Man’s brutish tyranny
‘Maybe had I been patient, wooed her once more, all might still have been well. I have thought so since. But I was not a patient nor a subtle man. Her coldness enraged me. She was my wife, and I had a husband’s rights. I used them and her anger turned to bitter loathing. The more she turned from me, the more I sought her out, and the greater grew her bitterness. I believed I would master her in the end, as I had mastered men who had defied my authority at sea. But instead one day, with no warning, she left this house and left the island, taking you with her.’
Sarnia was overwhelmed by the horror of it – of a woman, her mother, thus tortured by a man’s harsh despotism. She was not so much shocked by his reference to the marriage bed as by the fact that he could speak of his own brutish tyranny in this fashion. He deplored its failure and her flight, but did he begin to understand what she must have felt, what misery she had suffered? She did not think so.