During the evening:
Lydia seemed to herself to be in an endless bad dream. The exhausting efforts of the day had reduced her to a sort of coma of fatigue through which she felt but dully the successive stabs of the ill-served unsuccessful dinner. At times, the table, the guests, the room itself, wavered before her, and she clutched at her chair to keep her balance. She did not know that she was laughing and talking gaily and eating nothing. She was only conscious of an intense longing for the end of things, and darkness and quiet.
When it was all over and her husband was compelled to recognize that it had been a failure, his mental attitude is thus expressed:
He had determined to preserve at all costs the appearance of the indulgent, non-critical, over-patient husband that he intensely felt himself to be. No force, he thought grimly, shutting his jaws hard, should drag from him a word of his real sentiments. Fanned by the wind of this virtuous resolution, his sentiments grew hotter and hotter as he walked about, locking doors and windows, and reviewing bitterly the events of the evening. If he was to restrain himself from saying, he would at least allow himself the privilege of feeling all that was possible to a man deeply injured.
And that night Lydia felt for the “first time the quickening to life of her child. And during all that day, until then, she had forgotten that she was to know motherhood.” Can words more forcefully depict the worry of the squirrel-cage than this—that an unnecessary dinner, given in unnecessary style, at unnecessary expense, to visitors to whom it was unnecessary should have driven from her thought, and doubtless seriously injured, the new life that she was so soon to give to the world?
Oh, men and women of divine descent and divine heritage, quit your squirrel-cage stage of existence. Is life to be one mere whirling around of the cage of useless toil or pleasure, of mere imagining that you are doing something? Work with an object. Know your object, that it is worthy the highest endeavor of a human being, and then pursue it with a divine enthusiasm that no obstacle can daunt, an ardor that no weariness can quench. Then it is you will begin to live. There is no life in worry. Worry is a waste of life. If you are a worrier, that is a proof you (in so far as you worry) do not appreciate the value of your own life, for a worthy object, a divine enthusiasm, a noble ardor are in