When Sally stepped off the ’bus at Knightsbridge on that November evening, her mind was seething with indignation.
To lay a wager! It was an insult! Did he think her acquaintance was to be bought for a sum of money? It would not be long before he found out his mistake. And what a sum! Ten pounds! It was ridiculous! What man would spend all that money simply upon the mere making of an acquaintance? Of course she knew that if ever she did speak to him again, he would never pay it. It was quite safe to boast like that—it was a boast. Ten pounds! Why with ten pounds she could buy a real silk petticoat, a new frock, a new hat, another feather boa—all of the most expensive too, and still have money in her pocket.
All the amiable and interested impressions that she had obtained of him went when he made that bet. It was so easy to boast—so cheap. But if he thought that the sound of that sum of money had impressed her, he would learn his mistake.
She caught another ’bus on to Hammersmith and tried vainly to forget all about it.
Miss Hallard was home from the School of Art before her. In the bedroom which they shared in a house on Strand-on-Green, she was combing out her short hair, her blouse discarded, her thin arms bent at acute angles, and between her lips a Virginian cigarette.
“Wet?” she said laconically, without turning round.
“Dripping.” Sally threw her hat on the bed.
“If you bought umbrellas instead of cheap silk petticoats—”
“I knew you’d say that,” said Sally.
“Was it raining when you walked from the tram?”
“No. It’s stopped now. But it was up in town, and all the ’buses were full up inside.”
“Cheerful,” said Miss Hallard.
She twisted her hair into some sort of shape and secured it indiscriminately with pins.
This girl is the revolutionary. Hers is the type that has been the revolutionary through all ages. It will be revolutionary to the end, no matter what force may be in power. She has little or nothing to do with the class to which Sally Bishop belongs. Her temperament is the corrective which Nature always uses for the natural functions of her own handiwork—Sally Bishop is Nature herself, enlisted into this civil warfare because she must. In her revolutionary ideas, Miss Hallard follows the temperament of her inclinations. Whatever position women might hold, she would have disagreed with it. She is one of those of whom—like some strange animal that one sees, following instincts which seem the very reverse to Nature’s needs—one wonders what her place in the scheme of things can be.
Of this type are those whom the straining of a vocabulary has called—Suffragette. They are merely Nature’s correctives. Of definite change in the position of women they will effect nothing. They are not regulars in the great army; only the wandering adventurers who take up arms for any cause, that they may be in the noise of the battle. It is the paid army—the regular troops—who finally place the standard upon the enemy’s heights; for it is only the forces of Life itself that, in this life, are unconquerable.