He bent down against the eider-down. She could hear him drawing long, sobbing breaths, and, in the midst of her lassitude and hopelessness, a sort of pity stirred her. What did it matter? She said, in a choked voice:
“Very well, I forgive.”
The human creature has wonderful power of putting up with things. Gyp never really believed that Daphne Wing was of the past. Her sceptical instinct told her that what Fiorsen might honestly mean to do was very different from what he would do under stress of opportunity carefully put within his reach.
Since her return, Rosek had begun to come again, very careful not to repeat his mistake, but not deceiving her at all. Though his self-control was as great as Fiorsen’s was small, she felt he had not given up his pursuit of her, and would take very good care that Daphne Wing was afforded every chance of being with her husband. But pride never let her allude to the girl. Besides, what good to speak of her? They would both lie—Rosek, because he obviously saw the mistaken line of his first attack; Fiorsen, because his temperament did not permit him to suffer by speaking the truth.
Having set herself to endure, she found she must live in the moment, never think of the future, never think much of anything. Fortunately, nothing so conduces to vacuity as a baby. She gave herself up to it with desperation. It was a good baby, silent, somewhat understanding. In watching its face, and feeling it warm against her, Gyp succeeded daily in getting away into the hypnotic state of mothers, and cows that chew the cud. But the baby slept a great deal, and much of its time was claimed by Betty. Those hours, and they were many, Gyp found difficult. She had lost interest in dress and household elegance, keeping just enough to satisfy her fastidiousness; money, too, was scarce, under the drain of Fiorsen’s irregular requirements. If she read, she began almost at once to brood. She was cut off from the music-room, had not crossed its threshold since her discovery. Aunt Rosamund’s efforts to take her into society were fruitless—all the effervescence was out of that, and, though her father came, he never stayed long for fear of meeting Fiorsen. In this condition of affairs, she turned more and more to her own music, and one morning, after she had come across some compositions of her girlhood, she made a resolution. That afternoon she dressed herself with pleasure, for the first time for months, and sallied forth into the February frost.
Monsieur Edouard Harmost inhabited the ground floor of a house in the Marylebone Road. He received his pupils in a large back room overlooking a little sooty garden. A Walloon by extraction, and of great vitality, he grew old with difficulty, having a soft corner in his heart for women, and a passion for novelty, even for new music, that was unappeasable. Any fresh discovery would bring a tear rolling down his mahogany cheeks into his clipped grey beard, the while he played, singing wheezily to elucidate the wondrous novelty; or moved his head up and down, as if pumping.