So, in nature, when the seasons are about to change, the days pass, tranquil, waiting for the wind that brings in the new. And was it not natural to sit under the trees, by the flowers and the water, the pigeons and the ducks, that wonderful July? For all was peaceful in Gyp’s mind, except, now and then, when a sort of remorse possessed her, a sort of terror, and a sort of troubling sweetness.
Summerhay did not wear his heart on his sleeve, and when, on the closing-day of term, he left his chambers to walk to that last meeting, his face was much as usual under his grey top hat. But, in truth, he had come to a pretty pass. He had his own code of what was befitting to a gentleman. It was perhaps a trifle “old Georgian,” but it included doing nothing to distress a woman. All these weeks he had kept himself in hand; but to do so had cost him more than he liked to reflect on. The only witness of his struggles was his old Scotch terrier, whose dreams he had disturbed night after night, tramping up and down the long back-to-front sitting-room of his little house. She knew—must know—what he was feeling. If she wanted his love, she had but to raise her finger; and she had not raised it. When he touched her, when her dress disengaged its perfume or his eyes traced the slow, soft movement of her breathing, his head would go round, and to keep calm and friendly had been torture.
While he could see her almost every day, this control had been just possible; but now that he was about to lose her—for weeks—his heart felt sick within him. He had been hard put to it before the world. A man passionately in love craves solitude, in which to alternate between fierce exercise and that trance-like stillness when a lover simply aches or is busy conjuring her face up out of darkness or the sunlight. He had managed to do his work, had been grateful for having it to do; but to his friends he had not given attention enough to prevent them saying: “What’s up with old Bryan?” Always rather elusive in his movements, he was now too elusive altogether for those who had been accustomed to lunch, dine, dance, and sport with him. And yet he shunned his own company—going wherever strange faces, life, anything distracted him a little, without demanding real attention. It must be confessed that he had come unwillingly to discovery of the depth of his passion, aware that it meant giving up too much. But there are women who inspire feeling so direct and simple that reason does not come into play; and he had never asked himself whether Gyp was worth loving, whether she had this or that quality, such or such virtue. He wanted her exactly as she was; and did not weigh her in any sort of balance. It is possible for men to love passionately, yet know that their passion is but desire, possible for men to love for sheer spiritual worth, feeling that the loved one lacks this or that charm.