“I only know what I’ve seen,” said Aaron. “You’d both of you like a bloody revolution, though.”
“Yes. Only when it came he wouldn’t be there.”
“Yes, indeed I would. I would give everything to be in it. I’d give heaven and earth for a great big upheaval—and then darkness.”
“Perhaps you’ll get it, when you die,” said Aaron.
“Oh, but I don’t want to die and leave all this standing. I hate it so.”
“Why do you?”
“But don’t you?”
“No, it doesn’t really bother me.”
“It makes me feel I can’t live.”
“I can’t see that.”
“But you always disagree with one!” said
Josephine. “How do you like
Lilly? What do you think of him?”
“He seems sharp,” said Aaron.
“But he’s more than sharp.”
“Oh, yes! He’s got his finger in most pies.”
“And doesn’t like the plums in any of them,” said Josephine tartly.
“What does he do?”
“Writes—stories and plays.”
“And makes it pay?”
“Hardly at all.—They want us to go. Shall we?” She rose from the table. The waiter handed her her cloak, and they went out into the blowy dark night. She folded her wrap round her, and hurried forward with short, sharp steps. There was a certain Parisian chic and mincingness about her, even in her walk: but underneath, a striding, savage suggestion as if she could leg it in great strides, like some savage squaw.
Aaron pressed his bowler hat down on his brow.
“Would you rather take a bus?” she said in a high voice, because of the wind.
“I’d rather walk.”
“So would I.”
They hurried across the Charing Cross Road, where great buses rolled and rocked, crammed with people. Her heels clicked sharply on the pavement, as they walked east. They crossed Holborn, and passed the Museum. And neither of them said anything.
When they came to the corner, she held out her hand.
“Look!” she said. “Don’t come any further: don’t trouble.”
“I’ll walk round with you: unless you’d rather not.”
“No—But do you want to bother?”
“It’s no bother.”
So they pursued their way through the high wind, and turned at last into the old, beautiful square. It seemed dark and deserted, dark like a savage wilderness in the heart of London. The wind was roaring in the great bare trees of the centre, as if it were some wild dark grove deep in a forgotten land.
Josephine opened the gate of the square garden with her key, and let it slam to behind him.
“How wonderful the wind is!” she shrilled. “Shall we listen to it for a minute?”
She led him across the grass past the shrubs to the big tree in the centre. There she climbed up to a seat. He sat beside her. They sat in silence, looking at the darkness. Rain was blowing in the wind. They huddled against the big tree-trunk, for shelter, and watched the scene.