Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Great War, Vol. 1, Chapter 6-2

Village of Chateau Ducloux, France. Friday, July 31, 1914.


Philomene’s voice stopped her husband as he was about to leave their room. She was still sitting at her dressing table, her back to him but able to see him in the mirror that stood before her.


“Should I be afraid?” This was the third morning that Henri had dressed quickly, made a quick excuse, and rushed off to read all the Paris morning papers as soon as they arrived at the coffee house. Philomene herself had been so busy with the fete that she had half-welcomed the solitude at breakfast, leaving her own copy of La Croix unread and hurrying off to her errands once she finished her spiritual reading. But this abandonment of routine was unlike her husband. Was this merely his interest in news and politics taken to new lengths, or was some lurking catastrophe waiting to spring out at her while she was focused on worries about her project, as last year she had been so consumed with worries about how she would manage another pregnancy, another baby, until the those worries were swept away by the greater fear inspired by cramps and bleeding?

Henri seemed to be trying to decide how to respond to her question. “Is it as bad as the papers say?” she asked. “Is there going to be a war?”

He stepped back over to stand behind her chair and placed his hands on her shoulders. She could feel the comforting warmth of his touch through the cotton fabric of her summer blouse.

“I don’t know if there will be a war. Austria has mobilized and shelled Belgrade. Russia has mobilized against Austria. Germany has demanded that Russia stand down. Britain has recalled their fleet. It is at least as dangerous as it was five years ago with the Bosnian Crisis. But nothing came of that, so there is hope. There are a great many people working for peace.”

“Are you afraid, Henri?”

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