She realized, when the rehearsal was over, that it had gone well and that it couldn’t have gone so if her own part had been done badly. She hesitated a moment after he’d finally dismissed them with a nod, and an, “Eleven o’clock to-morrow morning, everybody,” from a previously formed intention of asking him if she’d do. But she felt, somehow, that such a question would be foolish and unnecessary.
He had marked her hesitation and shot her a look that she felt followed her as she walked off, and she heard him say to the world in general and in a heartfelt sort of way, “Good God!” But she didn’t know that it was the highest encomium he was capable of, nor that it was addressed to her.
She carried away, however, a glow that saw her back to her room, and through the processes of unpacking and getting ready for bed, though it faded swiftly during the last of these. But when the last thing that she could think of to do had been done, when there was no other pretext, even after a desperate search for one, that could be used to postpone turning out her light and getting into bed, she had to confess to herself that she was afraid to do it. And with that confession, the whole pack of hobgoblin terrors she had kept at bay so valiantly since shutting her husband’s door behind her, were upon her back.
Here she was, Rose Aldrich, in a three-dollar-a-week room on North Clark Street, having deserted her husband and her babies—a loving honest husband, and a pair of helpless babies not yet three months old—to become a member of the chorus in a show called The Girl Up-stairs! Was there a human being in the world, except herself, who would not, as the most charitable of possible explanations, assume her to be mad? Could she herself, seeing her act cut out in silhouette like that, be sure she wasn’t mad? Hysterical anyway, the victim of her own rashly encouraged fancies, just as Rodney had so often declared she was? Oughtn’t she to have let James Randolph explore the subconscious part of her mind and find the crack there must be in it, that could have driven her to a crazy act like this?
It didn’t matter now. She couldn’t go back. She never could go back after the things she had said to Rodney, until she had made good those fantastic theories of hers. Probably he wouldn’t want her to come back even then. He’d find out where she was of course—what she was doing. Why had she been such a fool, going away, as not to have gone far enough to be safe? He’d feel that she’d disgraced him. Any man would. And he’d never forgive her. He’d divorce her, perhaps. He’d have a right to, if she stayed away long enough. And, without her there, with nothing of her but memories—tormenting memories, he’d perhaps fall in love with some one else—marry some one else. And her two babies would call that unknown some one “mother.” She must have been crazy! She’d thought she didn’t love them. That had been a delusion anyway. Her heart ached for them now—an actual physical ache that almost made her cry out. And for Rodney himself, for his big strong arms around her! Would she ever feel them again?