“I wonder if—if you ever loved me.”
He wheeled round, and the desperate misery in his eyes hurt her almost physically.
“Yes,” he said harshly. “I did love you. In a way, I do now. But it’s nothing—nothing to the madness in my blood! I’m a brute to leave you. But I’m going to do it. No civilised country can hold me now!”
So that was to be the end of it! June recognised the bitter truth at last. Magda had indeed robbed her of everything she possessed. And robbed her wantonly, seeing that she herself set no value on Dan’s love—had, in fact, tossed it aside like an outworn plaything.
June ceased to plead with Dan then. She would not wish to hold him by any other chain than his love for her. And if that chain had snapped—broken irrevocably—then the child born of what had once been love would only be an encumbrance in his eyes, an unwelcome tie, shackling him to a duty from which he longed to escape.
So she let him go—let him go in silence. . . .
WHAT LADY ARABELLA KNEW
Lady Arabella might disapprove of her god-daughter from every point of the compass, but she was nevertheless amazingly fond of her, so that when Gillian appeared on her spotless Park Lane doorstep one afternoon with the information that she and Magda had returned from Devonshire, she hailed the announcement with enthusiasm.
“But where is Magda? Why didn’t she come with you?” she demanded impatiently.
“Her manager rang up to know if he could see her about various things in connection with this next winter’s season, so there’s a great council in progress. But she’s coming to see you to-morrow. Won’t I do”—Gillian wrinkled her brows whimsically—“for to-day?”
“Bless the child! Of course you will! Come along and tell me all about your Devonshire trip. I suppose,” she went on, “you heard the news of Michael Quarrington’s marriage? Or didn’t you get any newspapers down in your benighted village?”
“No, we had no London papers,” replied Gillian doubtfully. “But—I don’t understand. Mr. Quarrington isn’t married, is he? I thought—I thought——”
“You thought he was in love with Magda. So he was. The announcement startled everybody, I can tell you! And Davilof promptly decided that a motoring trip would benefit his health and shot off to Devonshire at top speed. Of course he wanted to impart the news to Magda. He must have felt a pretty fool since!” And Lady Arabella gave one of her enjoyable chuckles.
“Yes. Antoine came down to see us,” replied Gillian in puzzled tones. “But Magda never confided anything special he had said. I suppose he must have told her——” She broke off as all at once illumination penetrated the darkness. “That explains it, then! Explains everything!” she exclaimed.
“What explains what?” demanded Lady Arabella bluntly.