“Please, sir, the driver says can he have his fare, or do you want him again? Twelve shillings.”
Fiorsen stared at her a moment in the way that—as the maid often said—made you feel like a silly.
“No. Pay him.”
The girl glanced at Gyp, answered: “Yes, sir,” and went out.
Fiorsen laughed; he laughed, holding his sides. It was droll coming on the top of his assertion, too droll! And, looking up at her, he said:
“That was good, wasn’t it, Gyp?”
But her face had not abated its gravity; and, knowing that she was even more easily tickled by the incongruous than himself, he felt again that catch of fear. Something was different. Yes; something was really different.
“Did I hurt you last night?”
She shrugged her shoulders and went to the window. He looked at her darkly, jumped up, and swung out past her into the garden. And, almost at once, the sound of his violin, furiously played in the music-room, came across the lawn.
Gyp listened with a bitter smile. Money, too! But what did it matter? She could not get out of what she had done. She could never get out. Tonight he would kiss her; and she would pretend it was all right. And so it would go on and on! Well, it was her own fault. Taking twelve shillings from her purse, she put them aside on the bureau to give the maid. And suddenly she thought: ’Perhaps he’ll get tired of me. If only he would get tired!’ That was a long way the furthest she had yet gone.
They who have known the doldrums—how the sails of the listless ship droop, and the hope of escape dies day by day—may understand something of the life Gyp began living now. On a ship, even doldrums come to an end. But a young woman of twenty-three, who has made a mistake in her marriage, and has only herself to blame, looks forward to no end, unless she be the new woman, which Gyp was not. Having settled that she would not admit failure, and clenched her teeth on the knowledge that she was going to have a child, she went on keeping things sealed up even from Winton. To Fiorsen, she managed to behave as usual, making material life easy and pleasant for him—playing for him, feeding him well, indulging his amorousness. It did not matter; she loved no one else. To count herself a martyr would be silly! Her malaise, successfully concealed, was deeper—of the spirit; the subtle utter discouragement of one who has done for herself, clipped her own wings.
As for Rosek, she treated him as if that little scene had never taken place. The idea of appealing to her husband in a difficulty was gone for ever since the night he came home drunk. And she did not dare to tell her father. He would—what would he not do? But she was always on her guard, knowing that Rosek would not forgive her for that dart of ridicule. His insinuations about Daphne