But she sat there just as she was, staring at the dying fire, her hands lying slack in her lap, all as if she hadn’t heard. The long silence irked him. He pulled out his watch, looked at it and began winding it. He mended the fire so that it would be safe for the night; bolted a window. Every minute or two, he stole a look at her, but she was always just the same. Except for the faint rise and fall of her bosom, she might have been a picture, not a woman.
At last he said again, “Come along, Rose, dear.”
“It’ll be too late in October,” she said. “That’s why I wanted to decide things to-night. Because we must begin right away.” Then she looked up into his face. “It will be too late in October,” she repeated, “unless we begin now.”
The deep tense seriousness of her voice and her look arrested his full attention.
“Why?” he asked. And then, “Rose, what do you mean?”
“We’re going to have a baby in October,” she said.
He stared at her for a minute without a word, then drew in a deep breath and pressed his hands against his eyes. All he could say at first was just her name. But he dropped down beside her and got her in his arms.
“So that’s it,” he said raggedly at last. “Oh, Rose, darling, it’s such a relief! I’ve been so terrified about you—so afraid something had gone wrong. And you wouldn’t let me ask, and you seemed so unhappy. I’d even thought of talking to Randolph. I might have guessed, I suppose. I’ve been stupid about it. But, you darling, I understand it all now.”
She didn’t see just what he meant by that, but she didn’t care. It was such a wonderful thing to stop fighting and let the tension relax, cuddle close into his embrace, and know nothing in the world but the one fact that he loved her; that their tale of golden hours wasn’t spent—was, perhaps, illimitable. She was even too drowsily happy to think what he meant when he said a little later:
“So now you won’t let anything trouble you, will you, child? And if queer worrying ideas get into your head about the way we live, and about being a drag on me and making me hate you, you’ll laugh at them? You’ll be able to laugh, because you’ll know why they’re there.”
It wasn’t until the next day that she recalled that remark of his and analyzed it. It meant, of course, that she was beaten; that her first fight for the big thing had been in vain. There would be no use, for the present, in renewing the struggle. He’d taken the one ground that was impregnable. So long as he could go on honestly interpreting every plea of hers for a share in the hard part of his life as well as in the soft part of it, for a way of life that would make them something more than lovers—as wholly subjective to herself, the inevitable accompaniment of her physical condition—the pleas and the struggles would indeed be wasted. She’d have to wait.