“She will only urge me to give up the idea all the time,” protested Magda. “And I’ve quite made up my mind. The sooner I can get away from—from everything”—looking round her with desperate, haunted eyes—“the better it will be.”
Gillian’s impulse to combat her decision to rejoin the sisterhood died on her lips stillborn. It was useless to argue the matter. There was only one person in the world who could save Magda from herself, and that was Michael. The main point was to concentrate on getting him back to England, rather than waste her energies upon what she knew beforehand must prove a fruitless argument.
“I’ll go to Marraine for a couple of nights, anyway,” said Magda at last. “After that, I want to make arrangements for my reception into the sisterhood.”
Gillian returned no answer. She felt her heart contract at the quiet decision in Magda’s voice, but she pinned her faith on Lady Arabella’s ability to hold her, somehow, till she herself had accomplished her errand to Paris.
Gillian, dashing headlong into Victoria Station, encountered Storran sauntering leisurely out of it, a newspaper under his arm.
“Where are you off to?” he demanded, stopping abruptly. “You look as if you were in a hurry.”
“I am. Don’t stop me. I’m catching the boat-train.”
Storran pulled out his watch as he turned and fell into step beside her.
“Then you’ve got a good half-hour to spare. No hurry,” he returned placidly.
Gillian glanced at the watch on her wrist.
“Are you sure?” she asked doubtfully. “If so, my watch must be altogether wrong!”
“Unbeliever! Come and look at the clock. And, incidentally, give me that suit-case.”
She yielded up the case obediently and, having verified the time, proceeded towards the platform at a more reasonable gait.
Storran, his long legs leisurely keeping pace with her shorter ones, smiled down at her.
“And now, for the second time of asking, where are you off to?”
“I’m going to France—to fetch Michael.”
He gave a quick exclamation—whether of surprise or disapproval she was not quite sure.
“You haven’t heard from him, then?”
“No. And unless something happens quick, it will be too late.”
“But if he were at his studio he would surely have answered Lady Arabella’s letter.”
“Yes, I suppose so,” replied Gillian absently, her eyes following the queue of passengers passing through the gate on the platform. By mutual consent they had come to a standstill outside it.
“Then if he isn’t there, what’s the use of your rushing over to Paris?” protested Storran. “It’s absurd—an absolute wild-goose chase. You can’t go!”
Gillian’s brown eyes came back to his face.