So it had come to Sally. Beyond all doubt, she loved; beyond all question, she was prepared to obey the faintest call that her heart prompted. Janet, tender to her that night, fondling her and caressing her, answering to her with the very heart that she had tried to stifle within herself, was Janet herself again the next morning. But Sally was unchanged.
She dressed herself silently before the mirror, looking out through the window at the grey river-fog that fell gloomily across the water and Janet lay in bed, her hands crossed behind her head, a cigarette hanging between her lips and the smoke curling up past her eyes. The school of Art did not open until eleven o’clock that morning. Sally had to be at the office at nine.
“There’ll be a fog up in Town,” said Janet. She did not take the cigarette out of her mouth. It jerked up and down with the words.
“Sure to be,” Sally replied.
“Suppose Mr. Traill will come and take you out to lunch?”
Sally turned quickly. “I told you last night,” she said bitterly. “We shan’t see each—”
“Oh yes, I know that. But do you think he means it?”
“I’m sure he does.”
Sally unpinned a coil of her hair and re-arranged it more carefully, unconscious that she did it because Janet had suggested the vague hope in her mind that he might come.
“Why are you so different this morning?” she asked.
Janet brushed away a piece of glowing ash that had fallen like a cloud of dust into one of the hollows below her neck.
“Didn’t know I was very different.”
“Well, I’ve been thinking—” She threw the end of her cigarette away and jumped out of bed, walking on her heels over the cold, linoleumed floor to the washstand. “I’ve been thinking,” she repeated as she poured out the cold water into the basin—“and as far as I can see”—she dipped her face with a rush into the icy water, and her words became a gurgle of speeding bubbles—“there was really no need for all your crying and misery—heavens! this water’d nip a tenderer bud than I am. Ain’t I a bud, Sally?” She laughed and shivered her shoulders as she struggled to work the soap into a lather.
“I never can understand you when you talk like that,” said Sally. “I never know whether you really mean what you say.”
“Well, I mean every word of it. It’s the only time I do mean things, when I talk like that. Where’d you put the towel? We want a clean towel, Sally. I sopped up some tea I spilt with this last night. No—but can’t you see, there’s no need for you to be so miserable as you think. Men only make a sacrifice when they really love a woman. He’ll come back to you, like a duck to the water. You know he will. Do you think if he’d cared for you at all, he’d have given tuppence whether he taught you what most men teach most women. The only woman a man thinks he has no real claim to, is the woman he loves; he believes he has a proprietary right to nearly every other blessed one he meets, and has only got to assert it.”