“Have you seen?” he said.
Laurence nodded. His expression, as a rule so tell-tale of his emotions, baffled Keith utterly.
“I’ve been expecting it.”
“The thing can’t stand—that’s certain. But I must have time to look into the report. I must have time to see what I can do. D’you understand me, Larry—I must have time.” He knew he was talking at random. The only thing was to get them away at once out of reach of confession; but he dared not say so.
“Promise me that you’ll do nothing, that you won’t go out even till I’ve seen you to-morrow morning.”
Again Laurence nodded. And Keith looked at the girl. Would she see that he did not break that promise? Her eyes were still fixed immovably on Larry’s face. And with the feeling that he could get no further, Keith turned to go.
“Promise me,” he said.
Laurence answered: “I promise.”
He was smiling. Keith could make nothing of that smile, nor of the expression in the girl’s eyes. And saying: “I have your promise, I rely on it!” he went.
To keep from any woman who loves, knowledge of her lover’s mood, is as hard as to keep music from moving the heart. But when that woman has lived in suffering, and for the first time knows the comfort of love, then let the lover try as he may to disguise his heart—no use! Yet by virtue of subtler abnegation she will often succeed in keeping it from him that she knows.
When Keith was gone the girl made no outcry, asked no questions, managed that Larry should not suspect her intuition; all that evening she acted as if she knew of nothing preparing within him, and through him, within herself.
His words, caresses, the very zest with which he helped her to prepare the feast, the flowers he had brought, the wine he made her drink, the avoidance of any word which could spoil their happiness, all—all told her. He was too inexorably gay and loving. Not for her—to whom every word and every kiss had uncannily the desperate value of a last word and kiss—not for her to deprive herself of these by any sign or gesture which might betray her prescience. Poor soul—she took all, and would have taken more, a hundredfold. She did not want to drink the wine he kept tilting into her glass, but, with the acceptance learned by women who have lived her life, she did not refuse. She had never refused him anything. So much had been required of her by the detestable, that anything required by a loved one was but an honour.