That no passion was in the heart of her may have been an aid to her honesty. With passion to lift the scale on to the agate, there would have been a deed worthy of eulogy then! But even as it was, she sacrificed much; she sacrificed her all. For now she knew that she must go; and there could he no more joy in life for her in the love of little Maurice. To face that, she clutched her hands that afternoon as she walked back into Cailsham. How it was to be accomplished, how endured, was more than she could realize, more than the listless energy of her mind could grasp.
“I am leaving Cailsham almost immediately,” she wrote that evening to Grierson. “You will understand my reasons. I am sorry to have caused you the pain that I did. As you realized, I tried to avoid it. I am not presuming at all in my mind that you will ever wish to see me again; but if your generosity should make you think that you owe me any explanation of your silence this afternoon, please believe me that I already understand it, expected it and sympathize from my heart with the position in which I placed you. All that you said to me before you knew, which, of course, I know you cannot think now, I shall treasure in my mind as the opinions of a generous man which were once believed of me. What I have told, or what I have left untold, I know you will hold in your confidence. Good-bye.”
Grierson read that letter the next morning in his bedroom. He sat down on the bed, and read it through again; then he railed at women, railed at life, railed at himself that such things should mean so much.
A scene no less dramatic than this was being enacted over the breakfast table at No. 17, Wyatt Street. There, it was the custom for Dora to read such pieces of information from the newspaper as were considered essential to those who, ruling the lives of the sons of gentlemen and being pioneers of education in Cailsham, must be kept up with the times. On this morning, she had given extracts from the foreign intelligence, had read in full the account of the latest London sensation. Then she stopped with an exclamation.
“What about her?”
“She’s—she’s in the divorce court!”
Mrs. Bishop slowly laid down her egg-spoon. “Pass me the paper,” she said.
“Yes; just one minute. The case came on—”
The printed sheets were handed to her across the table, and Sally’s eyes—pained, terrified—watched her face as she read. When she had finished, she laid down the paper, took off her spectacles and laid them glass downwards on the table. The long steel wires to pass over the ears stood upright, formidably bristling.
“I always had my suspicions about that woman,” she said, with thin lips. “Oh, it’s monstrous, it’s abominable! That boy can’t stop here another minute.”