A different weakness
‘How long have you known him?’
Her curiosity must have been strongly roused for her to put the direct question. Jane said:
‘Oh, a few months.’
‘I should think he’s very different from your Professor.’
‘I wouldn’t have thought … quite your sort of person.’ Jane did not reply to that. ‘Less intellectual, surely.’
‘I suppose you could say that.’
Jane carried her shoes up to her room. Hilda, for some reason, was taking Micky seriously in a way she had never, for instance, taken Walter. She wondered why. She understood her sister’s strongly rooted if irrational police phobia; but was surprised that she should attach so much weight to someone who was apparently no more than a casual acquaintance. Something in herself, perhaps, not in him? Hilda was a good mind- and gesture-reader where the family were concerned.
She walked to her dressing table and, bending down, stared in the glass. The lineaments of ungratified desire? Not, surely, in so wary an old campaigner as she was, both in the lists of love and family. There was nothing to see there.
But enough to feel. Physical longing came now, with image and remembered sensation, less a hunger than a bursting urge to draw breath, a sense of her whole being as frustrated and incomplete. The intensity of it shocked her, and she sat down on her stool. She was trembling slightly. This was weakness again, but a different weakness.