“Beloved!” he whispered. “My beloved!”
Michael and Magda stood together on the deck of the crippled yacht which now rocked idly on a quite placid sea. Dusk was falling. That first glorious, irrecoverable hour when love had come into its own was past, and the consideration of things mundane was forcing itself on their notice—more especially consideration of their particular plight.
“It looks rather as though we may have to spend the night here,” observed Quarrington, his eyes scanning the channel void of any welcome sight of sail or funnel.
Magda’s brows drew together in a little troubled frown.
“Marraine and Gillian will be frightfully worried and anxious,” she said uneasily. It was significant of the gradual alteration in her outlook that this solicitude for others should have rushed first of anything to her lips.
“Yes.” He spoke with a curious abruptness. “Besides, that’s not the only point. There’s—Mrs. Grundy.”
Magda shrugged her shoulders and laughed.
“Well, if it’s to come to a choice between Mrs. Grundy and Davy Jones, I think I should decide to face Mrs. Grundy! Anyway, people can’t say much more—or much worse—things about me than they’ve said already.”
Quarrington frowned moodily.
“I’d like to kick myself for bringing you out to-day and landing you into this mess. I can’t stand the idea of people gossiping about you.”
“They’ve left me very little reputation at any time. A little less can’t hurt me.”
His eyes grew stormy.
“Don’t!” he said sharply. “I hate to hear you talk like that.”
“But it’s true! No public woman gets a fair chance.”
“You will—when you’re my wife,” he said between his teeth. “I’ll see to that.”
Magda glanced at him swiftly.
“Then you don’t want me to—to give up dancing after we’re married?”
“Certainly I don’t. I shall want you to do just as you like. I’ve no place for the man who asks his wife to ‘give up’ things in order to marry him. I’ve no more right to ask you to give up dancing than you have to ask me to stop painting.”
Magda smiled at him radiantly.
“Saint Michel, you’re really rather nice,” she observed impertinently. “So few men are as sensible as that. I shall call you the ‘Wise Man,’ I think.”
“In spite of to-day?” he queried whimsically, with a rueful glance at the debris of mast and canvas huddled on the deck.
“Because of to-day,” she amended softly. “It’s—it’s very wise to be in love, Michael.”
He drew her into his arms and his lips found hers.
“I think it is,” he agreed.
Another hour went by, and still there came no sign of any passing vessel.
“Why the devil isn’t there a single tug passing up and down just when we happen to want one?” demanded Quarrington irately of the unresponsive universe. He swung round on Magda. “I suppose you’re starving?” he went on, in his voice a species of savage discontent—that unreasonable fury to which masculine temperament is prone when confronted with an obstacle which declines to yield either to force or persuasion.