Gyp went back to her seat by the bed. Irony! She whose only desire was to be let go free, was mainly responsible for his breakdown! But for her, there would be nothing on his mind, for he would not be married! Brooding morbidly, she asked herself—his drinking, debts, even the girl—had she caused them, too? And when she tried to free him and herself—this was the result! Was there something fatal about her that must destroy the men she had to do with? She had made her father unhappy, Monsieur Harmost—Rosek, and her husband! Even before she married, how many had tried for her love, and gone away unhappy! And, getting up, she went to a mirror and looked at herself long and sadly.
Three days after her abortive attempt to break away, Gyp, with much heart-searching, wrote to Daphne Wing, telling her of Fiorsen’s illness, and mentioning a cottage near Mildenham, where—if she liked to go—she would be quite comfortable and safe from all curiosity, and finally begging to be allowed to make good the losses from any broken dance-contracts.
Next morning, she found Mr. Wagge with a tall, crape-banded hat in his black-gloved hands, standing in the very centre of her drawing-room. He was staring into the garden, as if he had been vouchsafed a vision of that warm night when the moonlight shed its ghostly glamour on the sunflowers, and his daughter had danced out there. She had a perfect view of his thick red neck in its turndown collar, crossed by a black bow over a shiny white shirt. And, holding out her hand, she said:
“How do you do, Mr. Wagge? It was kind of you to come.”
Mr. Wagge turned. His pug face wore a downcast expression.
“I hope I see you well, ma’am. Pretty place you ’ave ’ere. I’m fond of flowers myself. They’ve always been my ’obby.”
“They’re a great comfort in London, aren’t they?”
“Ye-es; I should think you might grow the dahlia here.” And having thus obeyed the obscure instincts of savoir faire, satisfied some obscurer desire to flatter, he went on: “My girl showed me your letter. I didn’t like to write; in such a delicate matter I’d rather be vivey vocey. Very kind, in your position; I’m sure I appreciate it. I always try to do the Christian thing myself. Flesh passes; you never know when you may have to take your turn. I said to my girl I’d come and see you.”