“What tests?” I asked interestedly.
“Oh, I don’t know. A woman who bears a child ought surely to have the strength to do it. You and I have never talked much about these things, Roger, and the miracle of birth, like the miracle of death, must always be an enigma to us. But I think she’s right, and I told her that if she was ever going to have any children she ought to have a gym built both at Briar Hills and in town for herself and begin getting in shape for it right away.”
“And what did she say to that?” I asked trying to keep countenance.
“Oh, she laughed and said that she wasn’t thinking of having any children just yet.”
This, then, was the type of after-dinner conversation that took place between them. I began more clearly to understand the fascination that Jerry had for her—to understand, too, her growing delight in the splendid, vital, innocent animal that she had chained to her chariot wheel.
“Go on, Jerry,” I said in a moment. “She wants you to typify the new race—”
“Exactly. To spread the gospel of physical strength among my own kind—to prove that mind, other things being more or less equal, is greater than matter.”
“I see,” I said thoughtfully. “Then it was Marcia’s idea, wasn’t it?”
He hesitated a moment before replying.
“Oh, yes, I suppose so. But I’ve been pretty keen about it from the beginning. You must admit that it’s interesting in theory.”
“The superbeast versus the superman,” I commented. “Your mind is made up then—irrevocably?”
I had not known Jerry all these years for nothing. I shrugged my shoulders and sank into my chair again. “Then, of course, there’s nothing for it but to try to keep the thing out of the papers.”
He took up his hat and stick gayly. “Oh, they’ll never guess in the world. When I go down to Flynn’s I get into an old suit Christopher got for me down on Seventh Avenue—a hand-me-down, and when Marcia goes she wears—”
“Oh, yes, sometimes in the afternoons. She wears the worst-looking things—her maid got ’em somewhere. She watches me work. They call her my ‘steady.’ It’s great sport. She’s having more fun than she ever had before in her life, she says. I’d like you to run down this afternoon. You know the place. It will liven up your dry bones. Come along, will you?”
“Perhaps,” I said helplessly, looking out of the window.