Middlemere 2 (Chapters 3 – 4)

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SPOILERS!!!

Poor Romy has to abscond to London. For years she has put up with her stepfather and how he beats her, her mother and brother. Now things take a turn for the worse. One day when she returns from a party, she feels the way Dennis look at her and tells her how a pretty girl she is hides something sinister. She can’t tell her mother because of the consequences. If her mother were to confront her husband, he would simply beat her as he always does, or she might decide to leave her, which would mean more penury and insecurity. So she hopes that her feeling is not real. Yet, one night when her mother is out with one of her friends, Dennis tries to rape her, but Romy manages to escape. Returning home was not possible, so she finds her way into London, hoping to find her brother Jem. When she gets to the address in the last postcard Jem sent her, he is not there and the landlady tells her she has no idea where he went. So the only other possibility she considers is finding Mrs Plummer, the woman who gave her her card in the office where Romy works. So she goes there, and even though Romy doesn’t say much, the woman can see she is in trouble, so she offers her a temporary job as a chamber maid in her hotel, replacing one of the maids who is sick. That means that for the time being she is safe, and I’m pretty sure that she will be able to survive and find her own place to live.

As for Caleb, he now has a job as a clerk in a removals company. The relationships between the employees are complex as there is someone called Loman bullies and teases another of the clerks called Pickering. Caleb doesn’t want to get involved because he doesn’t really like Pickering or Loman, but he knows that Loman is bad news. He can tell that the man is a crook in disguise, and he even noticed once his pockets full of stationary, petty theft to get some extra pounds. Yet, I think that Loman’s activities might be more serious than that.

Also Evelyn is not happy. Even in her own home she feels like a stranger, and in the last part I have read she felt even afraid of the cook who she catches dropping cigarette ash on the soup she would offer her guests for dinner. Naturally, she fires the woman then and there, but she is not very confident. The source of her unhappiness is her barrenness as she has been unable to produce a child. So when she has guests and everybody talks about their offspring, she is really hurt and sad. I have to say that I like Evelyn because of her vulnerability and goodness of heart. Her husband is a different story. We haven’t seen much of him, but I have the hunch that he is not a very good person.

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