“Yes. My mistakes, my failures, have brought us to the edge of a precipice. We must prevent, if we can, those mistakes and failures for them. The remedy for unhappy marriages, for all mistaken, selfish and artificial relationships in life is a preventive one. My plan is that we try to educate ourselves together, take advantage of the accruing knowledge that is helping men and women to cope with the problems, to think straight. We can then teach our children to think straight, to avoid the pitfalls into which we have fallen.”
I paused. Maude did not reply. Her face was turned away from me, towards the red glow of the setting sun above the hills.
“You have been doing this all along, you have had the vision, the true vision, while I lacked it, Maude. I offer to help you. But if you think it is impossible for us to live together, if you believe my feeling toward you is not enough, if you don’t think I can do what I propose, or if you have ceased to care for me—”
She turned to me with a swift movement, her eyes filled with tears.
“Oh, Hugh, don’t say any more. I can’t stand it. How little you know, for all your thinking. I love you, I always have loved you. I grew to be ashamed of it, but I’m not any longer. I haven’t any pride any more, and I never want to have it again.”
“You’re willing to take me as I am,—to try?” I said.
“Yes,” she answered, “I’m willing to try.” She smiled at me. “And I have more faith than you, Hugh. I think we’ll succeed."....
At nine o’clock that night, when we came out through the gates of the big, noisy station, the children were awaiting us. They had changed, they had grown. Biddy kissed me shyly, and stood staring up at me.
“We’ll take you out to-morrow and show you how we can ride,” said Moreton.
Matthew smiled. He stood very close to me, with his hand through my arm.
“You’re going to stay, father?” he asked.
“I’m going to stay, Matthew,” I answered, “until we all go back to America."....
PG EDITOR’S BOOKMARKS:
mere relics of the superstition of the past
Benumbing and desiccating effect of that old system of education
Conscience was superstition, the fear of the wrath of the gods
Conventionality was part of the price we had willingly paid
Conviction that government should remain modestly in the background
Everybody should have been satisfied, but everybody was not
I hated to lie to her,—yet I did so
I’m incapable of committing a single original act
It was not money we coveted, we Americans, but power
Knowledge was presented to us as a corpse
Marriage! What other career is open to a woman?
Meaningless lessons which had to be learned
Opponent who praises one with a delightful irony