The mere man would have tried the telephone first, then sent the telegram, and after that the explanatory letter. Woman has her own way of doing things.
Sypher was in. He would have finished for the day in about twenty minutes. Then he would come to her on the nearest approach to wings London locomotion provided.
“Remember, it’s something most particular that I want to see you about,” said Zora. “Good-by.”
She rang off, and went up-stairs again, removed the traces of tears from her face and changed her dress. For a few moments she regarded her outward semblance somewhat anxiously in the glass, unconscious of a new coquetry. Then she sat down before the sitting-room fire and looked at the inner Zora Middlemist.
There was never woman, since the world began, more cast down from her high estate. Not a shred of magnificence remained. She saw herself as the most useless, vaporing and purblind of mortals. She had gone forth from the despised Nunsmere, where nothing ever happened, to travel the world over in search of realities, and had returned to find that Nunsmere had all the time been the center of the realities that most deeply concerned her life. While she had been talking others had been living. The three beings whom she had honored with her royal and somewhat condescending affection had all done great things, passed through flames and issued thence purified with love in their hearts. Emmy, Septimus, Sypher, all in their respective ways, had grappled with essentials. She alone had done nothing—she the strong, the sane, the capable, the magnificent. She had been a tinsel failure. So far out of touch had she been with the real warm things of life which mattered that she had not even gained her sister’s confidence. Had she done so from her girlhood up, the miserable tragedy might not have happened. She had failed in a sister’s elementary duty.
As a six weeks’ wife, what had she done save shiver with a splendid disgust? Another woman would have fought and perhaps have conquered. She had made no attempt, and the poor wretch dead, she had trumpeted abroad her crude opinion of the sex to which he belonged. At every turn she had seen it refuted. For many months she had known it to be vain and false; and Nature, who with all her faults is at least not a liar, had spoken over and over again. She had raised a fine storm of argument, but Nature had laughed. So had the Literary Man from London. She had a salutary vision of herself as the common geck and gull of the queerly assorted pair. She recognized that in order to work out any problem of life one must accept life’s postulates and axioms. Even her mother, from whose gentle lips she rarely expected to hear wisdom, had said: “I don’t see how you’re going to ‘live,’ dear, without a man to take care of you.” Her mother was right, Nature was right, Rattenden was right. She, Zora Middlemist, had been hopelessly wrong.