It was a pleasant morning in London, with as clear a sky as is ever permitted to that great city. Cassandra had placed her little son in the middle of a huge bed which nearly filled the small room she had been given in a hotel, recommended to her by Betty Towers as one where "nice ladies travelling alone" could stop.
The child was dressed in a fresh white coat, and Cassandra had much ado to keep him clean. She heaped him about with pillows and bedclothing to make a nest for him, and gave him a spoon and a drinking cup for entertainment, while she arranged her own toilet before a cloudy mirror by a slant ray of daylight that managed to sift through the heavy draperies and lace curtains that obscured the one high, narrow window of her room.
She had tried to put them one side that she might look out when she awoke, but she could see only chimney-pots and grimy, irregularly tiled roofs. A narrow opening at the top of the window let in a little air; still she felt smothered, and tried to raise the lower sash, but could not move it. She thought of the books she had read about great cities, and how some people had to live in places like this always; and her heart filled with a large pity for them. Here only a small triangle of blue sky could be seen—not a tree, not a bit of earth—and in the small room all those heavy furnishings closed around her, dark red, stuffy, and greasy with London smoke. She could not touch them without blackening her hands, nor let her baby sit on the floor