There is something inexplicably alluring about a pregnant woman,” Edmund C. Roberts commented to the four females accompanying him in the diving bell. “However, I cannot fathom (no pun intended) what it could be,” he concluded as he watched the drifting, particularly gravid Sea Maiden not three meters from the viewing window. “It’s because she has the world’s best secret,” Sarah whispered. “The world’s most wonderful present,” Sue corrected. “Both,” Marie added, looking from triplet to triplet and nodded as she smiled. Edmund Roberts narrowed his eyes and thought about the girls’ assessment. “Perhaps; perhaps you are near the mark,” he said though it was obvious they had not, in his estimation, hit the mark.” He then turned to his naturalist, Marie Ryan Gateaux (Ph.D.) and raised an eyebrow. She felt his stare but ignored him, remaining silent until he could stand it no longer. “Go on,” he implored, “you have an answer to every question asked or implied; a correction of each of my pronouncements, an addendum to my every theory. Surly you cannot resist adding to what these children have proposed.”
The young woman spoke at last, but she neither looked to Roberts nor intimated her answer was for any but herself when she did. “We’re women,” she began, looking to the triplets and then askance at Roberts, “though you do indeed struggle with that fact. Each of us, as women, is alone and challenged from the beginning. A baby in us is a addition; a creation—a new part of us which grows unseen, as our love does, as our dreams do, just as that which we covet and cherish will always be hidden within us. We know a baby will always be ours, no matter what happens, regardless of the vicissitudes of fortune. More than anything else, it is a new start—a freshing wherein we attempt to right the past wrongs, correct old mistakes and redirect our lives. With a child we may try once more to achieve perfect love–to create a perfect dream—and that alone renews our hope.” The young man pinched his lips together and frowned. He was lost regarding so much she had said. His struggle was his attempt to mold her words around the memory of his mother, and because he had been so young when she departed, he could not. He tried to feel what his naturalist had said, to understand her words, but in the end he failed.
It was as he struggled that the others in the diving apparatus thought of their own mothers, each of them missing, each of their circumstances of departure a mystery. Soon they were awash in sadness and longing. Each wondered briefly if they could have been any of these things to their own mothers, but found it impossible to imagine themselves so worthy. Finally, each renews a silent commitment to continue their search.
Edmund C. Roberts journal reads:
Maideus portentous “Nora” sighted January 6, 1913