He is described as "corpse-pale" (138), and earlier Crick tells his wife that "He wears this stuff .
Price proclaims to Crick and the class very early in the novel, "The only important thing about history, I think, sir, is that it's got to the point where it's probably about to end" (7).
But Crick needs a further spur to fully re-enter that time in his life and re-remember the abortion of Mary's fetus and Dick's suicide.
Crick has hinted about the abortion earlier in the novel but has successfully elided almost all traces of it from his narration.
Over the next three years, Crick goes to fight in World War II.
There is no explanation at this point for Mary's infertility, and Crick follows her poignant question with two attempts to tell the story of the abortion.
In chapter thirteen, "Histrionics," Crick gratefully recalls the verdict that was returned on Freddie Parr's body--"that neat and neutral phrase 'Accidental Death'" (131).
But before the abortion narrative is resumed, Crick finally relates the story of his wife's kidnapping of a baby in the present in chapters 35 and 36, which is clearly done as a sort of replacement for the baby she aborted.
Thus, in chapter 39, "Stupid," which is apparently told to Price that night in the pub, Crick finally picks up the thread of the crucial abortion narrative he had dropped in the thirteenth chapter.
Crick is shocked to hear her say that she has been to a priest, using confessional language in his incredulous narration: "At length she confesses she has been talking to a priest.
When Crick relates the story of Mary's kidnapping the child at the local grocery store before he finally recalls the abortion, she was rendered a Virgin Mary figure: "A Madonna--and child.