There was a bitter sense of humour in the story. She laughed at it—loud, uncontrolled laughter that rang as empty and as hollow as an echo.
“Give me what you can,” she added. “Anything above a shilling’s better than fourpence.”
“Is that what you’re down to?”
He took three sovereigns out of his pocket, and gave them to her. She let them lie out flat in the palm of her hand—the three of them, all in a row. They glittered—even in the candle-light. They were her own.
“When are you coming to see me?”
She still looked at them.
“I’m not coming.”
Her head shot up; her eyes filled with questions.
He opened his hands expressively. If there were any answer to that question, she learnt that she was not going to get it.
“Are you going to be married?” she asked slowly.
He shook his head—laughing. Then understanding shot into her eyes, and a flash of jealousy came with it.
“I know,” she exclaimed between thin lips.
“What do you know?”
“You’re going to keep some woman here—some girl you’re fond of.”
It was the moment of intuition. She had struck deeper into his mind than even he was aware of himself.
“What makes you think that?”
“What you said.”
“What did I say?”
“You admitted that you were sick of being here alone.”
She burst out laughing. “Well—?” She turned to the door. “Good Lord! Isn’t every blooming man the same!”
She opened her bag and dropped the three gold pieces into a pocket—one after another. You heard the dull sound of the first as it fell, then the clinking of the other two, when the metal touched metal. She shut the bag—the catch snapped sharp! Then she went.
You sow an idea—you sow a seed. It grows upwards through a soil of subliminal unconsciousness until it lifts its head into the clear air of realization. There is no limitation of time, no need for watchful dependence upon the season. Only the moment and the husbandry of circumstances are essential. With these, perhaps a single hour is all that may be required for the seed to open, the shoots to sprout, the plant itself to bear the fruit of action in the fierce light of reality.
In Traill’s mind the idea was sown when he stood outside the office of Bonsfield & Co. in King Street. The soil was ready then—hungry for the seed. It fell lightly—unnoticed—into the subconscious strata of his mind. He had not even been aware of its existence. Then, with the woman who had accompanied him to his rooms, came the husbandry of circumstance. She fed the seed. She watered it. Before her foot had finished tapping on the wooden staircase, before the street and the thousand lights had swallowed her up again, his mind had grasped the knowledge of the need that was within him.