They strained their ears; lips half parted on which the breath waited, to listen. The sounds, muffled, were broken at moments by a subdued chorus of men’s voices.
Traill crossed the room to the door that opened into his bedroom; unlatched it, held it wide. Sally watched his face with half-expectant eyes.
“There’s a yard at the back,” he said; “my bedroom looks on to it. Excuse me a second.” He disappeared. She heard him throw up the window, when the sounds increased in volume. Now she could distinguish individual voices—voices taut, strained to a pitch of excitement. Then Traill’s voice, with a strange, stirring voice of vitality keyed in it.
It was not thinkingly said. That there had been no thought, no premeditation, was the fact that stirred her most. In his mind she had been Sally, and in a moment of tensity he had let it shape on his lips. She felt the blood racing through her like a mill-dam loosed. She thought when first she rose to her feet—and it was as though some strong hand had lifted her—that her limbs would refuse obedience. A moment of emotion, that was passivity itself, obsessed her. Then she hurried through into the other room, across to the open window where he stood expectant. There was no thought that it was his bedroom in which they stood—no consideration in her mind of the observance of any narrow laws of propriety. He had asked her. She came.
“This is the cleanest bit of luck,” he said, with scarce controlled excitement.
“What is it?” She pressed nearer to the window.
He explained. “This yard at the back belongs to some railway company and two of their men are going to settle a difference of opinion—that’s putting it mildly—as far as I can make out they mean business.”
“What are they going to do?”
He answered her question by putting another. “You know I told you I belonged to the National Sporting?”
“Are they going to fight?” She caught her breath, forcing back the sense of nausea.
“Yes; bare fists with a definite end in view. Why look here—” He took her arm and gently pulled her to the window where he was standing. “Look here, you see they’ve even got assistants—those two chaps with towels over their arms. The men are over in that shed—stripping, I suppose. By Jove, if I had thought of an entertainment, I couldn’t have got anything more exciting than this for you. Ever seen a fight?”