Sadness for a faraway grief
‘I have been here a week. In another week I shall leave – this house and the island – to return to London. I am determined on it.’
‘As you wish. You are welcome to come or go, as you choose. I will make no pleas, and use no threats. It is no condition of the legacy that you stay with me.’
‘Before I go, I wish to find someone who will take my place and look after you.’
He looked at her. ‘I will not oppose that, either. I understand that it is your need, as mine is to make my arrangements with Martell.’
She was moved by the depth and strength of his resignation. They reached the summerhouse and he sat down, heavily, on the bench outside. There was a quick movement and the tabby cat darted out and away through the grass. Was it he, she wondered, who kept the rabbits out of the garden? He had learned to take titbits from her hand, but was wild still.
She thought of her mother’s unhappiness and his part in it, but whereas it had moved her to anger and disgust, she felt now more of sadness for a faraway grief. Two people had contended here, and the one she loved had lost, had been humiliated and defeated. And yet, in another sense, had won; because she had had the courage to run away, and had left him empty, yearning for what he could never have again, facing a future without joy or hope.