It fills up your life.
It gives life a beautiful purpose. By properly educating a child, preventing it from making the mistakes which we had to pay for so dearly, and strengthening its mind with our own rich experiences, we produce a better man and advance slowly but surely toward the final goal of existence, which is perfection.
You are quite right, brother. When I was little I loved to torture animals. That developed cruelty in me. I won’t allow my son to torture animals. Even after I had grown up I often made mistakes in my friendships and love. I chose friends who were unworthy and women who were faithless. I’ll explain to my son—
DOCTOR (enters and says aloud)
Your wife is feeling very bad. She wants to see you.
Oh, my God! (He and the Doctor leave)
[The Relatives seat themselves in a semicircle. Solemn silence for a time. Someone in Gray stands motionless in the corner, His stony face turned toward them.
—Do you think, dear, she may die?
—No, I don’t think so. She is a very impatient woman and makes too much of her pains. All women bear children and none of them die. I have borne six children.
—But the way she screamed, mamma?
—Yes, her face was purple from screaming. I noticed it.
—Not from screaming, but from laboring. You don’t understand about these things. My face got purple too, but I didn’t scream.
—Not long ago an acquaintance of mine, the civil engineer’s wife, gave birth to a child, and she scarcely made a sound.
—I know. There’s no need for my brother to be so upset. One must be firm and take things calmly. And I’m afraid, too, he’ll introduce a lot of his fantastic notions in the bringing up of his children and indulge their every whim.
—He’s a very weak character. He has little enough money, and yet he lends it to people who don’t deserve to be trusted.
—Do you know how much the child’s layette cost?
—Don’t talk to me of it! It gets on my nerves, my brother’s extravagance does. I often quarrel with him because he’s so improvident.
—They say a stork brings babies. What sort of a stork is it?
[The young men burst out laughing.
—Don’t talk nonsense. I gave birth to five children right in your presence, and I’m no stork, thank the Lord.
[The young men burst our laughing again. The Elderly Woman eyes them long and sternly.
—It’s only a superstition. Children are born in an absolutely natural way, firmly established by science. They’ve moved to new quarters now.