All My Sisters 5 (Pages 151 – 224)



I am so sad for Marianne. She and Arthur are madly in love, and the only problem is that she still hasn’t become pregnant. Marianne is not too happy with the company they have to keep, but other than that, she is in bliss. Then they start to have the house in Surrey renovated, and Arthur steps on a nail, causing him an injury. Arthur doesn’t take it seriously, and when she develops a fever, they think he has a cold. Then he takes to bed, burning, so Marianne finally calls the doctor. The physician realises that it is septicaemia, and he impales the swelling on his feet to extract the poison. Yet, that doesn’t work, and the doctor tells Marianne that the only solution is to amputate. In the end, poor Arthur dies, and she is left devastated. They had only been married for eleven months when the tragedy struck. I didn’t expect that, and I feel so sorry.

Her sister’s loss pushes Eva to make a decision which on principle would not have made before. The decision involves Gabriel Bellamy, the married artist, who makes a pass at her when she visits his home. Gabriel kisses her, and Eva turns him down, but she can’t stop thinking about that first kiss. Gabriel then seeks her out in London and assures her that he was drunk and what he only wants is to paint her. Eva initially plays hard to get, but she eventually agrees to be painted. In the end, she agrees and in the intimate moments of the painting sessions, she can watch Gabriel and gradually falls in love with him. Eva knows that Gabriel is married and has five children, so it off-bounds. Yet, when Arthur dies and she feels terrible for Marianne, the only person she runs to is Gabriel, and in that moment she realises that life is too short. Thinking about Marianne, she knows that if her sister had insisted on a longer engagement, she and Arthur wouldn’t have had any time together. So she makes the decision to let her heart rule, so she confesses her feelings. Gabriel also tells her that he loves her, and even though she loves and will always love Sadie, his wife, that doesn’t mean his heart can’t love anyone else. So he and Eva become lovers from then on.

As for Clemency, I feel sorry for the fate that she has been left with. Her mother is really selfish, and whenever Clemency has arranged to meet friends, Lillian comes up with an excuse to keep her at home. Thankfully, Charlotte Catherwood, who has been acting as a chaperone with the family, realises how unhappy Clemency is, so she talks to her and suggests she come to stay with Lillian three times a week so Clemency can enjoy free time as well. So Clemency eventually goes out with her friend Vera, who introduces her to a musician, Ivor Godwin. Ivor is married and his wife is an invalid. When he and Clemency talk, she realises that he is the only person who understands how she feels about her mother. My first impression of Ivor is not a good one as he sounds too pathetic. I wonder now if Ivor could be a friend for Clemency, but I don’t know… he doesn’t seem too exciting or kind a man.

Now I wonder what will happen to these sisters. How will Marianne face life from now on? What will she do? And Eva? Will she be happy to have this kind of relationship with Gabriel for too long? I can’t see her settling for second best for too long. And Clemency… will she have this boring, dull life for much longer? Will she have the chance to find something more in life? Marriage and children? Or maybe something else?


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