Dan was a very direct person. Having taken his decision he did not stop to count the cost. That could come afterwards. Dimly he apprehended that it might be a very heavy one. But he was strong, now—strong to do the only possible thing. As he stood with his hand on the latch of the living-room door, he wondered whether what he had to say would mean to Magda all, or even a part, of what it meant to him—wondered with a sudden uncontrollable leaping of his pulses. . . . The latch grated raucously as he jerked it up and flung open the door. Magda was standing by the window, the soft glow of the westering sun falling about her. Dan’s eyes rested hungrily on the small dark head outlined against the tender light.
“Why—Dan——” She faltered into tremulous silence before the look on his face—the aching demand of it.
The huskily sweet voice robbed him of his strength. He strode forward and caught her in his arms, staring down at her with burning eyes. Then, almost violently, he thrust her away from him, unkissed, although the soft curved lips had for a moment lain so maddeningly near his own.
“When can you and Mrs. Grey make it convenient to leave Stockleigh Farm?” he asked, his voice like iron.
The crudeness of it whipped her pride—that pride which Michael had torn down and trampled on—into fresh, indignant life.
“To leave? Why should we leave?”
Storran’s face was white under his tan.
“Because,” he said hoarsely, “because you’re coming between me and my wife. That’s why.”
THE MOONLIT GARDEN
The chintzy bedroom under the sloping roof was very still and quiet. The moonlight, streaming in through the open casement, revealed the bed unoccupied, its top-sheet neatly folded back just as when June had made her final round of the house some hours earlier, leaving everything in order for the night.
Magda, crouched by the window, glanced back at it indifferently. She did not want to go to bed. If she went, she knew she would not sleep. She felt as though she would never sleep again.
She had no idea of the time. She might have been there half an hour or half eternity—she did not know which. The little sounds of movement in the different bedrooms had gradually died down into silence, until at least the profound tranquillity and peace of night enshrouded the whole house. Only for her there was neither tranquility nor peace.
She was alone now, face to face with the news which Davilof had brought her—the news of Michael’s marriage. Throughout the rest of the day, after Davilof had gone, she had forced the matter into the background of her thoughts, and during supper she had kept up a light-hearted ripple of talk and laughter which had deceived even Gillian, convincing her that her apprehensions of the afternoon were unfounded.