After spending half an hour on the phone transferring my depression onto my son Jed, I felt so much better that I jumped up, fixed lunch and ate, then cleaned up the house. Well, not completely, but I got a good start.
Suddenly Beauty rushes in with a telegram that has just arrived. Everyone freezes. No one knows exactly what to do. None of them has ever received a telegram before. Finally, Billy suggests that Daddy open it and see what it says.
Daddy does so, then looks around the room, dazed.
"It's--" Daddy clears his throat. "It's from Brother Ned," he says. "He was coming home from England on the RMS Titanic, and the ship sank early this morning. He--he wanted to let us know he's all right, before we heard about the wreck from the [radio or the] newspaper."
[Breaking the stunned silence, Camilla says, "See, Mama? I told you we should buy that radio we saw at Harte's on Saturday!"]
Mama, who hasn't yet fainted, gasps, "I hope no one else we know was on board."
"Thank God Ned's all right," says Billy.
"Somebody run see if the afternoon paper has arrived. I'll go telephone to Mother. Ned doesn't say whether he telegraphed her," Daddy says, and leaves the room.
You know, when I look at pictures of my dollhouse, I get the same calm, right feeling that I had while writing Big Baby. Like I'm fulfilled in some way. Go figure.
MY MISTAKE: There was no radio except wireless telegraphy until 1920 or later. So Ned didn't mention "the radio," and Camilla didn't regret not buying one at the furniture store.