Matters went badly with Patricia in the ensuing months. Her mother’s blood told here, as Colonel Musgrave saw with disquietude. He knew the women of his race had by ordinary been unfit for childbearing; indeed, the daughters of this famous house had long, in a grim routine, perished, just as Patricia’s mother had done, in their first maternal essay. There were many hideous histories the colonel could have told you of, unmeet to be set down, and he was familiar with this talk of pelvic anomalies which were congenital. But he had never thought of Patricia, till this, as being his kinswoman, and in part a Musgrave.
And even now the Stapylton blood that was in her pulled Patricia through long weeks of anguish. Surgeons dealt with her very horribly in a famed Northern hospital, whither she had been removed. By her obdurate request—and secretly, to his own preference, since it was never in his power to meet discomfort willingly—Colonel Musgrave had remained in Lichfield. Patricia knew that officious people would tell him her life could be saved only by the destruction of an unborn boy.
She never questioned her child would be a boy. She knew that Olaf wanted a boy.
“Oh, even more than he does me, daddy. And so he mustn’t know, you see, until it is all over. Because Olaf is such an ill-informed person that he really believes he prefers me.”
“Pat,” her father inconsequently said, “I’m proud of you! And—and, by God, if I want to cry, I guess I am old enough to know my own mind! And I’ll help you in this if you’ll only promise not to die in spite of what these damn’ doctors say, because you’re mine, Pat, and so you realize a bargain is a bargain.”
“Yes—I am really yours, daddy. It is just my crazy body that is a Musgrave,” Patricia explained. “The real me is an unfortunate Stapylton who has somehow got locked up in the wrong house. It is not a desirable residence, you know, daddy. No modern improvements, for instance. But I have to live in it!... Still, I have not the least intention of dying, and I solemnly promise that I won’t.”
So these two hoodwinked Rudolph Musgrave, and brought it about by subterfuge that his child was born. At most he vaguely understood that Patricia was having rather a hard time of it, and steadfastly drugged this knowledge by the performance of trivialities. He was eating a cucumber sandwich at the moment young Roger Musgrave came into the world, and by that action very nearly accomplished Patricia’s death.
And the gods cursed Roger Stapylton with such a pride in, and so great a love for, his only grandson that the old man could hardly bear to be out of the infant’s presence. He was frequently in Lichfield nowadays; and he renewed his demands that Rudolph Musgrave give up the exhaustively-particularized librarianship, so that “the little coot” would be removed to New York and all three of them be with Roger Stapylton always.