Looking at Fiorsen, next morning, still sunk in heavy sleep, her first thought was: ‘He looks exactly the same.’ And, suddenly, it seemed queer to her that she had not been, and still was not, disgusted. It was all too deep for disgust, and somehow, too natural. She took this new revelation of his unbridled ways without resentment. Besides, she had long known of this taste of his—one cannot drink brandy and not betray it.
She stole noiselessly from bed, noiselessly gathered up his boots and clothes all tumbled on to a chair, and took them forth to the dressing-room. There she held the garments up to the early light and brushed them, then, noiseless, stole back to bed, with needle and thread and her lace. No one must know; not even he must know. For the moment she had forgotten that other thing so terrifically important. It came back to her, very sudden, very sickening. So long as she could keep it secret, no one should know that either—he least of all.
The morning passed as usual; but when she came to the music-room at noon, she found that he had gone out. She was just sitting down to lunch when Betty, with the broad smile which prevailed on her moon-face when someone had tickled the right side of her, announced:
Gyp got up, startled.
“Say that Mr. Fiorsen is not in, Betty. But—but ask if he will come and have some lunch, and get a bottle of hock up, please.”
In the few seconds before her visitor appeared, Gyp experienced the sort of excitement one has entering a field where a bull is grazing.
But not even his severest critics could accuse Rosek of want of tact. He had hoped to see Gustav, but it was charming of her to give him lunch—a great delight!
He seemed to have put off, as if for her benefit, his corsets, and some, at all events, of his offending looks—seemed simpler, more genuine. His face was slightly browned, as if, for once, he had been taking his due of air and sun. He talked without cynical submeanings, was most appreciative of her “charming little house,” and even showed some warmth in his sayings about art and music. Gyp had never disliked him less. But her instincts were on the watch. After lunch, they went out across the garden to see the music-room, and he sat down at the piano. He had the deep, caressing touch that lies in fingers of steel worked by a real passion for tone. Gyp sat on the divan and listened. She was out of his sight there; and she looked at him, wondering. He was playing Schumann’s Child Music. How could one who produced such fresh idyllic sounds have sinister intentions? And presently she said:
“Will you please tell me why you sent Daphne Wing here yesterday?”
“I send her?”
But instantly she regretted having asked that question. He had swung round on the music-stool and was looking full at her. His face had changed.