She could make, after a fashion, a life of that. She had no fear but it would last. Barring incalculable misfortunes, she ought to be able to keep her looks and her charm for him, unimpaired, or but little impaired, for twenty years—twenty-five, with care. For the rich, the resources of modern civilization would almost guarantee that. Well, twenty-five years would see Rodney through his fifties. She needn’t, barring accident, have any more children. He’d probably be content with two; especially as they were boy and girl.
The other man in him—the man who wasn’t her lover—would struggle of course. Except when she was by, the lover would probably have a bad time of it. She’d have to find some amusing sort of occupation to enable her to forget that. But when she was there, it would be strange if she and her lover together couldn’t, most of the time, keep the other man locked up where he wouldn’t disturb them much.
Lived without remorse or misgivings, played magnificently for all it was worth, as she could play it—she knew that now—it would be a rather wonderful life. They must be decidedly an exceptional pair of lovers, she thought. Certainly Madame Greville’s generalization about Americans did not apply to them, and she was coming to suspect it did apply to the majority of her friends. She could have that life—safely, surely, as far as our poor mortality can be sure of anything. She had only to reach out her hands.
But if, instead, she took the leap ...!
“Roddy ...” she said.
He was slumped down in a big easy chair at the other side of the table, swinging a restless foot; drumming now and then with his fingers. It was many silent minutes since the storm of reproach with which he had repelled her plea for a part in the actual responsible care of her children had died away. He had spoken with unnecessary vehemence, he knew. He had admitted that—said he was sorry, as well as he could without withdrawing from his position. But he had been met by that most formidable of all weapons—a blank silence—an inscrutable face. Some sort of scene was inevitable, he knew. And he sat there waiting for it. She had been hurt. She was undoubtedly very angry.
He thought he was ready for anything. But just the way she spoke his name, startled—almost frightened—him, she said it so quietly, so—tenderly.
“Roddy,” she said, “I want you to come over here and kiss me, and then go back and sit down in that chair again.”
He went a little pale at that. The swing of his foot was arrested suddenly. But, for a moment, he made no move—just looked wonderingly into her great grave eyes.
“Something’s going to happen,” she went on, “and before it’s over, I’m afraid it’s going to hurt you terribly—and me. And I want the kiss for us to remember. So that we’ll always know, whatever happens afterward, that we loved each other.” She held out her arms to him. “Won’t you come?”