Gyp hardly slept at all. Three times she got up, and, stealing to the door, looked in at her sleeping baby, whose face in its new bed she could just see by the night-light’s glow. The afternoon had shaken her nerves. Nor was Betty’s method of breathing while asleep conducive to the slumber of anything but babies. It was so hot, too, and the sound of the violin still in her ears. By that little air of Poise, she had known for certain it was Fiorsen; and her father’s abrupt drawing of the curtains had clinched that certainty. If she had gone to the window and seen him, she would not have been half so deeply disturbed as she was by that echo of an old emotion. The link which yesterday she thought broken for good was reforged in some mysterious way. The sobbing of that old fiddle had been his way of saying, “Forgive me; forgive!” To leave him would have been so much easier if she had really hated him; but she did not. However difficult it may be to live with an artist, to hate him is quite as difficult. An artist is so flexible—only the rigid can be hated. She hated the things he did, and him when he was doing them; but afterward again could hate him no more than she could love him, and that was—not at all. Resolution and a sense of the practical began to come back with daylight. When things were hopeless, it was far better to recognize it and harden one’s heart.
Winton, whose night had been almost as sleepless—to play like a beggar in the street, under his windows, had seemed to him the limit!—announced at breakfast that he must see his lawyer, make arrangements for the payment of Fiorsen’s debts, and find out what could be done to secure Gyp against persecution. Some deed was probably necessary; he was vague on all such matters. In the meantime, neither Gyp nor the baby must go out. Gyp spent the morning writing and rewriting to Monsieur Harmost, trying to express her chagrin, but not saying that she had left Fiorsen.
Her father came back from Westminster quiet and angry. He had with difficulty been made to understand that the baby was Fiorsen’s property, so that, if the fellow claimed it, legally they would be unable to resist. The point opened the old wound, forced him to remember that his own daughter had once belonged to another— father. He had told the lawyer in a measured voice that he would see the fellow damned first, and had directed a deed of separation to be prepared, which should provide for the complete payment of Fiorsen’s existing debts on condition that he left Gyp and the baby in peace. After telling Gyp this, he took an opportunity of going to the extempore nursery and standing by the baby’s cradle. Until then, the little creature had only been of interest as part of Gyp; now it had for him an existence of its own—this tiny, dark-eyed creature, lying there, watching him so gravely, clutching his finger. Suddenly the baby smiled—not a beautiful smile, but it made on Winton an indelible impression.