Magda laughed a little.
“Is that because I told you to come and amuse me? . . . No, I don’t find it dull. Change is never really dull.”
“Well, you must find it change enough here from the sort of life you’ve been accustomed to lead.”
“How do you know what sort of life I lead?”—teasingly.
“I can guess. One has only to look at you. You’re different—different from everyone about here. The way you move—you’re like a thoroughbred amongst cart-horses.” He spoke with a kind of sullen bitterness.
Magda drew her feet up on to the rock and clasped her hands round her knees.
“Now you’re talking nonsense, you know,” she said amusedly. “Frankly, I like it down here immensely. I happened to be—rather worried when I came away from London, and there’s something very soothing and comforting about the country—particularly your lovely Devon country.”
“Worried?” Storran’s face darkened. “Who’d been worrying you?”
“Oh”—vaguely. “All sorts of things. Men—and women. But don’t let’s talk about worries to-day. This glorious sunshine makes me feel as though there weren’t any such things in the world.”
She leaned back, stretching her arms luxuriously above her head with the lithe, sensuous grace of movement which her training had made second nature. Storran’s eyes dwelt on her with a queer tensity of expression. Every gesture, every tone of her curiously attractive voice, held for him a disturbing allure which he could not analyse and against which he was fighting blindly.
He had never doubted his love for his wife. Quite honestly he had believed her the one woman in the world when he married her. Yet now he was beginning to find every hour a blank that did not bring him sight or sound of this other woman—this woman with her slender limbs and skin like a stephanotis petal, and her long Eastern eyes with the subtle lure which seemed to lie in their depths. Beside her June’s young peach-bloom prettiness faded into something colourless and insignificant.
“It must be nice to be you”—Magda nodded at him. “With no vague, indefinable sort of things to worry you.”
He smiled reluctantly.
“How do you know I haven’t?”
“Oh, because I do.”
“A woman’s reason!”
“Quite. But women’s reasons are generally very sound—we were endowed with a sixth sense, you know! Besides—it’s obvious, isn’t it? Here you are—you and June—living a simple, primitive kind of existence, all to yourselves, like Adam and Eve. And if you do have a worry it’s a real definite one—as when a cow inconveniently goes and dies or your root crop fails. Nothing intangible and uncertain about that!”
“Have you forgotten that the serpent intruded even upon Adam and Eve?” he asked quietly.
“Is that a hit at Gillian and me? I know—June told us—that you were horribly opposed to anyone’s coming here for the summer. I thought that you had got over that by now?”