“It seems a strange thing to me but I do earnestly believe that two marriages are broken up in this family. And if one is more finally broken up than the other, I believe it’s yours.”
Certainly, yes, there is competition for the most completely fragmented union. And the fallout is substantial. Challenging traditional ideas about womanhood along the way.
“You must think me an unnatural mother. But – I’m simply not able to have her with me now. Later on it will be different.”
And advice is given all-too-freely and just-as-gloriously ignored.
“You’ll spoil all your chances with him – if you force yourself on him now. Can’t you feel that sometimes a husband may want to be left alone?”
One of the relationships is mended, at least temporarily. “Now she had done everything for him she could do. Surely she had in a measure repaid the long years of friendship, of comfort and support he had given her – the short months of passion.”
But even the mending requires the sacrifice of yet another relationship. One woman bows out of the scene to afford another the opportunity of happiness.
This is unexpected, and perhaps just as likely to be reversed in a future volume. Because women are devilish. (This is Mazo de la Roche’s way of writing against type. And even if you remember who Miss Archer is, this is not a spoiler because the man to whom she speaks is unidentified.)
“I say she’s devilish,” he returned tranquilly. “But then, every woman worth her salt is that at times, don’t you think so?”
Miss Archer laughed, somehow not ill-pleased by the implication that she herself might on occasion be devilish.
The devilish women in the Jalna series are certainly the reason I keep reading. But, funnily enough, I suspect that contemporary readers were more enchanted by the men. Especially old Red-head.