Bertie Willis had his usefulness here. Sometimes Rose heard the director whisper hoarsely, “For God’s sake, don’t let her do that! She can’t do that!” and then Bertie would intervene and accomplish wonders by diplomacy.
But it must be wonderfully exhilarating, Rose thought, to know exactly why that girl was ridiculous and what to do to make her look right. And to be able to sell your knowledge for three hundred dollars a week. This was the sort of thing Rodney did, when one came to think of it. She wondered whether he could sell his special sort of knowledge for as much. That must be: the sort of possession Simone Greville had had in mind when she said that nothing worth having could be bought cheap. Neither Rodney nor the director had found his specialty growing on a bush!
But her specialty, which in her life was to fill the place a knowledge of stage dancing filled in the director’s, was to come in a different way. You paid a price, of course, for motherhood, in pain and peril, but it remained a miraculous gift, for all that.
WHAT HARRIET DID
She must wait for her miracle. As the weeks and months wore away, and as the season of violent and high-frequency alternations between summer and winter, which the Chicagoan calls spring, gave place to summer itself, Rose was driven to intrench herself more and more deeply behind this great expectation. It was like a dam holding back waters that otherwise would have rushed down upon her and swept her away.
The problems went on mounting up behind the dam, of course. All the minor luxuries of their way of living, which had been so keen a delight to her during the first unthinking months of their married life; all the sumptuous little elaborations of existence which she had explored with such adventurous delight, had changed—now that she knew they had been bought by the abridgment of her husband’s freedom, by the invasion of the clear space about himself which he had always so jealously guarded—into a cloud of buzzing stinging distractions.
And they were the harder to bear now that she recognized how hard they were going to be to drive away. It would have to be effected without wounding Rodney’s primitive masculine pride—without convicting him of being an inadequate provider.
The baffling thing about him was that he had, quite unconsciously and sincerely, two points of view. His affection for her, his wife, lover, mistress, was a lens through which he sometimes looked out on the world. As she refracted the facts of life for him they presented themselves in the primitive old-fashioned way.