I got up, and started to go into my study. She half rose, and her sewing fell to the floor.
“Oh, why are we always having misunderstandings? Do sit down a minute, Hugh. Don’t think I’m not appreciative,” she pleaded. “It was—such a shock.”
I sat down rather reluctantly.
“I can’t express what I think,” she continued, rather breathlessly, “but sometimes I’m actually frightened, we’re going through life so fast in these days, and it doesn’t seem as if we were getting the real things out of it. I’m afraid of your success, and of all the money you’re making.”
“I’m not so rich yet, as riches go in these days, that you need be alarmed,” I said.
She looked at me helplessly a moment.
“I feel that it isn’t—right, somehow, that you’ll pay for it, that we’ll pay for it. Goodness knows, we have everything we want, and more too. This house—this house is real, and I’m afraid that won’t be a home, won’t be real. That we’ll be overwhelmed with—with things!"...
She was interrupted by the entrance of the children. But after dinner, when she had seen them to bed, as was her custom, she came downstairs into my study and said quietly:—“I was wrong, Hugh. If you want to build a house, if you feel that you’d be happier, I have no right to object. Of course my sentiment for this house is natural, the children were born here, but I’ve realized we couldn’t live here always.”
“I’m glad you look at it that way,” I replied. “Why, we’re already getting cramped, Maude, and now you’re going to have a governess I don’t know where you’d put her.”
“Not too large, a house,” she pleaded. “I know you think I’m silly, but this extravagance we see everywhere does make me uneasy. Perhaps it’s because I’m provincial, and always shall be.”
“Well, we must have a house large enough to be comfortable in,” I said. “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be comfortable.” I thought it as well not to confess my ambitions, and I was greatly relieved that she did not reproach me for buying the lot without consulting her. Indeed, I was grateful for this unanticipated acquiescence, I felt nearer to her, than I had for a long time. I drew up another chair to my desk.
“Sit down and we’ll make a few sketches, just for fun,” I urged.
“Hugh,” she said presently, as we were blacking out prospective rooms, “do you remember all those drawings and plans we made in England, on our wedding trip, and how we knew just what we wanted, and changed our minds every few days? And now we’re ready to build, and haven’t any ideas at all!”
“Yes,” I answered—but I did not look at her.
“I have the book still—it’s in the attic somewhere, packed away in a box. I suppose those plans would seem ridiculous now.”