The Rainbow (Chapter 3, page 2 of 12)


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Chapter 3

He wanted to give her all his love, all his passion, all his
essential energy. But it could not be. He must find other things
than her, other centres of living. She sat close and impregnable
with the child. And he was jealous of the child.

But he loved her, and time came to give some sort of course
to his troublesome current of life, so that it did not foam and
flood and make misery. He formed another centre of love in her
child, Anna. Gradually a part of his stream of life was diverted
to the child, relieving the main flood to his wife. Also he
sought the company of men, he drank heavily now and again.

The child ceased to have so much anxiety for her mother after
the baby came. Seeing the mother with the baby boy, delighted
and serene and secure, Anna was at first puzzled, then gradually
she became indignant, and at last her little life settled on its
own swivel, she was no more strained and distorted to support
her mother. She became more childish, not so abnormal, not
charged with cares she could not understand. The charge of the
mother, the satisfying of the mother, had devolved elsewhere
than on her. Gradually the child was freed. She became an
independent, forgetful little soul, loving from her own
centre.

Of her own choice, she then loved Brangwen most, or most
obviously. For these two made a little life together, they had a
joint activity. It amused him, at evening, to teach her to
count, or to say her letters. He remembered for her all the
little nursery rhymes and childish songs that lay forgotten at
the bottom of his brain.

At first she thought them rubbish. But he laughed, and she
laughed. They became to her a huge joke. Old King Cole she
thought was Brangwen. Mother Hubbard was Tilly, her mother was
the old woman who lived in a shoe. It was a huge, it was a
frantic delight to the child, this nonsense, after her years
with her mother, after the poignant folk-tales she had had from
her mother, which always troubled and mystified her soul.

She shared a sort of recklessness with her father, a
complete, chosen carelessness that had the laugh of ridicule in
it. He loved to make her voice go high and shouting and defiant
with laughter. The baby was dark-skinned and dark-haired, like
the mother, and had hazel eyes. Brangwen called him the
blackbird.

"Hallo," Brangwen would cry, starting as he heard the wail of
the child announcing it wanted to be taken out of the cradle,
"there's the blackbird tuning up."

"The blackbird's singing," Anna would shout with delight,
"the blackbird's singing."

"When the pie was opened," Brangwen shouted in his bawling
bass voice, going over to the cradle, "the bird began to
sing."

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