But that afternoon, at the end of a long gallop on the downs, she turned her head away and said suddenly:
“Is she a huntress?”
In his laziest voice, he answered:
“I suppose you mean—does she hunt me?”
She knew that tone, that expression on his face, knew he was angry; but could not stop herself.
“So you’re going to become jealous, Gyp?”
It was one of those cold, naked sayings that should never be spoken between lovers—one of those sayings at which the heart of the one who speaks sinks with a kind of dismay, and the heart of the one who hears quivers. She cantered on. And he, perforce, after her. When she reined in again, he glanced into her face and was afraid. It was all closed up against him. And he said softly:
“I didn’t mean that, Gyp.”
But she only shook her head. He had meant it—had wanted to hurt her! It didn’t matter—she wouldn’t give him the chance again. And she said:
“Look at that long white cloud, and the apple-green in the sky—rain to-morrow. One ought to enjoy any fine day as if it were the last.”
Uneasy, ashamed, yet still a little angry, Summerhay rode on beside her.
That night, she cried in her sleep; and, when he awakened her, clung to him and sobbed out:
“Oh! such a dreadful dream! I thought you’d left off loving me!”
For a long time he held and soothed her. Never, never! He would never leave off loving her!
But a cloud no broader than your hand can spread and cover the whole day.
The summer passed, and always there was that little patch of silence in her heart, and in his. The tall, bright days grew taller, slowly passed their zenith, slowly shortened. On Saturdays and Sundays, sometimes with Winton and little Gyp, but more often alone, they went on the river. For Gyp, it had never lost the magic of their first afternoon upon it—never lost its glamour as of an enchanted world. All the week she looked forward to these hours of isolation with him, as if the surrounding water secured her not only against a world that would take him from her, if it could, but against that side of his nature, which, so long ago she had named “old Georgian.” She had once adventured to the law courts by herself, to see him in his wig and gown. Under that stiff grey crescent on his broad forehead,