By the middle of April the house-cleaning was done. One or two motor

parties had come out, dined sedately and wined moderately, and had gone

back to the city again. The next two weeks saw the weather clear. The

roads dried up, robins filled the trees with their noisy spring songs, and

still business continued dull.

By the first day of May, Tillie's uneasiness had become certainty. On that

morning Mr. Schwitter, coming in from the early milking, found her sitting

in the kitchen, her face buried in her apron. He put down the milk-pails

and, going over to her, put a hand on her head.

"I guess there's no mistake, then?"


"There's no mistake," said poor Tillie into her apron.

He bent down and kissed the back of her neck. Then, when she failed to

brighten, he tiptoed around the kitchen, poured the milk into pans, and

rinsed the buckets, working methodically in his heavy way. The tea-kettle

had boiled dry. He filled that, too. Then:-"Do you want to see a doctor?"

"I'd better see somebody," she said, without looking up. "And--don't

think I'm blaming you. I guess I don't really blame anybody. As far as

that goes, I've wanted a child right along. It isn't the trouble I am

thinking of either."

He nodded. Words were unnecessary between them. He made some tea clumsily

and browned her a piece of toast. When he had put them on one end of the

kitchen table, he went over to her again.

"I guess I'd ought to have thought of this before, but all I thought of was

trying to get a little happiness out of life. And,"--he stroked her

arm,--"as far as I am concerned, it's been worth while, Tillie. No matter

what I've had to do, I've always looked forward to coming back here to you

in the evening. Maybe I don't say it enough, but I guess you know I feel it

all right."

Without looking up, she placed her hand over his.

"I guess we started wrong," he went on. "You can't build happiness on what

isn't right. You and I can manage well enough; but now that there's going

to be another, it looks different, somehow."

After that morning Tillie took up her burden stoically. The hope of

motherhood alternated with black fits of depression. She sang at her work,

to burst out into sudden tears.

Other things were not going well. Schwitter had given up his nursery

business; but the motorists who came to Hillfoot did not come back. When,

at last, he took the horse and buggy and drove about the country for

orders, he was too late. Other nurserymen had been before him; shrubberies

and orchards were already being set out. The second payment on his

mortgage would be due in July. By the middle of May they were frankly up

against it. Schwitter at last dared to put the situation into words.

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