“Corona—” Giovanni stopped suddenly after pronouncing her name, as though he had changed his mind while in the act of speaking.
“What is it?” she asked indifferently enough.
“Would you like to go away? I have been wondering whether it would not be better than staying here.”
She looked up in some surprise. She had thought of travelling more than once of late, but it seemed to her that to make a journey together would be only to increase the difficulties of the situation. There would be of necessity more intimacy, more daily converse than the life in Rome forced upon her. She shrank from the idea for the very reason which made it attractive to her husband.
“No,” she answered. “Why should we travel? Besides, with a child so young—”
“We might leave Orsino at home,” suggested Giovanni. He was not prepared for the look she gave him as she replied.
“I will certainly not consent to that.”
“Would you be willing to take him with you, and leave me here? You could easily find a friend to go with you—even my father. He would enjoy it immensely.”
There was the shortest possible pause before she answered him this time. It did not escape him, for he expected it.
“No. I will not do that, either. I do not care to go away. Why should I, and at such a time?”
“I think I will go alone, in that case,” said Giovanni quietly, but watching her face. She made no reply, but looked at him curiously as though she suspected him of laying a trap for her.
“You say nothing. Is silence consent?”
“I think it would be very unwise.”
“You do not answer me. Be frank, Corona. Would you not be glad to be left alone for a time?”
“Why do you insist?” she asked with a little impatience. “Are you trying to make me say something that I shall regret?”
“Would you regret it, if it were said? Why not be honest? It would be an immense relief to you if I went away. I could find an excellent excuse and nobody would guess that there was anything wrong.”
“For that matter—there is nothing wrong. Of course no one would say anything.”