Of late, circumstances had combined to impress on Magda an altogether new point of view—the viewpoint from which other people might conceivably regard her actions. She had never troubled about such a thing before, nor was she finding the experience at all a pleasant one. But it helped her to understand to a certain extent—though still only in a very modified degree—the influences which had sent Michael Quarrington out of England.
And now, in the passionate relief bred of the knowledge that he was still free, that he had not gone straight from her to another woman, much of the resentful hardness which had embittered her during the last few months melted away, and she became once more the nonchalant, tantalising but withal lovable and charming personality of former days.
She was even conscious of a certain compunction for her behaviour at Stockleigh. She had been bitterly hurt herself, and since, for the moment, to experiment with a new and, to her, quite unknown type of man had amused her and helped to distract her thoughts, she had not paused to consider the possible resultant consequences to the subject of the experiment.
She endeavoured to solace herself with the belief that after she had gone he would instinctively turn to June once more, and that life on the farm would probably resume the even tenor of its way. Gradually, with the passage of time, her thoughts reverted less and less often to the happenings at Stockleigh, and the prickings of conscience—which beset her return to London—grew considerably fainter and more infrequent.
It was almost inevitable that this should be so. With the autumn came the stir and hustle of the season, with its thousand-and-one claims upon her thought and time. The management of the Imperial Theatre was nothing if not enterprising, and designed to present a series of ballets throughout the course of the winter, in the greater number of which Magda would be the bright and particular star. And in the absorption of work and the sheer joy she found in the art which she loved, the recollection of her holiday at Stockleigh slipped by degrees into the background of her mind. Fraught with such immense significance and catastrophe to those others, Dan and June—to Magda it soon came to occupy no more than an incidental niche in her memory.
Winter had slipped away, pushed from his place by the tender, resistless hands of spring. And now spring had given place to summer, and June, arms filled with flowers, was converting the earth into a garden of roses.
Magda’s car, purring its way southward along the great road from London, sped between fields that still gleamed with the first freshness of their young green, while through the open window drifted vagrant little puffs of clean country air, coming delicately to her nostrils, fragrant of leaf and bloom.