All My Sisters 6 (Pages 224 – 262)



Eighteen months after Arthur’s death, Marianne still feels depressed and misses her husband terribly. People expect her to return to her old self, but for her it is impossible. She forces herself to accept an invitation from Merediths, but she doesn’t enjoy the weekend very much. There she finds Teddy Fiske, who, when she was there last, made a pass at her. Now he tries to seduce her, and for a moment Marianne considers the idea of going to bed with a man she even despises because she needs distraction from her grief. Yet, someone interrupts them. It is Lucas Melrose, a man she had noticed at the dinner table. Lucas, he later tells her, comes from Ceylon, and it seems that he might be important for Marianne, but from a comment in the narration I am led to believe that he won’t be very positive for Marianne.

Eva continues her affair with Gabriel. When he goes away with his family in the summer, Eva goes and stays with her parents and sister. More than once Eva finds her way to her father’s factory and draws the workers. Rob Foley is some kind of secretary for her father, and we learn that he is in love with her, but he thinks that she is above him. Rob’s situation is complicated. When his father died, he left them no money, so now Rob has to work to support his widowed mother and his sister Susan. There is another sister, Theresa, but she works in a school. The problem is that his mother and Susan want to keep up appearances, and they prefer to go hungry and cold every day as long as they can offer a lavish meal to guests and keep their house. Rob once suggested that the house should be sold, but the woman refused. Tom tells his sister Theresa that he has no prospects to marry, and even though there is someone he loves, she is too above him, and he doesn’t have the money to support two families.

On her return to London, Eva has a deep disappointment. Gabriel is going to Europe with his friend Max and even though Eva asks him to take her with him, he refuses. Then one night she runs into Val Crozier, one of the usual guests in Gabriel’s house, and as the man is a bit tipsy, he has no problems telling her that Gabriel has taken Nerissa, another usual guest who Gabriel has also painted, with him. Val tells Eva that Gabriel sleeps with all his models, which includes Nerissa and Eva herself. The man also confesses that he is in love with Sadie, but she only loves Gabriel and doesn’t give him the time of day. Eva realises that she has been cheated on in the same way she deceived Sadie. Gabriel once confessed that she had loved several women, but she never thought that he could have other women at the same time as her. I wonder what she is going to do now. I imagine that she will leave him. Will she consider Rob as a possible match? I don’t know. Eva is too modern and wild, and she has already said that she doesn’t want marriage, so I wonder if he might consider a traditional liaison with Rob, who so far we haven’t seen any signs that she likes him more than an acquaintance.

Clemency has her own problems. Her mother is still a nuisance, trying to sabotage the times she goes to hear Igor play. Then she and Vera fall out because Vera is miffed that Clemency has stolen Igor’s friendship from her. The young woman accuses her of being in love with him, so she shows her scorn for someone who could go after a married man. Later Clemency realises that there is truth in what Vera has told her, and she is in love with him. Will Clemency follow her sister’s steps and have an affair with a married man? I don’t know. Clemency is more traditional and demure, so I have difficulty imagining her taking up with Igor.



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