It ought to be known, and known at once; she ought to tell her brother, as soon as she saw him; she thought of telling her aunt, and she fancied having to shout the affair into her ear, and having to repeat, “He kissed me! Don’t you understand? Kissed me!” Then she reflected with a start that she could never tell any one, that in the midst of her world she was alone in relation to this; she was as helpless and friendless as the poorest and lowliest girl could be. She was more so, for if she were like the maid whom the grocer’s boy kissed she would be of an order of things in which she could advise with some one else who had been kissed; and she would know what to feel.
She asked herself whether she was at all moved at heart; till now it seemed to her that it had not been different with her toward him from what it had been toward all the other men whose meaning she would have liked to find out. She had not in the least respected them, and she did not respect him; but if it happened because he was overcome by his love for her, and could not help it, then perhaps she must forgive him whether she cared for him or not.
These ideas presented themselves with the simultaneity of things in a dream in that instant when she lingered helplessly in his hold, and she even wondered if by any chance Andrew had seen them; but she heard his step on the floor below; and at the same time it appeared to her that she must be in love with this man if she did not resent what he had done.
Westover was sitting at an open window of his studio smoking out into the evening air, and looking down into the thinly foliaged tops of the public garden, where the electrics fainted and flushed and hissed. Cars trooped by in the troubled street, scraping the wires overhead that screamed as if with pain at the touch of their trolleys, and kindling now and again a soft planet, as the trolleys struck the batlike plates that connected the crossing lines. The painter was getting almost as much pleasure out of the planets as pain out of the screams, and he was in an after-dinner languor in which he was very reluctant to recognize a step, which he thought he knew, on his stairs and his stairs-landing. A knock at