She crossed her wrists tight at the clasp of her waist, and letting her chin fall on her throat, shook her body fretfully, much as a pettish little girl might do. Wilfrid grimaced. “Tick-tick” was not a pathetic elegy in his ears.
“The only thing is, not to think about it,” said he. “It’s only an instrument, after all.”
“It’s the second one I’ve seen killed like a living creature,” replied Emilia.
They walked on silently, till Wilfrid remarked, that he wondered where Gambier was. She gave no heed to the name. The little quiet footing and the bowed head by his side, moved him to entreat her not to be unhappy. Her voice had another tone when she answered that she was not unhappy.
“No tears at all?” Wilfrid stooped to get a close view of her face. “I thought I saw one. If it’s about the harp, look!—you shall go into that cottage where the light is, sit there, and wait for me, and I will bring you what remains of it. I dare say we can have it mended.”
Emilia lifted her eyes. “I am not crying for the harp. If you go back I must go with you.”
“That’s out of the question. You must never be found in that sort of place again.”
“Let us leave the harp,” she murmured. “You cannot go without me. Let me sit here for a minute. Sit with me.”
She pointed to a place beside herself on the fork of a dry log under flowering hawthorn. A pale shadowy blue centre of light among the clouds told where the moon was. Rain had ceased, and the refreshed earth smelt all of flowers, as if each breeze going by held a nosegay to their nostrils.
Wilfrid was sensible of a sudden marked change in her. His blood was quicker than his brain in feeling it. Her voice now, even in common speaking, had that vibrating richness which in her singing swept his nerves.
“If you cry, there must be a cause, you know,” he said, for the sake of keeping the conversation in a safe channel.
“How brave you are!” was Emilia’s sedate exclamation, in reply.
Her cheeks glowed, as if she had just uttered a great confession, but while the colour mounted to her eyes, they kept their affectionate intentness upon him without a quiver of the lids.
“Do you think me a coward?” she relieved him by asking sharply, like one whom the thought had turned into a darker path. “I am not. I hung my head while you were fighting, because, what could I do? I would not have left you. Girls can only say, “I will perish with him.”
“But,” Wilfrid tried to laugh, “there was no necessity for that sort of devotion. What are you thinking of? It was half in good-humour, all through. Part of their fun!”
Clearly Emilia’s conception of the recent fray was unchangeable.
“And the place for girls is at home; that’s certain,” he added.
“I should always like to be where...” Her voice flowed on with singular gravity to that stop.