"Doesn't surprise me. Who wants to do an honest job these days? " said Dorothy. 'But you have to get someone. and i can tell you i didn't expect to end my days as your and Sarah's skivvy."
Here Luke and Helen gave their grandmother incredulous looks and burst into tears. After a pause, Dorothycontrolled herself and began consoling them.
"All right, it's all right', she said "And now I'm going to put Paul and Jane to bed. You two, Luke and Helen can put yourselves to bed. I'll come up and say good night. And then your grand is off to bed. I'm tired'
The subdued children went off upstairs.
Harriet did not come down again that evening; her husband and her mother knew she was being sick.Which they were used to.... but were not used to ill temper, tears, fretfulness.
When the children were in bed, David did some of the work he had brought home, made himself a sandwich, and was joined by D, who had come down to make herself tea. This time they did not exchange irritabilities: they were together in a companionable silence, like two old campaigners facing trials and difficulties.Then David went up into the great shadowy bedroom, where lights from an upstairs windows in a neighboring house a good thirty yards away sent gleams and shadows on to the ceiling. He stood looking at the big bed where Harry lay. Asleep? Baby Paul was lying asleep close to her, unwrapped. David cautiously leaned over, folded Paul into his cuddling blanket, took him to his room next door. He sawHarriet's eyes shine as the followed his movements.
He got into bed and, as always, slid out his arm so that she could put her head on to it and be gathered close to him.
But she said, "Feel this" and guided his hand to her stomach.
She was nearly three months pregnant. this new baby had not yet shown signs of independent life, but now David felt a jolt under his hand, quite a hard movement
"Canyou be further along that you thought?" Once more he felt the trust , and could not believe it.
Harriet was weeping again, and he felt, knowing of course this was unfair, that she was breaking the rules of some contract between them: tears and misery had not ever been on their agenda!
She felt rejected by him, They had always loved to lie here feeling a new life life, greeting it, She hadwaited four times for the first little flutters, easily mistaken but then certain; the sensation that was as if a fish mouthed out a bubble; the small responses to her movements, her touch, and even she was convinced her thoughts,
this morning, lying in the dark before the children woke, she had felt a tapping in her belly, demanding attention, Disbelieving, she had half sat up, looking down at herstill flat, it soft, stomach and felt the imperative beat, like a small drum, She had been keeping herself on the move all day, so as not to feel these demands from the new being, unlike anything she had known before,
“ You had better go and get Dr Brett to check the dates” Said David,
Harriet said nothing, feeling it was beside the point: he did not know why she felt this,
But she did go toDr Brett,
He said, “Well, perhaps I was out by a mouth but if so, you have really been very careless, Harriet” This scolding was what she was getting from everyone, and she flashed out, ' Anyone can make a mistake”,
He frowned as he felt the emphatic movements in her stomach, and remarked, “Well, there's nothing very much wrong with that, is there? “ He looked dubious, however. He was aharassed, no longer young man, who, she had heard, had a difficult marriage, She always felt rather superior to him, Now she felt at his mercy, and was looking up into that professionally reticent face as she lay there, under his hands, longing for him to say something else. What? An explanation.
“you'll have to take it easy”, he said turning away, Behind his back, she muttered, “take it easy...