She sat down slowly on the bed by his side, then bent forward, winding one arm around his neck, leaning the full weight of her body upon him.
“Good night,” she whispered as her lips touched his.
“By Jove, you do smell of scent!” he exclaimed. “Do you always drown yourself in scent before you go to bed?”
“No.” Her mouth was dry, her tongue like leather, scraping against her teeth. “Not always.”
“Well, good night, little woman; you read half a page of Macaulay and you’ll soon get to sleep. Kiss me.”
She kissed him, longingly and then, as he half tried to turn, she felt conscious of her dismissal and rose hurriedly from the bed.
“Can you find your way upstairs without a candle?” he asked, when she had opened the door.
“Oh yes,” she said stridently, “quite easily.” And she departed, closing the door behind her. With a glimmer of wonder in his mind, he blew out the candle, just listened until he heard her footsteps pattering overhead, then turned over and fell asleep.
But there was no sleep to be found for Sally. When she was once within her room, she flung book and cigarette upon the bed and her body, just as she was, across them. Then came the deluge of her tears. If he had waited, listening to the sounds one moment longer before he went to sleep, he would have heard the choking sobs that broke between her lips.
When Traill came back early from the Temple the next evening and told Sally that he was dining with his sister at the house in Sloane Street, she took the announcement in silence, eyes lifting to his in a steady question, her heart wearily adding one more figure to the column of events which she had already compiled against her hopes of happiness.
As yet, openly, she dared question nothing. She knew too well the outlook of his mind where freedom of his own action was concerned. Now she was beginning to realize the full extent, the full impotence of her position as his mistress. Had she been legally his wife, he had given her no cause to complain, created no right for her criticism. As his mistress, she was still less justified in questioning his actions and to do so would, she knew to a certainty, bring down his wrath, more surely than ever draw to a close their relationship, the termination of which was shadowing itself upon the surface of her suspicion.
“Is your sister getting on better with her husband?” she asked.
“Somewhat, I think. I don’t really know—it’s difficult to say. I haven’t seen him yet. She doesn’t want me to speak to him about it. She thinks it might only make things worse. Says I’ve got a blunt way that ’ud ruffle what little patience he’s got.”
Sally looked directly, deeply into his eyes.
“You really think it is serious?” she said. “I suppose it wouldn’t have been possible for her to have imagined it?”