"The Vittoria. But go quietly and keep near the shore. Go round as near as you can to the Mergellina."
They slipped out, with a delicious, liquid sound, upon the moving silence of the sea.
Hermione was not going to Mergellina, but to the Scoglio di Frisio. She had only come out of her room late in the afternoon. During her seclusion there she had once been disturbed by Gaspare, who had come to ask her if she wanted him for anything, and, if not, whether he might go over to Mergellina for the rest of the afternoon to see some friends he had made there. She told him he was free till night, and he went away quickly, after one searching, wide-eyed glance at the face of his Padrona.
When he had gone Hermione told herself that she was glad he was away. If he had been on the island she might have been tempted to take one of the boats, to ask him to row her to the Scoglio that evening. But now, of course, she would not go. It was true that she could easily get a boatman from the village on the mainland near by, but without Gaspare's companionship she would not care to go. So that was settled. She would think no more about it. She had tea with Vere, and strove with all her might to be natural, to show no traces in face or manner of the storm that had swept over her that day. She hoped, she believed that she was successful. But what a hateful, what an unnatural effort that was!
A woman who is not at her ease in her own home with her own girl-- where can she be at ease?
It was really the reaction from that effort that sent Hermione from the island that evening. She felt as if she could not face another meal with Vere just then. She felt transparent, as if Vere's eyes would be able to see all that she must hide if they were together in the evening. And she resolved to go away. She made some excuse--that she wished for a little change, that she was fidgety and felt the confinement of the island.
"I think I'll go over to the village," she said; "and walk up to the road and take the tram."
Hermione saw in Vere's eyes that the girl was waiting for something.