They ride the train together side by side, Mary's gaze intent on her knitting while John watches casually out the cabin window. He holds the hand-wound ball of her working yarn in one palm, turning it occasionally to free up more slack for her consuming needles by feel of tension, without ever needing to be told, while his other hand . . . A casual observer would be lucky to spot the silent, furtive movements of his left arm, its lower portion concealed by her mantelet as it burrowed beneath the layers of her skirts to draw up her shift and push aside the fabric of her drawers, questing out her most secret place.
Neither one breathes a word or shows any sign of clandestine behaviour. Mary's delicate fingers work deftly, guiding the dance of her needles—plunge, curl, wrapping the yarn around her righthand needle and drawing it out, laying out intricate patterns of carefully meted lace—while beneath her smallclothes John's rougher hand performs a similar dance: plunge, curl, drawing out her most delicious liquor, there in the sedately appointed train car. The only betrayal of Mary's pleasure lies in the faint rise of colour in her cheeks, the slight part of her lips, and a gasp that is swallowed by the click of her knitting needles, and in the small smile that plays below her husband's moustache as he watches her, reflected in the glass of the window.