“I do remember it, Patricia—”
“I bore the child. I paid the price, not you,” Patricia said, very quiet. “No, I don’t mean the price all women have to pay—” She paused in their leisurely progress, and drew vague outlines in the roadway with the ferrule of her umbrella before she looked up into Rudolph Musgrave’s face. She appraised it for a long while and quite as if her husband were a stranger.
“Yes, I could make you very sorry for me, if I wanted to.” Her thoughts ran thus. “But what’s the use? You could only become an interminable nuisance in trying to soothe my dying hours. You have just obstinately squatted around in Lichfield and devoted all your time to being beautiful and good and mooning around women for I don’t know how many years. You make me tired, and I have half a mind to tell you so right now. And there really is no earthly sense in attempting to explain things to you. You have so got into the habit of being beautiful and good that you are capable of quoting Scripture after I have finished. Then I would assuredly box your jaws, because I don’t yearn to be a poor stricken dear and weep on anybody’s bosom. And I don’t particularly care about your opinion of me, anyway.”
Aloud she said: “Oh, well! let’s go and get some breakfast.”
And thus the situation stayed. Patricia told him nothing. And Rudolph Musgrave, knowing that according to his lights he had behaved not unhandsomely, was the merest trifle patronizing and rather like a person speaking from a superior plane in his future dealings with Patricia. Moreover, he was engrossed at this time by his scholarly compilation of Lichfield Legislative Papers prior to 1800, which was printed the following February.
She told him nothing. She was a devoted mother for two days’ space, and then candidly decided that Roger was developing into the most insufferable of little prigs.
“And, besides, if he had never been born I would quite probably have lived to keep my teeth in a glass of water at night. And I can’t help thinking of that privilege being denied me whenever I look at him.”
She told Rudolph Musgrave nothing. She was finding it mildly amusing to note how people came and went at Matocton, and to appraise these people disinterestedly, because she would never see them again.
Patricia was drawing her own conclusions as to Lichfield’s aristocracy. These people—for the most part a preposterously handsome race—were the pleasantest of companions and their manners were perfection; but there was enough of old Roger Stapylton’s blood in Patricia’s veins to make her feel, however obscurely, that nobody is justified in living without even an attempt at any personal achievement. The younger men evinced a marked tendency to leave Lichfield, to make their homes elsewhere, she noted, and they very often attained prominence; there was