Robin Ellis as a young bitter Ross Poldark (1st season); Ross still withdrawn, saturnine in the 9th novel
Dear friends and readers,
So I returned to Graham and his ninth Poldark, this time with some trepidation, but like The Stranger from the Sea, it opens very well. It drew me right in.
I’m beginning to realize how often books are written by people who are not truly vulnerable, not having a deeply hard time at all, or they wouldn’t be getting published or to me — most of the time. There are exceptions. And most of the major characters of Graham are sturdy people; where his appeal has been for me is his radicalism and the (hidden) bitterness and bleakness which come out most strongly when Ross takes the fore — as in his descriptions of life in Parliament only there it’s too public and too short and anyway given at dinner to the Enys so he can’t tell what’s in his heart. We begin to get a little closer to him when he visits Verity upon getting home, but there again it’s Verity who does the talking and Valentine’s character we are invited just to glimpse.
I don’t like stereotypical kinds of misery that are reworked — and that’s one of the reasons Ishiguro’s novels began to pale for me. It’s too much a formula in some that he’s discovered sells, but his books are certainly in the line of novels I prefer and while Graham’s can participate in this his central area to dramatize comes out of a experienced complacency and success in his life that I’m glad for him he had but do not find finally what great art for me comes out of.
The pace of Miller’s Dance is slow — and it was that for Stranger in the Sea. Graham’s earlier Poldark novels has tight structures that moved for all they had several stories going at one. It’s a different aesthetic Graham is trying. He does not want just to repeat himself. It’s also more elusive than the earlier fictions. Reminding me of Jhumpa Lahiri’s non-presentation of her tragic hero in Nameless, Graham keeps Ross and now Demelza from us.
The book is alive with interest and history too. I still yearn for my favorite characters (e.g., Francis Poldark, now long dead) and wish Graham would risk himself for real … Stephen, Valentine, Jeremy are versions of himself at a distance in the way Ross and George too were originally not. Cuby is a version of Demelza (who connects to Graham’s wife) going wrong, but there is no ravaged vulnerability as in Morwenna, no self-contained yet destroyable Elizabeth.
Chapters 1 – 2
We are in the following season from The Stranger in the Sea and with Ross and Demelza on the beach watching the landing and slow movement of a huge steam engine, part by part brought up from a bay onto a hill and by rollers and sleeps gradually brought before the now going/dying mine, Wheal Leisure. Several things are moving for me: suddenly once again Ross and Demelza there very strongly as a pair. The description of Cornwall, the seascape, and somehow realistically done yet no effort to read this depiction of an important — hugely important — form of engineering that is being brought to work into this area of Cornwall.
We are also re-introduced to Clowance, the daughter, and as her lover, Stephen Carrington. The promise of Stephen is fulfilled here: another renegade but not a good one. He pressures Clowance into meeting him at Trenwith, now a decaying house, where he pressures her to have sex with him or agree to marry him. She says she will ask her parents. The scene is embedded in a thread of chapters that includes suggestive reminders/hints at the same time Carrington is going to bed with the consumptive cripple, Violet Fellows we saw him — supposedly out of pity — take with him to the mid-summer festival which was a penultimate sequence in The Stranger from the Sea. We see Carrington is also not trustworthy over money, a liar. Ross is a renegade, but a renegade from the evils of the societies human nature creates which is quite a different thing. When Clowance tells Ross, he cannot think of a reason to say no as he has brought her up to marry for love.
An inlet in Cornwall
On the beach we see that Demelza has had second thoughts and regretted that Clowance refused the wealthy Fitzmaurice (of course this offer is sheer fantasy). Caroline’s view and that of her aunt, Mrs Pelham, is this was a decision Demelza should have fought and our narrator suggests that what may be coming for Clowance will not be happiness.
Chapter Two at long last Dwight Enys comes on the stage. He has not been on the stage at all for several books. Graham cannot bear for his heroes not to do well in life so while Ross is now an MP consulted by Canning (no less), Enys is a much respected physician, living in a gracious house with Caroline and the marriage is just fine, thank you very much. We are not allowed to look into that probability but we do go with Dwight on real medical rounds, are in his thoughts and visit with him a misery old man who beats his daughters (so there we are) and domineers over a young wife whose beauty he bought. He’s killing himself by his vices and may listen to Dwight’s sensible advice only because he wants to live. This household is being brought into the Clowance story.
And George Warleggan is back, this time coldly wooing Harriet Lee who is as calculating as he and the scene where he persuades her to marry him a coolly bitter one for the ethical eye of a reader.
At the same time we are again hearing of Geoffrey Charles whose presence contains a frisson, a kind of intense carry over from Francis Poldark (by no means forgotten in the mind of the author) and his tenderly loving mother, now dead, Elizabeth. He sends a letter from the Peninsula war to his uncle Ross and aunt Demelza. Trenwith is his and he could return to it.
Goldolphin House, Cornwall: Trenwith
The Stranger from the Sea began with a long powerful sequence of the Peninsula war which is repeated through Ross’s memories here (yes there is a use of memories, a sign of weakness again but they are well done). This brings in the larger political war whose full resonance I don’t know enough about the Prince Regent and his decision to stay with the Tories rather than Whigs once again). Demelza fears Ross will light out, but he now has his ties to Jeremy — who is bringing in this engine — and it may just be London. He’s getting old to go killing or risking death. But if he does she does not want to accompany him again after the last disaster.
Geoffrey Charles is also a good decent (humane, liberal) young man — as opposed to his half-brother, Valentine whose amours with married women Geoffrey Charles mentions in passing.
The series really is one long book and if you regard it that way you can remember The Stranger from the Sea as having several powerful interludes, one of Ross returning to Demelza after a long absence, estrangement and the long night’s love-making and week’s return conversations and walks. The falling offs become lulls over the course of thousands of pages.
Probably what is making this novel is the story of Clowance has the power of potential great misery, the strong sexuality of the scene between her and Carrington (as well as a contrast between Warleggan and his older aristocratic woman he wants as a trophy as well as a connection, Harriet) — and this time deeply alluring description of the place, very intensely done.
And as an old-time novel reader I suspect the happy ending may come — after much bad decisions — in a marriage of Clowance and Geoffrey Charles.
Only mentions of Drake and Morwenna. I did peek ahead and to my disappointment could not find them on stage. But at least they are not being forgotten. We hear they are happy but no more. Not how you see. And they are not Millers, but running a shipbuilding yard.
Doubtless the title refers to the song — a beauiful version of which is on Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. Oh I shall marry the Miller’s son ….
Chapters 3 – 4
Sheila White who played the murdered Keren would have been perfect for Clowance
Graham’s novel reflects real 18th century conflicts in the form we see them in 18th century novels (still with us in more attenuated form: is ideal marriage is of people of comparable age in companionate relationship with shared values, expectation — Ross and Demelza for this because they succeeded. Or it is an arrangement with property and interests to be served first — as Warleggan and Harriet mean to do, and Caroline (despite her marriage to Enys) defends.
This of direct relevant to Chapters 3-4 for what we find is Clowance is permitted to engage herself to Stephen Carrington and by indirection, narrator’s hints, what the characters say, we see Clowance is in real peril. Carrington is a liar, he is at this time having a sexual liaison with Violet Fellowes, if he could he would pressure Clowance into having sex with him at Trenwith. Demelza is alert to the danger of this: she has found out through someone telling her Clowance was seen with Stephen at Trenwith and while she cannot see her way to forbidding the match (which Ross in confidence tells her that he thinks he ought to), she can forbid these tyrsts. Carrington tells Clowance of a child and boyhood on the streets: he was the child of a woman where the father abandoned them, the mother abandoned the boy: he was for short while brought up by peasant, he has worked in chains in the mine as a youngster, lived off the streets, we’ve seen him be a pirate and smuggler (with Jeremy), but while she listens and appears to believe, we can wonder what is the full truth and how much of this is lies. Ross tells Demelza he caught Carrington out in at least one lie in his story. Yet he goes about to find his prospective son-in-law a place to live (Enys’s old house on the cliff — romantic), and set him up in a profession, that of miller — like he did Drake.
Two critiques: first Graham presents Clowance as wanting to be hurt and physically too. This is transparently not so, not even so in terms of the very character he presents. She has no broken spirit. It’s a dangerous pernicious myth This is factitious and from books. The near seduction scene is better than that I admit.
Second it really is not probable a pair of 18th century parents would not forbid a match they thought so badly of, worried so much about. The characterization here is of mid-20th century parents.
My surmise that eventually (maybe not in this book for this marriage is coming swiftly on) Geoffrey Charles will provide the real partner for Clowance was reinforced in how Graham made a parallel plot: we watch Geoffrey Charles in mortal danger in the Peninsula war at the same time as we watch the scene of Clowance’s engagement.
No sign as yet of Drake or Mowenna. Sigh. Sam emerges with his chapel but nothing more of this set of characters.
Ioan Gruffurd as Jeremy Poldark (1996)
Chapters 5 into 6: They go to a play, Jeremy’s angry ferocity
Graham likes to imitate 18th century novels (as did Donoghue in Life Mask). He does not have his character put on a play but go to an evening of plays: it is a full evening complete with a tragedy, The Gamester, a brief comedy, The Milliner, and after farce, The Village Lawyer.
Recent production of Cibber’s Love’s Last Shift
Graham uses this scene to stage an encounter between Jeremy Poldark and Cuby Trevanion: the long section on Stranger in the Sea on Jeremy’s smuggling and rescue by Cuby was of course meant to make us engage deeply with Jeremy; here he emerges as obsessed with Cuby and refuses to give her up. He insults here when she tells him she will marry only for money and for her family, will not desert them. She and they made the mistake of building their folly castle. The scene is raw with emotion and anger and also sexual attraction for she does regret not marrying him. Her brother who he clashed directly with is there.
It’s set so vividly in the theater.
Then the Poldarks do not go to the Warleggan great house, as Demelza has requested they do not — their love and loyalty to their mother reminds me of the depiction of the love and loyalty of Lady Glen’s children to her, not in Trollope but the 1970s film series. It’s the same ideal woman.
This gives Graham as chance to move us back into George’s realm again, Lady Harriet, and slowly to Valentine. Graham does not say explicitly whose son Valentine is — does he expect us to know, and those who don’t are left in suspense, but we see George’s suspicions never go away. Valentine seems to be a total shit, for as I turned the page he was after a new maid. Genes indeed are not all, are they?
End of Chapter 5: George Warleggan meeting with Trevanion whose daughter Cuby he would like for his son (who is we are to remember not his son), Valentine. Of interest here are the thoughts given George (perhaps out of character) about what a decent person Cuby really is: for her brother she has taken care of his children, been a replacement mother “she deserved better than an arranged marriage.” But nonetheless George is angling for this, bargaining in the way we saw him bargain with Osbert Whitworth over Morwenna. We know how hard Jeremy has been to her because she persists in this loyalty to her brother and to marrying for money.
I surmise a big punishment in store if she is married off to Valentine (off in some part of the house harrassing a maid).
Chapter 6: We see Stephen visiting with the dying Violet who knows he is soon to marry Clowance. He then begins to make a shady deal with her brother, Paul;
Demelza tells Ross she is again pregnant. The scene held me: she is happy over this and he not at all. He cannot understand quite why she is happy for he thinks about the danger to her life, how she does not want to lose her. We are to remember that each time she’s gotten pregnant, he has been most un-eager. She plays with names, “Drake”?. Ross teases along, “Why not Garrick?” the name of her now deceased beloved dog. But there is this intriguing line: “But he was not amused; there was no laughter in him at all.” We see this in his scenes with Jeremy where Jeremy has only at long last confided. I wish Graham had developed this thread openly.
Jeremy our inventor is working at trying to make a steam engine which will make a carriage go without horses. Trevithick explains to him he has got to make the engine much smaller than present technology allows.
Book 1, Chapters 7 – 9, Book 2, Chapters 1-4
I’ve been feeling I’ve not done justice to it to The Miller’s Dance at all as I was re-reading then skimming again through, dipping and being absorbed in The Miller’s Dance — nor perhaps to his Stranger from the Sea.
For example I seem to have completely overlooked the story/character of Music Thomas (begun pp. 47-53). He is someone Dwight Enys meets on the way to the Popes. Music doesn’t fit in; he doesn’t know quite why. The question we are led to ask is, Is Music homosexual and he is hiding it (or supposedly doesn’t know it); more likely he is mildly disabled. He cannot socially integrate is part of this portrait. It’s touching to see Enys treat him with appropriate respect as well as compassion. Francis was a gentleman, this man doesn’t have that.
Clive Francis as Francis Poldark trying and failing to reconcile Ross to him after his betrayal of Ross
I also noticed how throw-away lines show us women’s “rough” deal (Graham’s work). Pope regularly beats his two daughters and no one can stop or does try to stop him. Enys as a character visiting the old man for his health can see this.
We are told off-hand of another women who pushed into having sex with a careless young man, and then discovering herself pregnant and unable to give herself an abortion killed herself — from pressure of the community nagging at her, intruding into her private space. I can’t find the vignette but it’s meant as a parallel to what could happen to Clowance (were her parents not watching over her) and what did happen to Violet Fellows only she apparently didn’t get pregnant.
Little throwaway vignettes of common realities of the time — all showing the plight of women. The widowed sister of a Duke, lady Harriet’s previous career (rather like Trollope signora Neroni) an now how George regards her (another trophy) is a moving character
Touching lines too.
At the same time there is high adventure and economic stories off stage — Stephen and Paul have obviously gone pirateering and brought back booty (Book 1, Chapter 9). Meanwhile Stephen lifted 30 pounds off Clowance (her last, but he did return it. We see his friend Paul’s father borrow a hefty sum of 200 from Ross to keep their omnibus going.
We meet Valentine Warleggan for the first time — on stage — and see that he combines some aspects of Ross physically and mentally or emotionally, but turned to the most selfish petty purposes, at least as yet. Warning signs of something more deadly to come are seen in the distance we are encouraged exists between his petty talk which rides over strain and miseries in conversations as if he didn’t see them and what he really is thinking/feeling, which we are led to believe is quite different.
Norma Streader as the young Verity
A talk between Verity and Ross when Ross returns home from London and parliament — we return to this motif that Ross can talk to his cousin Verity, where she likens Valentine to Ross’s father is intended to give us a clue as well as Graham himself a thread of his original vision to work a new character out of. Valentine has some physical resemblances to Elizabeth too — something steely-frail.
Jeremy is growing ever bitterer as he sees his engine won’t work; he is offered “ins” on Stephen Carrington and Paul’s smuggling deals, but does not want this — he is too upright and not angry at the order he finds himself in. How should he be, given his father and mother’s generosity of spirit and the home they made for him and themselves. He tries to make up for his earlier wrathful aggression against Cuby whom we are told he still hungers after by pretending not to care so deeply and flirting genially with her. She is surprised and relieved. I couldn’t resist peeking ahead to the next novel to see if she does marry Jeremy, but it did seem (though not altogether clear) that in fact she will marry Valentine, a deal engendered already in part by George (the supposed father) and Cuby’s brother. This does augur something grievous and complex to come for she is a willing victim: she buys into the idea she must marry money and big prestige, that she must obey her brother and owes this to her family.
We are certainly in the next generation with Ross returning from Parliament and again we get reasoned history in the form of Ross’s news and doings in London, his desire to stay in Cornwall – and with Demelza, especiall now she’s pregnant — but his feeling that however inadequate and clumsy and reluctant he does manage to do some good in his parliamentary maneuvrings. He feels he needs to get a different patron than the one he has, though if he does he will be working to abolish the rotten borough he stands for (rather like Phineas Finn). We get a real picture of how corrupt Cornwall is — all rotten boroughs and more representatives from it than all London’s vast population. For good measure we get Caroline defending this system as putting government in the hands of the educated. Right. We do get a picture of early 19th century UK run by the aristocrats for themselves, going to war to support their interests and their inhumane indecent notions of male glory (Geoffrey Charles adheres to this latter and his latest letter from the Peninsula tells of much death and the paralysis of one of his hands.), with the bourgeois supporting them to get a small or big as the case may be (George Warleggan) percentage of the take.
The most alive thread or subplot to me for the book considered as a novel is now that of Stephen Carrington and Clowance Poldark. He is getting her to accept (he thinks) his promiscuous ways. Every Friday he visits Violet Kellow, as she lies dying, and one morning he does fuck her. The curtain goes down in the usual discreet way. Clowance would break it off if she knew of this and is led to accept the Friday trysts only on the supposition the woman is dying and it would be cruel to deprive Violet of this “friendship.” A conversation between Jeremy on his sister’s behalf with Carrington shows Jermey warning Stephen he will defend his sister, and Stephen telling him to mind his own business.
The Enys and Poldarks at dinner with Clowance and Jeremy there: Paul comes to call Enys away (we have seen this several times in these past two books and each time it’s accompanied by sudden beauty in the landscape around Enys). Clowance says quietly, should you not go, Stephen. He says why? But at the last minute of the dinner conversation suddenly bolts for the Kellow house.
I stopped reading at a Truro fair chapter where we zero in on this pair — I did want to read on but could not. It’s a good sign when I want to read on to see what’s going to happen next. I do read for a love of characters or themes & alluring description (this book has a good deal of this latter) that rivet me.
The problem for me is I predict that Clowance will not marry Stephen after all. I peeked ahead there and couldn’t tell but saw in the family trees that preface each new book (and each time new characters are added and the new alliances laid out) no sign of a marriage of Stephen and Clowance. Well I like to read of people vulnerable and having a hard time, especially women and so in this book the one character I’ve really been interested in has been Violet, hardly here at all.
So surmize that Clowance’s story will not be one I can bond with (to use Caroline’s word for it).
Also we are having another of these happy events all characters gathered together (with only one or two having clashes outside the main stream of feeling) that first started in The Stranger from the Sea: visit to great house and mid-summer festival, and this one the night at the theater early on.
Still, Cuby will marry Valentine, a deal engendered already in part by George (the supposed father) and Cuby’s brother. This does augur something grievous and complex to come for she is a willing victim: she buys into the idea she must marry money and big prestige, that she must obey her brother and owes this to her family.
Also the scene of The Enys and Poldarks at dinner with Clowance and Jeremy there when all the politics and history is talked by Ross: Paul, Violet’s complicit brother, comes to call Enys away (we have seen this several times in these past two books and each time it’s accompanied by sudden beauty in the landscape around Enys). Clowance says quietly, should you not go, Stephen. He says why? But at the last minute of the dinner conversation suddenly bolts for the Kellow house.
It’s these moments in this book I like best.
Book 2, Chapters 4-5
I find myself experiencing the kind of intense absorption and pleasure in this book during this chapter, which was (to me) everywhere in Graham’s first 7 Poldark novels.
Where Truro races held today
The characters are at the Truro races and at last there is emerging real life out of the new generation.
In Chapter 5 We witness a troubling conversation between Clowance and Stephen where it’s clear he wants her to elope with him right now and fuck her — without marriage. It’s also clear that she’s tempted — to me very strangely as within a month she’ll have him or he her (more like it) anyway. They come upon a filthy poor urchin selling junk jewelry and Stephen disdains her; Clowance realizes this was what her mother once was and that Stephen since he says he lived this way once too ought to be feel for the street woman. He does not. She buys the jewelry and he says watch out you don’t get a disease. In the next chapter they come upon Andrew Blamey (junior), son of Verity and it emerges quickly that this naval officer Clowance had glimpsed from afar and whose life and job experience includes coping with pressing gangs (he is not subject to by virtue of his engagement with the merchant marine) and seeing smugglers has seen Stephen at a pub bar with Paul Kellow and another unnamed woman (pale — could it have been Violet?) and when Stephen denies it was him, Andrew cleverly lets Clowance know in front of Stephe that he witnessed Stephen’s careless murder of someone as the group were fleeing the press-gang. Stephen triumphs over her by saying before Andrew he won’t be having any relatives at the church, isn’t that so, my dear, and Clowance’s acknowledgement.
The urchin did predict that Stephen will not live to grow old (p. 262).
Jeremy is slowly emerging as a personality in his own right, complex, with integrity like Ross. Chapter 4 too allows us to experience him in his new distanced courting pattern, more casual, get Cuby to go on a walk with him. It’s moving for she first and then he, acknowledges that relationships cannot remain light if they are to be meaningful and not become tiresome. “Pleasantries soon begin to wear thin.” (p. 265) This is the genuine Graham note. He manages to kiss her for real and she responds, but at the close we know that she is still committed to the brother (pp. 263-70). He does tell her that since “sincerity keeps breaking in,” he will stick by her as a friend and she says “let it be so.” Since the next chapter ends (5) with George and Trevaunion planning the marriage of Valentine to Cuby this too harkens forward to what will be: Valentine marrying Cuby and Jeremy forming a friend as Ross originally intended to be for Elizabeth.
A strong sparks flying chapter (6) when Ross suddenly finds himself bidding on a horse someone else is determined to bid higher than he and it’s George Warleggan. The old rivalry ensues and again Ross comes out looking better for George having won and gaining the horse for 90 pounds suddenly doesn’t want to cough up the money and denies he won. He just wants the triumph not to pay. An old friend, Tholly Tregirls intervenes to say George did indeed get the horse – this irritates Ross as he is not glad of this support (even as he recognizes impulses in himself like Jud Paynter too). But George’s new wife, Lady Harriet, intervenes to say George did indeed win the horse, she wants it and they will pay 95 guineas. This shames George in a way as it is bucking him in front of all. The horse Tholly says a little ater is worth no more than 40.
Then a half chapter of George meditating his new marriage and its problems. Elizabeth was never the rival that Harriet is. He is allowed in Harriet’s bed sometimes; when there, it’s apparently like Rowella was with Osborne Whittington (or something like this — we never see these glamorized ideas of rocky sex Graham suggests — probably because it’s unreal in part and would be sordid). Elizabeth may have been firm, tenacious, her own person, but she was gentle and didn’t struggle against him directly. George is not so sure he didn’t make a mistake in marrying again, but when Harriet appears to demand that they also become friends with the Poldarks, especially Ross, to whom she is attracted, and describes him in terms reminiscent of Valentine, George does manage to call a halt to this, just.
Demelza not there because large in her pregnancy. I feel she’s kept away because her presence would change things to be less threatening.
Angharad Rees as the young bride, Demelza: open-faced, candid, strong sensible even there, utterly loyal
I reached the close of another Poldark novel. Happily Clowance has had the strength to break off her engagement to Stephen Carrington. I wish Graham had let us into her inner life to show us what this cost her; we only see her outwardly intensely imagining him around. A new suitor has apppeared, Tom Guildford, suitable, witty, likeable, but for this reader nowhere as interesting precisely because he fits normative ideals so well.
Repeating a pattern from the earlier novels, again George Warleggan negotiates an arranged marriage on sheer money terms: he buys for Valentine, Cuby Trevanion. She comes expensive, but he’s willing to shell out to gain the ancient family line intermingling with his. The bargaining with her brother and even Conan Whitworth knowing about this connects us directly back. With his presence we hear of his mother, Mowenna, as she once was, withdrawn, and as she is still, senstivie, but apparently we are not to see Drake and Morwenna any more though we do see Sam and Rosina.
Jeremy is incensed and despairs at the news of this clinched marriage. His engine has also gone nowhere. All his dreams have come to nothing. So we have — what did surprise me — a concluding series of chapters where he, Stephen, and Paul Kellow plan and (apparently) execute successfully a heist, a robbery, of the moneys, property deeds, jewels and whatever else is contained in two strong boxes travelling in a coach from one area of Cornwall and London to the Warleggan home. It’s done using disguise and very clever carpentry inside a coach, whereby the three undo the seat and pull out the boxes and pulls out the “spoils” over the long haul of a journey and then put the boxes back (empty) and clear out of the coach.
As in earlier novels, Graham plays a little game because it seems as if (as yet) we will not know if they are caught. If they are, the punishment is death. This is not quite the same thing as ending Demelza is a food riot (over starvation) led by Ross. There is no moral excuse for this. It will not prevent the marriage of Cuby to Valentine — a real shit who Harriet, George’s wife, has become an ally of.
It is a charged effective sequence: all the disguises are well done, and the interaction of the characters piquant — especially when an unsuspecting extra passanger, not expected, a lawyer, Mr Rose, is in the carriage with our three young men for some of the time. As ever Graham carries his learning lightly so our experience of this run of the carriage, the inns, and landscape is well done, with just the persuasive amount of social scenes glimpsed as we go.
Demelza’s giving birth to a new son, Henry, is handled beautifully. Another dinner and dance at the Warleggans where Clowance has been invited and also Jeremy. The night’s doings are at the end interrupted by the news which gives much relief, for Demelza is now old to have a child, and had not been doing well.
Graham manages to put us off about what happens to the young men by switching to Demelza and Ross and once again their presences carry the narrative with such strong charge. It does seem as if he will be off again and she accepts it again — now that she has another child who (like Julia did) resembles Ross closely. Their dialogue is persuasive, life-like, touching. He is not happy over the child, just relieved. The landscape they walk along made just so effective. And there is more than a hint that Geofffrey Charles is on his way — for my part I hope as a husband to Clowance.
I was not that surprised to discover that Jeremy (our secondary hero now, son of Ross and Demelza), Paul and Stephen literally get away with it. They steal the huge amounts of money, deeds, and jewels in the two strong boxes and make their flight good. I assume that Jeremy will indeed make a felt dent in the business operations of George Warleggan for at least a time. I doubt enough to put off the wedding of Cuby Trevanion to George’s apparent son, Valentine. I should say real son, for whatever were the biological genes, Valentine is now a product of his genes, the environment and norms of the era and in reaction to George.
But perhaps not for Jeremy is not looking all that well as he catches up to his mother, father and two sisters standing on the beach of Nampara and Demelza has a look at him:
“All the same she did not think Jeremy looked brave. From seeming younger than his twenty-one years – he~ had of a sudden come to look much older. His complexion was sallow, and his eyes dark, as if from worry or lack of sleep. A woman of eccentric perceptions where her own family was concerned, she had a sudden moment of unease, of panic, an awareness of crisis, as if something less tangible than the sensory was warning her of a looming danger, either shortly to come or just past. She looked again at Jeremy, assuring herself, trying to reassure herself that it was only a recurrence of the fever disturbing her blood…
Clowance is not altogether happy walking on that beach — Stephen is still alive and determined to have her. The money is yet to be divvied up.
Trevelgue Head, Cornwall: an Iron Age fort
Ross we can see will not stay as he meditates on the seacoast; he will be off to London, and a new presence is at last promised: This book ends with a letter from Geoffrey Charles (Francis’s son) on his way home from the Peninsula war. Another new character I “have bonded with”
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