“Well, we must all have disagreeable times in our lives,” he said rigidly. “Sally’s had hers, but I guess it’s over now. I fancy I’ve just come from school and learnt my lesson.”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you expect me to answer that to you?”
Here, in the first moment, they came to their antagonism, as Janet had always realized they would.
“No, I don’t expect it in the least” she replied.
“Well, if you’re going in—?”
“Yes, I’m going in.” She opened the door and entered the sitting-room. All the lights were burning. Sally’s hat lay untidily on the table.
“One moment,” said Traill.
Janet turned round.
“I should be glad if you’d allow me to see Sally alone as soon as possible. I want to talk to her. I’ve got a lot to say.”
“I’ll go now,” she replied.
“No, oh no, see her first. She’s probably been expecting you. Didn’t she send for you this afternoon, some time after five o’clock—eh?”
“No, I haven’t seen her since yesterday. I’ll just knock at her door. Sally!” She called the name gently and knocked. Traill walked to the mantelpiece. There was no answer.
“She must be in,” he said, “there’s her hat.”
Janet knocked again. There was no reply. She turned round.
“I wonder can she have gone to bed and be asleep? She looked terribly tired when I saw her yesterday.”
She knocked again and tried the door; then bent down and examined the keyhole. The key was inside, and a light was burning in the room. Janet stood up suddenly. Her lips were shaking; her cheeks were white.
“Mr. Traill,” she said in a hollow voice, but raising it as though he were some distance away. “This door’s locked from the inside, and there’s a light in the room.”
He took it quite casually. “Better let me try it,” he said. “It can’t be locked from the inside unless she’s there.”
Janet stood aside, trembling, as he tried the handle. Then he, too, bent down and examined the keyhole.
“Good God! You’re right!” he said thickly.
Janet’s eyes roamed feverishly from his face to the door. When he stood back and called out Sally’s name, her senses sharpened to a quivering point to catch the slightest sound of a reply. She must be inside—she must be inside! Then why didn’t she answer? Why? She recalled Sally’s face as she had last seen it, white, drawn, the eyes hollow, the lips but faintly tinged with pink. Now it was in that room, the face that she had lifted and kissed before she had said how wonderful she was. But what was it looking like now? What was it looking like now, alone in that awful silence?
Traill strode back into the room.
“What are you going to do?” asked Janet. “Something’s got to be done! What are you going to do?”
“Break down the door,” was his answer.
He searched in the fireplace. He searched round the room.