"I like Doro, but--I like him in his place."
"Is not the island--when I wish to be quiet there."
The lift descended. Artois went out once more onto the balcony, and watched her get into the carriage and drive away towards Naples. She did not look up again.
"She has gone to fetch that girl Peppina," Artois said to himself, "and I might have prevented it."
He knew very well the reason why he had not interfered. He had not interfered because he had wished too much to interfere. The desire had been strong enough to startle him, to warn him.
An islet! That suggests isolation. Like Hermione, he wished to isolate Vere, to preserve her as she was in character. He did not know when the wish had first been consciously in his mind, but he knew that since he had been consulted by Vere, since she had broken through her reserve and submitted to him her poems, unveiling for him alone what was really to her a holy of holies, the wish had enormously increased. He told himself that Vere was unique, and that he longed to keep her unique, so that the talent he discerned in her might remain unaffected. How great her talent was he did not know. He would not know, perhaps, for a very long time. But it was definite, it was intimate. It was Vere's talent, no one else's.
He had made up his mind very soon about Hermione's incapacity to produce work of value. Although Vere was such a child, so inexperienced, so innocent, so cloistered, he knew at once that he dared not dash her hopes. It was possible that she might eventually become what her mother certainly could never be.
But she must not be interfered with. Her connection with the sea must not be severed. And people were coming into her life--Ruffo, the Marchesino, and now this wounded girl Peppina.