“Why, the queer thing is,” said Rose, who had been in a daze ever since Jane’s first question, “that I hadn’t thought of it as anything at all but—It. Hardly that, really. I’ve known how miserable I’ve been, and that there were things I must be careful not to do,—and, of course, what was going to happen. But that when it was all over there’d be a baby left,—a—a son or a daughter, why, that’s ...”
Her surprise had carried her into a confidence that her budding friendship for Jane was hardly ripe for, and she pulled up rather suddenly. “I didn’t know you had any children,” she concluded, by way of avoiding a further discussion of the marvel just then. “Are they here with you now?”
Jane explained why they were not. They weren’t babies any more, two husky little boys of five and three, and they were rejoicing in the care of a grandmother and a highly competent nurse. “One of those terribly infallible people, you know. Oh, I don’t like it. I get a night letter every morning, and, of course, if one of them got the sniffles I’d be off home like a shot. I’d like to be a regular domestic mother; not let another soul but me touch them (Jane really believed this) but you see we can’t well afford it. Barry pays me five dollars a day for working for him. I scout around and dig up material and interview people for him—I used to be a reporter, you know. He’d have to hire somebody, and it might better be me and keep the money in the family. Because the nurse who takes my place doesn’t cost near so much as that. All the same, as I say, I don’t half like it. You can preach the new stuff till you’re black in the face, but there’s no job for a woman like taking care of her own children.”
Rose listened to all this, as well as to Jane’s subsequent remarks, with only so much attention as was required to keep her guest from suspecting that she wasn’t really listening at all. Jane didn’t stay long. She had to go out and earn Barry’s five dollars—she’d lose her job if she didn’t, so she said, and Rose was presently left alone to dream, actually for the first time, of the wonders that were before her.
What a silly little idiot she’d been not to have seen the thing for herself! She’d been, all the while, beating her head against blind walls when there was a door there waiting to open of itself when the time came. Motherhood! There’d be a doctor and a nurse at first, of course, but presently they’d go away and she’d be left with a baby. Her own baby! She could care for him with her own hands, feed him—her joy reached an ecstasy at this—feed him from her own breast.
That life which Rodney led apart from her, the life into which she had tried with such ludicrous unsuccess to effect an entrance, was nothing to this new life which was to open before her in a few short months now. Meanwhile, she not only must wait; she could well afford to.
That was why she could listen with that untroubled smile of hers to the terrible things that Rodney and James Randolph and Barry Lake and Jane got into the way of hurling across her dinner table, and to the more mildly expressed but equally alkaline cynicisms of Jimmy Wallace.