The little train had a strange air of friendliness as it jogged across Romney Marsh. It ran familiarly through farmyards and back gardens, it meekly let the motor-cars race it and pass it as it clanked beside the roads. The line was single all the way, except for a mile outside Brodnyx station, where it made a loop to let the up-train pass. The up-train was late—they had been too long loading up the fish at Dungeness, or there was a reaping machine being brought from Lydd. For some minutes Joanna’s train stayed halted in the sunshine, in the very midst of the Three Marshes. Miles of sun-swamped green spread on either side—the carriage was full of sunshine—it was bright and stuffy like a greenhouse. Joanna felt drowsy, she lay back in her corner blinking at the sun—she was all quiet now. A blue-bottle droned against the window, and the little engine droned, like an impatient fly—it was all very still, very hot, very peaceful....
Then suddenly something stirred within her—stirred physically. In some mysterious way she seemed to come alive. She sat up, pressing her hand to her side. A flood of colour went up into her face—her body trembled, and the tears started in her eyes ... she felt herself choking with wild fear, and wild joy.
Oh, she understood now. She understood, and she was certain. She knew now—she knew, and she was frightened ... oh, she was frightened ... now everything was over with her indeed.
Joanna nearly fainted. She fell in a heap against the window, looking more than ever, as the sunshine poured on her, like a great golden, broken flower. She felt herself choking and managed to right herself—the window was down, and a faint puff of air came in from the sea, lifting her hair as she leaned back against the wooden wall of the carriage, her mouth a little open.... She felt better now, but still so frightened.... She was done for, she was finished—there would not be any more talk of going back and picking up things where she had let them drop. She would have to marry Bertie—there was no help for it, she would send him a telegram from Brodnyx station. Oh, that this should have happened!... And she had been feeling so much easier in her mind—she had almost begun to feel happy again, thinking of the old home and the old life. And now she knew that they had gone for ever—the old home and the old life. She had cut herself away from both—she would have to marry Albert, to shut her little clerk in prison after all, and herself with him. She would have to humble herself before him, she would have to promise to go and live with him in London, do all she possibly could to make his marriage easy for him. He did not want to marry her, and she did not want to marry him, but there was no help for it, they must marry now, because of what their love had given them before it died.