“No, Bryan; let’s go on as we are. I’ll make up to you when I’m with you. If you were to tire of me, I couldn’t bear it.”
For a long time more he pleaded—now with anger, now with kisses, now with reasonings; but, to all, she opposed that same tender, half-mournful “No,” and, at last, he gave it up, and, in dogged silence, rowed her to the village, whence she was to take train back. It was dusk when they left the boat, and dew was falling. Just before they reached the station, she caught his hand and pressed it to her breast.
“Darling, don’t be angry with me! Perhaps I will—some day.”
And, in the train, she tried to think herself once more in the boat, among the shadows and the whispering reeds and all the quiet wonder of the river.
On reaching home she let herself in stealthily, and, though she had not had dinner, went up at once to her room. She was just taking off her blouse when Betty entered, her round face splotched with red, and tears rolling down her cheeks.
“Betty! What is it?”
“Oh, my dear, where have you been? Such a dreadful piece of news! They’ve stolen her! That wicked man—your husband—he took her right out of her pram—and went off with her in a great car—he and that other one! I’ve been half out of my mind!” Gyp stared aghast. “I hollered to a policeman. ’He’s stolen her—her father! Catch them!’ I said. ‘However shall I face my mistress?’” She stopped for breath, then burst out again. “‘He’s a bad one,’ I said. ‘A foreigner! They’re both foreigners!’ ‘Her father?’ he said. ‘Well, why shouldn’t he? He’s only givin’ her a joy ride. He’ll bring her back, never you fear.’ And I ran home—I didn’t know where you were. Oh dear! The major away and all—what was I to do? I’d just turned round to shut the gate of the square gardens, and I never saw him till he’d put his great long arm over the pram and snatched her out.” And, sitting on the bed, she gave way utterly.
Gyp stood still. Nemesis for her happiness? That vengeful wretch, Rosek! This was his doing. And she said:
“Oh, Betty, she must be crying!”
A fresh outburst of moans was the only answer. Gyp remembered suddenly what the lawyer had said over a year ago—it had struck her with terror at the time. In law, Fiorsen owned and could claim her child. She could have got her back, then, by bringing a horrible case against him, but now, perhaps, she had no chance. Was it her return to Fiorsen that they aimed at—or the giving up of her lover? She went over to her mirror, saying:
“We’ll go at once, Betty, and get her back somehow. Wash your face.”