In the upper berth was a woman who began at about eight o’clock to weep softly. At first Mary did not find this troublesome. In fact, the weeping, which never verged on the hysterical or distraught, was rather soothing in its pure liquid sorrow. She went on reading her novel. The President, and listening to the counterpoint of clacking wheels and small weeping. But after three-quarters of an hour or so the sound began to disturb her—not because it in any way changed its quality but because its sheer duration threw its nature into doubt. It occurred to Mary that the weeper was incontinent or maybe even demented. Outside, on the Wyoming show, the light from the various uncurtained Pullman windows whizzed along like sheets of printed matter speeding through a process of complex collation.

  At nine o’clock Mary summoned the conductor, paid the additional surcharge for the empty roomette in the next car, dressed and moved. She gave a handsome tip to the black porter who transferred her baggage and made down her bed. Nevertheless his unctuous silence irritated her. “I wonder what’s the matter with her?” she said.