Brigit, who had stood quite still, now spoke. “Then—you believe him now?”
“Yes, I do!” lied Lady Kingsmead, goaded by the sneer on her daughter’s fierce mouth.
There was a long pause, and then Brigit Mead went to the door.
“I am sorry I lost my temper and made such a beast of myself,” she said slowly, “and—I will never speak to you again as long as I live.”
She closed the door gently and went upstairs to her room.
It was done now, decided, her boats were burnt. From this day henceforth she would be spoken of as the queer Mead girl who doesn’t live with her mother.
While she dressed for dinner she laid her plans with the quickness native to her. She would dine and dance at the Newlyns, and then she would go to the Joyselles’ for the night.
The next day she would go and talk to a girl friend who had a flat in huge and horrible “Mansions” out Kensington way. She would live alone with a maid; and she would have to pinch and scrape—but that would not matter. And then—Joyselle would come to see her, and very probably some day they would lose their heads, and it would be her mother’s fault. There was much satisfaction in this reflection, for she ignored the fact that in all probability the crisis had been only precipitated by her mother’s speech.
There was Tommy. Well, Joyselle would be good to him for her sake. And even if Tommy should elect to come and live with her, her mother could not prevent his doing so. She would fuss and cry and tell all her friends how ungrateful her children were, but in the end Tommy’s firmness would prevail.
She laughed as she got out of the carriage at the Newlyns. By great good luck Joyselle was dining there, and Theo coming only to the dance.
“I will tell him,” she thought, and her heart gave a great throb and then sank warmly into its place at the thought of seeing him. “He will turn slowly and hold his shoulders stiffly and try to look indifferent,” she thought, “but oh—his eyes!”
The Sparrow and the Cassowary were much delighted with their own dinner and their own ball.
Freddy Newlyn was a kindly little man, with an absurd fussy manner full of importance, as so many kindly little men have. Is it by some gentle providential dispensation that the physically insignificant are so often upheld by harmless vanity?
The Cassowary, on the other hand, bony and distressingly red in the wrong places, suffered from a realisation of her own defects that she endeavoured to conceal by an assumption of the wildest high spirits. This jocularity, of course, became at times rather painful, but as she was possessed of much money and a kind heart, it was forgiven her.
The dinner was very large, and the guests sat at small tables all over the place—a delightful invention of the Cassowary’s, who screamed with piercing glee at the excitement displayed as lots were drawn for the different tables.