At the last moment before we turned northward I planted the Union Jack on the highest hummock of snow, and when we were a hundred yards off I looked back through the gloom and saw it blowing stiffly in the wind.
I don’t think I need tell how deeply that sight cut me, but if life has another such moment coming for me all I have to say is that I hope I may die before I live to see it—which is Irish, but most damnably true.
That was twelve o’clock noon on the eighth day of June and anybody may make what he likes of what I say, but as nearly as I can calculate the difference of time between London and where we were in the 88th latitude it was the very hour of my dear one’s peril.
[END OF MARTIN CONRAD’S MEMORANDUM]
Two weeks passed and if I suffered from getting up too soon I was never conscious of it.
Once or twice, perhaps, in the early days I felt a certain dizziness and had to hold on for a moment to the iron rail of my bedstead, but I was too much occupied with the tender joys of motherhood to think much about myself.
Bathing, dressing, undressing, and feeding my baby were a perpetual delight to me.
What a joy it all was!
There must he something almost animal, even voluptuous, in mothers’ love, for there was nothing I liked so much as having baby naked on my knee and devouring its sweet body all over with kisses—putting its little fat hands and even its little fat feet into my mouth.
There must be something almost infantile, too, for sometimes after I had talked to my darling with a flood of joyous chatter I would even find myself scolding her a little, and threatening what I would do if she did not “behave.”
Oh, mysterious laws of motherhood! Only God can fathom the depths of them.
It was just as if sixteen years of my life had rolled back, and I was again a child in my mother’s room playing with my dolls under the table. Only there was something so wonderful now in the sweet eyes that looked up at me, that at certain moments I would fall into a long reverie and my heart would be full of adoration.
What lengths I went to!
It was the height of the London season when baby came; and sometimes at night, looking through my window, I saw the tail-end of the long queue of carriages and electric broughams which stretched to the end of the street I lived in, from the great houses fronting the Park where balls and receptions were being held until the early hours of morning. But I never envied the society ladies they were waiting for. On the contrary I pitied them, remembering they were childless women for the most part and thinking their pleasures were hollow as death compared with mine.
I pitied the rich mothers too—the mothers who banish their babies to nurseries to be cared for by servants, and I thought how much more blessed was the condition of poor mothers like myself who kept all that sweetness to themselves.