Because Stella is poised for a second disappointment. She has believed that she would be provided for (oh, she AND her baby son, the heir) and that security is at risk.
And she can’t talk about it with Henry. Who doesn’t appreciate, doesn’t even comprehend, her concerns.
So, of course, she shares her dilemma with Henry’s daughter, Peggy.
Really? Oh, nevermind, she must have been feeling rather desperate. She must have forgotten, for a spell, Peggy’s anger over her father’s remarriage. Even though, just a short spell before, Peggy was standing in the hall of the rented house in Italy (a run-down and drafty space – not at all what Stella expected of a home in the Italian countryside).
Stella reveals something of her disappointment, her sense of being poorly treated. And, unsurprisingly, daughter Peggy is not sympathetic. But, neither is she cruel. And readers are so pleased that she asks the question we’ve been dying to ask ourselves, right from the beginning. (Stella has asked it of Henry: she intuits his answer – as do we – but we long to know what Stella was thinking.)
Had Stella had no other offers? Peggy asks. And then she asks the next thing we want to know: