He was invisible now behind his paper, which he turned with a vicious crackle; but when June came up to kiss him, he said: “Good-night, my darling,” in a tone so tremulous and unexpected, that it was all the girl could do to get out of the room without breaking into the fit of sobbing which lasted her well on into the night.
When the door was closed, old Jolyon dropped his paper, and stared long and anxiously in front of him.
‘The beggar!’ he thought. ‘I always knew she’d have trouble with him!’
Uneasy doubts and suspicions, the more poignant that he felt himself powerless to check or control the march of events, came crowding upon him.
Was the fellow going to jilt her? He longed to go and say to him: “Look here, you sir! Are you going to jilt my grand-daughter?” But how could he? Knowing little or nothing, he was yet certain, with his unerring astuteness, that there was something going on. He suspected Bosinney of being too much at Montpellier Square.
‘This fellow,’ he thought, ’may not be a scamp; his face is not a bad one, but he’s a queer fish. I don’t know what to make of him. I shall never know what to make of him! They tell me he works like a nigger, but I see no good coming of it. He’s unpractical, he has no method. When he comes here, he sits as glum as a monkey. If I ask him what wine he’ll have, he says: “Thanks, any wine.” If I offer him a cigar, he smokes it as if it were a twopenny German thing. I never see him looking at June as he ought to look at her; and yet, he’s not after her money. If she were to make a sign, he’d be off his bargain to-morrow. But she won’t—not she! She’ll stick to him! She’s as obstinate as fate—She’ll never let go!’
Sighing deeply, he turned the paper; in its columns, perchance he might find consolation.
And upstairs in her room June sat at her open window, where the spring wind came, after its revel across the Park, to cool her hot cheeks and burn her heart.
DRIVE WITH SWITHIN
Two lines of a certain song in a certain famous old school’s songbook run as follows:
’How the buttons on his blue frock shone, tra-la-la! How he carolled and he sang, like a bird!....’
Swithin did not exactly carol and sing like a bird, but he felt almost like endeavouring to hum a tune, as he stepped out of Hyde Park Mansions, and contemplated his horses drawn up before the door.
The afternoon was as balmy as a day in June, and to complete the simile of the old song, he had put on a blue frock-coat, dispensing with an overcoat, after sending Adolf down three times to make sure that there was not the least suspicion of east in the wind; and the frock-coat was buttoned so tightly around his personable form, that, if the buttons did not shine, they might pardonably have done so. Majestic