“Sorry, old chap!”
“What time is it?”
Summerhay uttered an unintelligible sound, and, turning over on the other arm, pretended to snooze down again. But he slept no more. Instead, he saw her face, heard her voice, and felt again the touch of her warm, gloved hand.
At the opera, that Friday evening, they were playing “Cavalleria” and “Pagliacci”—works of which Gyp tolerated the first and loved the second, while Winton found them, with “Faust” and “Carmen,” about the only operas he could not sleep through.
Women’s eyes, which must not stare, cover more space than the eyes of men, which must not stare, but do; women’s eyes have less method, too, seeing all things at once, instead of one thing at a time. Gyp had seen Summerhay long before he saw her; seen him come in and fold his opera hat against his white waistcoat, looking round, as if for—someone. Her eyes criticized him in this new garb—his broad head, and its crisp, dark, shining hair, his air of sturdy, lazy, lovable audacity. He looked well in evening clothes. When he sat down, she could still see just a little of his profile; and, vaguely watching the stout Santuzza and the stouter Turiddu, she wondered whether, by fixing her eyes on him, she could make him turn and see her. Just then he did see her, and his face lighted up. She smiled back. Why not? She had not so many friends nowadays. But it was rather startling to find, after that exchange of looks, that she at once began to want another. Would he like her dress? Was her hair nice? She wished she had not had it washed that morning. But when the interval came, she did not look round, until his voice said:
“How d’you do, Major Winton? Oh, how d’you do?”
Winton had been told of the meeting in the train. He was pining for a cigarette, but had not liked to desert his daughter. After a few remarks, he got up and said:
“Take my pew a minute, Summerhay, I’m going to have a smoke.”
He went out, thinking, not for the first time by a thousand: ’Poor child, she never sees a soul! Twenty-five, pretty as paint, and clean out of the running. What the devil am I to do about her?’
Summerhay sat down. Gyp had a queer feeling, then, as if the house and people vanished, and they two were back again in the railway-carriage—alone together. Ten minutes to make the most of! To smile and talk, and enjoy the look in his eyes, the sound of his voice and laugh. To laugh, too, and be warm and nice to him. Why not? They were friends. And, presently, she said, smiling:
“Oh, by the way, there’s a picture in the National Gallery, I want you to look at.”
“Yes? Which? Will you take me?”
“If you like.”
“To-morrow’s Saturday; may I meet you there? What time? Three?”