“I don’t know. I should either do that, or not take a farthing of it. Make my own living, earn my own way, be independent at any cost.”
“Do you mean I ought to do that?”
“I don’t mean you ought, because I know you couldn’t. You could no more go and earn your own living now—now that you’ve learnt the ease and luxury of living in a man’s arms—than you could fly. You aren’t the type, Sally; you never were.”
Sally’s lips pressed together. “You think I love the ease and luxury?” she said bitterly. “You think as poorly of me as that?”
“I don’t think poorly at all. You were never meant to work. Your curse is the curse of Eve, not Adam. You ought to have a child. You wouldn’t be wasting your soul out on a man then. You’d take every farthing that Traill’s left you, as it’s only right you should. You don’t see any right in it now; but you would then. Every single thing in the world is worth its salt, and a child ’ud be the salt of life to you. When do you think you’ll hear from your mother?”
“Well, then, directly you hear you can go—go! Don’t stop in London another second. It’s a pitiable purgatory for you now. Go and look after the little kiddies in the school. You’ll know quick enough what I mean about the curse of Eve, when you find one of them tugging at your skirts for sympathy.”
THE EMPTY HORIZON
Cailsham—one of those small antiquated towns which, in its day, has had its name writ in history—sits at the feet of the hills, like an old man, weary of toil, and gazes out with sleepy eyes over the garden of Kent. In the spring, the country is patched with white around—white, with the blossoms in the fruit plantations. Broad acres of cherry orchards spread their snow-white sheets out in the sun—a giant’s washing-day. The little lanes wind tortuous ways between the fields of apple bloom, and off in the forest of the tree stems, lying lazily in the high-grown grass, dappled yellow with sunlight, you will find in every orchard a boy, idly beating a monotonous tattoo to scare away the birds. A collection of tin pots in various stages of dilapidation, each one emitting a different hollow note, are spread around him, and there he lies the day through till nightfall, eating the meals that are brought him, humming a tune between them to pass away the time; but ceaselessly beating a discordant dominant upon his sounding drums of tin. This is Cailsham in the spring. Cailsham at any time is more the country that surrounds it. All its colours, all its life, all its interests, it takes from those great, wide gardens of fruit as they break from leaf into blossom, blossom to fruit, from fruit to the black, naked branches of winter, when Cailsham itself sinks into the silence of a well-earned, lethargic repose. Then they talk of the fruit seasons that are past, and the fruit seasons that are to come. The lights burn out early in the windows, and by ten o’clock the little town is asleep.