Anne Severn and the Fieldings (Chapter 5, page 1 of 8)


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Chapter 5

i Anne did not go back to her Ilford farm at once. Adeline had made that
impossible.

At the prospect of Anne's going her resentment died down as suddenly as
it had risen. She forgot that Anne had taken her sons' affection and her
place beside her husband's deathbed. And though she couldn't help
feeling rather glad that Jerrold had gone to India without Anne, she was
sorry for her. She loved her and she meant to keep her. She said she
simply could not bear it if Anne left her, and _was_ it the time to
choose when she wanted her as she had never wanted her before? She had
nobody to turn to, as Anne knew. Corbetts and Hawtreys and Markhams and
people were all very well; but they were outsiders.

"It's the inside people that I want now, Anne. You're deep inside,
dear."

Yes, of course she had relations. But relations were no use. They were
all wrapped up in their own tiresome affairs, and there wasn't one of
them she cared for as she cared for Anne.

"I couldn't care more if you were my own daughter. Darling Robert felt
about you just the same. You _can't_ leave me."

And Anne didn't. She never could resist unhappiness. She thought: "I was
glad enough to stop with her through all the happy times. I'd be a
perfect beast to go and leave her now when she's miserable and hasn't
got anybody."

It would have been better for Anne if she could have gone. Robert
Fielding's death and Jerrold's absence were two griefs that inflamed
each other; they came together to make one immense, intolerable wound.
And here at Wyck, she couldn't move without coming upon something that
touched it and stung it to fresh pain. But Anne was not like Jerrold, to
turn from what she loved because it hurt her. For as long as she could
remember all her happiness had come to her at Wyck. If unhappiness came
now, she had got, as Eliot said, "to take it."

And so she stayed on through the autumn, then over Christmas to the New
Year; this time because of Colin who was suffering from depression.
Colin had never got over his father's death and Jerrold's going; and the
last thing Jerrold had said to her before he went was; "You'll look
after Col-Col, won't you? Don't let him go grousing about by himself."

Jerrold had always expected her to look after Colin. At seventeen there
was still something piteous and breakable about him, something that
clung to you for help. Eliot said that if Colin didn't look out he'd be
a regular neurotic. But he owned that Anne was good for him.

"I don't know what you do to him, but he's better when you're there."

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