“I thought as much,” she commented, as he almost whimpered in his helpless annoyance.
“You are so rough, Brigit. Tony always says you are so rough.”
“Yes, I am. Well—I am sorry for you, Gerald. When did you begin?”
“Oh—long ago. But—I seem to need more of late.”
“Took it at first to make you sleep, I suppose?”
“Yes. And then—well you see, I like it. And it’s nobody’s business,” he finished defiantly.
“That’s true. Would you like some tea?”
“Oh, yes, Brigit. You are kind. It is good of you to forgive me.”
“I haven’t forgiven you,” she retorted, going to the tea table, “but I am sorry for you. Where have you been of late?”
“Oh, all about, as usual. I came up from Morecambe yesterday. Rotten party. Have you seen your mother?”
Brigit’s lips tightened. “No.”
“I saw her three weeks ago. She is very much hurt by your behaviour.”
“Broken-hearted, I should think!”
“Well, she’s queer enough, I grant you, and not over-motherly, but—she is your mother when all’s said and done.”
The girl watched the kettle boil and said nothing.
“Tommy is coming on wonderfully with his violin, isn’t he?” pursued Carron.
“Does he come here often?”
She looked up, frowning. “You know perfectly well that he has never been here,” she returned shortly. “Do you like your tea strong?”
“Yes, please, no milk. Well—you must miss him.”
“And you know perfectly well that I see him twice a week at Joyselle’s.”
Carron took his cup with trembling hands and set it down carefully on the table.
“You needn’t snap my head off,” he observed.
“No. But why play comedy? Mother has told you all about it, so I can’t see the use of this sort of humbug.”
He was silent for a moment, and then began in a new voice. “Brigit, I—I really have something to say to you.”
“What is it?”
“It’s this. That day—the last time I saw you, you know, your mother was standing up for you when you came in. She—refused to believe me when I, when I——”
“I know. But when I came in she was——”
“She was simply being good to me. Look here, Brigit, really and truly, she was. She went for me when I said—that. And your coming in in a temper was what—upset the apple-cart.”
Brigit raised her eyebrows.
“Right. Now let’s talk about something else. When did you see Tommy?”
“A week ago. He is in town now.”
“I know. I shall see him to-morrow.”
“Brigit—you can see what a wreck I am. Tell me. Are you going to marry that boy?”
She rose. “I am a model of patience, Gerald, but you have asked enough questions.”