It was settled for February. A house with a garden was taken in St. John’s Wood. The last month went, as all such last months go, in those intoxicating pastimes, the buying of furniture and clothes. If it were not for that, who knows how many engagement knots would slip!
And to-day they had been married. To the last, Winton had hardly believed it would come to that. He had shaken the hand of her husband and kept pain and disappointment out of his face, knowing well that he deceived no one. Thank heaven, there had been no church, no wedding-cake, invitations, congratulations, fal-lals of any kind—he could never have stood them. Not even Rosamund—who had influenza—to put up with!
Lying back in the recesses of that old chair, he stared into the fire.
They would be just about at Torquay by now—just about. Music! Who would have thought noises made out of string and wood could have stolen her away from him? Yes, they would be at Torquay by now, at their hotel. And the first prayer Winton had uttered for years escaped his lips:
“Let her be happy! Let her be happy!”
Then, hearing Markey open the door, he closed his eyes and feigned sleep.
When a girl first sits opposite the man she has married, of what does she think? Not of the issues and emotions that lie in wait. They are too overwhelming; she would avoid them while she can. Gyp thought of her frock, a mushroom-coloured velvet cord. Not many girls of her class are married without “fal-lals,” as Winton had called them. Not many girls sit in the corner of their reserved first-class compartments without the excitement of having been supreme centre of the world for some flattering hours to buoy them up on that train journey, with no memories of friends’ behaviour, speech, appearance, to chat of with her husband, so as to keep thought away. For Gyp, her dress, first worn that day, Betty’s breakdown, the faces, blank as hats, of the registrar and clerk, were about all she had to distract her. She stole a look at her husband, clothed in blue serge, just opposite. Her husband! Mrs. Gustav Fiorsen! No! People might call her that; to herself, she was Ghita Winton. Ghita Fiorsen would never seem right. And, not confessing that she was afraid to meet his eyes, but afraid all the same, she looked out of the window. A dull, bleak, dismal day; no warmth, no sun, no music in it—the Thames as grey as lead, the willows on its banks forlorn.