Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works eBook

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On being turned out of the nursery with the assurance that it was “all right—­only a little faint,” Fiorsen went down-stairs disconsolate.  The atmosphere of this dark house where he was a stranger, an unwelcome stranger, was insupportable.  He wanted nothing in it but Gyp, and Gyp had fainted at his touch.  No wonder he felt miserable.  He opened a door.  What room was this?  A piano!  The drawing-room.  Ugh!  No fire—­what misery!  He recoiled to the doorway and stood listening.  Not a sound.  Grey light in the cheerless room; almost dark already in the hall behind him.  What a life these English lived—­worse than the winter in his old country home in Sweden, where, at all events, they kept good fires.  And, suddenly, all his being revolted.  Stay here and face that father—­and that image of a servant!  Stay here for a night of this!  Gyp was not his Gyp, lying there with that baby beside her, in this hostile house.  Smothering his footsteps, he made for the outer hall.  There were his coat and hat.  He put them on.  His bag?  He could not see it.  No matter!  They could send it after him.  He would write to her—­say that her fainting had upset him—­that he could not risk making her faint again—­could not stay in the house so near her, yet so far.  She would understand.  And there came over him a sudden wave of longing.  Gyp!  He wanted her.  To be with her!  To look at her and kiss her, and feel her his own again!  And, opening the door, he passed out on to the drive and strode away, miserable and sick at heart.  All the way to the station through the darkening lanes, and in the railway carriage going up, he felt that aching wretchedness.  Only in the lighted street, driving back to Rosek’s, did he shake it off a little.  At dinner and after, drinking that special brandy he nearly lost it; but it came back when he went to bed, till sleep relieved him with its darkness and dreams.

XII

Gyp’s recovery proceeded at first with a sure rapidity which delighted Winton.  As the economic agent pointed out, she was beautifully made, and that had a lot to do with it!

Before Christmas Day, she was already out, and on Christmas morning the old doctor, by way of present, pronounced her fit and ready to go home when she liked.  That afternoon, she was not so well, and next day back again upstairs.  Nothing seemed definitely wrong, only a sort of desperate lassitude; as if the knowledge that to go back was within her power, only needing her decision, had been too much for her.  And since no one knew her inward feelings, all were puzzled except Winton.  The nursing of her child was promptly stopped.

It was not till the middle of January that she said to him.

“I must go home, Dad.”

The word “home” hurt him, and he only answered: 

“Very well, Gyp; when?”

“The house is quite ready.  I think I had better go to-morrow.  He’s still at Rosek’s.  I won’t let him know.  Two or three days there by myself first would be better for settling baby in.”

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