily to each other. Brigit turned to the elder, a boy of six, dressed in a quaintly cut green blouse.
“Is your papa at home, my dear?” she asked.
The child laughed. “My papa is dead,” he answered cheerfully, “but Uncle Chris is there.”
Brigit looked at Carron for a moment, and then went downstairs with her hand on the little boy’s shoulder. “And what is your name?” she asked.
“I’m Bob Seymour, and this is Patty. Uncle Chris has been painting us. He gives us a shilling apiece each time.”
“How very nice.” Patty, who wore as obviously artistic a costume as her brother’s, thumped noisily from behind them, and a few seconds later Brigit had kissed her unconscious but all-powerful bodyguard and jumped into the hansom.
If a man had come instead of the children, almost anything might have happened, for she had no doubt that Carron’s sanity was approaching snapping-point, but the innocent courage of Bob and Patty had quieted him.
Brigit had a very unpleasant drive home, but the romantic cabby was delightfully thrilled. As it happened, he had been “crawling” for some minutes before Brigit had engaged him in Sloane Square, and had noticed her being accosted by Carron.