She felt his hot breath on her cheek, and felt rather than saw the scintillations of his wonderful eyes, which sent a thrill through her; so, utterly exhausted and worn out by the overpowering nervous force possessed by this man, she surrendered.
‘Yes,’ she whispered, clinging to him with dry lips and a beating heart; ‘I will come!’ Then her overstrained nature gave way, and with a burst of tears she threw herself on his breast.
Gaston let her sob quietly for some time, satisfied with having gained his end, and knowing that she would soon recover. At last Kitty grew calmer, and drying her eyes, she rose to her feet wan and haggard, as if she was worn out for the want of sleep, and not by any manner of means looking like a girl who was in love. This appearance was caused by the revolt of her religious training against doing what she knew was wrong. In her breast a natural instinct had been fighting against an artificial one; and as Nature is always stronger than precept, Nature had conquered.
‘My dear Bebe,’ said Vandeloup, rising also, and kissing her white cheek, ’you must go home now, and get a little sleep; it will do you good.’
‘But you?’ asked Kitty, in a low voice, as they walked slowly along.
‘Oh, I,’ said M. Vandeloup, airily; ’I am going to the Wattle Tree Hotel to see my friend Pierre off to Melbourne.’
Then he exerted himself to amuse Kitty as they walked down to town, and succeeded so well that by the time they reached Lydiard Street, where Kitty left him to go up to Black Hill, she was laughing as merrily as possible. They parted at the railway crossing, and Kitty went gaily up the white dusty road, while M. Vandeloup strolled leisurely along the street on his way to the Wattle Tree Hotel.
When he arrived he found that Pierre’s box had come, and was placed outside his door, as no one had been brave enough to venture inside, although Miss Twexby assured them he was unarmed—showing the knife as a proof.
Gaston, however, dragged the box into the room, and having made Pierre dress himself in his new clothes, he packed all the rest in a box, corded it, and put a ticket on it with his name and destination, then gave the dumb man the balance of his wages. It was now about six o’clock, so Vandeloup went down to dinner; then putting Pierre and his box into the cab, stepped in himself and drove off.
The promise of rain in the afternoon was now fulfilled, and it was pouring in torrents. The gutters were rivers, and every now and then through the driving rain came the bluish dart of a lightning flash.
‘Bah!’ said Vandeloup, with a shiver, as they got out on the station platform, ‘what a devil of a night.’
He made the cab wait for him, and, having got Pierre’s ticket, put him in a second-class carriage and saw that his box was safely placed in the luggage-van. The station was crowded with people going and others coming to say goodbye; the rain was beating on the high-arched tin roof, and the engine at the end of the long train was fretting and fuming like a living thing impatient to be gone.