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“Your cousin–Diana.”

In his laziest voice, he answered:

“I suppose you mean–does she hunt me?”

She knew that tone, that expression on his face, knew he was angry; but could not stop herself.

“I did.”

“So you’re going to become jealous, Gyp?”

It was one of those cold, naked sayings that should never be spoken between lovers–one of those sayings at which the heart of the one who speaks sinks with a kind of dismay, and the heart of the one who hears quivers. She cantered on. And he, perforce, after her. When she reined in again, he glanced into her face and was afraid. It was all closed up against him. And he said softly:

“I didn’t mean that, Gyp.”

But she only shook her head. He HAD meant it–had wanted to hurt her! It didn’t matter–she wouldn’t give him the chance again. And she said:

“Look at that long white cloud, and the apple-green in the sky– rain to-morrow. One ought to enjoy any fine day as if it were the last.”

Uneasy, ashamed, yet still a little angry, Summerhay rode on beside her.

That night, she cried in her sleep; and, when he awakened her, clung to him and sobbed out:

“Oh! such a dreadful dream! I thought you’d left off loving me!”

For a long time he held and soothed her. Never, never! He would never leave off loving her!

But a cloud no broader than your hand can spread and cover the whole day.


The summer passed, and always there was that little patch of silence in her heart, and in his. The tall, bright days grew taller, slowly passed their zenith, slowly shortened. On Saturdays and Sundays, sometimes with Winton and little Gyp, but more often alone, they went on the river. For Gyp, it had never lost the magic of their first afternoon upon it–never lost its glamour as of an enchanted world. All the week she looked forward to these hours of isolation with him, as if the surrounding water secured her not only against a world that would take him from her, if it could, but against that side of his nature, which, so long ago she had named “old Georgian.” She had once adventured to the law courts by herself, to see him in his wig and gown. Under that stiff grey crescent on his broad forehead, he seemed so hard and clever–so of a world to which she never could belong, so of a piece with the brilliant bullying of the whole proceeding. She had come away feeling that she only possessed and knew one side of him. On the river, she had that side utterly–her lovable, lazy, impudently loving boy, lying with his head in her lap, plunging in for a swim, splashing round her; or with his sleeves rolled up, his neck bare, and a smile on his face, plying his slow sculls down- stream, singing, “Away, my rolling river,” or puffing home like a demon in want of his dinner. It was such a blessing to lose for a few hours each week this growing consciousness that she could never have the whole of him. But all the time the patch of silence grew, for doubt in the heart of one lover reacts on the heart of the other.

When the long vacation came, she made an heroic resolve. He must go to Scotland, must have a month away from her, a good long rest. And while Betty was at the sea with little Gyp, she would take her father to his cure. She held so inflexibly to this resolve, that, after many protests, he said with a shrug:

“Very well, I will then–if you’re so keen to get rid of me.”

“Keen to get rid!” When she could not bear to be away from him! But she forced her feeling back, and said, smiling:

“At last! There’s a good boy!” Anything! If only it would bring him back to her exactly as he had been. She asked no questions as to where, or to whom, he would go.

Tunbridge Wells, that charming purgatory where the retired prepare their souls for a more permanent retirement, was dreaming on its hills in long rows of adequate villas. Its commons and woods had remained unscorched, so that the retired had not to any extent deserted it, that August, for the sea. They still shopped in the Pantiles, strolled the uplands, or flourished their golf-clubs in the grassy parks; they still drank tea in each other’s houses and frequented the many churches. One could see their faces, as it were, goldened by their coming glory, like the chins of children by reflection from buttercups. From every kind of life they had retired, and, waiting now for a more perfect day, were doing their utmost to postpone it. They lived very long.

Gyp and her father had rooms in a hotel where he could bathe and drink the waters without having to climb three hills. This was the first cure she had attended since the long-past time at Wiesbaden. Was it possible that was only six years ago? She felt so utterly, so strangely different! Then life had been sparkling sips of every drink, and of none too much; now it was one long still draft, to quench a thirst that would not be quenched.

During these weeks she held herself absolutely at her father’s disposal, but she lived for the post, and if, by any chance, she did not get her daily letter, her heart sank to the depths. She wrote every day, sometimes twice, then tore up that second letter, remembering for what reason she had set herself to undergo this separation. During the first week, his letters had a certain equanimity; in the second week they became ardent; in the third, they were fitful–now beginning to look forward, now moody and dejected; and they were shorter. During this third week Aunt Rosamund joined them. The good lady had become a staunch supporter of Gyp’s new existence, which, in her view, served Fiorsen right. Why should the poor child’s life be loveless? She had a definitely low opinion of men, and a lower of the state of the marriage-laws; in her view, any woman who struck a blow in that direction was something of a heroine. And she was oblivious of the fact that Gyp was quite guiltless of the desire to strike a blow against the marriage-laws, or anything else. Aunt Rosamund’s aristocratic and rebellious blood boiled with hatred of what she called the “stuffy people” who still held that women were men’s property. It had made her specially careful never to put herself in that position.

She had brought Gyp a piece of news.

“I was walking down Bond Street past that tea-and-tart shop, my dear–you know, where they have those special coffee-creams, and who should come out of it but Miss Daphne Wing and our friend Fiorsen; and pretty hangdog he looked. He came up to me, with his little lady watching him like a lynx. Really, my dear, I was rather sorry for him; he’d got that hungry look of his; she’d been doing all the eating, I’m sure. He asked me how you were. I told him, ‘Very well.’

“‘When you see her,’ he said, ‘tell her I haven’t forgotten her, and never shall. But she was quite right; this is the sort of lady that I’m fit for.’ And the way he looked at that girl made me feel quite uncomfortable. Then he gave me one of his little bows; and off they went, she as pleased as Punch. I really was sorry for him.”

Gyp said quietly:

“Ah! you needn’t have been, Auntie; he’ll always be able to be sorry for himself.”

A little shocked at her niece’s cynicism, Aunt Rosamund was silent. The poor lady had not lived with Fiorsen!

That same afternoon, Gyp was sitting in a shelter on the common, a book on her knee–thinking her one long thought: ‘To-day is Thursday–Monday week! Eleven days–still!’–when three figures came slowly toward her, a man, a woman, and what should have been a dog. English love of beauty and the rights of man had forced its nose back, deprived it of half its ears, and all but three inches or so of tail. It had asthma–and waddled in disillusionment. A voice said:

“This’ll do, Maria. We can take the sun ‘ere.”

But for that voice, with the permanent cold hoarseness caught beside innumerable graves, Gyp might not have recognized Mr. Wagge, for he had taken off his beard, leaving nothing but side-whiskers, and Mrs. Wagge had filled out wonderfully. They were some time settling down beside her.

“You sit here, Maria; you won’t get the sun in your eyes.”

“No, Robert; I’ll sit here. You sit there.”

“No, YOU sit there.”

“No, I will. Come, Duckie!”

But the dog, standing stockily on the pathway was gazing at Gyp, while what was left of its broad nose moved from side to side. Mr. Wagge followed the direction of its glance.

“Oh!” he said, “oh, this is a surprise!” And fumbling at his straw hat, he passed his other hand over his sleeve and held it out to Gyp. It felt almost dry, and fatter than it had been. While she was shaking it, the dog moved forward and sat down on her feet. Mrs. Wagge also extended her hand, clad in a shiny glove.

“This is a–a–pleasure,” she murmured. “Who WOULD have thought of meeting you! Oh, don’t let Duckie sit against your pretty frock! Come, Duckie!”

But Duckie did not move, resting his back against Gyp’s shin-bones. Mr. Wagge, whose tongue had been passing over a mouth which she saw to its full advantage for the first time, said abruptly:

“You ‘aven’t come to live here, ‘ave you?”

“Oh no! I’m only with my father for the baths.”

“Ah, I thought not, never havin’ seen you. We’ve been retired here ourselves a matter of twelve months. A pretty spot.”

“Yes; lovely, isn’t it?”

“We wanted nature. The air suits us, though a bit–er–too irony, as you might say. But it’s a long-lived place. We were quite a time lookin’ round.”

Mrs. Wagge added in her thin voice:

“Yes–we’d thought of Wimbledon, you see, but Mr. Wagge liked this better; he can get his walk, here; and it’s more–select, perhaps. We have several friends. The church is very nice.”

Mr. Wagge’s face assumed an uncertain expression. He said bluffly:

“I was always a chapel man; but–I don’t know how it is–there’s something in a place like this that makes church seem more–more suitable; my wife always had a leaning that way. I never conceal my actions.”

Gyp murmured:

“It’s a question of atmosphere, isn’t it?”

Mr. Wagge shook his head.

“No; I don’t hold with incense–we’re not ‘Igh Church. But how are YOU, ma’am? We often speak of you. You’re looking well.”

His face had become a dusky orange, and Mrs. Wagge’s the colour of a doubtful beetroot. The dog on Gyp’s feet stirred, snuffled, turned round, and fell heavily against her legs again. She said quietly:

“I was hearing of Daisy only to-day. She’s quite a star now, isn’t she?”

Mrs. Wagge sighed. Mr. Wagge looked away and answered:

“It’s a sore subject. There she is, making her forty and fifty pound a week, and run after in all the papers. She’s a success–no doubt about it. And she works. Saving a matter of fifteen ‘undred a year, I shouldn’t be surprised. Why, at my best, the years the influenza was so bad, I never cleared a thousand net. No, she’s a success.”

Mrs. Wagge added:

“Have you seen her last photograph–the one where she’s standing between two hydrangea-tubs? It was her own idea.”

Mr. Wagge mumbled suddenly:

“I’m always glad to see her when she takes a run down in a car. But I’ve come here for quiet after the life I’ve led, and I don’t want to think about it, especially before you, ma’am. I don’t– that’s a fact.”

A silence followed, during which Mr. and Mrs. Wagge looked at their feet, and Gyp looked at the dog.

“Ah!–here you are!” It was Winton, who had come up from behind the shelter, and stood, with eyebrows slightly raised. Gyp could not help a smile. Her father’s weathered, narrow face, half-veiled eyes, thin nose, little crisp, grey moustache that did not hide his firm lips, his lean, erect figure, the very way he stood, his thin, dry, clipped voice were the absolute antithesis of Mr. Wagge’s thickset, stoutly planted form, thick-skinned, thick-featured face, thick, rather hoarse yet oily voice. It was as if Providence had arranged a demonstration of the extremes of social type. And she said:

“Mr. and Mrs. Wagge–my father.”

Winton raised his hat. Gyp remained seated, the dog Duckie being still on her feet.

“‘Appy to meet you, sir. I hope you have benefit from the waters. They’re supposed to be most powerful, I believe.”

“Thank you–not more deadly than most. Are you drinking them?”

Mr. Wagge smiled.

“Nao!” he said, “we live here.”

“Indeed! Do you find anything to do?”

“Well, as a fact, I’ve come here for rest. But I take a Turkish bath once a fortnight–find it refreshing; keeps the pores of the skin acting.”

Mrs. Wagge added gently:

“It seems to suit my husband wonderfully.”

Winton murmured:

“Yes. Is this your dog? Bit of a philosopher, isn’t he?”

Mrs. Wagge answered:

“Oh, he’s a naughty dog, aren’t you, Duckie?”

The dog Duckie, feeling himself the cynosure of every eye, rose and stood panting into Gyp’s face. She took the occasion to get up.

“We must go, I’m afraid. Good-bye. It’s been very nice to meet you again. When you see Daisy, will you please give her my love?”

Mrs. Wagge unexpectedly took a handkerchief from her reticule. Mr. Wagge cleared his throat heavily. Gyp was conscious of the dog Duckie waddling after them, and of Mrs. Wagge calling, “Duckie, Duckie!” from behind her handkerchief.

Winton said softly:

“So those two got that pretty filly! Well, she didn’t show much quality, when you come to think of it. She’s still with our friend, according to your aunt.”

Gyp nodded.

“Yes; and I do hope she’s happy.”

“HE isn’t, apparently. Serves him right.”

Gyp shook her head.

“Oh no, Dad!”

“Well, one oughtn’t to wish any man worse than he’s likely to get. But when I see people daring to look down their noses at you–by Jove! I get–“

“Darling, what does that matter?”

Winton answered testily:

“It matters very much to me–the impudence of it!” His mouth relaxed in a grim little smile: “Ah, well–there’s not much to choose between us so far as condemning our neighbours goes. ‘Charity Stakes–also ran, Charles Clare Winton, the Church, and Mrs. Grundy.'”

They opened out to each other more in those few days at Tunbridge Wells than they had for years. Whether the process of bathing softened his crust, or the air that Mr. Wagge found “a bit–er–too irony, as you might say,” had upon Winton the opposite effect, he certainly relaxed that first duty of man, the concealment of his spirit, and disclosed his activities as he never had before–how such and such a person had been set on his feet, so and so sent out to Canada, this man’s wife helped over her confinement, that man’s daughter started again after a slip. And Gyp’s child-worship of him bloomed anew.

On the last afternoon of their stay, she strolled out with him through one of the long woods that stretched away behind their hotel. Excited by the coming end of her self-inflicted penance, moved by the beauty among those sunlit trees, she found it difficult to talk. But Winton, about to lose her, was quite loquacious. Starting from the sinister change in the racing-world– so plutocratic now, with the American seat, the increase of bookmaking owners, and other tragic occurrences–he launched forth into a jeremiad on the condition of things in general. Parliament, he thought, especially now that members were paid, had lost its self-respect; the towns had eaten up the country; hunting was threatened; the power and vulgarity of the press were appalling; women had lost their heads; and everybody seemed afraid of having any “breeding.” By the time little Gyp was Gyp’s age, they would all be under the thumb of Watch Committees, live in Garden Cities, and have to account for every half-crown they spent, and every half-hour of their time; the horse, too, would be an extinct animal, brought out once a year at the lord-mayor’s show. He hoped–the deuce–he might not be alive to see it. And suddenly he added: “What do you think happens after death, Gyp?”

They were sitting on one of those benches that crop up suddenly in the heart of nature. All around them briars and bracken were just on the turn; and the hum of flies, the vague stir of leaves and life formed but a single sound. Gyp, gazing into the wood, answered:

“Nothing, Dad. I think we just go back.”

“Ah–My idea, too!”

Neither of them had ever known what the other thought about it before!

Gyp murmured:

“La vie est vaine–
Un peu d’amour,
Un peu de haine,
Et puis bonjour!”

Not quite a grunt or quite a laugh emerged from the depths of Winton, and, looking up at the sky, he said:

“And what they call ‘God,’ after all, what is it? Just the very best you can get out of yourself–nothing more, so far as I can see. Dash it, you can’t imagine anything more than you can imagine. One would like to die in the open, though, like Whyte- Melville. But there’s one thing that’s always puzzled me, Gyp. All one’s life one’s tried to have a single heart. Death comes, and out you go! Then why did one love, if there’s to be no meeting after?”

“Yes; except for that, who would care? But does the wanting to meet make it any more likely, Dad? The world couldn’t go on without love; perhaps loving somebody or something with all your heart is all in itself.”

Winton stared; the remark was a little deep.

“Ye-es,” he said at last. “I often think the religious johnnies are saving their money to put on a horse that’ll never run after all. I remember those Yogi chaps in India. There they sat, and this jolly world might rot round them for all they cared–they thought they were going to be all right themselves, in Kingdom Come. But suppose it doesn’t come?”

Gyp murmured with a little smile:

“Perhaps they were trying to love everything at once.”

“Rum way of showing it. And, hang it, there are such a lot of things one can’t love! Look at that!” He pointed upwards. Against the grey bole of a beech-tree hung a board, on which were the freshly painted words:



“That board is stuck up all over this life and the next. Well, WE won’t give them the chance to warn us off, Gyp.”

Slipping her hand through his arm, she pressed close up to him.

“No, Dad; you and I will go off with the wind and the sun, and the trees and the waters, like Procris in my picture.”


The curious and complicated nature of man in matters of the heart is not sufficiently conceded by women, professors, clergymen, judges, and other critics of his conduct. And naturally so, since they all have vested interests in his simplicity. Even journalists are in the conspiracy to make him out less wayward than he is, and dip their pens in epithets, if his heart diverges inch or ell.

Bryan Summerhay was neither more curious nor more complicated than those of his own sex who would condemn him for getting into the midnight express from Edinburgh with two distinct emotions in his heart–a regretful aching for the girl, his cousin, whom he was leaving behind, and a rapturous anticipation of the woman whom he was going to rejoin. How was it possible that he could feel both at once? “Against all the rules,” women and other moralists would say. Well, the fact is, a man’s heart knows no rules. And he found it perfectly easy, lying in his bunk, to dwell on memories of Diana handing him tea, or glancing up at him, while he turned the leaves of her songs, with that enticing mockery in her eyes and about her lips; and yet the next moment to be swept from head to heel by the longing to feel Gyp’s arms around him, to hear her voice, look in her eyes, and press his lips on hers. If, instead of being on his way to rejoin a mistress, he had been going home to a wife, he would not have felt a particle more of spiritual satisfaction, perhaps not so much. He was returning to the feelings and companionship that he knew were the most deeply satisfying spiritually and bodily he would ever have. And yet he could ache a little for that red-haired girl, and this without any difficulty. How disconcerting! But, then, truth is.

From that queer seesawing of his feelings, he fell asleep, dreamed of all things under the sun as men only can in a train, was awakened by the hollow silence in some station, slept again for hours, it seemed, and woke still at the same station, fell into a sound sleep at last that ended at Willesden in broad daylight. Dressing hurriedly, he found he had but one emotion now, one longing–to get to Gyp. Sitting back in his cab, hands deep-thrust into the pockets of his ulster, he smiled, enjoying even the smell of the misty London morning. Where would she be–in the hall of the hotel waiting, or upstairs still?

Not in the hall! And asking for her room, he made his way to its door.

She was standing in the far corner motionless, deadly pale, quivering from head to foot; and when he flung his arms round her, she gave a long sigh, closing her eyes. With his lips on hers, he could feel her almost fainting; and he too had no consciousness of anything but that long kiss.

Next day, they went abroad to a little place not far from Fecamp, in that Normandy countryside where all things are large–the people, the beasts, the unhedged fields, the courtyards of the farms guarded so squarely by tall trees, the skies, the sea, even the blackberries large. And Gyp was happy. But twice there came letters, in that too-well-remembered handwriting, which bore a Scottish postmark. A phantom increases in darkness, solidifies when seen in mist. Jealousy is rooted not in reason, but in the nature that feels it–in her nature that loved desperately, felt proudly. And jealousy flourishes on scepticism. Even if pride would have let her ask, what good? She would not have believed the answers. Of course he would say–if only out of pity–that he never let his thoughts rest on another woman. But, after all, it was only a phantom. There were many hours in those three weeks when she felt he really loved her, and so–was happy.

They went back to the Red House at the end of the first week in October. Little Gyp, home from the sea, was now an almost accomplished horsewoman. Under the tutelage of old Pettance, she had been riding steadily round and round those rough fields by the linhay which they called “the wild,” her firm brown legs astride of the mouse-coloured pony, her little brown face, with excited, dark eyes, very erect, her auburn crop of short curls flopping up and down on her little straight back. She wanted to be able to “go out riding” with Grandy and Mum and Baryn. And the first days were spent by them all more or less in fulfilling her new desires. Then term began, and Gyp sat down again to the long sharing of Summerhay with his other life.


One afternoon at the beginning of November, the old Scotch terrier, Ossian, lay on the path in the pale sunshine. He had lain there all the morning since his master went up by the early train. Nearly sixteen years old, he was deaf now and disillusioned, and every time that Summerhay left him, his eyes seemed to say: “You will leave me once too often!” The blandishments of the other nice people about the house were becoming to him daily less and less a substitute for that which he felt he had not much time left to enjoy; nor could he any longer bear a stranger within the gate. From her window, Gyp saw him get up and stand with his back ridged, growling at the postman, and, fearing for the man’s calves, she hastened out.

Among the letters was one in that dreaded hand writing marked “Immediate,” and forwarded from his chambers. She took it up, and put it to her nose. A scent–of what? Too faint to say. Her thumb nails sought the edge of the flap on either side. She laid the letter down. Any other letter, but not that–she wanted to open it too much. Readdressing it, she took it out to put with the other letters. And instantly the thought went through her: ‘What a pity! If I read it, and there was nothing!’ All her restless, jealous misgivings of months past would then be set at rest! She stood, uncertain, with the letter in her hand. Ah–but if there WERE something! She would lose at one stroke her faith in him, and her faith in herself–not only his love but her own self-respect. She dropped the letter on the table. Could she not take it up to him herself? By the three o’clock slow train, she could get to him soon after five. She looked at her watch. She would just have time to walk down. And she ran upstairs. Little Gyp was sitting on the top stair–her favourite seat–looking at a picture-book.

“I’m going up to London, darling. Tell Betty I may be back to- night, or perhaps I may not. Give me a good kiss.”

Little Gyp gave the good kiss, and said:

“Let me see you put your hat on, Mum.”

While Gyp was putting on hat and furs, she thought: “I shan’t take a bag; I can always make shift at Bury Street if–” She did not finish the thought, but the blood came up in her cheeks. “Take care of Ossy, darling!” She ran down, caught up the letter, and hastened away to the station. In the train, her cheeks still burned. Might not this first visit to his chambers be like her old first visit to the little house in Chelsea? She took the letter out. How she hated that large, scrawly writing for all the thoughts and fears it had given her these past months! If that girl knew how much anxiety and suffering she had caused, would she stop writing, stop seeing him? And Gyp tried to conjure up her face, that face seen only for a minute, and the sound of that clipped, clear voice but once heard–the face and voice of one accustomed to have her own way. No! It would only make her go on all the more. Fair game, against a woman with no claim–but that of love. Thank heaven she had not taken him away from any woman– unless–that girl perhaps thought she had! Ah! Why, in all these years, had she never got to know his secrets, so that she might fight against what threatened her? But would she have fought? To fight for love was degrading, horrible! And yet–if one did not? She got up and stood at the window of her empty carriage. There was the river–and there–yes, the very backwater where he had begged her to come to him for good. It looked so different, bare and shorn, under the light grey sky; the willows were all polled, the reeds cut down. And a line from one of his favourite sonnets came into her mind:

“Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang.”

Ah, well! Time enough to face things when they came. She would only think of seeing him! And she put the letter back to burn what hole it liked in the pocket of her fur coat.

The train was late; it was past five, already growing dark, when she reached Paddington and took a cab to the Temple. Strange to be going there for the first time–not even to know exactly where Harcourt Buildings were. At Temple Lane, she stopped the cab and walked down that narrow, ill-lighted, busy channel into the heart of the Great Law.

“Up those stone steps, miss; along the railin’, second doorway.” Gyp came to the second doorway and in the doubtful light scrutinized the names. “Summerhay–second floor.” She began to climb the stairs. Her heart beat fast. What would he say? How greet her? Was it not absurd, dangerous, to have come? He would be having a consultation perhaps. There would be a clerk or someone to beard, and what name could she give? On the first floor she paused, took out a blank card, and pencilled on it:

“Can I see you a minute?–G.”

Then, taking a long breath to quiet her heart, she went on up. There was the name, and there the door. She rang–no one came; listened–could hear no sound. All looked so massive and bleak and dim–the iron railings, stone stairs, bare walls, oak door. She rang again. What should she do? Leave the letter? Not see him after all–her little romance all come to naught–just a chilly visit to Bury Street, where perhaps there would be no one but Mrs. Markey, for her father, she knew, was at Mildenham, hunting, and would not be up till Sunday! And she thought: ‘I’ll leave the letter, go back to the Strand, have some tea, and try again.’

She took out the letter, with a sort of prayer pushed it through the slit of the door, heard it fall into its wire cage; then slowly descended the stairs to the outer passage into Temple Lane. It was thronged with men and boys, at the end of the day’s work. But when she had nearly reached the Strand, a woman’s figure caught her eye. She was walking with a man on the far side; their faces were turned toward each other. Gyp heard their voices, and, faint, dizzy, stood looking back after them. They passed under a lamp; the light glinted on the woman’s hair, on a trick of Summerhay’s, the lift of one shoulder, when he was denying something; she heard his voice, high-pitched. She watched them cross, mount the stone steps she had just come down, pass along the railed stone passage, enter the doorway, disappear. And such horror seized on her that she could hardly walk away.

“Oh no! Oh no! Oh no!” So it went in her mind–a kind of moaning, like that of a cold, rainy wind through dripping trees. What did it mean? Oh, what did it mean? In this miserable tumult, the only thought that did not come to her was that of going back to his chambers. She hurried away. It was a wonder she was not run over, for she had no notion what she was doing, where going, and crossed the streets without the least attention to traffic. She came to Trafalgar Square, and stood leaning against its parapet in front of the National Gallery. Here she had her first coherent thought: So that was why his chambers had been empty! No clerk– no one! That they might be alone. Alone, where she had dreamed of being alone with him! And only that morning he had kissed her and said, “Good-bye, treasure!” A dreadful little laugh got caught in her throat, confused with a sob. Why–why had she a heart? Down there, against the plinth of one of the lions, a young man leaned, with his arms round a girl, pressing her to him. Gyp turned away from the sight and resumed her miserable wandering. She went up Bury Street. No light; not any sign of life! It did not matter; she could not have gone in, could not stay still, must walk! She put up her veil to get more air, feeling choked.

The trees of the Green Park, under which she was passing now, had still a few leaves, and they gleamed in the lamplight copper- coloured as that girl’s hair. All sorts of torturing visions came to her. Those empty chambers! She had seen one little minute of their intimacy. A hundred kisses might have passed between them–a thousand words of love! And he would lie to her. Already he had acted a lie! She had not deserved that. And this sense of the injustice done her was the first relief she felt–this definite emotion of a mind clouded by sheer misery. She had not deserved that he should conceal things from her. She had not had one thought or look for any man but him since that night down by the sea, when he came to her across the garden in the moonlight–not one thought–and never would! Poor relief enough! She was in Hyde Park now, wandering along a pathway which cut diagonally across the grass. And with more resolution, more purpose, she began searching her memory for signs, proofs of WHEN he had changed to her. She could not find them. He had not changed in his ways to her; not at all. Could one act love, then? Act passion, or–horrible thought!–when he kissed her nowadays, was he thinking of that girl?

She heard the rustling of leaves behind. A youth was following her along the path, some ravening youth, whose ungoverned breathing had a kind of pathos in it. Heaven! What irony! She was too miserable to care, hardly even knew when, in the main path again, she was free from his pursuit. Love! Why had it such possession of her, that a little thing–yes, a little thing–only the sight of him with another, should make her suffer so? She came out on the other side of the park. What should she do? Crawl home, creep into her hole, and lie there stricken! At Paddington she found a train just starting and got in. There were other people in the carriage, business men from the city, lawyers, from that–place where she had been. And she was glad of their company, glad of the crackle of evening papers and stolid faces giving her looks of stolid interest from behind them, glad to have to keep her mask on, afraid of the violence of her emotion. But one by one they got out, to their cars or their constitutionals, and she was left alone to gaze at darkness and the deserted river just visible in the light of a moon smothered behind the sou’westerly sky. And for one wild moment she thought: ‘Shall I open the door and step out–one step–peace!’

She hurried away from the station. It was raining, and she drew up her veil to feel its freshness on her hot face. There was just light enough for her to see the pathway through the beech clump. The wind in there was sighing, soughing, driving the dark boughs, tearing off the leaves, little black wet shapes that came whirling at her face. The wild melancholy in that swaying wood was too much for Gyp; she ran, thrusting her feet through the deep rustling drifts of leaves not yet quite drenched. They clung all wet round her thin stockings, and the rainy wind beat her forehead. At the edge, she paused for breath, leaning against the bole of a beech, peering back, where the wild whirling wind was moaning and tearing off the leaves. Then, bending her head to the rain, she went on in the open, trying to prepare herself to show nothing when she reached home.

She got in and upstairs to her room, without being seen. If she had possessed any sedative drug she would have taken it. Anything to secure oblivion from this aching misery! Huddling before the freshly lighted fire, she listened to the wind driving through the poplars; and once more there came back to her the words of that song sung by the Scottish girl at Fiorsen’s concert:

“And my heart reft of its own sun, Deep lies in death-torpor cold and grey.”

Presently she crept into bed, and at last fell asleep.

She woke next morning with the joyful thought: ‘It’s Saturday; he’ll be down soon after lunch!’ And then she remembered. Ah, no! It was too much! At the pang of that remembrance, it was as if a devil entered into her–a devil of stubborn pride, which grew blacker with every hour of that morning. After lunch, that she might not be in when he came, she ordered her mare, and rode up on the downs alone. The rain had ceased, but the wind still blew strong from the sou’west, and the sky was torn and driven in swathes of white and grey to north, south, east, and west, and puffs of what looked like smoke scurried across the cloud banks and the glacier-blue rifts between. The mare had not been out the day before, and on the springy turf stretched herself in that thoroughbred gallop which bears a rider up, as it were, on air, till nothing but the thud of hoofs, the grass flying by, the beating of the wind in her face betrayed to Gyp that she was moving. For full two miles they went without a pull, only stopped at last by the finish of the level. From there, one could see far– away over to Wittenham Clumps across the Valley, and to the high woods above the river in the east–away, in the south and west, under that strange, torn sky, to a whole autumn land, of whitish grass, bare fields, woods of grey and gold and brown, fast being pillaged. But all that sweep of wind, and sky, freshness of rain, and distant colour could not drive out of Gyp’s heart the hopeless aching and the devil begotten of it.


There are men who, however well-off–either in money or love–must gamble. Their affections may be deeply rooted, but they cannot repulse fate when it tantalizes them with a risk.

Summerhay, who loved Gyp, was not tired of her either physically or mentally, and even felt sure he would never tire, had yet dallied for months with this risk which yesterday had come to a head. And now, taking his seat in the train to return to her, he felt unquiet; and since he resented disquietude, he tried defiantly to think of other things, but he was very unsuccessful. Looking back, it was difficult for him to tell when the snapping of his defences had begun. A preference shown by one accustomed to exact preference is so insidious. The girl, his cousin, was herself a gambler. He did not respect her as he respected Gyp; she did not touch him as Gyp touched him, was not–no, not half–so deeply attractive; but she had–confound her! the power of turning his head at moments, a queer burning, skin-deep fascination, and, above all, that most dangerous quality in a woman–the lure of an imperious vitality. In love with life, she made him feel that he was letting things slip by. And since to drink deep of life was his nature, too–what chance had he of escape? Far-off cousinhood is a dangerous relationship. Its familiarity is not great enough to breed contempt, but sufficient to remove those outer defences to intimacy, the conquest of which, in other circumstances, demands the conscious effort which warns people whither they are going.

Summerhay had not realized the extent of the danger, but he had known that it existed, especially since Scotland. It would be interesting–as the historians say–to speculate on what he would have done, if he could have foretold what would happen. But he had certainly not foretold the crisis of yesterday evening. He had received a telegram from her at lunch-time, suggesting the fulfilment of a jesting promise, made in Scotland, that she should have tea with him and see his chambers–a small and harmless matter. Only, why had he dismissed his clerk so early? That is the worst of gamblers–they will put a polish on the risks they run. He had not reckoned, perhaps, that she would look so pretty, lying back in his big Oxford chair, with furs thrown open so that her white throat showed, her hair gleaming, a smile coming and going on her lips; her white hand, with polished nails, holding that cigarette; her brown eyes, so unlike Gyp’s, fixed on him; her slim foot with high instep thrust forward in transparent stocking. Not reckoned that, when he bent to take her cup, she would put out her hands, draw his head down, press her lips to his, and say: “Now you know!” His head had gone round, still went round, thinking of it! That was all. A little matter–except that, in an hour, he would be meeting the eyes of one he loved much more. And yet–the poison was in his blood; a kiss so cut short–by what–what counter impulse?–leaving him gazing at her without a sound, inhaling that scent of hers–something like a pine wood’s scent, only sweeter, while she gathered up her gloves, fastened her furs, as if it had been he, not she, who had snatched that kiss. But her hand had pressed his arm against her as they went down the stairs. And getting into her cab at the Temple Station, she had looked back at him with a little half-mocking smile of challenge and comradeship and promise. The link would be hard to break–even if he wanted to. And yet nothing would come of it! Heavens, no! He had never thought! Marriage! Impossible! Anything else–even more impossible! When he got back to his chambers, he had found in the box the letter, which her telegram had repeated, readdressed by Gyp from the Red House. And a faint uneasiness at its having gone down there passed through him. He spent a restless evening at the club, playing cards and losing; sat up late in his chambers over a case; had a hard morning’s work, and only now that he was nearing Gyp, realized how utterly he had lost the straightforward simplicity of things.

When he reached the house and found that she had gone out riding alone, his uneasiness increased. Why had she not waited as usual for him to ride with her? And he paced up and down the garden, where the wind was melancholy in the boughs of the walnut-tree that had lost all its leaves. Little Gyp was out for her walk, and only poor old Ossy kept him company. Had she not expected him by the usual train? He would go and try to find out. He changed and went to the stables. Old Pettance was sitting on a corn-bin, examining an aged Ruff’s Guide, which contained records of his long-past glory, scored under by a pencil: “June Stakes: Agility. E. Pettance 3rd.” “Tidport Selling H’Cap: Dorothea, E. Pettance, o.” “Salisbury Cup: Also ran Plum Pudding, E. Pettance,” with other triumphs. He got up, saying:

“Good-afternoon, sir; windy afternoon, sir. The mistress ‘as been gone out over two hours, sir. She wouldn’t take me with ‘er.”

“Hurry up, then, and saddle Hotspur.”

“Yes, sir; very good, sir.”

Over two hours! He went up on to the downs, by the way they generally came home, and for an hour he rode, keeping a sharp lookout for any sign of her. No use; and he turned home, hot and uneasy. On the hall table were her riding-whip and gloves. His heart cleared, and he ran upstairs. She was doing her hair and turned her head sharply as he entered. Hurrying across the room he had the absurd feeling that she was standing at bay. She drew back, bent her face away from him, and said:

“No! Don’t pretend! Anything’s better than pretence!”

He had never seen her look or speak like that–her face so hard, her eyes so stabbing! And he recoiled dumbfounded.

“What’s the matter, Gyp?”

“Nothing. Only–don’t pretend!” And, turning to the glass, she went on twisting and coiling up her hair.

She looked lovely, flushed from her ride in the wind, and he had a longing to seize her in his arms. But her face stopped him. With fear and a sort of anger, he said:

“You might explain, I think.”

An evil little smile crossed her face.

“YOU can do that. I am in the dark.”

“I don’t in the least understand what you mean.”

“Don’t you?” There was something deadly in her utter disregard of him, while her fingers moved swiftly about her dark, shining hair– something so appallingly sudden in this hostility that Summerhay felt a peculiar sensation in his head, as if he must knock it against something. He sat down on the side of the bed. Was it that letter? But how? It had not been opened. He said:

“What on earth has happened, Gyp, since I went up yesterday? Speak out, and don’t keep me like this!”

She turned and looked at him.

“Don’t pretend that you’re upset because you can’t kiss me! Don’t be false, Bryan! You know it’s been pretence for months.”

Summerhay’s voice grew high.

“I think you’ve gone mad. I don’t know what you mean.”

“Oh, yes, you do. Did you get a letter yesterday marked ‘Immediate’?”

Ah! So it WAS that! To meet the definite, he hardened, and said stubbornly:

“Yes; from Diana Leyton. Do you object?”

“No; only, how do you think it got back to you from here so quickly?”

He said dully:

“I don’t know. By post, I suppose.”

“No; I put it in your letter-box myself–at half-past five.”

Summerhay’s mind was trained to quickness, and the full significance of those words came home to him at once. He stared at her fixedly.

“I suppose you saw us, then.”


He got up, made a helpless movement, and said:

“Oh, Gyp, don’t! Don’t be so hard! I swear by–“

Gyp gave a little laugh, turned her back, and went on coiling at her hair. And again that horrid feeling that he must knock his head against something rose in Summerhay. He said helplessly:

“I only gave her tea. Why not? She’s my cousin. It’s nothing! Why should you think the worst of me? She asked to see my chambers. Why not? I couldn’t refuse.”

“Your EMPTY chambers? Don’t, Bryan–it’s pitiful! I can’t bear to hear you.”

At that lash of the whip, Summerhay turned and said:

“It pleases you to think the worst, then?”

Gyp stopped the movement of her fingers and looked round at him.

“I’ve always told you you were perfectly free. Do you think I haven’t felt it going on for months? There comes a moment when pride revolts–that’s all. Don’t lie to me, PLEASE!”

“I am not in the habit of lying.” But still he did not go. That awful feeling of encirclement, of a net round him, through which he could not break–a net which he dimly perceived even in his resentment to have been spun by himself, by that cursed intimacy, kept from her all to no purpose–beset him more closely every minute. Could he not make her see the truth, that it was only her he REALLY loved? And he said:

“Gyp, I swear to you there’s nothing but one kiss, and that was not–“

A shudder went through her from head to foot; she cried out:

“Oh, please go away!”

He went up to her, put his hands on her shoulders, and said:

“It’s only you I really love. I swear it! Why don’t you believe me? You must believe me. You can’t be so wicked as not to. It’s foolish–foolish! Think of our life–think of our love–think of all–” Her face was frozen; he loosened his grasp of her, and muttered: “Oh, your pride is awful!”

“Yes, it’s all I’ve got. Lucky for you I have it. You can go to her when you like.”

“Go to her! It’s absurd–I couldn’t–If you wish, I’ll never see her again.”

She turned away to the glass.

“Oh, don’t! What IS the use?”

Nothing is harder for one whom life has always spoiled than to find his best and deepest feelings disbelieved in. At that moment, Summerhay meant absolutely what he said. The girl was nothing to him! If she was pursuing him, how could he help it? And he could not make Gyp believe it! How awful! How truly terrible! How unjust and unreasonable of her! And why? What had he done that she should be so unbelieving–should think him such a shallow scoundrel? Could he help the girl’s kissing him? Help her being fond of him? Help having a man’s nature? Unreasonable, unjust, ungenerous! And giving her a furious look, he went out.

He went down to his study, flung himself on the sofa and turned his face to the wall. Devilish! But he had not been there five minutes before his anger seemed childish and evaporated into the chill of deadly and insistent fear. He was perceiving himself up against much more than a mere incident, up against her nature–its pride and scepticism–yes–and the very depth and singleness of her love. While she wanted nothing but him, he wanted and took so much else. He perceived this but dimly, as part of that feeling that he could not break through, of the irritable longing to put his head down and butt his way out, no matter what the obstacles. What was coming? How long was this state of things to last? He got up and began to pace the room, his hands clasped behind him, his head thrown back; and every now and then he shook that head, trying to free it from this feeling of being held in chancery. And then Diana! He had said he would not see her again. But was that possible? After that kiss–after that last look back at him! How? What could he say–do? How break so suddenly? Then, at memory of Gyp’s face, he shivered. Ah, how wretched it all was! There must be some way out–some way! Surely some way out! For when first, in the wood of life, fatality halts, turns her dim dark form among the trees, shows her pale cheek and those black eyes of hers, shows with awful swiftness her strange reality–men would be fools indeed who admitted that they saw her!


Gyp stayed in her room doing little things–as a woman will when she is particularly wretched–sewing pale ribbons into her garments, polishing her rings. And the devil that had entered into her when she woke that morning, having had his fling, slunk away, leaving the old bewildered misery. She had stabbed her lover with words and looks, felt pleasure in stabbing, and now was bitterly sad. What use–what satisfaction? How by vengeful prickings cure the deep wound, disperse the canker in her life? How heal herself by hurting him whom she loved so? If he came up again now and made but a sign, she would throw herself into his arms. But hours passed, and he did not come, and she did not go down–too truly miserable. It grew dark, but she did not draw the curtains; the sight of the windy moonlit garden and the leaves driving across brought a melancholy distraction. Little Gyp came in and prattled. There was a tree blown down, and she had climbed on it; they had picked up two baskets of acorns, and the pigs had been so greedy; and she had been blown away, so that Betty had had to run after her. And Baryn was walking in the study; he was so busy he had only given her one kiss.

When she was gone, Gyp opened the window and let the wind full into her face. If only it would blow out of her heart this sickening sense that all was over, no matter how he might pretend to love her out of pity! In a nature like hers, so doubting and self- distrustful, confidence, once shaken to the roots, could never be restored. A proud nature that went all lengths in love could never be content with a half-love. She had been born too doubting, proud, and jealous, yet made to love too utterly. She–who had been afraid of love, and when it came had fought till it swept her away; who, since then, had lived for love and nothing else, who gave all, and wanted all–knew for certain and for ever that she could not have all.

It was “nothing” he had said! Nothing! That for months he had been thinking at least a little of another woman besides herself. She believed what he had told her, that there had been no more than a kiss–but was it nothing that they had reached that kiss? This girl–this cousin–who held all the cards, had everything on her side–the world, family influence, security of life; yes, and more, so terribly much more–a man’s longing for the young and unawakened. This girl he could marry! It was this thought which haunted her. A mere momentary outbreak of man’s natural wildness she could forgive and forget–oh, yes! It was the feeling that it was a girl, his own cousin, besieging him, dragging him away, that was so dreadful. Ah, how horrible it was–how horrible! How, in decent pride, keep him from her, fetter him?

She heard him come up to his dressing-room, and while he was still there, stole out and down. Life must go on, the servants be hoodwinked, and so forth. She went to the piano and played, turning the dagger in her heart, or hoping forlornly that music might work some miracle. He came in presently and stood by the fire, silent.

Dinner, with the talk needful to blinding the household–for what is more revolting than giving away the sufferings of the heart?– was almost unendurable and directly it was over, they went, he to his study, she back to the piano. There she sat, ready to strike the notes if anyone came in; and tears fell on the hands that rested in her lap. With all her soul she longed to go and clasp him in her arms and cry: “I don’t care–I don’t care! Do what you like–go to her–if only you’ll love me a little!” And yet to love–a LITTLE! Was it possible? Not to her!

In sheer misery she went upstairs and to bed. She heard him come up and go into his dressing-room–and, at last, in the firelight saw him kneeling by her.


She raised herself and threw her arms round him. Such an embrace a drowning woman might have given. Pride and all were abandoned in an effort to feel him close once more, to recover the irrecoverable past. For a long time she listened to his pleading, explanations, justifications, his protestations of undying love–strange to her and painful, yet so boyish and pathetic. She soothed him, clasping his head to her breast, gazing out at the flickering fire. In that hour, she rose to a height above herself. What happened to her own heart did not matter so long as he was happy, and had all that he wanted with her and away from her–if need be, always away from her.

But, when he had gone to sleep, a terrible time began; for in the small hours, when things are at their worst, she could not keep back her weeping, though she smothered it into the pillow. It woke him, and all began again; the burden of her cry: “It’s gone!” the burden of his: “It’s NOT–can’t you see it isn’t?” Till, at last, that awful feeling that he must knock his head against the wall made him leap up and tramp up and down like a beast in a cage–the cage of the impossible. For, as in all human tragedies, both were right according to their natures. She gave him all herself, wanted all in return, and could not have it. He wanted her, the rest besides, and no complaining, and could not have it. He did not admit impossibility; she did.

At last came another of those pitying lulls till he went to sleep in her arms. Long she lay awake, staring at the darkness, admitting despair, trying to find how to bear it, not succeeding. Impossible to cut his other life away from him–impossible that, while he lived it, this girl should not be tugging him away from her. Impossible to watch and question him. Impossible to live dumb and blind, accepting the crumbs left over, showing nothing. Would it have been better if they had been married? But then it might have been the same–reversed; perhaps worse! The roots were so much deeper than that. He was not single-hearted and she was. In spite of all that he said, she knew he didn’t really want to give up that girl. How could he? Even if the girl would let him go! And slowly there formed within her a gruesome little plan to test him. Then, ever so gently withdrawing her arms, she turned over and slept, exhausted.

Next morning, remorselessly carrying out that plan, she forced herself to smile and talk as if nothing had happened, watching the relief in his face, his obvious delight at the change, with a fearful aching in her heart. She waited till he was ready to go down, and then, still smiling, said:

“Forget all about yesterday, darling. Promise me you won’t let it make any difference. You must keep up your friendship; you mustn’t lose anything. I shan’t mind; I shall be quite happy.” He knelt down and leaned his forehead against her waist. And, stroking his hair, she repeated: “I shall only be happy if you take everything that comes your way. I shan’t mind a bit.” And she watched his face that had lost its trouble.

“Do you really mean that?”

“Yes; really!”

“Then you do see that it’s nothing, never has been anything– compared with you–never!”

He had accepted her crucifixion. A black wave surged into her heart.

“It would be so difficult and awkward for you to give up that intimacy. It would hurt your cousin so.”

She saw the relief deepen in his face and suddenly laughed. He got up from his knees and stared at her.

“Oh, Gyp, for God’s sake don’t begin again!”

But she went on laughing; then, with a sob, turned away and buried her face in her hands. To all his prayers and kisses she answered nothing, and breaking away from him, she rushed toward the door. A wild thought possessed her. Why go on? If she were dead, it would be all right for him, quiet–peaceful, quiet–for them all! But he had thrown himself in the way.

“Gyp, for heaven’s sake! I’ll give her up–of course I’ll give her up. Do–do–be reasonable! I don’t care a finger-snap for her compared with you!”

And presently there came another of those lulls that both were beginning to know were mere pauses of exhaustion. They were priceless all the same, for the heart cannot go on feeling at that rate.

It was Sunday morning, the church-bells ringing, no wind, a lull in the sou’westerly gale–one of those calms that fall in the night and last, as a rule, twelve or fifteen hours, and the garden all strewn with leaves of every hue, from green spotted with yellow to deep copper.

Summerhay was afraid; he kept with her all the morning, making all sorts of little things to do in her company. But he gradually lost his fear, she seemed so calm now, and his was a nature that bore trouble badly, ever impatient to shake it off. And then, after lunch, the spirit-storm beat up again, with a swiftness that showed once more how deceptive were those lulls, how fearfully deep and lasting the wound. He had simply asked her whether he should try to match something for her when he went up, to-morrow. She was silent a moment, then answered:

“Oh, no, thanks; you’ll have other things to do; people to see!”

The tone of her voice, the expression on her face showed him, with a fresh force of revelation, what paralysis had fallen on his life. If he could not reconvince her of his love, he would be in perpetual fear–that he might come back and find her gone, fear that she might even do something terrible to herself. He looked at her with a sort of horror, and, without a word, went out of the room. The feeling that he must hit his head against something was on him once more, and once more he sought to get rid of it by tramping up and down. Great God! Such a little thing, such fearful consequences! All her balance, her sanity almost, destroyed. Was what he had done so very dreadful? He could not help Diana loving him!

In the night, Gyp had said: “You are cruel. Do you think there is any man in the world that I wouldn’t hate the sight of if I knew that to see him gave you a moment’s pain?” It was true–he felt it was true. But one couldn’t hate a girl simply because she loved you; at least he couldn’t–not even to save Gyp pain. That was not reasonable, not possible. But did that difference between a man and a woman necessarily mean that Gyp loved him so much more than he loved her? Could she not see things in proportion? See that a man might want, did want, other friendships, even passing moments of passion, and yet could love her just the same? She thought him cruel, called him cruel–what for? Because he had kissed a girl who had kissed him; because he liked talking to her, and–yes, might even lose his head with her. But cruel! He was not! Gyp would always be first with him. He must MAKE her see–but how? Give up everything? Give up–Diana? (Truth is so funny–it will out even in a man’s thoughts!) Well, and he could! His feeling was not deep–that was God’s truth! But it would be difficult, awkward, brutal to give her up completely! It could be done, though, sooner than that Gyp should think him cruel to her. It could be–should be done!

Only, would it be any use? Would she believe? Would she not always now be suspecting him when he was away from her, whatever he did? Must he then sit down here in inactivity? And a gust of anger with her swept him. Why should she treat him as if he were utterly unreliable? Or–was he? He stood still. When Diana had put her arms round his neck, he could no more have resisted answering her kiss than he could now fly through the window and over those poplar trees. But he was not a blackguard, not cruel, not a liar! How could he have helped it all? The only way would have been never to have answered the girl’s first letter, nearly a year ago. How could he foresee? And, since then, all so gradual, and nothing, really, or almost nothing. Again the surge of anger swelled his heart. She must have read the letter which had been under that cursed bust of old Voltaire all those months ago. The poison had been working ever since! And in sudden fury at that miserable mischance, he drove his fist into the bronze face. The bust fell over, and Summerhay looked stupidly at his bruised hand. A silly thing to do! But it had quenched his anger. He only saw Gyp’s face now–so pitifully unhappy. Poor darling! What could he do? If only she would believe! And again he had the sickening conviction that whatever he did would be of no avail. He could never get back, was only at the beginning, of a trouble that had no end. And, like a rat in a cage, his mind tried to rush out of this entanglement now at one end, now at the other. Ah, well! Why bruise your head against walls? If it was hopeless–let it go! And, shrugging his shoulders, he went out to the stables, and told old Pettance to saddle Hotspur. While he stood there waiting, he thought: ‘Shall I ask her to come?’ But he could not stand another bout of misery–must have rest! And mounting, he rode up towards the downs.

Hotspur, the sixteen-hand brown horse, with not a speck of white, that Gyp had ridden hunting the day she first saw Summerhay, was nine years old now. His master’s two faults as a horseman–a habit of thrusting, and not too light hands–had encouraged his rather hard mouth, and something had happened in the stables to-day to put him into a queer temper; or perhaps he felt–as horses will–the disturbance raging within his rider. At any rate, he gave an exhibition of his worst qualities, and Summerhay derived perverse pleasure from that waywardness. He rode a good hour up there; then, hot, with aching arms–for the brute was pulling like the devil!–he made his way back toward home and entered what little Gyp called “the wild,” those two rough sedgy fields with the linhay in the corner where they joined. There was a gap in the hedge- growth of the bank between them, and at this he put Hotspur at speed. The horse went over like a bird; and for the first time since Diana’s kiss Summerhay felt a moment’s joy. He turned him round and sent him at it again, and again Hotspur cleared it beautifully. But the animal’s blood was up now. Summerhay could hardly hold him. Muttering: “Oh, you BRUTE, don’t pull!” he jagged the horse’s mouth. There darted into his mind Gyp’s word: “Cruel!” And, viciously, in one of those queer nerve-crises that beset us all, he struck the pulling horse.

They were cantering toward the corner where the fields joined, and suddenly he was aware that he could no more hold the beast than if a steam-engine had been under him. Straight at the linhay Hotspur dashed, and Summerhay thought: “My God! He’ll kill himself!” Straight at the old stone linhay, covered by the great ivy bush. Right at it–into it! Summerhay ducked his head. Not low enough– the ivy concealed a beam! A sickening crash! Torn backward out of the saddle, he fell on his back in a pool of leaves and mud. And the horse, slithering round the linhay walls, checked in his own length, unhurt, snorting, frightened, came out, turning his wild eyes on his master, who never stirred, then trotted back into the field, throwing up his head.


When, at her words, Summerhay went out of the room, Gyp’s heart sank. All the morning she had tried so hard to keep back her despairing jealousy, and now at the first reminder had broken down again. It was beyond her strength! To live day after day knowing that he, up in London, was either seeing that girl or painfully abstaining from seeing her! And then, when he returned, to be to him just what she had been, to show nothing–would it ever be possible? Hardest to bear was what seemed to her the falsity of his words, maintaining that he still really loved her. If he did, how could he hesitate one second? Would not the very thought of the girl be abhorrent to him? He would have shown that, not merely said it among other wild things. Words were no use when they contradicted action. She, who loved with every bit of her, could not grasp that a man can really love and want one woman and yet, at the same time, be attracted by another.

That sudden fearful impulse of the morning to make away with herself and end it for them both recurred so vaguely that it hardly counted in her struggles; the conflict centred now round the question whether life would be less utterly miserable if she withdrew from him and went back to Mildenham. Life without him? That was impossible! Life with him? Just as impossible, it seemed! There comes a point of mental anguish when the alternatives between which one swings, equally hopeless, become each so monstrous that the mind does not really work at all, but rushes helplessly from one to the other, no longer trying to decide, waiting on fate. So in Gyp that Sunday afternoon, doing little things all the time–mending a hole in one of his gloves, brushing and applying ointment to old Ossy, sorting bills and letters.

At five o’clock, knowing little Gyp must soon be back from her walk, and feeling unable to take part in gaiety, she went up and put on her hat. She turned from contemplation of her face with disgust. Since it was no longer the only face for him, what was the use of beauty? She slipped out by the side gate and went down toward the river. The lull was over; the south-west wind had begun sighing through the trees again, and gorgeous clouds were piled up from the horizon into the pale blue. She stood by the river watching its grey stream, edged by a scum of torn-off twigs and floating leaves, watched the wind shivering through the spoiled plume-branches of the willows. And, standing there, she had a sudden longing for her father; he alone could help her–just a little–by his quietness, and his love, by his mere presence.

She turned away and went up the lane again, avoiding the inn and the riverside houses, walking slowly, her head down. And a thought came, her first hopeful thought. Could they not travel–go round the world? Would he give up his work for that–that chance to break the spell? Dared she propose it? But would even that be anything more than a putting-off? If she was not enough for him now, would she not be still less, if his work were cut away? Still, it was a gleam, a gleam in the blackness. She came in at the far end of the fields they called “the wild.” A rose-leaf hue tinged the white cloud-banks, which towered away to the east beyond the river; and peeping over that mountain-top was the moon, fleecy and unsubstantial in the flax-blue sky. It was one of nature’s moments of wild colour. The oak-trees above the hedgerows had not lost their leaves, and in the darting, rain-washed light from the setting sun, had a sheen of old gold with heart of ivy-green; the hail-stripped beeches flamed with copper; the russet tufts of the ash-trees glowed. And past Gyp, a single leaf blown off, went soaring, turning over and over, going up on the rising wind, up– up, higher–higher into the sky, till it was lost–away.

The rain had drenched the long grass, and she turned back. At the gate beside the linhay, a horse was standing. It whinnied. Hotspur, saddled, bridled, with no rider! Why? Where–then? Hastily she undid the latch, ran through, and saw Summerhay lying in the mud–on his back, with eyes wide-open, his forehead and hair all blood. Some leaves had dropped on him. God! O God! His eyes had no sight, his lips no breath; his heart did not beat; the leaves had dropped even on his face–in the blood on his poor head. Gyp raised him–stiffened, cold as ice! She gave one cry, and fell, embracing his dead, stiffened body with all her strength, kissing his lips, his eyes, his broken forehead; clasping, warming him, trying to pass life into him; till, at last, she, too, lay still, her lips on his cold lips, her body on his cold body in the mud and the fallen leaves, while the wind crept and rustled in the ivy, and went over with the scent of rain. Close by, the horse, uneasy, put his head down and sniffed at her, then, backing away, neighed, and broke into a wild gallop round the field. . . .

Old Pettance, waiting for Summerhay’s return to stable-up for the night, heard that distant neigh and went to the garden gate, screwing up his little eyes against the sunset. He could see a loose horse galloping down there in “the wild,” where no horse should be, and thinking: “There now; that artful devil’s broke away from the guv’nor! Now I’ll ‘ave to ketch ‘im!” he went back, got some oats, and set forth at the best gait of his stiff-jointed feet. The old horseman characteristically did not think of accidents. The guv’nor had got off, no doubt, to unhitch that heavy gate–the one you had to lift. That ‘orse–he was a masterpiece of mischief! His difference with the animal still rankled in a mind that did not easily forgive.

Half an hour later, he entered the lighted kitchen shaking and gasping, tears rolling down his furrowed cheeks into the corners of his gargoyle’s mouth, and panted out:

“O, my Gord! Fetch the farmer–fetch an ‘urdle! O my Gord! Betty, you and cook–I can’t get ‘er off him. She don’t speak. I felt her–all cold. Come on, you sluts–quick! O my Gord! The poor guv’nor! That ‘orse must ‘a’ galloped into the linhay and killed him. I’ve see’d the marks on the devil’s shoulder where he rubbed it scrapin’ round the wall. Come on–come on! Fetch an ‘urdle or she’ll die there on him in the mud. Put the child to bed and get the doctor, and send a wire to London, to the major, to come sharp. Oh, blarst you all–keep your ‘eads! What’s the good o’ howlin’ and blubberin’!”

In the whispering corner of those fields, light from a lantern and the moon fell on the old stone linhay, on the ivy and the broken gate, on the mud, the golden leaves, and the two quiet bodies clasped together. Gyp’s consciousness had flown; there seemed no difference between them. And presently, over the rushy grass, a procession moved back in the wind and the moonlight–two hurdles, two men carrying one, two women and a man the other, and, behind, old Pettance and the horse.


When Gyp recovered a consciousness, whose flight had been mercifully renewed with morphia, she was in her bed, and her first drowsy movement was toward her mate. With eyes still closed, she turned, as she was wont, and put out her hand to touch him before she dozed off again. There was no warmth, no substance; through her mind, still away in the mists of morphia, the thoughts passed vague and lonely: ‘Ah, yes, in London!’ And she turned on her back. London! Something–something up there! She opened her eyes. So the fire had kept in all night! Someone was in a chair there, or–was she dreaming! And suddenly, without knowing why, she began breathing hurriedly in little half-sobbing gasps. The figure moved, turned her face in the firelight. Betty! Gyp closed her eyes. An icy sweat had broken out all over her. A dream! In a whisper, she said:


The muffled answer came.

“Yes, my darlin’.”

“What is it?”

No answer; then a half-choked, “Don’t ‘ee think–don’t ‘ee think! Your Daddy’ll be here directly, my sweetie!”

Gyp’s eyes, wide open, passed from the firelight and that rocking figure to the little chink of light that was hardly light as yet, coming in at one corner of the curtain. She was remembering. Her tongue stole out and passed over her lips; beneath the bedclothes she folded both her hands tight across her heart. Then she was not dead with him–not dead! Not gone back with him into the ground– not–And suddenly there flickered in her a flame of maniacal hatred. They were keeping her alive! A writhing smile forced its way up on to her parched lips.

“Betty, I’m so thirsty–so thirsty. Get me a cup of tea.”

The stout form heaved itself from the chair and came toward the bed.

“Yes, my lovey, at once. It’ll do you good. That’s a brave girl.”


The moment the door clicked to, Gyp sprang up. Her veins throbbed; her whole soul was alive with cunning. She ran to the wardrobe, seized her long fur coat, slipped her bare feet into her slippers, wound a piece of lace round her head, and opened the door. All dark and quiet! Holding her breath, stifling the sound of her feet, she glided down the stairs, slipped back the chain of the front door, opened it, and fled. Like a shadow she passed across the grass, out of the garden gate, down the road under the black dripping trees. The beginning of light was mixing its grey hue into the darkness; she could just see her feet among the puddles on the road. She heard the grinding and whirring of a motor-car on its top gear approaching up the hill, and cowered away against the hedge. Its light came searching along, picking out with a mysterious momentary brightness the bushes and tree-trunks, making the wet road gleam. Gyp saw the chauffeur turn his head back at her, then the car’s body passed up into darkness, and its tail- light was all that was left to see. Perhaps that car was going to the Red House with her father, the doctor, somebody, helping to keep her alive! The maniacal hate flared up in her again; she flew on. The light grew; a man with a dog came out of a gate she had passed, and called “Hallo!” She did not turn her head. She had lost her slippers, and ran with bare feet, unconscious of stones, or the torn-off branches strewing the road, making for the lane that ran right down to the river, a little to the left of the inn, the lane of yesterday, where the bank was free.

She turned into the lane; dimly, a hundred or more yards away, she could see the willows, the width of lighter grey that was the river. The river–“Away, my rolling river!”–the river–and the happiest hours of all her life! If he were anywhere, she would find him there, where he had sung, and lain with his head on her breast, and swum and splashed about her; where she had dreamed, and seen beauty, and loved him so! She reached the bank. Cold and grey and silent, swifter than yesterday, the stream was flowing by, its dim far shore brightening slowly in the first break of dawn. And Gyp stood motionless, drawing her breath in gasps after her long run; her knees trembled; gave way. She sat down on the wet grass, clasping her arms round her drawn-up legs, rocking herself to and fro, and her loosened hair fell over her face. The blood beat in her ears; her heart felt suffocated; all her body seemed on fire, yet numb. She sat, moving her head up and down–as the head of one moves that is gasping her last–waiting for breath–breath and strength to let go life, to slip down into the grey water. And that queer apartness from self, which is the property of fever, came on her, so that she seemed to see herself sitting there, waiting, and thought: ‘I shall see myself dead, floating among the reeds. I shall see the birds wondering above me!’ And, suddenly, she broke into a storm of dry sobbing, and all things vanished from her, save just the rocking of her body, the gasping of her breath, and the sound of it in her ears. Her boy–her boy–and his poor hair! “Away, my rolling river!” Swaying over, she lay face down, clasping at the wet grass and the earth.

The sun rose, laid a pale bright streak along the water, and hid himself again. A robin twittered in the willows; a leaf fell on her bare ankle.

Winton, who had been hunting on Saturday, had returned to town on Sunday by the evening tram, and gone straight to his club for some supper. There falling asleep over his cigar, he had to be awakened when they desired to close the club for the night. It was past two when he reached Bury Street and found a telegram.

“Something dreadful happened to Mr. Summerhay. Come quick.– BETTY.”

Never had he so cursed the loss of his hand as during the time that followed, when Markey had to dress, help his master, pack bags, and fetch a taxi equipped for so long a journey. At half-past three they started. The whole way down, Winton, wrapped in his fur coat, sat a little forward on his seat, ready to put his head through the window and direct the driver. It was a wild night, and he would not let Markey, whose chest was not strong, go outside to act as guide. Twice that silent one, impelled by feelings too strong even for his respectful taciturnity, had spoken.

“That’ll be bad for Miss Gyp, sir.”

“Bad, yes–terrible.”

And later:

“D’you think it means he’s dead, sir?”

Winton answered sombrely:

“God knows, Markey! We must hope for the best.”

Dead! Could Fate be cruel enough to deal one so soft and loving such a blow? And he kept saying to himself: “Courage. Be ready for the worst. Be ready.”

But the figures of Betty and a maid at the open garden gate, in the breaking darkness, standing there wringing their hands, were too much for his stoicism. Leaping out, he cried:

“What is it, woman? Quick!”

“Oh, sir! My dear’s gone. I left her a moment to get her a cup of tea. And she’s run out in the cold!”

Winton stood for two seconds as if turned to stone. Then, taking Betty by the shoulder, he asked quietly:

“What happened to HIM?”

Betty could not answer, but the maid said:

“The horse killed him at that linhay, sir, down in ‘the wild.’ And the mistress was unconscious till quarter of an hour ago.”

“Which way did she go?”

“Out here, sir; the door and the gate was open–can’t tell which way.”

Through Winton flashed one dreadful thought: The river!

“Turn the cab round! Stay in, Markey! Betty and you, girl, go down to ‘the wild,’ and search there at once. Yes? What is it?”

The driver was leaning out.

“As we came up the hill, sir, I see a lady or something in a long dark coat with white on her head, against the hedge.”

“Right! Drive down again sharp, and use your eyes.”

At such moments, thought is impossible, and a feverish use of every sense takes its place. But of thought there was no need, for the gardens of villas and the inn blocked the river at all but one spot. Winton stopped the car where the narrow lane branched down to the bank, and jumping out, ran. By instinct he ran silently on the grass edge, and Markey, imitating, ran behind. When he came in sight of a black shape lying on the bank, he suffered a moment of intense agony, for he thought it was just a dark garment thrown away. Then he saw it move, and, holding up his hand for Markey to stand still, walked on alone, tiptoeing in the grass, his heart swelling with a sort of rapture. Stealthily moving round between that prostrate figure and the water, he knelt down and said, as best he could, for the husk in his throat:

“My darling!”

Gyp raised her head and stared at him. Her white face, with eyes unnaturally dark and large, and hair falling all over it, was strange to him–the face of grief itself, stripped of the wrappings of form. And he knew not what to do, how to help or comfort, how to save. He could see so clearly in her eyes the look of a wild animal at the moment of its capture, and instinct made him say:

“I lost her just as cruelly, Gyp.”

He saw the words reach her brain, and that wild look waver. Stretching out his arm, he drew her close to him till her cheek was against his, her shaking body against him, and kept murmuring:

“For my sake, Gyp; for my sake!”

When, with Markey’s aid, he had got her to the cab, they took her, not back to the house, but to the inn. She was in high fever, and soon delirious. By noon, Aunt Rosamund and Mrs. Markey, summoned by telegram, had arrived; and the whole inn was taken lest there should be any noise to disturb her.

At five o’clock, Winton was summoned downstairs to the little so- called reading-room. A tall woman was standing at the window, shading her eyes with the back of a gloved hand. Though they had lived so long within ten miles of each other he only knew Lady Summerhay by sight, and he waited for the poor woman to speak first. She said in a low voice:

“There is nothing to say; only, I thought I must see you. How is she?”


They stood in silence a full minute, before she whispered:

“My poor boy! Did you see him–his forehead?” Her lips quivered. “I will take him back home.” And tears rolled, one after the other, slowly down her flushed face under her veil. Poor woman! Poor woman! She had turned to the window, passing her handkerchief up under the veil, staring out at the little strip of darkening lawn, and Winton, too, stared out into that mournful daylight. At last, he said:

“I will send you all his things, except–except anything that might help my poor girl.”

She turned quickly.

“And so it’s ended like this! Major Winton, is there anything behind–were they really happy?”

Winton looked straight at her and answered:

“Ah, too happy!”

Without a quiver, he met those tear-darkened, dilated eyes straining at his; with a heavy sigh, she once more turned away, and, brushing her handkerchief across her face, drew down her veil.

It was not true–he knew from the mutterings of Gyp’s fever–but no one, not even Summerhay’s mother, should hear a whisper if he could help it. At the door, he murmured:

“I don’t know whether my girl will get through, or what she will do after. When Fate hits, she hits too hard. And you! Good-bye.”

Lady Summerhay pressed his outstretched hand.

“Good-bye,” she said, in a strangled voice. “I wish you–good- bye.” Then, turning abruptly, she hastened away.

Winton went back to his guardianship upstairs.

In the days that followed, when Gyp, robbed of memory, hung between life and death, Winton hardly left her room, that low room with creepered windows whence the river could be seen, gliding down under the pale November sunshine or black beneath the stars. He would watch it, fascinated, as one sometimes watches the relentless sea. He had snatched her as by a miracle from that snaky river.

He had refused to have a nurse. Aunt Rosamund and Mrs. Markey were skilled in sickness, and he could not bear that a strange person should listen to those delirious mutterings. His own part of the nursing was just to sit there and keep her secrets from the others– if he could. And he grudged every minute away from his post. He would stay for hours, with eyes fixed on her face. No one could supply so well as he just that coherent thread of the familiar, by which the fevered, without knowing it, perhaps find their way a little in the dark mazes where they wander. And he would think of her as she used to be–well and happy–adopting unconsciously the methods of those mental and other scientists whom he looked upon as quacks.

He was astonished by the number of inquiries, even people whom he had considered enemies left cards or sent their servants, forcing him to the conclusion that people of position are obliged to reserve their human kindness for those as good as dead. But the small folk touched him daily by their genuine concern for her whose grace and softness had won their hearts. One morning he received a letter forwarded from Bury Street.


“I have read a paragraph in the paper about poor Mr. Summerhay’s death. And, oh, I feel so sorry for her! She was so good to me; I do feel it most dreadfully. If you think she would like to know how we all feel for her, you would tell her, wouldn’t you? I do think it’s cruel.

“Very faithfully yours,


So they knew Summerhay’s name–he had not somehow expected that. He did not answer, not knowing what to say.

During those days of fever, the hardest thing to bear was the sound of her rapid whisperings and mutterings–incoherent phrases that said so little and told so much. Sometimes he would cover his ears, to avoid hearing of that long stress of mind at which he had now and then glimpsed. Of the actual tragedy, her wandering spirit did not seem conscious; her lips were always telling the depth of her love, always repeating the dread of losing his; except when they would give a whispering laugh, uncanny and enchanting, as at some gleam of perfect happiness. Those little laughs were worst of all to hear; they never failed to bring tears into his eyes. But he drew a certain gruesome comfort from the conclusion slowly forced on him, that Summerhay’s tragic death had cut short a situation which might have had an even more tragic issue. One night in the big chair at the side of her bed, he woke from a doze to see her eyes fixed on him. They were different; they saw, were her own eyes again. Her lips moved.


“Yes, my pet.”

“I remember everything.”

At that dreadful little saying, Winton leaned forward and put his lips to her hand, that lay outside the clothes.

“Where is he buried?”

“At Widrington.”


It was rather a sigh than a word and, raising his head, Winton saw her eyes closed again. Now that the fever had gone, the white transparency of her cheeks and forehead against the dark lashes and hair was too startling. Was it a living face, or was its beauty that of death?

He bent over. She was breathing–asleep.


The return to Mildenham was made by easy stages nearly two months after Summerhay’s death, on New Year’s day–Mildenham, dark, smelling the same, full of ghosts of the days before love began. For little Gyp, more than five years old now, and beginning to understand life, this was the pleasantest home yet. In watching her becoming the spirit of the place, as she herself had been when a child, Gyp found rest at times, a little rest. She had not picked up much strength, was shadowy as yet, and if her face was taken unawares, it was the saddest face one could see. Her chief preoccupation was not being taken unawares. Alas! To Winton, her smile was even sadder. He was at his wits’ end about her that winter and spring. She obviously made the utmost effort to keep up, and there was nothing to do but watch and wait. No use to force the pace. Time alone could heal–perhaps. Meanwhile, he turned to little Gyp, so that they became more or less inseparable.

Spring came and passed. Physically, Gyp grew strong again, but since their return to Mildenham, she had never once gone outside the garden, never once spoken of The Red House, never once of Summerhay. Winton had hoped that warmth and sunlight would bring some life to her spirit, but it did not seem to. Not that she cherished her grief, appeared, rather, to do all in her power to forget and mask it. She only had what used to be called a broken heart. Nothing to be done. Little Gyp, who had been told that “Baryn” had gone away for ever, and that she must “never speak of him for fear of making Mum sad,” would sometimes stand and watch her mother with puzzled gravity. She once remarked uncannily to Winton:

“Mum doesn’t live with us, Grandy; she lives away somewhere, I think. Is it with Baryn?”

Winton stared, and answered:

“Perhaps it is, sweetheart; but don’t say that to anybody but me. Don’t ever talk of Baryn to anyone else.”

“Yes, I know; but where is he, Grandy?”

What could Winton answer? Some imbecility with the words “very far” in it; for he had not courage to broach the question of death, that mystery so hopelessly beyond the grasp of children, and of himself–and others.

He rode a great deal with the child, who, like her mother before her, was never so happy as in the saddle; but to Gyp he did not dare suggest it. She never spoke of horses, never went to the stables, passed all the days doing little things about the house, gardening, and sitting at her piano, sometimes playing a little, sometimes merely looking at the keys, her hands clasped in her lap. This was early in the fateful summer, before any as yet felt the world-tremors, or saw the Veil of the Temple rending and the darkness beginning to gather. Winton had no vision of the coif above the dark eyes of his loved one, nor of himself in a strange brown garb, calling out old familiar words over barrack-squares. He often thought: ‘If only she had something to take her out of herself!’

In June he took his courage in both hands and proposed a visit to London. To his surprise, she acquiesced without hesitation. They went up in Whit-week. While they were passing Widrington, he forced himself to an unnatural spurt of talk; and it was not till fully quarter of an hour later that, glancing stealthily round his paper, he saw her sitting motionless, her face turned to the fields and tears rolling down it. And he dared not speak, dared not try to comfort her. She made no sound, the muscles of her face no movement; only, those tears kept rolling down. And, behind his paper, Winton’s eyes narrowed and retreated; his face hardened till the skin seemed tight drawn over the bones, and every inch of him quivered.

The usual route from the station to Bury Street was “up,” and the cab went by narrow by-streets, town lanes where the misery of the world is on show, where ill-looking men, draggled and over-driven women, and the jaunty ghosts of little children in gutters and on doorsteps proclaim, by every feature of their clay-coloured faces and every movement of their unfed bodies, the post-datement of the millennium; where the lean and smutted houses have a look of dissolution indefinitely put off, and there is no more trace of beauty than in a sewer. Gyp, leaning forward, looked out, as one does after a long sea voyage; Winton felt her hand slip into his and squeeze it hard.

That evening after dinner–in the room he had furnished for her mother, where the satinwood chairs, the little Jacobean bureau, the old brass candelabra were still much as they had been just on thirty years ago–she said:

“Dad, I’ve been thinking. Would you mind if I could make a sort of home at Mildenham where poor children could come to stay and get good air and food? There are such thousands of them.”

Strangely moved by this, the first wish he had heard her express since the tragedy, Winton took her hand, and, looking at it as if for answer to his question, said:

“My dear, are, you strong enough?”

“Quite. There’s nothing wrong with me now except here.” She drew his hand to her and pressed it against her heart. “What’s given, one can’t get back. I can’t help it; I would if I could. It’s been so dreadful for you. I’m so sorry.” Winton made an unintelligible sound, and she went on: “If I had them to see after, I shouldn’t be able to think so much; the more I had to do the better. Good for our gipsy-bird, too, to have them there. I should like to begin it at once.”

Winton nodded. Anything that she felt could do her good–anything!

“Yes, yes,” he said; “I quite see–you could use the two old cottages to start with, and we can easily run up anything you want.”

“Only let me do it all, won’t you?”

At that touch of her old self, Winton smiled. She should do everything, pay for everything, bring a whole street of children down, if it would give her any comfort!

“Rosamund’ll help you find ’em,” he muttered. “She’s first-rate at all that sort of thing.” Then, looking at her fixedly, he added: “Courage, my soul; it’ll all come back some day.”

Gyp forced herself to smile. Watching her, he understood only too well the child’s saying: “Mum lives away somewhere, I think.”

Suddenly, she said, very low:

“And yet I wouldn’t have been without it.”

She was sitting, her hands clasped in her lap, two red spots high in her cheeks, her eyes shining strangely, the faint smile still on her lips. And Winton, staring with narrowed eyes, thought: ‘Love! Beyond measure–beyond death–it nearly kills. But one wouldn’t have been without it. Why?’

Three days later, leaving Gyp with his sister, he went back to Mildenham to start the necessary alterations in the cottages. He had told no one he was coming, and walked up from the station on a perfect June day, bright and hot. When he turned through the drive gate, into the beech-tree avenue, the leaf-shadows were thick on the ground, with golden gleams of the invincible sunlight thrusting their way through. The grey boles, the vivid green leaves, those glistening sun-shafts through the shade entranced him, coming from the dusty road. Down in the very middle of the avenue, a small, white figure was standing, as if looking out for him. He heard a shrill shout.

“Oh, Grandy, you’ve come back–you’ve come back! What FUN!”

Winton took her curls in his hand, and, looking into her face, said:

“Well, my gipsy-bird, will you give me one of these?”

Little Gyp looked at him with flying eyes, and, hugging his legs, answered furiously:

“Yes; because I love you. PULL!”