It seemed many minutes before Joyselle spoke. Then he said briskly, “The pros and cons are many, Theo. Brigit will tell you them later. And there are—clothes to be got, are there not? And I must go away in a few days—to Madrid, and shall be gone three weeks. It might be well for you to marry at once, say early in June, or—you might wait until the autumn.”
He lit a cigarette and Brigit drew a deep breath of relief. Thank God, he was hedging, and could not make up his mind.
“I do not wish to wait,” announced Theo, with unexpected and terrible decision. “I can see no reason for it, pere. Brigit, let it be early in June.”
Joyselle’s match fell to the floor, and his cigarette was still unlit.
“I think I have been patient,” pursued the young man, his voice trembling a little. “Ah, father, I love her, and I want my wife.”
Joyselle’s arm jerked and the unlit cigarette flew out into the darkness. “You are right,” he began abruptly, but Brigit drew nearer to him and in the darkness laid her hand on his.
“He is right in one way, Beau-pere” she said, grasping his hand with spasmodic strength, “and I am a brute, but I should so much rather wait a little longer. I have reasons, Theo.”
Joyselle caught her hand in his, and gave a great laugh.
“Oh, mes enfants, mes enfants,” he cried. “When lovers disagree, who is to decide but—chance? Come, Theo, your chances shall be the same as hers. Heads you win, tails you lose. Agreed?”
Staggering back into the light, his face flushed, his teeth flashing in a broad smile, he took a sixpence from his pocket. “You both agree?”
Theo nodded in silence and Brigit answered simply “Yes.”
The coin shot from the violinist’s thumb-nail, flew up into the air and was caught on his palm, his left hand covering it.
“Heads, then, a June wedding. Tails, then mees has her way, and the event is put off till autumn? Right?”
Theo had turned away, and Brigit was free to look full into Joyselle’s face. It was a wonderful face in its absolute oneness of expression. There were no complications, no remorse, nothing but wild and fierce love of gambling, and hope that the woman he loved should remain free a little longer.
Theo walked into the ballroom without a word, and Brigit found herself close in his father’s arms for a wild moment. “We have won, mon adoree, mon adoree,” he murmured. “Thank God!”
She drew away, trying to remember prudence.
“Yes. Then—this summer is ours. And in the autumn——”
“It is not even summer yet. Do not think of it. We shall be happy, Brigitte, for you are my woman and I am your man. And the future—oh, never mind the future, my love, my love!”